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imron

First Episode 8: 魔幻手机 Magic Mobile Phone

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imron

A part of the Grand First Episode Project -- See this thread for more info.

Episode 8: 魔幻手机 Magic Mobile Phone

Sohu HD - Emule

Light-hearted action/adventure, heavily influenced by Journey to the West, Spiderman, Superman and the Matrix, about a time-travelling mobile phone robot chick from the future with super powers.

Vocabulary



It's quite a long series (42 episodes) and has multiple story arcs with something for everyone - action, adventure, comedy, romance, good guys, bad guys, good guys who become bad guys, and bad guys who become good guys. It holds up quite well for the first 30 or so episodes, but then they seem to run out of story and it turns into one big community service announcement before finally finding a story again in the last few episodes.

The special effects are even more laughable than 落地请开手机, but if you watch it on youku, the picture quality is bad enough that you probably won't notice too much :lol:

In the first episode we see the creation of 傻妞, the time-travelling mobile phone robot chick, who gets sent back to the past to test out her time travelling functionality. Here she bumps into Sun Wukong and friends, who not only seem to recognise her, but know her quite well, (which we find out about in later episodes).

She helps them fight against 黄眉大王 but in the process drags him back to the future with her. However while travelling back to the future, she runs out of battery and only gets as far as 2006, where she falls into the backpack of 陆小千, the other hero of our story. 黄眉大王 tries to get 傻妞 back by chasing after 陆小千 (who isn't aware of 傻妞 in his backpack), however the modern world causes him all sorts of hassles that he isn't prepared for.

See also Renzhe's writeup here.

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Edited by roddy

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roddy

Brilliant, the address for the 时光大厦 is right near where I used to live . . oh and love the choice of destinations - Beijing winning the Olympics and the birth of Christ . . oh, the Matrix references . . . wait, where'd the SWAT team come from . . .and why aren't those gawkers getting out of the line of fire . . .

Wow, that was a bit of a roller coaster. Great fun though. Language-wise it's maybe a bit technical at the time-travel parts, and there's some classical, but to be honest a lot of the 40 minutes is taken up with fights and chases.

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imron
oh, the Matrix references . .
I swear they've even taken one of the sound effects straight from the matrix - you can hear it when they first zoom in on the tower in the future, it pops up in a bunch of other places too.
wait, where'd the SWAT team come from
Haha, yeah, it is a bit random, but all in all, quite good fun. The next few episodes settle down a bit as we are introduced to the other main characters in the show.

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roddy

Oh yeah, that sound effect is either lifted directly or its so close it makes no difference. The shot when 黄眉大王 lands in his crater looked to me like a Terminator reference, but it could just be the Matrix again . . .

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imron

Actually the movie Terminator 2 makes a brief appearance later on, so it's sure to have been an influence too (what with all the time-travelling and all), just not to the point where they go back to kill anyone before they're born. Actually in several parts the time travelling is used as quite a good plot device as we get introduced to stuff that has already happened, but has not yet happened :mrgreen:

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renzhe

This show was remarkably silly. So silly, in fact, that producing it must have taken a great deal of talent.

This could be a very good thing, or a very bad thing, but I'm interested enough to watch a few more episodes before deciding (getting them now). So far, I'm split between "this is so ridiculous it's cool" and "what's this Nickelodeon on speed mess".

It's definitely not boring! The level is intermediate, I'd put it between 落地请开手机 and 士兵突击. Like roddy said, the mixture of high-tech Star-Trek technobabble and classical Chinese is what makes it difficult in parts. My biggest complaint is that there's not so much dialogue compared to other shows we've watched, so the listening practice factor is not as high.

Are there any important references to "Journey to the West" that I may be missing? I recognised the major characters and the fact that she kind of gets caught in the middle of it, but not much more.

Here is a vocab list I put together. It includes lots of easier vocab too.

科学 kē xué science

人类 rén lèi humanity / mankind

促进 cù jìn to promote (an idea or cause) / to advance

发展 fā zhǎn development

不断 bù duàn uninterrupted / continuous

尖端 jiān duān most advanced and sophisticated

挺进 tǐng jìn advance / push forward

突破 tū pò breakthrough

思维 sī wéi (line of) thought / thinking

制造 zhì zào to manufacture / to make

机器人 jī qì rén robot

密码 mì mǎ password / pin number

模式 mó shì mode

时空 shí kōng space-time

穿梭 chuān suō to teleport

元帅 yuán shuài marshal

保镖 bǎo biāo bodyguard

启动 qǐ dòng to start

维护 wéi hù to defend / to protect

乱七八糟 luàn qī bā zāo everything in disorder / in mess

歧途 qí tú fork in a road / wrong road

抵挡 dǐ dǎng to resist / to ward off

诱惑 yòu huò entice / temptation

抵御 dǐ yù to resist / to withstand

贫僧 pín sēng poor monk (humble term used by monk of himself)

抵制 dǐ zhì resistance / refusal

临头 lín tóu the critical moment

详细 xiáng xì detailed

资料 zī liào resources / information

陌生 mò shēng strange / unfamiliar

下落 xià luò whereabouts

坚固 jiān gù firm / hard / stable

金箔 jīn bó gold leaf

妖怪 yāo guài monster / devil

拍戏 pāi xì to shoot a movie

补习班 bǔ xí bān cram class / cram school

Edited by renzhe

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imron

The next few episodes are all in 2006 and things calm down a bit, and there's a lot more normal speaking and dialogue. The Journey to the West references also come later on, when they go back to the past. If you don't take it too seriously, it's quite a fun show.

