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First Episode 69: 倚天屠龙记 (The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre)


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

Final installment of Jin Yong's Condor Heroes wuxia trilogy.

2009 Mainland version: tudou - youku (ep 2) - Emule (small) - Emule (big) - viikii (English subs)

2003 CTS version: youku - Emule - English subs

2001 TVB version: youku

1994 TTV version: Emule

Reference works (with spoilers): Wuxiapedia - Wikipedia - Character Index

This is the last instalment of Jin Yong's famous wuxia Condor Heroes trilogy. The director, 张纪中 has already done versions of the first two (射雕英雄传 and 神雕侠侣) and has recently finished this adaptation of the third instalment. I've been looking forward to watching this for a while (even though I didn't watch the 张纪中 versions of the first two).

It didn't start well. The intro theme didn't do much for me and the beginning scene with some very fake looking birds and an annoying guy chucking buckets around was bad. However, by the end of the episode we had lots of the usual wuxia fun; rival clans, riddles, special weapons, intrigue, impostors, vows to take revenge etc and I was happy. There's nothing so far to suggest that it is important to watch 射雕英雄传 or 神雕侠侣 first and Skylee has said that the connection is quite remote.

I started watching 蜗居 last week before I realised this was out (seems to have been on Tudou since the end of October), and I think I will finish 蜗居 before getting started on this, but I am certainly planning to watch the whole series eventually.

Renzhe, have you seen this yet? what do you think?



Edited by renzhe
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OK, I've added some links. Kenny is referring to the 2001 version, and skylee to the 2003 version. Rob07 is talking about the 2009 version.

With "Legend of the Condor Heroes", people enjoyed different versions, so I've added some older ones to the first post, in case people would rather watch those. I think I'll watch the most recent one, as I've loved the other Jin Yong adaptations done by the same director.

Downloading now. Thanks for the sub link, these are really useful for learners!

For some reason, the first episode is missing from youku. Watch it on tudou instead.

僧 sēng * Buddhist monk

笨拙 bèn zhuō * clumsy / awkward / stupid

雅兴 yǎxìng * inspiration

善哉 shànzāi * excellent / kind

禅师 chán shī * honorific title for a Buddhist monk

适才 shìcái * just now (archaic)

名号 míng hào * a name / a title

名副其实 míng fù qí shí * not just in name only, but also in reality (成语 saw)

对弈 duì yì * to play go, chess etc

领教 lǐngjiào * receive instructions

出招 chū zhāo * to move / to make a move

杂役 záyì * odd jobs / a man doing odd-jobs

名不虚传 míng bù xū chuán * lit. name is not in vain (成语 saw); a fully justified reputation / enjoys a well-deserved reputation

经书 jīng shū * classic books in Confucianism / scriptures / sutras

临终 lín zhōng * approaching one's end / with one foot in the grave

屠龙刀 this would be the dragon sabre

龙门镖局 the Longmen escort agency, essentially bodyguards for hire

至尊 zhìzūn * the most revered and respected

张君宝 the founder of the Wudang sect, only a little kid at the beginning

觉远 a Shaolin monk who takes 张君宝 as a disciple

何足道/昆仑三圣 /棋圣/剑圣/琴圣 an evil character from the Kunlun sect. The nicknames refer to his three skills - zither, Go and swordplay

尹克西 a character who originally stole the Nine Yang Manual from Shaolin

宋远桥 eldest disciple of the Wudang sect

余岱岩 third disciple of the Wudang sect

张翠山 fifth disciple of the Wudang sect

Edited by renzhe
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何足道/昆仑三圣 /棋圣/剑圣/琴圣 an evil character from the Kunlun sect. The nicknames refer to his three skills - zither, Go and swordplay

a little wordplay here. the name 何足道 implies 何足道哉 (not worth mentioning)

久仰 the chief of the Longmen escort agency

the chief of Longmen escort agency is called 都大錦. 久仰 is sort of a greeting, meaning "I've long looked forward to meeting you. It's an honor to meet you at last."

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I did think it was a rather odd name :mrgreen:

Anyway, this is enjoyable so far, but parts of it are extremely corny and the special effects are shocking even for a Chinese TV show. We'll see how it develops.

Edited by renzhe
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Well, I never consider modesty a virtue. Just kidding, sure there are stuff I don't know. But I am confident that I can answer most of the questions related to JingYong novels. They used to be my Bible, my guide book to approach chicks, my own little fantasy world I escape to back when I was still being ravaged by teenage angst. I read all 15 of them so many times that even though I can't recite actual sentences from the novel, I'm pretty sure that I can pull minor details out of my head without going back to check original novels. (This is internet, you won't know if I do go back. But I can assure you, it'd take at most seconds to get to the exact page and paragraph I need to get my answers.)

So basically I'm a huge JingYong dork, so whatever you have, just throw it at me.

