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Film / A Chinese Odyssey

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The journey of 108,000 miles began 500 years ago.

A Chinese Odyssey (大話西游) started as a two-part 1995 Hong Kong fantasy-comedy film directed by Jeffrey Lau, and starring Stephen Chow. Very loosely based on the Wu Cheng'en novel Journey to the West, the story of the two parts are as follows:

  • A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box (西遊記第壹佰零壹回之月光寶盒, Journey to the West: Chapter 101: Moonlight Treasure Box): Some point during the pilgrimage to India, the Monkey King rebelled against Tripitaka for the monk's constant nagging. The goddess Guanyin subdued and sealed him as a result of his actions against his master, and Tripitaka pleaded for mercy and sacrificed himself to atone for Monkey's crimes. 500 years later, Monkey is reincarnated as Joker, leader of a bandit gang. When two mysterious women show up at Joker's bandit hideout, who are actually demons in disguise thinking that Joker holds the clue to Tripitaka's whereabouts, Hilarity Ensues for Joker and his gang. But not before a saint shows up as a bunch of grapes and an old archnemesis of the Monkey King returns, and that's when Joker discovers his past life and true destiny...
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  • A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella (西遊記大結局之仙履奇緣, Journey to the West Grand Finale: Cinderellanote ): Having travelled back in time 500 years thanks to the Moonlight Treasure Box, Joker encounters a woman with the split personalities of Zixia and Qingxia Fairies, and enters an unwilling relationship with her. He then reunites with Tripitaka and his other two disciples, but the Bull Demon King shows up and captures Tripitaka, with the intention of making a banquet out of the monk's flesh and forcibly making Zixia/Qingxia his concubine. Now, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing must find a way to rescue their master from Bull, while Joker has to contend with whether to continue the relationship between him and Zixia/Qingxia, or take up his true destiny as the Monkey King.

A third film, A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three (大话西游3), was released in China on September 14, 2016. Han Geng replaces Stephen Chow as the Monkey King.

In 2017, the TV series A Chinese Odyssey: Love of Eternity (大话西游之爱你一万年) which further explores and combines all three films was released.

