Culture

New Gods: NeZha Reborn, A new Feng Shen universe

This is a story about the characters in Chinese mythology who set off a new war in modern China. The Nezha inside is a street motorcyclist, the third prince of the dragon is a mafia, and the whole street is full of cyberpunk elements.

In this Chinese New Year, New Gods: NeZha Reborn, another film based on Investiture of the Gods (Feng Shen Yan Yi) has been released.

The story happens after over 3000 years since the epic war between the gods. However, the old order build by the war had been broken, and the old celestial rank has been disordered, hence a new war between gods is coming. 3000 years ago, Ne Zha killed himself to end his strife with the dragons, yet his soul is constantly reincarnating.

In this life, Ne Zha became Li Yunxiang, an enthusiastic young man who lives in Donghai City. However, the dragons never forget the ancient hatred. Therefore, Li Yunxiang, who has the soul of Ne Zha, also has no way to escape from the fate between Ne Zha and his old enemies. Facing the twist of fate, Yunxiang has to find out his own way to become a true hero.

The film is produced by Light Chaser Animation. Its previous product The white snake: The origin has also been very good word of mouth.

In fact, this is the third time in just three years that we’ve seen an animated film based on Investiture of the Gods, and the second time we’ve seen Ne Zha, one of China’s most famous children, on the big screen.

Compared with the animated film Ne Zha, which has created a box office miracle and the highest-grossing film in the single film market in the history of film, The Rebirth of Ne Zha has many shortcomings. The film has gaps compared with its predecessor, both in terms of production and story.

But the film also has many highlights: First, the story takes place in Donghai, a fictional city that blends the art style of wasteland punk and the old Shanghai. You may imagine the city as Mad Max’s version of old Shanghai.

Trailer for New Gods: NeZha Reborn (English subtitles)

For a long time, Chinese fantasy films have always focused on Journey to the West, a masterpiece handed down from generation to generation, and paid little attention to Investiture of the Gods.

That has changed markedly.

Now the Chinese film industry is clearly trying to follow in the footsteps of the Marvel film series and take a more ambitious approach to adapt this hugely influential novel in China.

Currently, there are already four parallel universes that have been released or are slated to make a series of movies. They are:

Ne Zha. Its story happens before the epic war. At this time, the war was in the preparatory stage, contradictions had not yet completely broken out, and large-scale conflicts had not yet appeared.

Jiang Ziya. Its story happens after the war. The celestial order had been established and the rule of heaven has been ensured.

New Gods. The story happens 3000 years after the war, and a new war is about to begin.

Feng Shen. This live-action film, directed by Wuershan, tells the story about the war between the gods from the beginning to the end. It has three episodes, aiming at creating a Chinese version of The Lord of the Rings.

The Chinese New Year is traditionally one of the best seasons for the Chinese film market. Many of the top 10 highest-grossing films were released during this period. In today’s China, going to the movies with family members during the Chinese New Year has become a very common family activity. For the film market itself, this means that many middle-aged people and even the elderly who would not normally go to the movies will take the initiative to buy tickets.

This is likely to be the first time many people have set foot in a cinema since January last year after the epidemic, providing a rare dose of energy to the long-suffering film industry. Audiences’ enthusiasm was also reflected at the box office — on February 12, the first day of the Chinese New Year, the nationwide box office hit nearly 1.7 billion yuan ($ 263 million), a new single-day record for the Chinese market. At the same time, Chinatown Detective 3 also created more than 1 billion yuan ($150 million) box office.

This is not only the first Chinese film to earn more than 1 billion yuan in a single day, but also set a new record for the world’s biggest single-day box office, surpassing Avengers: The End Game, which grossed $157.46 million on its first day in North America.

In 2021, China’s film market is about to begin its own post-disaster reconstruction.

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