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I hate to say it, but it has to be Ma Jingtao(马景涛)'s version, in case you don't know who he is. He's an actor from Taiwan who is well known for his propensity to resort to extremely emotional screaming/shouting to express simple emotions, I hate his teary screaming antics, but I do feel his depiction of Zhang Wuji captures the character's trusting, forgiving, even somewhat spineless (in front of pretty girls) nature (basically a nice guy's nice guy) quite well. Some other characters of this version such as YangXiao(杨逍) are also widely hailed as model depictions of these characters worthy of emulation by later adaptations. Nonetheless, because this version was shot in Taiwan and because the effect of Qiong Yao on all shows Taiwanese, the whole show was filled up to the brim with over the top screaming/shouting at each other (more fitting for tear-jerking chick flicks) that was in all honesty not a nice view, it was widely disparaged when it first came out in the 90s.

But overall, the show has certain "quality" that is, I can't quite put it into words, really "JingYong". In particular, the music of this show are absolutely top-notch(maybe that's why the set and costume for character looked so cheap, for example, Zhang Wuji, the head of the largest underground organization of his time that commanded millions of troops and followers, dressed like a street beggar on his own wedding. The director probably spent most of the show's budget on acquiring good music to create a fitting ambiance.) I think beside 1984 射雕英雄传,music of this version, out of all the adaptations of all the JingYong novels, is the best capturing the feeling and spirit of JingYong's original novel.

It's quite a flawed adaptation, nonetheless, I still think it's the best so far. Especially in light of the sorry quality of CCTV adaptations, for our generation, all CCTV adaptations look and feel way too realistic(for all the elaborate settings, they seem incapable of doing what's essentially romantic fantasies. They should stick to historical epics, that's their thing), their adaptations are more 水浒 than JingYong, more story about bandits than epic tale of hero revenging for injustice/little people's journey to become Robin Hood while bagging all the gorgeous chicks along the way.

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LOL, so now we have a vote for the 1994 version too.

Well, folks, they are all linked in the first post, so take your pick :mrgreen:

Personally, I really like the grand scenery and elaborate sets of the recent CCTV versions (张级中's stuff), and the music in 天龙八部 and 射雕英雄传 was brilliant. I still haven't seen enough of this one to make up my mind, but so far it doesn't look like his best work.

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1984 射雕英雄传

Indeed the music of this TV series is very good.

Has anyone seen the TVB 1978 version of 倚天屠龍記? I think it was the first TV adaptation of this story. Its music is really good too. (the first couple who kill themselves in this video refer to 張翠山 and 殷素素)

TVB also produced another version featuring 梁朝偉 in 1986.

basically a nice guy's nice guy

Yes, that's 張無忌.

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Well, I have to say that the first five episodes of the 2009 version are quite rubbish

They introduce the background of the main protagonist 张无忌, and feature extremely idiotic special effects and I suggest fast forwarding your way through them.

EDIT: Things really pick up starting with the 6th episode and you get the majestic scenery and phenomenal sets typical for 张纪中. It's quite enjoyable from that point on. Actually the contrast to the first few episodes is stunning.

The 2003 version has much better pacing here, and explains some important parts of the story, such as the story of 纪晓芙 and 楊逍 and what happens to the 倚天剑. Actually, it's a good idea to watch the first 5 episodes of the 2003 version to get the background even if you're watching the 2009 version. The 2003 version has even worse effects (the first episode is painful), but there's less of them, and luckily, it doesn't spend 5 episodes inside an ice cave. Plus, it has 陶虹 as 纪晓芙, and 陶虹 is awesome. On the other hand, 楊逍 is terrible, balancing her out. At the moment, I like both versions quite a lot. But the special effects in both are beyond pathetic. Choices, choices, what do I watch?!?!?

Here are some words I ran into while watching episodes 3-7 of the 2009. Just the crucial stuff, not everything:

中土 the mainland (as in shore)

抑制 to control

施暴 to rape

现身 to reveal one's identity, come out of hiding

皮筏 skin raft

恶贼 treacherous, a villain

风向 wind direction

水流 (water) current

仁厚 kindhearted

纠葛 dispute

害臊 feel ashamed

包涵 to forgive

女流 the weaker sex

连累 to implicate

始料所及 as originally expected

见怪 to take offence

嫌隙 animosity, grudge

纡尊降贵 a man of high standing accepting a low-level or shameful role

莫非 could it be?

破例 to make an exception

EDIT: and some more, beyond episode 10. I stopped at some point, basically I forgot to do it.

稍减 = 消减 to diminish

当归 Chinese angelica (a herb)

自尽 to commit suicide

糟蹋 to violate, to spoil

马脚 give-away

分忧 help somebody to get over a difficulty

一了百了 find a single solution

失魂落魄 driven to distraction

忤逆不孝 disobedient to parents

昃 zè afternoon; decline (bloody hell, where did he fish this one out of?!)

圆寂 (of Buddhist monks or nuns) pass away; die

Edited by renzhe
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I really appreciate the subbing work guys like you do, and I know how much work is involved.

I simply don't have enough time to get involved right now. Perhaps in a few months, with some other show.

Good luck with your efforts, in any case.

Out of curiosity -- is it possible to get Chinese lines as a text file to translate offline, or does it only work through the viikii site? It's obviously much more comfortable working in a decent text editor.

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