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乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

How time flies. Summer vacation is approaching.

时间过得好快,又快到一年暑假时。

I still remember when the dark horse animated feature Ne Zha singlehandedly created the market for summer movies. With a stunning box office take of up to 5 billion yuan, Ne Zha has become the second highest-grossing film of all time in the Chinese mainland, lifting up the morale of domestic animators.

记得去年此时,《哪吒之魔童降世》以一己之力托起整个暑期档,累计票房约50亿,位居内地影史第二位,也让中国动画人振奋不已。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

But this year, China's cinemas have been shuttered for nearly five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

今年由于疫情影响,全国电影院已“停摆”近五个月。

Although there are no new releases, new films are still being produced. A few days ago, a new movie about Ne Zha, who varies looks in different works but has been deemed as the most popular character in the so-called "Fengshen universe", has stirred enthusiasm among fans.

虽然没有新片上映,但江湖中总有着新片的踪迹。前几天,“封神宇宙”中颜值起伏不定、但人气度最高的哪吒又一次搅动了影迷的热情。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

France's Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the equivalent to the Oscars in animation circles, released a three-minute clip of the new animated film New Gods: Nezha Reborn.

素有“动画圈奥斯卡”美誉的法国昂西国际动画电影节,曝光了动画新片《哪吒重生》的三分钟宣传片。

But the titular character is quite a surprise.

这次的“哪吒”,有点让人大跌眼镜。

In all previous adaptations — whether film, TV drama or animated series — Ne Zha, also known as Nezha, is a person who later transforms into a celestial being. But in the new film, Nezha is sort of like a spirit who merges with Li Yunxiang, an ordinary young man. When Li is caught in danger and forced to use his powers, Nezha's spirit — who is depicted with three heads and six arms while riding on two fire-burning wheels — appears on his back.

在以往所有的影视剧或动画片中,哪吒是实实在在的一个人,后来又成了实实在在的一个仙,是有本体的。而在新片里,“哪吒”只有虚无缥缈的元神,附在一个名叫李云祥的普通人身上。当这个普通人身处险境、被迫施展超凡力量时,三头六臂脚踏风火轮的哪吒以元神的形象在其背后现身。

The new film is not a sequel to Ne Zha. Actually, the films are produced by two different studios. According to available reports, Nezha Reborn started preparation work in 2016, so it's clear the new story produced by Light Chaser Animation Studio was conceived independent of the runaway hit.

这部新片和《哪吒之魔童降世》其实并无关系,并不是续集,是两套班底。据目前披露的信息来看,《哪吒重生》是追光动画从2016年开始筹备。所以,从一开始,这版“哪吒”早早走上了一条另类剧本路。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

Light Chaser's last animated film was White Snake, inspired by the ancient folklore tale The Legend of the White Snake. The original story is of a snake that transforms into a beautiful woman who marries a handsome young man, but their love tragically stirs a disaster that threatens many lives, who are trapped in the floods in Jinshan Temple. But the film, set 500 years earlier than when the original story takes place, uses little of the original tale.

追光的上一部动画片是《白蛇:缘起》,也是借了“白蛇传”这个古老民间传说的壳,拍了一部跟白素贞、许仙乃至水淹金山寺没什么关系的片子,因为“缘起”的设定是“白蛇传”故事发生的五百年前。

Somewhat exemplifying the studio's continuous interest in such a narrative style, Nezha Reborn is set 3,000 years after Nezha's original story takes place in the ancient novel The Investiture of the Gods, which is set on the eve of the collapse of the Shang Dynasty.

而《哪吒重生》则把步子迈得更大,是《封神演义》中所描述的殷商末年的三千年后。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

In the trailer, audiences can see Nezha's new "incarnation" in a cyberpunk-style modern city with his short-haired girlfriend, who looks a bit like Alita, the hero of James Cameron's Alita: Battle Angel (I guessed the two characters' relationship from the trailer).

故事发生在一个赛博朋克式的现代城市里,哪吒“转世”的李云祥,似乎有了个“阿丽塔”般有明艳短发的女友(这些都是靠看片花猜的)。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

A bit like Batman, Li faces off against evil forces alone to guard the order and peace of the city. The scenes are reminiscent of America's superhero tales.

从片花看,李云祥有点像蝙蝠侠,在一个秩序混沌的城市里,以一己之力守护一方安宁。总之,画面不太中国,有点美漫的超级英雄范儿。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

Unfortunately, most netizens are not satisfied with the new film.

预告片出来后,网上反馈并不理想。

From Little Door Gods to Tea Pets to Cats and Peachtopia and White Snake, I believe Light Chaser is an ambitious studio which excels in animation technique, but it has yet to hit the mark in storytelling.

从《小门神》到《阿唐奇遇》到《猫与桃花源》,再到《白蛇:缘起》,我个人感觉,追光是一家有野心、有技术,但在叙事功力上却欠点火候的动画公司。

The studio's distinctive style is formed through Chinese culture and mythology, and instilling Chinese aesthetics into stories. So I feel a bit sad that its new film is making such a wild turn and using more elements from Western culture. But I might be wrong as I have yet to see the entire feature.

追光最大的特色,是溯源中国文化和中国神话,将中国韵味和风情融入故事之中。这次,却偏偏避己之长,反而取法西方,有些可惜了。但目前仅仅凭借几分钟的片花,恐怕还很难预测,这样的“求新”之举是否别有惊喜。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

For generations of Chinese, Ne Zha and his legend has been etched in their minds over centuries.

哪吒闹海,是千百年来国人共有的文化记忆。

But Ne Zha's image has also evolved. In the original Ming Dynasty novel The Investiture of the Gods, Ne Zha is not perfect, and is even a violent and naughty child.

明代小说《封神演义》里的那个哪吒,并不完美,甚至算得上一个暴力倾向严重的“熊孩子”。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

The 1979 classic animated feature Prince Nezha's Triumph Against Dragon King turned Ne Zha into an adorable hero.

1979年的经典动画《哪吒闹海》重塑哪吒,让他成了可敬的小英雄。

乘风破浪的小哪吒,会将“封神宇宙”带向何方?

Ne Zha, the 2019 smash hit, re-examines the title character with modern values, making him more relatable to today's viewers. "My life is not controlled by the heaven, but in my hands", the film's most famous quote, has resonated with many young viewers who wish to pursue their dreams.

2019年的《哪吒之魔童降世》则给了哪吒现代性,一句“我命由我不由天”,击中了无数有志青年的心。

With the animated film Legend of Deification and director Wuershan's Fengshen Trilogy, the Fengshen stories — both adapted from Fengshen or The Investiture of the Gods — will be the most likely Chinese counterpart to the US superhero cinematic universe. But how should such a franchise be made to hook both Chinese and Western audiences?

随着动画片《姜子牙》和乌尔善导演的《封神三部曲》也将陆续出来,“封神系列”最有可能成就中国的超级英雄宇宙。但问题就在于:这条路该怎么闯,才对得住中国人的胃口,也能勾起西方观众的兴趣?

A hero who is depicted to have conquered the raging sea in myths, Ne Zha is seemingly now shouldering a heavier responsibility.

乘风破浪的小哪吒,你还真是任重道远啊!

 

记者:徐帆

来源:ChinaDaily微信公众号

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