Dream of a Butterfly Couple


Reviewed by: sukting

March 09, 2008

Rating: two-point-five

How long/Year produced
32 episodes done in year 2000

Also known as: Little Big Man, Da Ren Wu (Mandarin), Dai Yun Mut (Cantonese), Xin Yuan Yang Hu Die Meng

Cast
Qin Ge - Chen Jun Sheng
Yang Fan - Wu Jing
Ge Shu - Chen Zhi Peng
Liu Feng Gu - Lin Li Yang
Yue Huan Shan - Chen Ji Ming
Tian Si Si - Ji Xin
Zhang Hao Er - Xu Lu
Yuan Yang/Xia Die - Zhang Heng

Introduction

An adaptation from Gu Long's novel 'Da Ren Wu' but it only preserves the names of the characters and adds some new ones. Although I normally dislike producers to change the original, there is a need for this one because the original story is even more slow-paced.

Warning! Spoilers!

Story/Character introduction

1) Qin Ge - Chen Jun Sheng

Before this, I have not watched any of his serials. Yet, I am curious to know why he is selected to act as Jiang Feng in the Taiwan version of 'The Proud Twins'. Initially, Miu Kiu Wai is my only good choice. But after seeing his strong performance in here, I must agree that the producers have made the right decision. He does have the looks and capability. His tall built suits well with black/white clothes with a long cloak. The other actors sure pale when standing beside him.

Qin Ge is the 'red scarf young swordsman' but he uses a sabre. He is cool to others but yet he can be gentle and caring to his fiance, Yuan Yang. They grew up together since young. He wears a long, red scarf that is sewn by Yuan Yang at all times -- even after her death and knowing Xia Die! He confesses that Yuan Yang stays forever in his memory even though his feelings for Xia Die is real. To him, Yuan Yang isn't dead but has come in the form of Xia Die to console him. Why is he always wearing the scarf and doesn't look that happy as with Yuan Yang -- even on the wedding day? Is he only treating Xia Die as a substitute?

Many loving scenes between Qin Ge and Yuan Yang are well shot. Especially the way that he places a jade 'yuan yang' pendant around her neck and kissing softly on her forehead later is so endearing that it melts of the hearts of many. But yet their wedding night spells the end of his happiness.

His father's ex-lover, Jin Dong Fang comes on this day to seek revenge. After knowing that his father is dead, she vents her anger on him and captures Yuan Yang. He tries to save her but to no avail. Yuan Yang kills herself while he is seriously injured. If not for his strong inner strength, he could have died. Upon waking up, he learns of Yuan Yang's death. He doesn't believe it and insists on saving her, forcing himself to get out of bed. He hasn't recovered and yet he runs to the hall and in there, he sees Yuan Yang's tablet.

The following scene is memorable. Chen Jun Sheng is such a fine actor. First he sheds a tear. He looks so calm. Later the transformation is so great but yet appropriate. Qin Ge keeps blaming himself for her death. He holds on to her tablet and finally kneels down to cry. It is really heartbreaking when he shouts her name in anguish. He looks so pitiful -- her departure indicates the end of his world. I must confess that I have not been moved by tragic scenes for so long and this scene really moves me.

Later he drowns his sorrows in wine and sits in front of her altar. He mistakens Hao Er for Yuan Yang and wants to put the jade 'yuan yang' on her neck. Because he is too drunk, he ends on falling on top on her. The intimate scene is really touching -- he kisses her on her forehead and tells her how much he loves her. But upon discovering that she is not his wife, he is so disappointed and runs out, wanting to kill himself. Luckily, Yang Fan wakes up his senses and he concentrates on getting well to get his revenge.

A new courtesan, Xia Die, who resembles Yuan Yang attracts him. He dreams of Yuan Yang in his sleep. In the day, he can't control his feelings towards her but he treats her in the normal way that he speaks to Hao Er too. Yet, he makes a wooden windmill for her after knowing that she likes it.

Little does he know that she kills someone and frames him into jail. He gets so badly beaten up but he stays calm to analyze who is the culprit behind it. This is what I really want to see from a swordsman. Surprising, I don't find Qin Ge weak in the beginning even though he thinks of ending his life as his sadness is appropriately shown. But I do like the change in him being more calm and analytical.

