Article by A-Yi Celadon
Edited by Regiena Siy
Directed by Yu Yang, Nezha is based on the Chinese mythological tale about the protector deity. The movie starts with the chaotic and playful protagonist Nezha as he traverses the three years of his life. Imbued with the Demon Pill, he is misunderstood by many. Despite this, he finds a friend in Ao Bing, a dragon who bears the opposite energy, Spirit Pearl. Though fated to fight each other by their natures and family, Nezha and Ao Bing overcome destiny and survived in spirit form, honored by the townspeople. Truly a hero’s journey, Nezha showcases a must-watch experience through its animation and themes.
Firstly, the film’s animation features a beautiful backdrop that astoundingly captures the core of the world presented. The character models are expressive and flexible to fit both the comedic and the dramatic parts of the movie. For example, Ao Bing is presented as a stoic person, yet his expression tells what thoughts and struggles he goes through. Additionally, the fast-paced fight scenes are well-done and seamless with the flow of the story. Consisting of nature-based places, the natural light of the sun or fire is captured well by the animation. The natural elements, fire, water, and ice, only add flavor to the immersion.
Secondly, the storytelling of the animation relays the message well to any age group. The portrayal of the themes is clearly shown through dialogue and action. For example, a phrase given by the father to Nezha and repeated to Ao Bing is the concept of self-image. Knowing that you are what you say you are is an integral part of the theme of Nezha as it is shown in the climax of the movie during the fight between the two opposing forces. Furthermore, the theme of family is underlaid at the core of the movie. Most of the conflict in the film lies in the family-caring nature the characters have. The moral dilemma of following family or not is raised time and time again with Ao Bing’s conflict with his dragon nature. Overall, the themes hit home to many in their relevance in the current world.
On the contrary, the plot can be a hit or miss to most audiences. Nezha uses the prior knowledge of the audience heavily. Most of the characters do not get to have a proper introduction. Without knowing the tale beforehand, the audience can get confused about the narrative of the movie.
In conclusion, Nezha is truly a gem in Chinese animation films, due to its breath-taking scenery and relatable themes. Though the plot might be selective on its audience, the movie was truly a journey and joy to watch. Overall, Nezha is a bright fiery addition to anyone’s movie watch list.