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[ATV drama] [Drama Critique] Princess Cheung Ping









Rank: 9Rank: 9Rank: 9

发表于 2009-3-21 13:48:53 |显示全部楼层

Review from:


Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author


Princess Cheung Ping

Reviewed by: Gigi

Damian Lau
Michelle Mei
David Jiang
Yu On On
Yeung Jak Lam

I am not a Chinese history expert, so I cannot pinpoint the factual elements in this series, but it impressed me greatly, and to say that it is the classic historical drama is not very far out. From the cast to plot, from costumes to settings, the series is as perfect as it could be.

Unlike other series of the same theme, this serial explored further the events after the invasion of Manchu such as the siege of Yangzhou. As a result, it seemed very convincing and original. Moreover, the series told of the history through many aspects from different individuals or groups. It certainly prompted me to do a lot of thinking after each episode.

The plot seemed to be divided into three periods - about the ending of Ming Dynasty, the Li Zi Cheng story, and the invasion of the Manchus.

The Ming Dynasty
This part was the greatest for it conveyed so well of the Imperial affairs at the time. I couldn't help feeling sorry for the emperor. Despite his weakness and many faults, he sincerely had good intentions toward his people and nation. One could sense his anguish of failing to protect his country from the rebels, and although he might have made many wrong decisions, he was a loving father and a compassionate ruler.


This section introduced all major characters, and as the story proceeded, we saw each character's development. Although the Ming was destroyed in the end, the happy mood of this part was in stark contrast to later episodes.


One of the highlights was the killing of the evil eunuch. I actually applauded while watching this scene, for it seemed almost an impossible mission. Unfortunately, the eunuch's adopted son lived on to be the second villain. This new villain was the more gruesome because he had such guileless eyes and sweet expressions.


Michelle Mei as Princess Chang Ping was very beautiful, fragile yet clever, and Yu On On as the second princess was equally beautiful -- no wonder that they were admired by the three men. David Jiang at this beginning was an arrogant, highly skilled man with a deep knowledge of music, whereas Damian Lau's character was portrayed as a humble and intellectual scholar whose loyalty to Ming never wavered. These four characters were vivid and distinguished from one another. In addition, Yeung Jak Lam excellently played the role of a lovesick Wu San Gui who later betrayed his country out of vengeance.

I was kept on edge at the beginning of the series, hoping that the evil eunuch would get kill soon. Then afterward, I was sort of hoping that the two princesses would come out all right in spite of the actual facts in history.

The Story of Li Zi Cheng
This section had the weakest plot in all. I am rather disappointed that Li Zi Cheng was put in too favorable light. He was portrayed as a righteous man and was not blamed for any crimes that happened after his entering the capital. Even his closest consultant's
death was due to the ultimate villain of the story instead of by his hands as was indicated in the history books.


Chen Yuan Yuan's image was also different from that of other series' even though it was rather a refreshing approach. Wu San Gui was also provided with good excuses in letting the Manchus into China, and looking back to the earlier episodes, one could understand the psychology behind his betrayal. Essentially, Wu was a weak man. He lacked the determination that existed in Damian's character, and the pride that David's character had. Being a soldier without an army, he kept on staying in the palace only hoping to get a glimpse of the second princess (Yu On On) everyday.


Then after her death, he lost his mind and became well again after meeting Chen Yuan Yuan (Yu On On). In my opinion, however much he loved her, it was due to her looks, not her character or other qualities. Therefore, he lived in doubt when she fell into the rebels' hands.


In contrast, Princess Chang Ping and her Fu Ma (Prince Consort) although had not declared their love for each other, the chemistry between the two was evident every time they were together. Michelle Mei and Damian Lau relayed their emotions through body language very well, and although their marriage was based on political reasons, one was relieved to find that the couple indeed had some feeling for each other.


Despite my displeasure with the rebels for the cause of the end of Ming, I couldn't help admiring Old Liu's courageous. He reminded me of Zhang Fei of 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms', for he was rash and not very smart but sincere and honest to friends.


The Beginning of the Qing Dynasty
The important event in this section was the massacre of Yangzhou. I don't know how accurate it was according to the actual history, but it did serve a purpose of showing the conflict between Ming's subjects and the Qing government. There were some interesting details; for example, it showed people to shave their heads according to the new law. Also, we would see how the country slowly transferred from Ming into Qing through costumes.

As episodes flew by, I felt restless to see that the main villain, Eunuch Cao's foster son, survived and thrived on. Without a question, he was disgustingly bad through the core, and I would prefer to think of his love for his foster father was more of an unhealthy obsession. It was at least one consolation that he looked very weird in the Manchurian yellow robe with an oversized white wig. The actor who portrayed this character did a very good job, and it was possible that he had some martial arts training before too.