Qin Ge still misses Yuan Yang. Xia Die mentions that the mastermind of Dong Fang stays outside the city. Upon hearing it, this levelheaded man sets off quickly to search for the culprit even without checking the facts! Yet when Yue threatens to search Xia Die's room to look for a missing lock, Qin Ge gets into a fight with him...even without his sabre! Yue attacks him with his sword and he is of course avoiding Yue's blows desperately. Before this, he feels jealous upon seeing Xia Die so intimate with Yue and his friends.

One day, he is seriously injured by Xia Die's senior, Xiao Hou. He is superior to the man in skills but Xiao Hou uses poisonous powder to blind him. Poor Qin Ge is so badly hit before he can defend himself. I suspect the producer's intention. Why must Qin Ge be injured so easily since he is highly skilled? I pity this man -- he normally only recovers for a short while to get wounded again!! Is he trying to belittle Qin Ge by making Yang Fan his saviour all the time??? To give Yang Fan more chances to show off his skills?

This time his injury is so serious that he goes into a coma again. He is nursed back to health by Xia Die. After knowing Xia Die's 'affair' with Yang Fan, Qin Ge is so stunned that he sits still on the chair. His expression is so real. Yang Fan has to clear the air with him before he gets hit. After hearing Yang Fan's story, he suspects that Xia Die knows martial arts. So he pretends to be a masked man and spar with her. He is so upset of being cheated and yet she refuses to reveal anything to him. But after understanding her predicament, they reconcile and get married in the end.

With the same actress, it is strange that the chemistry has the stronger presence with Yuan Yang than with Xia Die. Probably Chen Jun Sheng does better in tragic scenes than in happy ones.

2) Yang Fan - Wu Jing

The moment he steps out, I shake my head. Wu Jing is very impressive in fighting scenes but he is so lousy in the boyish hairstyle and acting. I always felt that his smiles look so fake. Moreover, he looks worse with a belt around his neck. It is a REAL one with a clip and lots of holes, like a dog's lash to me. No wonder Si Si falls for the mature Qin Ge instead.

He tries to call off the marriage -- even matchmakes Qin Ge with her. Yet he can't help feeling jealous. Si Si is later abducted by Yue. He rescues her and both fall off a cliff. During the process of taking care of each other, they like each other. Yang Fan doesn't give up easily after being framed. He is determined to look for evidence to clear himself of being labelled as the killer of Si Si's father.

All along, he always saves others in distress. Finally I get a chance to see him injured. He goes to Liu's place to look for evidence against him. He sees Xia Die nearly killed by Liu after she steals the scroll that announces Yang Fan as the next leader of the pugilistic world. He saves her but gets poisoned by his dart.

Qin Ge and Yuan Yang are compatible and can create the romantic atmosphere. Just a few intimate scenes of them together without any speech are enough. Although limited, they leave the impressions easily in the viewers' minds. Unlike them, the two are so childish looking that they are like immature teenagers. The long speech of Yang Fan declaring his love for her is too slow moving -- it takes up a whole episode!

Wu Jing's acting gets more natural towards the end. Probably he needs time to warm up.

3) Ge Shu - Chen Zhi Peng

This is an irritating pest that talks and brags too much. Chen Zhi Peng overacts here. He has a thick fringe that makes him look girlish too. I really dislike him and yet he appears very often.

He becomes Yang Fan's disciple. At first, he is interested in Si Si. After knowing that she is his master's future wife, he likes her maid instead. He is very street smart and is also an experienced thief. While others have been blinded by Liu and Yue's fake appearances, he has managed to uncover the true side about them. Si Si's father will have to continue his stay in jail if not for him. I don't dislike him that much when he goes undercover for the 2 guys in the ninth prince's palace to seek evidence.

Many will laugh at the way that he brags about Qin Ge suffering about 500 wounds instead of 263 and still survives is hilarious. To think that all the villagers listen attentively to him and believe him! Yang Fan and his master are amused. So am I!

