Monday With Mildred: “The Mermaid”

The Mermaid DVD cover

The Mermaid

CFR: In Addition: This Monday With Mildred is appearing on a Tuesday because yours truly, CFR aka M. Lion here, ran late in posting thanks to LIFE. So HUZZAH to Mildred’s wonderful review below. Enjoy.

Have you ever gone to the trouble of getting a film and then discovering you’re not interested after all? But then you watch it anyway? Welcome to reviewerland. Fortunately for me, I have a habit of choosing mostly interesting films, if not always good.

The Mermaid is a modern fantasy environmental parable and romantic comedy. In an hour and a half. The first two seconds let you know about the environmental part, and it’s not only a broad clue about the deepest meaning of the film, it’s super efficient like the rest of the film. We’re then introduced to humans, who are either totally moronic or totally evil and surrounded by toadies. The bad guys, immodestly rich Hong Kong real estate dealers and environmental destroyers, will do anything for a buck, including sending terribly efficient sonar devices into the ocean to kill off all life in the ocean so that it won’t intrude on their beautiful new beachfront property.

Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but it’s a fantasy so logic goes out the window pretty quickly. That’s a good thing, though, because then the mermaids show up as well as a hot, buff warrior octopus with gorgeous blond dreads. He’s ready to circle the wagons and kill Liu Xuan (Chao Deng), the vapid trillionaire playboy who bought the property with the eeeeevil and super gorgeous Li Ruolan (Yuqi Zhang). The Octopus (Show Lo) sends innocent, skateboard riding and fried chicken loving Shan (Jelly Lin in her first movie) to do the dirty work. Chaos, and love, ensue.

There’s also a good bit of humor. I laughed out loud more than a couple of times, especially when the octopus was on screen. It’s not quite slapstick, and cleverly character driven. Shan’s attempts at assassination are also played for laughs. The pastiche of petulantly rich people works for me. Everything is parodied, from their too expensive clothes, stupid hair and ridiculous modes of travel. I also very much enjoyed the Weekend at Porky’s moment.

Even for a fantasy, the plot is flimsy, but it gets almost everything else right. Besides the humor and very pretty and talented actors, the viz effects are mostly good. I could watch the octopus travel overland all day. The sets are effective and beautifully done, with a nice blend of real life with a fantasy overlay. I need to shout out to the costuming. From Liu’s stupid shiny suits to Li’s hot, tight and short dresses and Shan’s amazing shoes, all of it really contributes to the story and is very entertaining.

The film is a top earner at the box office, and I would love to see more from these filmmakers. It’s a lot of fun if you can let go of some of the weaker moments, and I highly recommend you check this out.

LINKS:

MERMAID – Official Trailer

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