The Mermaid (2016)
Recently The Metrograph here in NYC showed a bunch of Stephen Chow movies (both ones he directed and ones he starred in) and although I found them all varying degrees of enjoyable, none of them got past the, yeah that was good, point. Like, they all were pleasant affairs, some worked a bit better than others, but for the most part they were just OK. I know people love him, and I get why, but so far I had yet to see him reach the heights that people were praising him for. Then he decides to direct a romantic comedy with an environmental message, about mermaids. Now, although I do not necessarily judge a book by its cover, this did not sound like a very appealing movie to me. But everyone kept telling me how good it was, and I decided to take a chance and go see it. Romantic comedies are NOT my thing, so it was a big surprise to me that I really enjoyed this!
The film is very much a by the numbers tale, of true love and good over evil, and saving the planet. In the hands of anyone else I probably would have hated this film. The CGI is decent, but a bit silly and cheesy at times. The 3D (this movie is in 3D) is unnecessary though it was pretty good as 3D goes, though some of the subtitles were a bit hard to read. The romance is both silly and naive, and not very believable. But sometimes a remarkable thing happens in the movies. Even with all the flaws and things in it that would make me not like the movie, some movies can still charm the pants off me, and this one did. It was sweet, kind, nice, romantic, and funny. I was shocked to be enjoying it regardless of its flaws.
The lead actress, Jelly Lin, is one of the reasons for this enjoyment of the movie. She is great as the lead mermaid, the one who is supposed to woo and kill the "evil" guy. There is an octopus guy who is both ridiculous and pretty funny at times. The "evil" guy plays his role like a dashing playboy actor of yesteryear, basically being a dick for the first part of the film. Of course, as he turns less evil we find the true villains in the film as well.
Like I said before, this movie is very typical, feels exceedingly familiar, and is not exactly breaking any new ground here. The trick with a movie like this is purely in the execution, and this time the execution is fun, silly, funny, romantic and sweetly sad. While this is normally a movie I would never recommend, this is the exception to the rule. This gets added to my very small list of romantic comedies I have enjoyed.
8 out of 10 stars.
Location : The Metrograph, Theater 1, in NYC
Date and time : Tuesday July 12th, 2016 at 9:30 PM
Format : DCP in 3D
Audience : Not many people, but not empty, audience was laughing and seemed to enjoy themselves