4) Liu Feng Gu - Lin Li Yang

A despicable man who looks honourable. Lin has a lot of acting experience since his days with TVB so his acting is convincing. The only flaw is that the producers forgot to add a moustache for him. Yue is old and he is so young! They know each other for more than 20 years! I really laugh when Ge Shu comments that he is too old to woo Si Si! Luckily they realise their mistake but...only after 20 episodes!

He fails to win his senior, Dong Fang's love. Ever since Dong Fang's death, he holds Qin Ge responsible and plots to seek revenge on him. When Qin Ge is jailed, he gloats over his misfortune but is dismayed when he is released. In order to help Yue to interrupt Si Si's wedding, he frames Si Si's father and throws him into jail. But later, he hates Yang Fan more for ruining his plans repeatedly.

To be the next pugilistic world leader, he tries to get close to Si Si and kills her father when he makes Yang Fan his successor. He pretends to support Si Si as the leader and plans to control her. Of course, his evil plot is uncovered and killed in the end.

5) Yue Huan Shan - Chen Ji Ming

Another ugly and middle-aged sect leader who is also another despicable character. He and Liu kill Yang Fan and Qin Ge's fathers. After his marriage proposal to Si Si fails, he abducts her and wears a mask even on their wedding day. Too bad Yang Fan comes in time to snatch his bride away and ends his happiness abruptly. But we do grumble because he talks so much in the beginning and when he is about to reveal another killer's identity to Qin Ge and Yang Fan, he chooses to die at this time by Liu's dart!

But... when we think that he is away for good, he suddenly returns alive twice after being killed and even masters another strong l skill! I'm completely stunned. How can he survive after suffering so many injuries? Of course, he doesn't live for long and gets killed.

6) The Wine Legend/ The 9th prince - Xin De Mao

This TV station is definitely stingy. Getting Zhang Heng to play twin sisters is acceptable but also this actor to play as twin brothers? What a way to save money -- luckily both characters look very different so we viewers can tell. One is disfigured and wears shabbily like a beggar while another is elegantly dressed.

The wine legend is the rightful Emperor. He is harmed by the ninth prince and loses his memory. Xia Die and Yuan Yang are his twin daughters. After Qin Ge is injured by Xiao Hou, he rescues him before Yang Fan comes to treat him. He mistakens Xia Die for his wife, Xin Er, and always tails her. There is one part I'm amused though. Since he is so highly skilled and Yang Fan compares him to his master, how is he being injured by his evil younger brother easily?

The ninth prince is also responsible for Yang Fan and Qin Ge's fathers' deaths. They are both generals in charge of a gold vault. Both hold a jade piece and a key to open the vault. He sends Liu and Yue to set ambushes to kill them and the Emperor. He keeps Xia Die by his side as she is from Xin Er, the woman that he loves. Yuan Yang is saved by a farmer and becomes Qing Ge's neighbour.

7) Tian Si Si - Ji Xin

A very willful woman who only cares about what she wants. She is attracted to Qin Ge and exclaims in pleasure when he takes off his clothes in a duel session with Hao Er's rival. But when Yang Fan does it when she accidentally enters the wrong room, she screams! Si Si declares her feelings for Qin Ge in public. Qin Ge is alarmed, rejects her outright and even pushes Xia Die out to kill all her feelings towards him. She is so furious that she slaps him in front of the crowd, much to his embarrassment!

She is a well-known troublemaker when she sneaks out of home and gets caught by Dong Fang and Yue. Ji Xin, a Tang Shui Mun look-alike, fits into this role well. She is pretty and sure acts well. No wonder she is famous after acting as Guo Fu in the Taiwan version of '98 Return of Condor Heroes'. Sometimes, I really wish she can exchange her role with Zhang Yan Yan in 'The Martial Arts Chronicles'. Zhang should learn on how to act naturally like her!

What I dislike about this character is that Si Si is totally brainless. She doesn't suspect Liu's evil intentions and chides the others when they warn her from trusting him too much. She even suspects Yang Fan for killing her father. I really laugh when she becomes the pugilistic leader -- her skills are so bad. Luckily upon knowing Liu's plans, she quickly changes her stand to help the two guys and later marries Yang Fan.

