By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available on Netflix
The idea to adapt the American book into a Chinese film, Monster Run, is odd. This country is better off taking concepts from their own vast catalogue of lore than to look across the Pacific. The plot outline of Monster by A. Lee Martinez is also very familiar.
Some ideas are good, like the comic relief from a smart-mouthed animated piece of paper and a heroine who is not fully aware of her psychic abilities. Ji Mo (Jessie Li) can see monsters. However, she is not in full control of her abilities and she thinks she’s an odd duck. She’s like Pai in the Japanese manga Sazan Eyes by Yuzo Takada, innocent and cute. However, she doesn’t have Sanjiyan’s confidence, another personality hiding within her, to control the beasts. That belongs to her rival, Lotus (Kara Hui).
Meng (Shawn Yue) is the only person who can help. One night, while Mo is handing out flyers for the grocery store she works at, he is hunting for a nearby sleeping beast. Their meeting wasn’t easy; he is a conceited fool, as annoying as Han Solo when Leia first met him, but in control of the situation with Paper, his partner (voiced by the scene stealing Qiao Shan) providing support. This possessed piece of stationery is hilarious and the many forms he can fold himself into give this film an air of originality!