Eight Immortals Across the Sea


Reviewed by: sukting

January 03, 2010

Rating: three

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
TCS was not the first to shoot on the 8 immortals. ATV did before it. How true is it to the original folktale? Are you interested to follow their journey towards enlightenment?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Tie Guai Li – Han Zhong Li
He is the first deity and has the task to lead the rest. He walks with a crutch but his action is agile.

2. Han Zhong Li – Choi Kok Hing
His only weakness is food so he is quite plump to hold a huge fan.

3. Han Xiang Zi – Tong Ben Cheung
He is a scholar by birth so he arms with a flute to play beautiful tunes.

4. Lu Dong Bin – Poon Chi Mun
He dons a Taoist robe and is the no-nonsense type. All find him too rigid to stick to rules.

5. Zhang Guo Lao – Leung Hon Wai
All call him a skilful gardener as he is able to grow fruits and trees well.

6. Cao Guo Jiu – Ling Mun Hoi
His weakness is lust and money so he is the last to join the deities.

7. He Xian Gu – Yuen Pui Chan
She is initially a flower girl who carries a torch for Dong Bin. Upon knowing that they can never be together, she also joins the deities.

8. Lan Cai He – Lam Dik On
He likes Xian Gu but she likes Dong Bin. He can be very defiant at times – even to talk back at the Goddess of Mercy. He gets along well with the rest except Dong Bin as both always gets into arguments.

9. Tai Shang Lao Jun – Kam San
He helps the deities along the way so all hold him in high regard.

10. Jade Emperor – Wong Wai
He has thought little of the eight immortals till they prove their abilities to him.
11. Goddess of Mercy – So Yuk Ping
She is often around to assist those in suffering. Seeing that Cai He needs a lot of discipline, she takes him in hand so that he will not give trouble to the rest.

12. Mother Empress – Fung Suk Bo
She is close to Goddess of Mercy so she defends the eight immortals when Jade Emperor punishes them.

13. Li Xuan – Tsang Wai Kuen
He knows the path he has to take since young and has to ditch his human form when his family thinks he is dead to burn his body. Roaming till dawn, he has no choice but to enter a beggar’s body.

Songs
The songs come in Cantonese and Mandarin versions, the former by Lau Fung Ping and the latter by Xi Siu Lan. The theme song has the same title as the drama while the subtheme song is ‘selling flower song’. Both veteran singers are excellent in their singing to give the heavenly court feel and should not be missed. It was the first drama to have 2 versions. The Mandarin version was played in the China version as Shan Dong Television Station assisted in the shooting.

Interesting facts

This drama was shot in time for Chinese New Year. The previous boss was Mr Yau TaK Gan. He was very thrifty when put in charge of ATV. As he had shares in Sung City and Lai Garden, most dramas were shot there. He had a big interest in shooting period and historical dramas so all of us got to watch many excellent dramas then.

However, this drama was the first to be shot in China. This was connected to the fairy-like scenery required for the folktale. Many who watched this drama were won over by the breath-taking scenery. Many called up ATV and praised its decision. They believed all historical dramas should be shot this way.

Shan Dong station and ATV established good ties. Shan Dong station even presented the 8 immortals carvings to ATV for a memorable present. The first night had 40% Hong Kong citizens watching and the second day had 50% watching. The results were the best present to the shooting crew and the cast.

The cast braved through lots of danger when shooting it. The last scene had the 8 on tour so the artistes were dragged to the middle of Huang sea, using a small boat. While shooting, the boat titled to a side and all of them fell into the sea. Yuen was so frightened that she fainted. Luckily, Choi and Ling managed to hold her to get marine police to save them on time.

Kam was known as a dedicated actor. Initially, he was given a role of Guo Lao. He thought that he was too tall and Guo Lao was shorter so he suggested to exchange roles with Leung. He took up the role of Tai Shang Lao Jun which was a supporting role and not a main role. All were touched by his professionalism – we only see younger artistes competing for meater roles these days.

Conclusion

I shall not go into details as like other dramas as it is best to watch it personally. The scenery was not just attractive but the cast also delivered a spectacular performance. Based on the past standard and also careful make-up, all look like deities indeed. Story wise, it is quite truthful except the love triangle. I doubt ATV can come up with such an excellent drama anymore.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : ***** (Scale of 5) (definitely the best of all time!)



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