I think her chemistry with Chen Jun Sheng is greater than with Wu Jing although their scenes are very limited. The way that she hugs him and cries over Yang Fan's 'affair' and Qin Ge consoles her is remarkable indeed. The way that she worships him like an idol even before meeting him makes me laugh too. With Wu Jing, both are two teenagers always picking on each other although they look compatible.

8) Yuan Yang/ Xia Die - Zhang Heng

As Yuan Yang, her smiles are so sweet looking although the scenes are few. No wonder Qin Ge cannot get over her death. As Xia Die, she is cool and cunning. She doesn't create a bigger impact although this character appears more often. Xia Die is Yuan Yang's twin younger sister. I prefer Zhang to act as Yuan Yang. She looks prettier and younger in the light yellow dress than the dull pink dress that Xia Die wears in every scene. A translucent net that covers her eyes makes her look unfriendly too.

Xia Die falls for Qin Ge after he gives her the wooden windmill. The ninth prince trains her to be a killer. But this character is made so weak that cries so often that you will suspect how she can bring herself to kill. Upon knowing that Qin Ge's red scarf is with Xiao Hou, she has nightmares. She dreams of seeing Qin Ge seriously wounded. Qin Ge mistakens her for Yuan Yang and hugs her. Xia Die is disappointed but still continues the act. But upon seeing Yuan Yang, he shoves her aside and chases after her. That makes her very upset. She is also in shock when Qin Ge collapses and dies after vomiting blood in front of her.

In real life, Xiao Hou nearly kills Qin Ge. She really shows her concern in nursing him back to health and avoids clashes with Hao Er to put his well-being as the first priority. She feels jealous upon seeing the courtesans showering their concern for him. Her godfather forces her to avoid seeing Qin Ge otherwise he will kill him. In the end, she tells the truth and betrays her foster father. Zhang Heng is okay in her two roles well. What a pity to have so little scenes of her and Chen together as a couple in the serial!

9) Zhang Hao Er - Xu Lu

She is a courtesan brought up by Dong Fang and is the ninth prince's subordinate. She doesn't know martial arts but works as a spy for the ninth prince in the brothel. She is prettier than Yuan Yang and is a great cook. What a pity that Qin Ge doesn't love her! After Qin Ge is injured by Dong Fang and is in a coma, she even feeds the medicine into his mouth using her own mouth to help him swallow it.

Qin Ge kneels on the floor and cries over Yuan Yang's death. She walks to him quietly and holds on to his shoulder. Upon hearing him shouting her name, she also sheds tears and shares his sorrow. The later scene of her being kissed by Qin Ge when he mistakens her for his wife is also well depicted.

We can sense her delight when Qin Ge kisses her and her disappointment when he runs away. Her greater disappointment comes in when Xia Die works for her. She is shattered upon knowing that Qin Ge is close to Xia Die. She is suspicious of Xia Die's intentions of getting close to Qin Ge and tries to break them up as she is afraid of him being harmed. This is due to jealousy but who can blame her?

When she finds Qin Ge being attacked in the forest at Xia Die's home, she gets so anxious that she shouts for help. This gentle woman gets so furious upon seeing that Qin Ge so seriously injured that she quarrels with Xia Die. Although she still talks gently, she is stern this time as she suspects Xia Die of being the masked man's accomplice who harms him. I pity her when she still ends up alone in the end.

Xu Lu looks a bit matured when pairing up with Chen. The consoling scene makes her look like his elder sister. She matches better with Lin Li Yang in looks.

10) Madam Tian - Dai Chun Rong (The Evil empress in HZGG)

Unlike her other hateful roles, she is very gentle and caring here. She has a striking resemblance to Ji Xin in looks so she makes a fine choice to act as her mother. She is a wise woman to see through all Liu's evil plots. Knowing Si Si's character well, she plays along with her and forces her to improve her martial arts skills. She is very clear about Yang Fan's character and gives him all the support he needs.

