Lotus Lantern


Reviewed by: sukting

April 18, 2010

Rating: three

How long
35 episodes

Foreword
This is a drama that tells how a deity can never be with a human. How do they overcome the obstacles with the help of their son?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Chen Xiang – Cao Jun
He makes a small living in the fishing village with his father after his mother is captured. As his mother is a deity, he also has super powers to go through walls. That attracts his uncle, Er Lang Sen and the heavenly dog to go after him. But this time round, Er Lang Sen feels sorry for his nephew and gets the heavenly dog to protect him. Yan Chang has to reveal to him his parentage so that he can save his mother.

He then learns the power of the lotus lantern. He starts to learn magic powers seriously and his master forces him to eat many magical pills. Even so, he is unable to save his mother out as the door is sealed by Er Lang Sen. Feeling sorry for Xiao Yu as his mother kills her family, he intends to live in the woods with her but later changes his mind. He can’t change his destiny and has to go ahead with it. He feels remorseful when the two women who love him have to give up their lives for him.

How much has he changed! I still remember how he acts as a monk in many dramas as a child. I can hardly recognize him when he has hair. His past experience has made him into a lead actor today.

2. Xiao Yu – Shu Chang
She is a fox spirit but tries to help Chen Xiang to look for his mother. They both fall in love with each other but not for long as he later chooses Ding Xiang later. She is forced to steal the lotus lantern’s candle. Without it, the lantern will lose its power. Her grandmother disguises as Chen Xiang to tell Xiao Yu that he will never love a fox spirit but the cover is blown later.

She ends up swallowing the candle and the power remains in her blood. Er Lang Sen then decides to use her blood to make into lantern oil. The heavenly dog cuts her hand and sure enough, the lantern lights up again. Chen Xiang is on his guard as Er Lang Sen has the lantern now.

When she is wounded, Chen Xiang is willing to jump into the furnace to create another pill to save her. Er Lang Sen goes a step ahead to cure her and lures her to practice heaven palm skill. She drips all her blood in order to let Chen Xiang save his mother. She becomes a lotus seed to replace the candle.

3. Er Lang Shen – Jiao En Jun
He is San Sheng Mu’s elder brother who finds out of her romance. He leads the heaven troops to search them out. Feeling sorry for Chen Xiang, he gives him a longevity and also allows him to meet his mother in a dream. But he can’t defy orders to capture Chen Xiang later. He deliberately creates images of Chen Xiang with Xiao Yu to make Ding Xiang jealous so that he can control her. When all deities surround Er Lang Sen and want to kill him, the 8th prince stops them.

What he has done is to help Chen Xiang to be a great man. He doesn’t want him to become complacent if he helps him. He deliberately sets himself against him - to disperse the heaven matriarch’s doubt towards him and also wanting him to learn from his mistakes. He has considered well that this will place him against al the other deities but he believes that they will understand one day.

Even though Chen Xiang gets the magical axe after going through the 4 stages, he has to get into the lantern in order to use the strength of the immortal pills that he has eaten to open Mount Hua to release San Sen Mu. Er Lang Sen tries to open the cave with Chen Xiang but is dismayed to know that the heavenly matriarch changes the password as she doesn’t trust him.

San Sen Mu will vanish if she isn’t released by midnight. The cave finally opens but Chen Xiang has to choose between his mother and the destroyed heaven rule stone. Chen Xiang weeps and the water splashes to the stone to form the words ‘heaven rule’. Since the new rule is formed, the family is reunited and all get along well with Er Lang Sen.

It is not easy to play this role. He is half-kind and also half-evil. I never know which side he is on till the last episode. Jiao has done it again.

4. Heavenly Matriarch – Liu Xiao Qing
She is a stubborn goddess who has not forgiven Chen Xiang or his mother all along. She often affects the jade emperor in making decisions. She wants Er Lang Sen and the heavenly dog dead when they can’t accomplish their mission. She wants to hide the fact that she is an evil person. Given the power she has, she enjoys getting all the gods to work for her.

The two lose their power but remains faithful to her after they recover. The goddess of mercy has to make a bet to see Chen Xiang can rescue his mother in 3 months. She makes him go through the 4 stages – cold, temptation, sacrifice and also death. It is obvious why she is famous as a competent actress in China even after so many years.