This franchise contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of Journey to the West. At one point, the movie questions why would demons go through great lengths to consume the sought after "divine" flesh of Tripitaka... by having someone pretending to be Tripitaka and naming their child after Tripitaka!
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: "Dagger Group Prelude".
  • Bait-and-Switch: Joker's second-in-command, who is mind controlled by the Spider Demoness, steal the pouch that seals demons, and bluffs at Joker as the she and Jingjing prepare to whoop their bare asses, only to reveal that he is actually Grandpa Buddha in disguise and then seals the two demons, revealing that the real, mind controlled guy is already caught by him and the bandits.
  • Brainwashed: The Spider Demoness hypnotizes Joker's second-in-command to do her bidding, and attempts to sabotage Joker's attempt to seal the two demons by burning the invisibility talismans provided by Grandpa Buddha. Fortunately, Grandpa Buddha manages to catch him being mind controlled by the demons off-screen.
  • The Chew Toy: Joker and his crew sneak into a dinner between Jingjing and the Spider Demoness, then accidentally cause a fire, which the guys helpfully stomp out. Then some guy's clothes catch fire. Cue stomping. Then Joker's pants catch fire. Yes, right there.
    • And while sneaking up on the demons in nothing but (tampered) talismans, Joker's "loincloth" catch fire. And asks for his crew to stomp out the fire on his crotch. And it happens again. But just as Joker has his crotch on fire for the third time, he decides to take off his "loincloth" and just charge at the demons in plain sight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • When the Monkey King rebels against Tripitaka in the first act and tries to attack Guanyin, she squishes the Monkey King, then wraps him in a leaf and seals him in a vase.
    • Any time Joker and his bandit gang takes on the demons. You can tell where is this going.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Thinking that Joker could not retrieve the antidote for the Spider Demoness' venom, Jingjing commits suicide rather than to die from the venom. Bull Demon King found her body and resurrected her under his control.
      • And then she commits suicide again after the Spider Demoness forced Joker's second-in-command to lie about their child being Joker's. Joker managed to stop her suicide after multiple attempts of using the Moonlight Treasure Box.
    • Played for laughs with one of the Bull Demon King's guards committing suicide out of irritation of Tripitaka's ramblings!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Albeit also a bittersweet one. After many deaths and one final battle, Joker — fully transformed back into an atoning Monkey King — is transported to a timeline where everyone is living happily, including Zixia and another Joker. After helping the two admit their love for one another, the Monkey King properly begins the Journey to the West, accompanied by a less annoying Tripitaka, and a Zhu Baije and Sha Wujing who are actually friendly to each other.
  • Foreshadowing: Joker has visions of a cave full of monkeys in his dreams. This would eventually hint at his past life being the Monkey King.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Exaggerated. Xiangxiang, Bull Demon King's sister, uses this technique to switch Bajie's and Qingxia's souls. A weird subversion, as Zixia's personality retains intact but her Qingxia personality got swapped with Bajie's soul.
    • One of the few cases where this trope is weaponized somewhat horrifically: Xiangxiang attempts to uses this technique to imprison Wujing's soul inside a rock, but Wujing managed to grab Xiangxiang just in time to swap minds with each other.
    • Xiangxiang does it again in Bull's festival. While Bajie and Wujing managed to get their souls back, but a dog passing by causes Xiangxiang to be stuck in said dog's body, and Qingxia in Xiangxiang's body.
  • Game Face / Nightmare Face: The White Bone Demon / Jingjing pulls off this in her demon form.
  • Giant Spider: The Spider Demoness can transform into one. However, it's rendered harmless for some reason when one of Joker's goons grab one, yet the other bandits flee in fear from the guy carrying it.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: When Joker declares he will no longer be a bandit and become a scholar after meeting Jingjing, he shaves his beard. Then Jingjing complained that he should have continued being a bandit and keep his beard, causing Joker to try to paste back his beard.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Bull Demon King uses the Iron Fan to lift an entire demon village towards the sun to try to kill the Monkey King.
  • Info Dump: When Joker finally finds Jingjing in the past, and winds up spilling everything about her future all at once in 2x speed.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The invisibility talismans provided by Grandpa Buddha makes the holder invisible to demons. So Joker and his gang try to sneak up on the two demons... by wearing nothing but the talismans around their crotches (while Joker's second-in-command wears the talismans like a hula dancer), not realizing that Joker's second-in-command tampered with the talismans as a result of being mind controlled by the demons.
  • MacGuffin: The Moonlight Treasure Box.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: The Magic Mirror given by Grandpa Buddha can reveal demons disguised as humans, as shown by Jingjing's demonic face being shown on the mirror when Joker takes a peek of her reflection. It also reveals what a person was in his past life, with the Joker's second-in-command being revealed to be Bajie in his past life. The Monkey King's face does not appear when Joker looks into the mirror until he travelled back 500 years.
  • Mugging the Monster: Joker and his bandit gang takes on the Spider Demoness and Jingjing. The results are predictable.
  • Never Found the Body: As Joker arrived with the antidote to heal Jingjing's venom from the Spider Demoness, he assumes that he's arrived too late to save her and caused her to commit suicide to avoid dying from the venom as a result, not realizing that Bull has found her body and resurrected her under his control.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A peacock demon is seen during the trailer for Part Two after the end of Part One. That guy is nowhere to be found in Part Two.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Joker's second-in-command ignores a dagger wound to his thigh by accident (which he then tries to cover the blood leakage). Then got his thigh slashed by the Spider Woman's blade.
  • Orchestral Bombing: "Dagger Group Prelude".
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • This incarnation of Tripitaka being unnecessarily longwinded.
    • For a given value of 'gag', every time Joker uses the Moonlight Box to jump back in time to save Jingjing always leads to him reaching her a second too late (in reality, she committed suicide until Joker stopped her suicide attempt after his third time travel attempt). Every. Single. Time. Alongside his second-in-command's reaction to him using the Moonlight Box. Until an unexplained hiccup causes the Moonlight Box to send him back 500 years instead of the ten or so minutes he was aiming for.
    • A passionate moment when Joker and Jingjing start stripping off for sex... and end up taking way too long.
    Joker: "Shit, who tied this knot?"
  • Playing with Fire: Jingjing. A running gag involves Joker's hand being burned by her flames.
  • Rule of Funny: It's a Stephen Chow movie, so of course there will be mo lei tau involved.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: More like Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film. The peacock demon in the trailer for Part Two doesn't appear in the proper movie at all.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once the Bull Demon King shows up and wreaks havoc on Joker's lair, the Spider Demoness and Jingjing retreat back to the Spider Web Cave alongside Joker and his second-in-command as their attempts to repel Bull are useless. Grandpa Buddha retreats on the sight of Bull, saying that he's no match for him.
  • Split Personality: Zixia/Qingxia Fairy. Zixia's personality shows during the day, while Qingxia's personality shows during nighttime.
  • Stable Time Loop: The first two films are self-contained - Joker goes back 500 years to save his girlfriend Bai Jingjing, only to fall in love with Zixia, go through a lot more shenanigans involving the rest of the team and then have an epic showdown with the Bull Demon King to save Zixia and his master.
  • Stylistic Suck: Tripitaka is played by Law Kar Ying, a veteran Chinese opera singer - and yet his horrendous rendition of "Only You" reached memetic levels.
  • Time Travel: The Moonlight Treasure Box forms the crux of the plot, which combines approximately 500 years of separation from two different points of events. Yeah, time-travel shenanigans.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Joker had to knock out one of his teeth with a rock when it gets stuck to the sticky threads of the Spider Demoness.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After sealing the Spider Demoness and Jingjing with a magic pouch provided by Grandpa Buddha, Joker's pet dog chews off the strings that keep the pouch closed. Cue the two demons resurfacing...
  • Visible Invisibility: Played with. Joker and his goons decide to go naked in nothing but invisibility talismans when they attempt to sneak up on the two demons having dinner, but the two demons are still able to notice them as a result of the talismans being tampered by a mind-controlled second-in-command, so they decide to play along with the goons' "unseen" presence.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Xiangxiang mistakenly applied her "Freaky Friday" Flip technique into a dog's body, she (the dog) was never seen again. It's unknown whether she got roasted into a crisp as Bull lifted the entire demon village towards the sun, or she managed to leave the village just in time before Bull lifted the village.

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