The Mermaid (2016)

Directed by
Some good scenes but not good overall
Reviewed by Simon on 2022-08-14

Well, this was pretty much what I expected... basically a remake of SPLASH! with some heavy-handed moralising bolted on. A cold-hearted property developer sees the error of his money-loving ways when he meets a pure-hearted and innocent girl (who just happens to be hot and half his age).

There are a few scenes that recall the Stephen Chiau of yore, such as a police sketch artist scene that could easily have appeared in one of his 1990's comedies, but the film mostly feels constructed rather than inspired, like Chiau is being guided by what he thinks other people will like or find funny rather than what he himself believes in.

The biggest surprise for me was that the CGI is pretty bad, or at least very obvious. Some of it is just gratuitous as well, things that it would probably have taken less effort to do practically. Maybe it was a deliberate aesthetic choice, but it didn't work for me. Maybe it worked better in 3D.

It seems like he had a specific audience in mind for the film, one that the "money can't buy you happiness" message might cause to think something other than "that was super corny"... I'm not sure that audience actually exists, but I guess he is reacting to something he sees in modern Chinese culture, and I shouldn't be too surprised if it (mostly) doesn't feel like this film was made for people like me.