5 hot movies in theaters in this year’s Golden Week

As cinemas reopen amid the easing COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s golden week holiday features several new releases in Hong Kong and Mainland China, including some originally due for the spring festival. The films listed below are hot choices among those in theaters during 2020’s Golden Week. 

1. Leap (《奪冠》)

Release Date: 01/10/2020

Directed by Peter Ho-sun Chan and starring Gong Li and Huang Bo, Leap, which was originally scheduled for a spring festival release, was delayed until late September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally named Women’s Volleyball Team of China (《中國女排》), the film is based on the history and development of the Women’s National Volleyball Team of China over 40 years from the 1980s to 2016, from the consecutive championships to the failure in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and ends with the victory in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  

Highly anticipated by audiences since the release of its first teaser,  the movie aims to inspire the audience with the “spirits of Chinese Women Volleyball Team”. However, this movie also faces controversy. There is a rumor that Chen Zhonghe, former coach of the Chinese women’s volleyball team who is played by Huang Bo in the film, once criticized that the movie has uglified his image. In the final release version of the movie, some lines are covered by remade sentences, and the character of Coach Lang Ping is thought to be too prominent in a team’s biography movie. The changes have caused some criticisms from the audience.  

2. My People, My Homeland (《我和我的家鄉》)

Release Date: 01/10/2020

Poster of “My People, My Homeland”. Photo/ “My People, My Homeland” official Weibo

Similar to its prequel “My People, My Country” (《我和我的祖國》), “My People, My Homeland” uses an anthology format, gathering many renowned directors, including Ning Hao and Xu Zheng, and famous actors like Ge You, Wang Baoqiang, Yan Ni and Liu Haoran. These “Hometown” stories, happening in various parts of China, are tied together to show the picture of developing China from ordinary people’s views. 

What makes “My People, My Homeland” different from other “Main Melody” films in China is that it uses comedy to convey the simple idea of “person and hometown”, making the movie easier to resonate with the audience. 

3. Vanguard (《急先鋒》)

Release Date: 15/10/2020

“Vanguard” has gathered famous stars, including Jackie Chan and Yang Yang, and it is said to be the continuation of the classic Jackie Chan style. The movie talks about the leader of a global Convert security guard company called Vanguard and his team accomplishing the mission of saving an accountant and uncovering a bigger scheme. 

The movie is Jackie Chan’s sixth collaboration with director Stanley Tong. However, the comments of “Vanguard” are lower than expected in Mainland China. On the Chinese review site Douban.com, the rating score is 4.9 out of 10.

4. Love You Forever (《我在時間盡頭等你》)

Release Date: 17/09/2020

Poster for “Love You Forever”. Photo/IMDB

As a blockbuster in Mainland China, “Love You Forever” has also gained high expectations in Hong Kong. Starring Li Yitong and Li Hongqi, the fantasy romance movie talks about a tale of two lovers who travel through time and space. A young dancer reads the diary of an old security guard accidentally, finding that her experience is also written down. The lovers accidentally gain the ability to travel through time, and both of them choose to travel to the past, in order to save their beloved ones. 

“Love You Forever” has received relatively positive reviews from the audience and performed well in the box office. The film is one of the first love movies in the post-pandemic period. 

5. Mulan (《花木蘭》)

Release Date: 17/09/2020

Poster for the movie “Mulan”. Photo/Disney

The first Asian princess movie produced by Disney has drawn the whole world’s attention since its first announcement. Released in theaters last month, “Mulan”, starring Liu Yifei, Gong Li, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li, is adapted from the Disney cartoon of the same name. The film tells the story of Hua Mulan, who joins the army in place of her father, and grows into a warrior and heroine. 

In contrast to the high expectations, the film turns out to be less than satisfactory. Some criticized the director for not fully understanding Chinese culture, making the movie effects look strange. Some say this adaptation from the cartoon to the movie is disappointing, as the main idea of the story “Mulan” wants to convey is not expressed perfectly due to some changes in plots and characters.

(All the release dates are based on the schedule in Hong Kong)

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