Sky of Love
Director: Teng Hua-tao
Cast: Gigi Leung, Ken Zhu, Tung Da-wei, Tao Hong, Liu Zi
Fans of contemporary Korean cinema should feel familiar with Sky of Love. Although the opening or end credit does not state clearly that it is a remake, by simply reading the synopsis or watching a few seconds of the trailer, it is obvious that the movie is an adaptation of Korean film Ditto.
Rather than calling it an "adaptation", it is perhaps better referring it as a remake, and indeed a very loyal one. Everything, from the dialogues to the settings, the costumes to the compositions, just reminds you of the original so much. It is as if the only job of the screenwriter was to translate the script from Korean into Chinese, and what the director had to contribute was to merely remind the actors to remember the performance of their counterparts in the original and imitate them wholeheartedly. As an enthusiastic moviegoer who has seen quite many remake films before, I have to admit that this is probably the most faithful one I have ever seen so far.
To be frank, I have nothing against remake movies, but judging from the box office result in Hong Kong, apparently it's not a successful effort in the eyes of the HK audiences. Although it marked the first appearance of the Taiwanese pop group member Ken Zhu in a feature film, which was supposed to be the major attraction, it just failed to generate mass responses from the critics, and the focus of discussions among general audience was not about the stars or the movies itself, but whether it was an authorized remake or not. Perhaps unexpected by the film company, the embarrassing response does signify several issues that are worth examining. First, is pop idol really a box office guarantee? If you look at the box office record of several recent movies starring a pop idol, like Hidden Track, Star Runner and this one, you'll probably notice that having an idol (especially singer) in the movies does not always guarantee its success, as filmmaking is a collaborative effort after all. Second, the radical debates among the general audience, arguing whether the remake was authorized or not, should remind the film company that next time when they do a remake, they should always remember to state clearly the source, but not to just vaguely mention that the movie is adapted from another work and keep the original anonymous. Perhaps they believe that they have bought the right and there is no need to mention the original, they should also notice that just a short line of credit in the beginning or ending of the movies would actually mean a lot as it not only shows rsepect to the original but will win the heart of the audience.
The cast of the movie comes from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. HK representative Gigi Leung reprising Kim Ha-neul's role in the original is qualified. One good thing is that she was able to get rid of her overacting problem as seen in Turn Left, Turn Right. Ken Zhu's performance is ok, but it is definitely not a strong film debut. The two supporting actresses Tao Hong and Liu Zi play out their roles persuasively and they, without sharing too much screening time, are indeed the ones stealing the show.
If you have seen Ditto, you may find it hard to focus on this film, as everything is expected. Nevertheless, for the rest of the audience, Sky of Love is still worth a look as technically speaking, the movie is not that disappointing after all.
Reviewed by: Kantorates