The one dialogue element that sticks out in Jianming Huang’s animated film, Goodbye Monster, is the number of times Dark Spirit is said out loud. I’m sure the words used in Chinese are similar, but a thesaurus is needed to vary this concept in English. For example, to say, “He’s possessed!” or “Bad mojo” can get the point across too. I wouldn’t worry too much about matching the syllables to mouth movement either since getting the point across is much more important.
This story needs to remember why Yin and Yang exist, and whether bad deeds can get exorcised. My initial view of this film had me confused about what’s important. As a result, I’m more interested in acquiring the Chinese home video release rather than the American version. Hopefully, it’ll have subtitles along with a Mandarin/Cantonese track to explain moments that got lost in the translation.
This fantasy world isn’t anything different from what I’ve seen in other Chinese made works. The visuals are vibrant and character designs are top notch, but that’s not enough to convince me this film is terrific. Also, while other animated works tend to wax some theosophy, what’s presented here is fairly basic.
In this land known as Kunlun, Bai Ze is a doctor in exile. After mistakenly destroying the island where not only he and other medical professionals live, he has nowhere to live. Although he continues to practise in secret, things get worse when people learn about his past. After meeting Yi and finding even more trouble, he’s on the run! Not only are bounty hunters after him, but everyone hates him.
Ze has to save face and as for why Yi a Chinese unicorn matters to his redemption, maybe I can make better sense of their relationship after another view or two. I didn’t quite get why they got partnered up during my first watch. Not only does this work suffer from pacing issues, but I didn’t get invested right away.
Ultimately, Goodbye Monster is a mixed bag. While it has a few good action moments to keep youths watching with glee, the philosophy just did not hit home. Also, the momentum just wasn’t there in the second act and I had to reach for White Snake to remind me why some Chinese Animated Cinema works are spectacular. This one feels destined to Well GO USA’s Hi-Yah Network after the home video sales wane, and that’s okay.
3 Stars out of 5
Goodbye Monster Movie Trailer