Tuesday, 23 August 2016

LOCH 2008 first impressions

LOCH 2008 poster from Clapanuelos

In preparation of LOCH 2017, I thought I'd better watch LOCH 2008 to acquaint myself with the 21 CE wuxia style, particularly that of Jin Yong. I watch LOCH 2008 through KissAsian Jianghu. This post is for episodes 1-15 and I posted it with my iPad, so please excuse the brevity and mistakes.

I find the 2008 version having an interesting story telling with flashbacks. Sceneries, the grand scale of Heng Dian studio and cinematography definitely win against 1983. However, I still prefer the costumes of 1983, although they would be recycled later for other series (e.g. The Foundation 1984). And most definitely, the original voice wins against any dubbed versions. This is not just for the Mandarin-dubbed HK series, but also for Mainland dubbed series. I really don't get it. What's wrong with using Ariel Lin's real voice? I can see and hear how Huang Rong's voice was dubbed, for it's just too cute (in an annoying way) and too high pitched oftentimes.

I still much prefer the old 80s with minimum cables and real fist fights, somersaults and backflips from the actors and actresses. Exceptional mention is the Temujin vs Jamukha fight in Ep 2 or 3 win just fists and wrestles; now that was pleasing to watch! The theme song for that scene was great too. When Brian Leung's North Beggar arrived on screen, we then start to enjoy the older classical fighting scenes, cos Brian had solid kung fu, like those of the old TVB era. They actually even showed a Hong Qigong double doing sommersault, to my glee! I also like YK/MNC and YK/GJ close-distance sparring/fighting. It seems when it's not involving flying off the roof scenes, modern wuxia series actually can pull quite good fighting scenes. But once it involves anything resembling rooftop or height, it paradoxically falls to the ground.


I like many theme songs in this series, but I don't think highly of the opening theme due to its modern taste IMO. I'm okay with the closing theme, but not crazy about it (although Hu Ge did sing well). Some battle or fighting themes are nice, but overall, I prefer the 1983 OSTs.



I still prefer Michael as Yang Kang, Barbara as Huang Rong and Felix as Guo Jing. I like Yuan Hong, Ariel Lin and Hu Ge, but I prefer their 83 predecessors. Michael had that cunningness, wit and charm that even Yuan Hong couldn't bring for YK. Michael's YK gave me a mixture of doting, palm/facing, anger, tears, and smiles that YH couldn't deliver. YH was cute as YK, but he had Michael as his predecessor, and the 2008 cannot win against 1983.

Hu Ge was cute, but Felix' GJ looked more dumb, and that's actually a compliment to Felix. I think it's because I've seen Felix' GJ before and HG as Mei Changsu (Langya Bang) and I think both actors were better with those respective roles. As for Barbara's Huang Rong vs Ariel Lin's HR, no comparison there. Barbara's wins me, hands down. Ippon, as the judokas say. Not that Ariel wasn't charming. She was definitely cute. But it's that thing again with having a great veteran like Barbara as your predecessor, it would be difficult to surpass Barbara's charm. I give Ariel some applause for attempting her best though, and she did look cute.

The series took a better turn for me after LSS appeared as Mu Nianci. I love Sharon Yeung and her chemistry with Michael Miu's Yeung Hong in LOCH 1983, and she will always have a special place in my heart. However, LSS' MNC was poetic, like her name (shishi also means poem). However, the Spar for a Spouse in 83 still wins me, big time.

I love the scene where Yuan Hong's YK washed MNC's feet though. I actually really teared up during that scene. However, I don't get the mother-son vibe from Yuan Hong and the Bao Xiruo actress. Can't compare it with the mum-son chemistry of Michael and the actress for BXR 83.

YK developed a habit to work in a foot-spa...

Ep 8 had me tearing up for the Xiruo/Tiexin scene in front of the Zhao Palace. Also YK seemed to develop a habit of washing MNC's feet, even when he was shocked to learn of his true heritage. Not sure what I think about YK immediately left Honglie to be with his mum and real dad. I get it that we want him to be a nice guy...but I am at the moment in favour of Michael's Yeung Hong who let mum and dad go but remained in the palace. Even though the reason is one twisted one (he loved wealth and power), YH was still filial to Honglie as a guy who had raised him as a child.

I like it that YTX eventually bonded with his son and also trained him the Yang Family spear style. Not a fan of YTX slapping his wife (here, Xiruo was mentioned to have slept with WYHL). Good thing BXR slapped her husband back, so they're even.

I teared up during the scene when Mr and Mrs Yang died. However, it doesn't really make sense that Tiexin was still able to say so much to his tearful despite having like five arrows piercing his body.

Ep 12 ended with YK trying to kill WYHL but failed. Ah then of course he then confessed his love/interest to the crying LSS, I mean Nianci, and he eventually got the blessings from Quanzhen and Six Freaks to marry her. When YK and GJ finally bonded in Ep 11-13, I actually had conflicting feelings. I like it that the sworn brothers actually made peace and shared their hearts here. When YK finally called GJ "da-ge" (big brother), I actually smiled. However, if that's the route for LOCH to take, it should be with Michael Miu and Felix Wong in my mind...

It's also interesting to see YK trying to earn money (Ep 14-15) and grew to appreciate value of money. He was used to riches, but Nianci was used to living with minimum spending. I think it's actually very realistic, after all, I've always wondered how wanderers can have so much money when they actually don't have a real job. When ep 15 ends with Ouyang Ke (the charming Li Jie) tricking YK and MNC so that they had to run away from the Song government, i fear that this is the beginning of the end of the good Yang Kang.

Meanwhile, GJHR met Hong Qigong in a very similar manner to the novel. The 1983 version also followed the book closely, but the 2008 was very detailed in the names and descriptions of the dishes HR whipped up for North Beggar.

To wrap up eps 1-15, I suppose version 2008 is something that serves the LOCH fans who wish YK to be a nicer character. It is not a service to the purist LOCH fans though. Despite me feeling a bit weird, I'm at the moment fine with the nicer YK and I'm not looking forward to him crossing back to the dark side. Yuan Hong is lovely, but i dont think he actually can pull the evil YK the way Michael Miu did. I still like Yuan Hong's Yang Kang. His eyes lit and sparked at certain moments. Yuan Hong doesn't have Michael Miu's charm to me, but the former does have such a baby face (with muscular figure) that gives him some appeals. Love YH's peasant style with two strands of hair falling on the sides of his face and his kimono-like clothes.


Tidbits:

They said that Yang Tiexin and Yang Kang were the descendant of the Yang Warriors. Does it refer to the Yang Clan Warriors? And how come I actually like HR and Ouyang Ke pairing better?? Is there a fan fiction for this pair?

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