Shadow Magic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shadow Magic Reviews

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½ June 2, 2014
I thought it was boring and dull!
June 28, 2013
I really liked this film for its story and charm. I don't think the love story element was necessary so it isn't perfect but it's a good film.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2012
The story of the introduction of film to a turn of the century China weary of and hostile to Western encroachment is framed by a tale of a young man struggling with his wonder with new technology versus a class system that insists he "know his place". Although thin in places the subject matter still charms.
June 4, 2012
no info = not interested
September 6, 2010
I noticed this movie at the library because I think I had, years ago, seen a documentary about the same topic that was rather interesting.

It takes place in Peking in 1902. Locals live a life grounded in tradition, loyalty, and respect. Along comes Mr. Westerner with a moving picture reel, and the assumptions of the past few millenia are in danger. This film shows us the essence of the history of the beginnings of motion pictures in China. The motivation for one main characters, a young Chinese man smitten with Western ingenuity, to get involved in motion pictures was because he wanted to capture what life was like for his people at that time. He realized that changes were coming that couldn't be reversed, and he didn't want his culture or his people to be forgotten. The story was well-told, and included a sweet side story about the young man's longing for a beautiful young woman. I really liked this movie, but some of the acting felt a bit lacking, especially by the Westerner.

Appropriate for adults & kids. In Chinese and English, with subtitles in yellow (subtitles for English scenes too, because of various heavy accents).
August 29, 2009
"Brilliant! A cinematic masterpiece that was interesting and enthralling!"
November 5, 2008
this movie started me on subtitles (if i remember correctly)
when i look back, it's just an okay movie.
July 17, 2008
This was a touching film that celebrated issues beyond the initial theme of film's beginnings. The skepticism of the oldsters over anything new is present, as is the wish to make a difference in the world.
April 14, 2008
the first film in an long time to actually make me smile without me realizing it.
April 14, 2008
I love the story and the leading young actor in this movie.
½ March 13, 2008
based on true story of film coming to China, this interesting inter-cultural film shows much about how culture affects the world.
December 6, 2007
Seemed like a nice simple movie.. quite historic too.. A saw parts of it only.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "Shadow Magic," it is Peking in 1902 where Liu(Xia Yu), the chief photographer for a prestigious photo studio, is seeking innovative ways to help, including playing a recording of western classical music during a photo shoot. His boss(Liu Peiqi) thinks he needs to settle down and arranges a marriage between Liu and the Widow Jiang(Fang Qingxhuo). Fearing a fate worse than death, Liu starts assisting Raymond Wallace(Jared Harris), an Englishman with a new invention called a movie projector.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Inspired by a true story, "Shadow Magic" is an interesting and overlong bit of history that is let down by a thin plot. The power of the images speak for themselves as they capture unfamiliar lands and peoples who are thousands of miles away. What the movie is concerned with is the opening of China to new ideas from the West but a hundred years later, there is too much of this, especially Hollywood films that flood the market. At the same time, there are much less Chinese films or other forms of culture flowing back the other way. [/font]
November 4, 2007
Heart-warming film with great actors. This is one of my favorite. It's a film about culture clash, the generation gap and the loss of tradition that inevitably accompanies the arrival of anything new.
½ October 13, 2007
Unlike most Chinese movies which set place in the similar era, Shadow Magic brings up more warmness in the people than bitterly cold political environment. Although the story itself lacks exciting highs and lows, the excellent skill of the main actor highlights the film.
September 29, 2007
thought this film was excellent! Very heartwarming indeed. The characters made the film. Liu portrayed a man who was always curious, he tried to be loyal to his culture, family and his job at the photography place but Raymond taught him he had to listen to his heart rather than what everyone else wanted him to do. Lius relationship with Ling (the Lords daughter) was cute and innocent, and i felt bad for Liu everytime she would play hard to get. The film also reminds me of Fellinis Amarcord in terms of characterization (a huge abundance). I recommend this film to viewers who can accept a heartfelt film.
½ September 25, 2007
A quite lame westernized flick that bites cinema paradisio to a t. The dialogue, performances and humor are flat and the compositions remind one of a failed Hbo pilot. so westernized you'll completely forget you're watching a Chinese movie
September 21, 2007
A truly amazing story. The film captures the sense of wonder of an innovative (and handsome) Chinese young man who discovers the magic of moving pictures thanks to an English vagabound in the turn of the century. This truly a beautiful and touching film. I left the theatre with huge smile, feeling content and uplifted. Recommended, especially if you need a little boost!
September 7, 2007
Predictable but simply amazing. Great story that holds a lot of merit.
August 22, 2007
Sweet story about the introduction of Chinese people to the undreamt of technology of motion pictures at the turn of the century. Amazing acting and filmmaking, and not over-done but fully genuine - it takes you to that time and place. One of my favorite dramas.
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