5. Jade Emperor - Wang Wei Guo
He has no mind of his own and will do whatever his wife tells him. if not for Er Lang Sen, Chen Xiang could have gone to 18 levels of hell. His own weakness is drinking. Once, Chen Xiang’s friends let him drink too much. He ends up spouting nonsense, giving the officials the wrong post and even announces that Chen Xiang is a heaven court official now. He has to set things right again when he wakes up.

To save his father’s soul, Chen Xiang releases the other ghosts from hell. The jade emperor commands troops to capture him. He is moved by Chen Xiang’s filial piety but the heavenly matriarch isn’t. The heaven will be in chaos if everyone behaves like them. So he can’t release San Sen Mu on her birthday. This actor has too much make-up on his face. I can hardly tolerate that.

6. 8th Prince – Liu Guan Xiang
He makes a mistake and can’t return home so he has to help Chen Xiang in his journey. Although he is unwilling to work with Na Zha, he still has to as they have to deal with many deities who are under the heavenly matriarch’s command.

He doesn’t like Xiao Yu as she is evil to him. Evil spirits are never meant to turn over a new leaf. He has wished to marry Ding Xiang when Chen Xiang is ‘dead’ but when he returns, Ding Xiang forgets completely about him. Knowing that he has no hope to be with Ding Xiang, he remains to be with his sister.

7. Ding Xiang – Lin Xiang Ping
She is engaged to Chen Xiang since young. She is interested in martial arts and her father has to get a master home to teach her otherwise she will sneak away from home. Anyway, she still steals her way out and disguises as a man. She meets Chen Xiang on the way and falls for him. She deliberately lies that she likes 8th prince to spite at him as he likes Xiao Yu then.

The heavenly dog bits her to death but Chen Xiang manages to save her with Tai Shang Lao Jun’s immortal pill. She becomes strong and both decide to get married. Xiao Yu has to watch reluctantly. When Chen Xiang is ‘dead’, she realizes how 8th prince has done for her and decides to marry him. But she soon discovers that it is only gratitude and she remains his friend.

Er Lang Sen keeps controlling her to prevent Chen Xiang from gaining success. She blames him but he replies that she can’t resist temptation as well as Chen Xiang. She becomes green smoke to get into Chen Xiang’s magical axe when Er Lang Sen kills her when his target is Chen Xiang. No breakthrough for Xiang Ping again. She is reprising her loud roles as shown in the past.

8. San Sen Mu – Park Si Yeon
She is a deity but falls for a commoner. She is caught and trapped under Mount Hua. Xiao Yu feels remorseful for stealing the candle and stays with San Sen Mu to atone for her sins. It is depressing for her as she can only talk to others when she is trapped and can’t touch them at all. She is stunningly beautiful and works well with her China counterparts – even better with her Korean colleagues.

9. The heavenly dog – Chen Chuang
He has a good sense of smell but doesn’t get along well with Chun Xiang. Sun Wu Kong deliberately breaks his nose and makes him lose his power. He is then forced to be a normal watch dog in the mortal world after throwing the useless lantern to the mortal world. Ding Xiang pities him and takes him in. But he still remains faithful to his master.

10. Liu Yan Chang – Liu Xiao Feng
He is a scholar and is saved by San Sheng Mu. Both have a son and when they are on their run, she passes the lotus lantern to him to protect the two. Er Lang Sen is angered when things go wrong and kills him. Chen Xiang brings him back to life. Knowing that Chen Xiang is down when he loses his skills, he cheers him up immediately.

Most favourite character
Chen Xiang, he tries his best to save his mother.

Most hated character
The heavenly matriarch. She doesn’t trust anyone and covers all her evil deeds. When things go wrong, she puts the blame on the officials. Thumbs up to Liu Xiao Qing’s acting!

Songs
The opening theme is Inextinguishable Heart by Sun Nan. The ending theme is My Everything by Pang Long. But all will remember the other song, Fall in Love with Someone by Gu Li Ya best as it is very gentle-soothing.

Conclusion
It had many versions. There was one old 1986 TVB version by Wang Ming Kuen which was well shot. I strongly recommend this drama to all. This version can be sidetracking too much. It has too many deities – Sun Wu Kong, Na Zha (who is Chen Xiang’s close friend), Tai Shang Lao Jun, Tai Bai Jin Xing, Cow Demon King, Princess Iron Fan and others.

In the end, you will feel giddy when they take sides. Who are they and why are they in different camps? You will feel very confused like me. That is why my review for it is so short. Luckily, the acting makes up for it. So you can try to catch it if you can.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)


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