Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon has some gorgeous settings, a fairly interesting plot, and likeable characters, but the atrocious CGI and bizarrely unrealistic action sequences are a little distracting.

The first Detective Dee movie was pretty disappointing, but I only watched it in the first place because this one looked interesting, so I was hoping it would be better. It was better, but not amazing or anything. I felt like the first one was a little hard to follow; this one was less confusing. The Empress' headdresses were supposed to be a big deal in the first one, but I feel like they were more impressive in this one. Dee didn't seem to do much "detecting" to me in the first one, and I think they did a better job of that with this one, too. This one is actually ranked slightly lower than Phantom Flame on IMDb, so I guess they don't agree with me.

The CGI was horrid in this one. It looked like a video game. It was tough to reconcile it with the live action stuff going on. The stunts were also pretty ridiculous; more like a cartoon than live action. There were some really beautiful shots of some of the sets, though. The scene at the dye shop with all the fabric was cool, although it took me a while to figure out why there was all that fabric hanging up; at first it seemed like they were just doing it to have an interesting set.

I thought Angelababy was in the first one; I must've been getting that mixed up with the Tai Chi Hero series. I was really confused about how Yin Ruiji got to the position she had in Phantom Flame, and why it didn't seem like Dee recognized her in that one. But it turns out Yin Ruiji wasn't in Phantom Flame, Shangguan Jing'er was, so now it makes sense.

I don't know why "sea dragon" is in the title. The referred to it as a "sea god" in the movie, and it doesn't look anything like a "sea dragon." Maybe it's just a bad translation. They always try to debunk mystical stuff in this series, but I like that there wasn't any debunking of the monster; it was just a thing in the ocean.

I felt bad for Dee, always getting tossed in jail and stuff. At least the ending was happy for him. I'm glad Yin Ruiji got away from the Empress, too. They did a great job of making you want to see the next one. There isn't one planned yet, but I hope they make one. I'm interested to find out what happened between the two movies. There's a saying about "always leave them wanting more" or something, and I always thought of it just from the perspective of "that way you can sell them more stuff," but it's actually good from the perspective of the audience, too. If you want to see more, that means it was a good experience; you enjoyed it, you're feeling good about the product. So when you say "leave them wanting more," it also implies "make something enjoyable."

I didn't like the Imperial Doctor at all. He was really torturing his staff. He was just as bad as the guy in charge of the Dondoers, who was using people to breed parasites. It was pretty funny when Dee said the doctor wasn't really going to cut into Yuan Zhen's head and it was "just his elevated speech" and then they cut to a shot of the operation, though. I liked Dee's sidekick, and I thought the thing they did at the beginning with Dee reading lips was cool; and I also liked that Yuchi Zhenjin picked up on what he was doing.

The weapons were pretty lame, with all the spinning and stuff that didn't actually seem to accomplish anything. I couldn't figure out what was going on with Yuchi Zhenjin 's metal ball thing, either. The fight on the cliff was interesting, though, and I liked Bat Island in general.

There wasn't a lot of substance to the movie, but it was entertaining enough.

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