Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Most Gorgeous Lady in Yu Zheng's Return of the Condor Heroes has a 10+ Minute Cameo Role

Recently I have been quite critical of the costume designer for the 2013 adaptation of the Return of the Condor Heroes. I felt the costumes absolutely butchered Chen Xiao's pretty features with his horrendous baggy outfits and the prettiest girl in the story became the least attractive girl in the whole production. Xiaolongnü is famously known to be this godly beautiful creature, but Michelle Chen looks horrendously out of character in her Xiaolongnu's costumes. Consequently, I held a strong grudge against the costume designer for her failure to bring out the physical attractiveness of Michelle Chen.

After seeing the costume stills for less prominent characters in the production, I rescind all my past reservations about the costume designer. The costumes for Lin Chaoying (林朝英), Xiaolongnü's great master and founder of the Ancient Tomb Sect, are stunning. The actress Dong Xuan (董璇) is breathtakingly gorgeous in Lin Chaoying's red robes. As a kid watching old versions Return of the Condor Heroes, background story between Lin Chaoying and her lover, Wang Chongyang (王重阳), who later became a Daoist monk and founded the Quanzhen Sect (全真教.  Though they only emerged in the perceived memory of their disciples and lived half a century prior Yang Guo/Xiaolongnü's era, the names of Lin Chaoying and Wang Chongyang still sounded loudly even after their death. Both were prominent figures in the martial arts world and had promised to each other in matrimony. Unfortunately, pride of these two powerful individuals got the way and they ended up going their separate way. Even after their breakup, Lin Chaoying and Wang Chongyang watched each other from a distance and remained devoted to each other a twisted way. 

Yan Kuan as Wang Zhong Yan and Dong Xuan as Lin Chaoying
Frankly, the problem with Michelle Chen's Xiaolongnü actually lies in Michelle Chen herself. She is just not physically suitable to convey this character. The Mickey Mouse hairstyle suited Viann Zhang's Li Mochou and the child actress who played baby Xiaolongnü. The small hairstyle and similar long flowing robes on Michelle Chen yielded cartoonish and cumbersome results. The effects were lacking and not graceful. I actually would not mind if the 31-year old Dong Xuan played Xiaolongnü. If she was cast to play the main lead, I'm sure the Chinese netizen response against Yu Zheng would have been more amicable.
Young Li Mochou and baby Xiaolongnü
Lin Chaoying's maid who later became Li Mochou and Xiaolongnü's master (in purple), Li Mochou, and baby Xiaolongnü
Baby Xiaolongnü and her master
Similar costumes and hairstyle just do yield similar results on Michelle Chen

No comments:

Post a Comment