Saturday, July 12, 2003

HK Produced Sci-Fi Movies and Series are Difficult to Succeed

[Ming Pao Daily]

"Wai Si Li" (Wisely) is a famous set of science fiction novels from the hand of Ni Kuang and has been made into numerous films and TV series, but the takings and ratings of these adaptations have never been that good.

There is a great difference between reading science fiction and producing a film or series, the former can involve a great wealth of imagination from the reader, whereas the latter is limited by the production and the special effects.

Artiste images are too familiar

Hong Kong viewers are able to become more absorbed in Hollywood Sci-Fi movies because this is linked with the American advances in space travel and electronic mastery. For HK artistes to take part in Sci-Fi shows, the audience finds it difficult to get into the performance, especially those artistes that they are more familiar with.

Before the days of maturity of Hong Kong's computerised special effects industry, a lot of traditional techniques were used and these were markedly different from the form of the Hollywood shows. Local Sci-Fi was shunned for this obvious reason. In addition, the limitations of the budgets weakened the reality of these shows and reduced their influence.

Recently the effects of the Hong Kong industry have improved greatly, making films such as "Chin Kei Bin" (Thousand Robots) and "Shaolin Soccer", but have not yet been able to handle the world under the pen of Ni Kuang. However, these skills have been great in improving the appearance and expression of the world of martial arts.

TV Productions have low budgets

TV Productions have comparatively simple computer effects due to the transmission frequencies, but the production costs of the TV series is much lower than that of the films and it can only bear a certain amount of the visual effects. TV series such as "The Monkey King - Quest for the Sutra" have also used a great amount of computer graphics and was more popular than "The W Files", the reason being that "Monkey King" was aimed at the younger audiences but the storylines in "W Files" are less appealing to the children and the housewife market is more geared towards watching soft intricate romances.

Unwise to make "The W Files"

The stories in "W Files" required a very high standard of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) to create this fantasy world and even selecting the early more earthly stories to adapt, a completely new visual experience is needed to attract viewers. Making "W Files" up to the present was an unwise decision, but every now and then the TV companies will make a mistake.

Originally, the most popular shows would be to make adaptations of Jin Yong's martial arts novels, but the most popular have already been made umpteen times and the viewers are starting to get bored. As TV series and big screen films alike continuously try to build on their success and eventually the interest has finally wained. HK style TV series, including those from China, HK and Taiwan have been falling downhil in recent years for this reason.

Hong Kong TV series cannot seem to leave it's own boundaries because even if the ratings aren't high, this has little effect on it's producers.

Author: Kwok Huen Ching

Back to top