Wu San Gui had utterly become a 'traitor' of the Ming Dynasty by now. He was no longer motivated to work for the Manchus, not because of Chen Yuan Yuan but because of the power he could receive from them. Therefore, the ending was rather befitting him as if it was his punishment from heaven.

I like David Jiang's character better although his garbs might look duller and he looked a bit more haggard. The character had matured into a real 'dai-hup' for he finally could let go of his hatred for the emperor and actually helped Princess Chang Ping for the higher cause.

His love for her was an opposite to that of Wu San Gui's for it was deeper and based on friendship, not on mere looks. I doubt that he would love any woman with just Chang Ping's look because he admired her for intelligence and integrity. That's why he would remain friends with her even after realizing that he had no place in her heart.

On the same token, although Michelle Mei might look less pretty in black outfits, she still looked regal and was the same princess in any situation. One could hardly expect her to travel around and save people in her princess robe.

On Characters
Michelle Mei was very superb as Princess Chang Ping. She had grace and ancient beauty that matched the character to the T. I prefer Yu On On as the second princess rather than as Chen Yuan Yuan. Maybe it was because I have just finished watching the series 'Reincarnated'; therefore, every intimate scene between her as Yuan Yuan and Yueng Jak Lam as Wu San Gui was a bit no-no to me.



As for David Jiang, I have heard of him a lot from my seniors and only knew him in recent series. Compared to then, he definitely looked more dashing and handsome in this series. But what awed me the most was his martial arts ability. From the scenes, I believe that he did most of the fighting sequences himself. In fact, every male artiste was very convincing in the fighting scenes, which resulted in a tone of authenticity in the series.

Other support characters were equally great, especially the musician. This was at least one serial that the audience could see the musical instrument and its player at the same time. Minor characters had their own stories and showed development in their personalities as well along with the story.

Interesting Observation
It is probably the fashion of film making at the time that many scenes on the trailer were different from those in the actual episodes such as Princess Chang Ping’s wedding.

On Ending (Possible SPOILER!)
By the last fifteen episodes, the audience was certain of the sad ending. I felt that it was too tragic and a waste of good characters. Why couldn't Chang Ping live on and became a nun? How come everyone ended up dying so unnecessarily such as the musician and Bao-er? But at least, David Jiang’s character lived, and the villain died at the end.

This is one series that I wish for a happier ending. Nonetheless, the conclusion was quite impressive and in a way showed a cycle of sin. It was ironic that Wu San Gui worked for the Manchus because of Chen Yuan Yuan but ended up being responsible for her death due to his loyalty to the Manchus. Just make sure that you have plenty of tissues nearby. This series was not showered with so many tears from artistes' eyes, yet the audience felt the pains and sorrows of the characters. For an example, David's character shed a drop of tear as he listened to the song about blood debts, and it was enough for the viewer to understand his anger and sadness.

Rating: 5
As a TV series, it has certain flaws just like others, but beyond that, it offers a valuable lesson on war. It reminds one that no matter whichever side is right, whoever wins, in the end, death and suffering of common citizens is certain and unavoidable. Such is the truth regardless of the place and time; war could only end up in destruction. And that, I think the series deserves more than 5 rating.

The indoor settings were well designed, and the outdoor scenery was magnificent. In addition, the costumes and hairdos of the two princesses were gorgeous -- something that is hard to see in the nowadays' series. In short, this is one good production, and I would highly recommend it to the viewers. Buying the series is probably better than renting it for it is not a regular entertaining serial. The viewers might need time to get in tune with all the emotions from the episodes. It is also a well-done series to add in your collection as it depicts values of heroism, courageous, righteous, and peace.

I heard that TVB is making a series of the same title and am curious to see how it will turn out. Hopefully, TVB will try to approach the story differently for it is probably impossible to produce such grand and good serials like this one, not to say that Michelle Mei was truly the one and only Princess Chang Ping in my opinion.