Exciting/Interesting scenes

Si Si's parents arrange marriage duels in Si Si's name. Yang Fan's monk master just pushes him on stage. He fights blindly and wins her, much to the excitement of her parents. But both are at loggerheads with each other and give the three elders headaches.

Qin Ge's fight with Dong Fang in the marriage chamber. This scene is bloody indeed -- the whole background is red!!! Plus Dong Fang and the married couple dress in red too! Dong Fang's subordinates trap Qin Ge. She ties Yuan Yang up and slashes knife by knife into her body. She wants to see whether Qing Ge can save her before she bleeds to death. Poor Yuan Yang can't take the suffering and wishes Qin Ge to give up before getting seriously injured so she kills herself. Little does she know that he is ALREADY seriously injured by 263 sword cuts!

The duel between Yang Fan and Qing Ge. Yang Fan wants him to accept Si Si if he loses. Qin Ge doesn't understand why his saviour must challenge him but he gives in. Both have a fight -- uprooting trees and stones in the forest. This commotion causes Dong Fang to come and attack them instead. The two combine forces against Dong Fang but she still injures Qin Ge again. She finds him an easier target as he hasn't recovered completely. The two are not her match and luckily the old monk saves them.

The final duel between Dong Fang and Yang Fan/Qin Ge. With the help from Yang Fan's master, they finally kill Dong Fang.

Qin Ge stays in Hao Er's home in the forest after being injured by Xiao Hou . He is being attacked again by him but escapes with minor injuries this time. Hao Er and Xia Die have an argument on where he should recuperate. Ge Shu makes matters worse, saying that they look as if they are pressing him to marry either one of them. When asked, Qin Ge gets troubled when looking into the women's eyes. He decides to move elsewhere by himself as he doesn't wish to offend any of them!

The duel between Si Si and Yang Fan over 'who should be the pugilistic leader'. Yang Fan hasn't recovered from his injuries from Liu's attack but he still spars with her. Both have a draw initially but Liu throws a dart at him, causing him to lose. Yang Fan is very upset that Si Si injures his palm with her sword.

Qin Ge and Yang Fan join forces to kill Liu. Liu's sword comes in 3 pieces, which look special while Yang Fan uses a pair of twin swords. But Yang Fan does most of the job as Qin Ge spends more time finishing off Liu's hackery. He only comes in to add a final blow to pierce their weapons into his body.

Qin Ge, Yang Fan, Yang Fan's master, Si Si and Xia Die combine forces to learn 'Shaolin Wu Xing trap' to deal with Yue. They only set on par with his 'Tian Can' skills. However, the killer is the ninth prince when he hits Yue unexpectedly as he hates him for exploiting him for so long.

I never expect Yue to come alive again after being killed by the ninth prince. It is weird that he holds the ninth prince as a hostage and demands the real Emperor to bring him to the treasure site. Well, he did with the other 5 people. Because of their greed for gold, the two villains hit on traps in the secret chamber unexpectedly and are killed in the explosion. The scene is quite eye catching in seeing how the pagoda being blown to pieces -- by computer effects.

Song

The sad song is sung by Su Yue. He sounds a little like the China rock star, Cui Jian and sure sings well with his powerful voice. The music and the well-written lyrics still sounds traditional although there isn't any traditional musical instruments to go along with it. I like the words ' the pleasant road isn't smooth going as there are lot's of regrets in life. Men aren't weak and they can't shed tears easily even though they are in their saddest moment.' This really fits the story well for Yang Fan's misfortune although not completely true for Qin Ge's loss over Yuan Yang.

Comments

The starting is eye-catching but it starts getting boring after Dong Fang's death. With no villain to create trouble, how are we attracted to watch this serial then? Why arrange her to die so early and easily? I really miss her departure. It will be good if she is the one who masters 'Tian Can' skill instead of Yue. She makes a marvelous 'Dong Fang Bu Bai' in her dressing and good acting.

No wonder Qin Ge even has the thought of destroying his sabre in front of Yuan Yang's grave as he loses interest in everything after her death. So do I when I see Liu and Yue only talking for 10 plus episodes. It really follows faithfully the way on how a Gu Long drama works -- with lots of unnecessary dialogues!

