Kuiba 2 
    2013-06-13 18:21:47     CRIENGLISH.com       Web Editor: Chi Huiguang

 [photo: baidu.com]

China's homegrown animation "Kuiba 2" is showing real promise in Chinese cinemas, earning more than 18 million yuan a week after its release. There is already speculation that the film could eventually make 10 times more than its 2011 prequel, but the producer of the film seems to have a bigger picture in mind. Let's find out more with our movie reviewer Laiming.


As more middle school students try to let off some steam after a national college entrance exam, the Chinese animated fantasy movie "Kuiba 2" is going to get a boost in grossing. The topical adventure film may very well secure more than 20 million yuan by the end of this week, significantly more than the paltry income of its 2011 prequel. But even so, the box office revenue of the more successful "Kuiba 2" does not live up to its producer's goal.

Five years ago, Beijing-based Vassoon Animation envisioned a story that would appeal to the global audience; to achieve this they based their story in a virtual world with no reference to any type of culture in our real world. Instead, it is a world plagued by a monster every 333 years. The lead character Manji, or Monkey, is the sixth incarnation of the monster Kuiba, or Great Bug. Only he doesn't his reveal true identity, and as a venturous soul, embarks on a journey to conquer the Great Bug.

The first installment explained some of the story's sophisticated background, but was weak on characterization and developed very slowly. Now, with the second installment, moviegoers are allowed a clearer picture of the Kuiba world. Besides the major character Monkey, two supporting roles have distinguished themselves, and are perhaps even a bit too distinguished in that they seem to have pushed Monkey out of the picture.

The movie received a lukewarm response in the domestic market because it was intended for a global audience, following the example of the Harry Porter series. The title Kuiba, which sounds like a lazy translation of the English words Great Bug, makes no sense in Chinese language and therefore doesn't exactly draw in ordinary moviegoers. The elusive title, coupled with an insufficient promotion campaign, contributed to the debacle of the first installment.

It should be noted, however, that critics are being picky about the Kuiba series because they are strong enough to be critiqued in detail. Unlike general Chinese animated films, the Kuiba franchise tells a story that is sophisticated enough for grown-ups, and the drawings are remarkably better. Some viewers recognize the drawings as Japanese in style, but according to the director and Vassoon CEO Wang Chuan, it is realistic. Whatever the case, the pictures are pleasing to the eyes. Kuiba 2 even comes in 3D, although it is yet to compete with Disney and Dreamworks.

Despite its performance in Chinese cinemas, Kuiba is already going places outside China. The three million-euro copyright return in overseas market for Kuiba 1 attests to its market potential, which could only expand as the production quality continues to improve.

On a scale from one to ten, I give Kuiba 2 a seven.


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