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6

参与松居书籍:《碧海情天》,《男人之苦》, 《原来爱上贼》和 《天地孩儿》http://bbs.lauchungyan.com/viewt ... &extra=page%3D1








Rank: 9Rank: 9Rank: 9

发表于 2009-3-21 13:50:57 |显示全部楼层

Review from:


Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author


Princess Chang Ping

Reviewed by: sukting




Chow Sai Hin - Lau Chung Yan (seen in "HSDS 2000" as Cheung Cui Shan)
Yuen Yuk Fei - Chiang Dai Wai (sometimes act in atv serials)
Ng Sum Guai - Yeung Chak Lum (Mo Dik in "Reincarnated" and now acting in Malaysian serials)
Chu Cheung Ping - Mai Shuet (last seen in 2000 HSDS as Yin Suk Suk)
Chu Chiu Yan and Chan Yuen Yuen - Yu On On (Heung Kuan in Reincarnated )
Chou Wan Ling - Mok Siu Cong (Leung Foon in the tv serial Wong Fei Hung with Chiu Mun Chiok)
Lee Lan Chi - Cheung Tak Lan (now only sings occasionally)
Duo Yee Gun - Wong Wai (Yuet But Kuan in the tvb 97 version of 'The Swordsman')
The Emperor - Cheung Ying (died many years back)


Story:Cheung Ping is the eldest child of the emperor. Pretty and gentle, she is the favourite. Her sister, Chiu Yan, is willful and beautiful as well. Their youngest brother is only a child. Cheung Ping is very weak and gets sick easily. Although the Emperor tries all sorts of ways, she does not get well. Since young, she has been engaged to Sai Hin. Both are very much in love. Sai Hin is a scholar general who is good in martial arts as well. He is equally worried over his fiancee's health. In his battles with other states, he tries to find different remedies too to make her better.



There is Eunuch Cho who causes a lot of trouble for the Emperor. The emperor is a weakling under his control. The rash Chiu Yan tries to kill him in one attempt and fails. Yuk Fei passes by and saves her. Chiu Yan is attracted to him and removes her veil, hoping that he will be attracted to her beauty. But he only smiles and walks off. Chiu Yan is anxious and feigns to be injured.


On the other hand, Cheung Ping reads her sister's note about assassinating Cho and is worried sick over her safety. When seeing her coming home, she is so overjoyed that she faints. Yuk Fei is attracted by her beauty at first sight and hurries over to hold her. He is alarmed when feeling her weak pulse and immediately feeds her with the precious pills that he himself has made. As you have guessed, Chiu Yan gets jealous when seeing him so concerned over her sister.


Cheung Ping wakes up and sees the sulky expression on her face. She then introduces herself and Yuk Fei is so DISAPPOINTED that she already belongs to someone else. He quietly leaves but Chiu Yan gives him no peace, always pestering him when she has the chance. And when she realises that there is no room in his heart for her, she kills herself.


Cheung Ping and Yuk Fei are badly affected by her death. Although Yuk Fei still loves Cheung Ping, he does not tell her about his feelings as he knows that she will never accept him. Sai Hin returns from a battle and he is observant in guessing his thoughts. But still, he says nothing and treats him like a good friend. Yuk Fei is touched and they become as close as brothers.


Another poor soul will be Sum Kuai who has been secretly in love with Chiu Yan but is always ignored and ill-treated by her. Unlike Yuk Fei, Sum Kuai has come from a poor family and he thinks that Chiu Yan dislikes him because of this. He is heart-broken when Chiu Yan is dead. An opera artist, Yuen Yuen who looks exactly liks Chiu Yan, becomes his love later to his joy. Cheung Ping and Sai Hin are happy for him as they think that this is a made-up for the loss of Chiu Yan. Little do they know that he is still scheming and later he is the cause of the downfall of the Ming Dynasty.


Cho gets a lot of control in court and he dotes on his godson, Wan Ling. He imparts all his kills and knowledge to him. Wan Ling is as evil as Cho and succeeds in removing every single minister in the court who opposes Cho. Yuk Fei finally kills Cho in an ambush. Wan Ling is furious and vows to seek revenge. Sam Kuai joins the Mongolians. Yuen Yuen is disappointed and leaves Sam Kuai.


Sai Hin is sent by the Emperor to negotiate peace with Yee Gun. Alas, Yee Gun is impressed by his wit and wants him to marry his daughter. Sai Hin is dismayed but is trapped. A bandit leader, Lee Chi Seng's troops later captures the city and the Emperor commits suicide. Cheung Ping and her brother are saved by a nun. The nun is good in medical and martial arts skills. She cures Cheung Ping completely and she becomes her disciple in martial arts too. But she still misses Sai Hin and decides to go on search for him.


She meets Yuk Fei and both travel together. Wan Ling is now Chi Seng's son-in-law but he doesn't really like his wife, Chi Lan. Chi Lan is actually a sweet and innocent girl. She cannot understand why Wan Ling doesn't treat her well after their marriage and tries so hard to please him. But all in his mind is only revenge. He later kills her although she is pregnant with his child….. the killing method is unexpected -- not through the usual poisoning or killing procedure. Chi Lan is playing on a swing and Wan Ling pushes her so hard that she falls and dies. Very special indeed. Lee is so sad over his daughter's death that he later falls into a tiger trap and dies too. Wan Ling controls his army and submits to the Mongolians.