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renzhe

You're right. The second episode is in 2006, and has just the right amount of sillyness.

I love over the top stuff, but the first episode was too full of bad effects and too short on story. The second episode gets it right. Looks like this will be a fun one to watch.

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imron

Well, don't be too quick to judge, the bad effects do make a return :-) And the story gets a bit silly in parts too.

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renzhe

The bad effects are not a problem, and neither is sillyness. It's just that the story really suffered in the first episode cause much of the time was spent on pointless rendering.

The next two episodes get the balance right, they have lots of characters, slapstick, confusion, satire, dialogue, and they are great fun to watch.

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rob07

Just watched this. The incredibly bad special effects at the start put me off, but once a robot mobile phone started mixing it up with the 美猴王, I began to find it pretty funny. Not sure over how many of the 42 episodes the novelty value would last for however.

The poor picture quality on Youku is a real pain if you are relying on the subtitles, as I am.

My biggest complaint is that there's not so much dialogue compared to other shows we've watched, so the listening practice factor is not as high.

Yes, there is a lot of action and most of the time when people are talking it is reasonably obvious more or less what they are saying. So, having the benefit of Imron's summary, I think all levels of learner, including beginners, could watch the first episode and get the gist.

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renzhe

It gets better, though. More dialogue, more characters, funny scenes, less reliance on 10-minute fight renderings.

My favourites so far:

- 黄眉大王 getting lost in Beijing's hutongs, and trying to read the street names backwards, and not being able to read simplified characters.

- The cheesy sleezy soap-opera white-horse stereotypical love interest dude. He's straight out of "Santa Barbara" or something. Or a Bollywood music video.

- The old garbage man who puts beer cans on the street just so he can blame random passangers and give them a lecture about the youth today. Then, when they throw it into the rubbish and leave, he puts it back on the street and waits for the next teenager to blame.

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rob07

Just watched the second one and it was a lot of fun. 黄眉大王's crying fit after the little kid pulls the toy gun on him was really good. It is not every show that can humanise a demon king.

Doubt I'll watch the third episode however. I've never seen Dashan in action and 康乾盛世秘史 is coming up! How hard is this one?

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roddy

Right, I'm going to download the second one and give it a shot then.

Not sure how hard 康乾盛世秘史 is, only watched a very brief section when they were speaking in English. Imperial setting though, so you might expect it to be on a par with Di Renjie if you watched that.

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imron

I think the language is slightly easier than Di Renjie, though there are still lots of 朕‘s and other things. One interesting thing about Dashan's character is that his Chinese gets better as the series goes along. At the beginning it's stilted and he makes mistakes with tones and grammar etc. These seem to be a bit overdone as if to show that when Castiglione first came to China, his Chinese wasn't so good. As the series progresses then Castiglione's Chinese becomes more and more fluent, which is not so of the other westerners, who just can't seem to get the hang of living in China or the intricacies of the language :roll: The show seems to revel in perpetuating various stereotypes.

Anyway, if you're watching it to see how good Dashan's Chinese is, then you have to really wait until the later episodes although even then, the bad scripts, and bad acting mean that the lines are still delivered rather awkwardly. Techniques such as over exaggerated facial expressions that might work well on stage in comedy routines don't really come across well in a TV show.

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renzhe

I'm about 10 episodes into this, and this is my favourite Chinese show by far. It's very funny, easy enough to follow (right difficulty level for me), and very easy to watch in large quantities.

Thumbs up for imron's recommendation. I'm planning to watch all of this.

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rob07

I found 康乾盛世秘史 to be a lot easier than Di Renjie (especially the bits where they were speaking in English!). Part of this may be the quality of the subtitling which was really good - clear and easy to read.

However, the plot, acting and characterisation were just woeful. I had a look at Dashan's website, and under performing arts (apart from Xiangsheng) he lists performances in 康乾盛世秘史, Red Star over China and Le Diner de Cons. The last two have several extracts from apparently glowing reviews and for Le Diner de Cons he even won a "White Magnolia" which seems to be the Chinese equivalent of a best supporting actor Oscar. However, there are no reviews for 康乾盛世秘史; I'm assuming that this is because everyone thought it was crap.

I'm about 10 episodes into this, and this is my favourite Chinese show by far. It's very funny, easy enough to follow (right difficulty level for me), and very easy to watch in large quantities.

Thumbs up for imron's recommendation. I'm planning to watch all of this.

After two episodes, I'm leaning the same way. I think I'll probably watch the first episode of 奋斗 and maybe another one, and if I'm not blown away, I'll get going on the rest of 魔幻手机 in earnest.

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imron
I'm about 10 episodes into this..... I'm planning to watch all of this.

Remember that sentiment when you get to episode 30. It stays strong up until then and then falls apart until the last couple of episodes.

It's definitely one of my favourites so far too, and probably would have been outright if it hadn't fallen apart so badly in the end.

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imron

Renzhe how far into this are you now?

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renzhe

Only episode 11. I've been busy recently, and character drills and textbook take precedence when I'm busy.

I'm still planning to watch all of it though. I plan some catching up this week.

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