Xuan’s estate project involving reclamation of the sea threatens the livelihood of the mermaids who rely on the sea to survive. Shan is dispatched to stop Xuan and this leads them into falling for each other.
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The zany tone was definitely scattershot, crass and off-putting at first, but it eventually won me over with its charm. In particular, I think the date scene works well integrating its surreal humor into a framework that actually cares about character and personality. Not all of it works, but I have to appreciate the genuine - not affected - weirdness of this huge film.
Stephen Chow has a great gift for going big in a low rent way. Real big. Real low rent. Less a blockbuster than a blockdecimator, The Mermaid has left a serious mark on Asia. A crater. Eco-friendly crater. Even though the emotions are all based in a farcical word of italics and quotation marks, that isn't a CGI tear in my eye. Where did they find Yun Lin? I mean: Oh my Lord! My heart is a wounded bird.
'Mercy, mercy me the ecology'. Chow's comic parable for the need for preservation of green space is a runaway box office giant in China that translates fairly well to western audiences. The comedy is very broad, as always, with a reliance on CGI effects that mostly impress. Chao Deng and Yun Lin are both well cast in the romantic leads and Yuqi Zhang makes a memorable villainess.
Solid comedic work and a fun way to address a relevant social issue from Chow's latest film. I can imagine the impact this had in domestic Chinese theaters; I think the development of the story took a backseat to the environmental message that this film wanted to convey, however.
Don't let the shoddy CGI swizzles you, because 'Mermaid' still a fascinating dramedy with Stephen Chow's trademark stamped all over it. Although characters or plot are somewhat undercooked, but the solid gag & big hearted drama still delivers the fun.