Cheung Ping meets Yuk Fei on the way. He is seriously injured by Wan Ling in a trap and lost his left arm. In fact, his injuries are so serious that Cheung Ping has to go naked to cure him in disposing the poison. Too bad, Sai Hin is in search for her too, sees this, gets angry and runs off. I can't remember the details but somehow, Yuk Fei runs after him to explain the misunderstanding and both make up. When he is completely recovered, he seeks revenge on Wan Ling and finally kills him. Yuk Fei is tired after this whole ordeal and retreats in the woods.

Cheung Ping has intended to do the same with Sai Hin but they are caught by the Mongolians. Yee Gun knows that there are still rivals against him so he decides to let the two get married to gain their support. On their wedding day, both kill themselves right at the altar by drinking poisonous wine. Yee Gun is furious but he still gives them a grand burial. Sam Kuai misses Yuen Yeun and searches for her. He sees an opera troupe staging an opera against the mongolians and kills them. When one actress calls out his name, he is dismayed to see that it is Yuen Yuen and she dies in his arms.



Quite a sad and slow moving story. I don't really like it. Frankly if not for Chiang Dai Wai, Mai Shuet, and Lau Chung Yan, I will not even consider watching it. They are really very convincing in their acting. Mai Shuet is, as usual, stunningly pretty here. Yu On On is equally good in playing two women with different personalities. In fact, this serial spans more works for Lau Chung Yan and Mai Shuet to work together. Mok Siu Chung is still raw in his acting as a villain but we can forgive him as he is very young at that time. Cheung Tak Lan makes a short but memorable appearance. She sings the theme and sub-theme songs which are still remembered after years.


But sometimes, we can see that a good cast can't save an old story. The plot is too predictable. As you have guessed, the normal ATV serials has attractive starts but the fire dies out in the middle leaving no sparks at the end. Same as this one, but I must say that Lau and Mai Sheut did the dying scene very well, both die in each other's arms after looking reluctantly at each other's faces for the last time.

And the ending... Sigh... why can't they give Yuk Fei a woman? Since they can produce Yuen Yuen to look like Chiu Yan, why not another person who looks like Cheung Ping? He suffers so much. First, to be loved by someone he doesn't love. Later to be rejected by the woman he loves. Lastly, he loses an arm. Isn't he pathetic? I really like the part where he doesn't succumb to Chiu Yan's beauty but is attracted to Cheung Ping's sweetness. The anxiety and concern he shows on his face when she faints is so real. And the disappointment that he is dealing with when knowing that he has no place in her heart is so sad. Especially when Cheung Ping blames him for Chiu Yan's death, he is over-ridden with the guilt. Must he suffer loneliness in the end?


To me, however, the most pitiful scene is not the wedding scene. It is the scene where the Emperor hangs himself. I must say that Cheung Ying is a very good actor. He looks so sorrowful when kicking the chair after hanging himself. It is said that he himself cried while filming this. He is a very accomplished actor who won filming awards as the best actor but is later a tv station veteran actor. This scene reminded him of his career going downhill and he could not contain his emotions. The crew also had mixed feelings while filming this scene too. And it had no retakes at all!


In other period dramas, Chiang is very dashing. But in here, he is only good looking in the beginning in his traditional white gown. From the scene Chiu Yan dies, he doesn't shave. From the scene he loses his arm onwards, he looks so haggard and his dressing becomes boring in dark blue that he no longer is the famous swordsman that we have seen. Where is the attraction when a Dai Hup becomes like this?


The same case for Mai Shuet. She looks so old after the scene of escaping from the palace. All the while she is only wearing BLACK. What a boring colour. Only the wedding scene revives her youth. Lau Chung Yan is the reverse with youth and energy throughout. So real-like as a charming man and no wonder the Mongolian princess is interested in him!


But too bad the story is too predictable. I missed a few episodes and it actually makes no difference. There are plenty of dialogues between Cheung Ping and Yuk Fei on how to seek revenge, search for Sai Hin but come on, there isn't any love between the two. A lot of talk and no action, sigh... So I nearly dozed off while watching these parts. The fighting scenes are just satisfactory. No remarkable stunts and poor management of the battle scenes. Probably due to the lack of funds. Sigh -- how to make a good period drama when this important factor is so crucial ? No wonder it received poor ratings although viewers have praises for their acting.

Sukting's Rating:
On acting: * * * (Scale of 5)
On story: * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)



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