There are too many scenes of Wu Jing but he certainly doesn't have the charisma of being the lead actor on his own as he is too young. How I wish the producers dress him more maturely. Just like the way Chen Zhi Peng should change after being the ninth prince's sidekick.

The actresses must be jealous over Chen Jun Sheng's flawless complexion. I can be quite amused -- in scenes that Qin Ge is injured, they can't stop touching his face when he is in a coma! Especially in a scene that he wakes up learning about Dong Fang's death, he can't walk properly. Hao Er not only helps him by the side but she also touches his face continuously when he feels the pain!

But there are some anti-climaxes that appear near the end. The emperor likes the Chinese verses from Li Bai's poem 'Jiang Jing Jiu' and carves half the verses into two jade pieces. The treasure spot is only revealed through their central holes when placing them over a piece of paper code. Only together with the key then the treasure will be discovered.

This is the last straw I can take. Yue escapes from death because he is saved by Xing Er, Xia Die's mother who is now a nun. The other nuns find him evil looking and locks him up in a cave behind the nunnery. The unbelievable part is the cave is called 'Tian Can' cave and Yue masters the 'Tian Can Evil skill' from words carved on the wall!! He later holds her as a hostage to threaten the ninth prince in giving him power. I can't believe my eyes while watching this. How can all the nuns be ignorant of any martial arts skills and get killed by Yue easily? And...isn't the real Tian Can' skill from Wudang????

The acknowledgement scenes of Xia Die with her parents seem very 'Qiong Yao' for 2 episodes -- stretches my patience too far. Have the producers forgotten that they are shooting a 'Wuxia' drama???

Yang Fan's master teaches the couple the 'Yuan Yang twin swords skill'. I have expected to see a marvelous display like Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nu. But...it turns out that I only get to see two shadows moving behind a white screen instead! What a big let-down when they prove to be inferior to Yue later! The same way for the 'Shaolin Wu Xing' practice too to look at 5 shadows. Are the artistes that bad to show their skills that they need extras for the cover-up???

Xiao Hou tries to kill Ge Shu for betraying the ninth prince. He is killed by Ge Shu who just holds up a sharp tree branch that goes into his chest! What a stupid way to die -- he is so much more highly skilled than Xia Die as her senior! This scene reminds me how Mui Chiu Fung's husband Chan Xun Fung dies in Kwok Jing's hands in 'Legend of Condor Heroes'. The producer must have borrowed the idea from there.

I really cracked up and laughed non-stop at how the old monk describes the 'Tian Can' skill. He says that it is formally from a Shaolin monk who betrays Shaolin sect. How on earth a 'Wudang' skill becomes a 'Shaolin' skill? I agree with the part on when the person dies a second time, his inner strength will be doubled. But the monk says that he knows a person who ONLY manages till stage 3. There are NINE stages altogether. That's too exaggerated!!!! In 'Reincarnated', our Wan Dai Hup and his grandmaster Yin Chong Tien only died once and mastered the skill. Well, I'll make it two if I include his second death in 'Reincarnated II'. How on earth a person can die nine times??? Same as a cat? This is too much!!!

It is unbelievable that Si Si is chosen as one of the 5 mastering the 'Shaolin Wu Xing' skill. The other 4 are so good in skills and she is the odd one out. Can't they get their good friend, a skilled constable for the job?

The last 10 minutes on the 3 couples' marriage are boring too. Why is there the need to confer all the different titles on all of them on their big day by the Emperor? The long speech by the official is long enough for you to take an afternoon nap.

The serial is named 'Xin Yuan Yang Hu Die Meng' but I don't think it has mentioned much about the twins. Si Si and Yang Fan take up more than 60% of the serial! Wonder who is the real lead instead??

As a swordfighting drama, there are supposed to be many fighting scenes but this serial has only about 30%. It is becoming a soap drama towards the end. My patience is completely drawn even before the last 3 episodes. If not for the acting, I would not have continued watching. It is a pity as it has an attractive start. My advice is rent the first 5 and later the next 10 episodes. It is just not worth so much of your time.

Sukting's Ratings:

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

On the story/special effects: * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)


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