By Heinrich Domingo
Director Raman Hui blends together east and west in his work, Monster Hunt. He paired his DreamWorks animation training with his cultural heritage developing a film that is comedic, emotional, and action-packed. This film proves that cinema is not only defined in America. There are elements in other countries that would contribute in making good cine pieces.
A cute baby monster prophesied to end the war between monsters and humans is delivered to a village mayor and a monster hunter. The duo originally planned to sell it but eventually developed liking for the baby. They have to protect the monster against the evil king who wants to capture it. The movie brings the audience in an emotional adventure that teaches lessons of acceptance, diversity, and selflessness.
The idea of reimagining monsters as lovely creatures is not new to cinema especially in the world of animation. But with Monster Hunt, the filmmakers bring together adorable beasts, slapstick comedy, entertaining martial arts, and tear-inducing plot into one piece. As a result, the audience is brought in a roller coaster of feelings that would never bore them inside the cinema.
This film is recorded as the highest-grossing film in China. Yet, unlike the blockbuster comedy hits in the Philippines, it contains a beautifully orchestrated storyline that is quite challenging to pull-off. It banks on the appeal of characters to family audience while delivering strong stances on discrimination and segregation.
For viewers of Hollywood films, this movie is refreshing to watch. Its treatment in comedy and action is different. It joins together kicks and punches with humor. Unlike its western counterpart where fight scenes entail drama, this movie allows viewers to momentarily rest from heavy conversations through action scenes. Its treatment resembles the feeling of watching Hongkong-made Jackie Chan action comedy films.
Liking Monster Hunt is a matter of taste. Some would claim that the movie was able to join together multiple genres into one unified masterpiece. Others might find the plot too shallow and the fight scenes too comic. At the end of the day, this movie is testament to one cinema truth that there is no monopoly of defining beauty. Although film and the emotion it tackles are universal, the reception of the crowd will remain to be subjective.