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  • Pan&Scan
  • Chinese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Teaser trailer
Shadow Magic
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . PG . PAL


The time is 1902, and visiting Westerner Raymond Harris (Jared Harris)has set up a primitive projector to introduce the Chinese to the magic of moving pictures .... Shadow Magic.

He meets with a lot of opposition, including from venerable Chinese Opera star Lord Tan (Yusheng Li). But he also gains a disciple, the young Liu Jinglun (Yu Xia), who wants to penetrate the reality behind the magic the projector casts.

It's a promising theme, but it's told here with too much of a Disney-like flavour. It's simply too old-fashioned. This tale could have been made 60 years ago.

The drama and conflict of two societies meeting head-on is subordinated to the beauty of the landscape and costumes -- and there seems no real attempt at characterisation at all. It's all shadow, and not nearly enough cinema magic.

This is a negligible drama about the introduction of cinema to China, and its inadequacies are compounded by it being given a disgraceful fullscreen transfer.


This is a fullscreen transfer, with no indication at all of whether a soft matte has been opened up, or whether chunks have been ripped off the sides for pan-and-scan.

The Region One release is in anamorphic widescreen, which the splendid settings did deserve.

The only extra feature is a widescreen non-anamorphic trailer in reasonable condition of Big Fish.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Negligible drama about the introduction of cinema to China, given a disgraceful fullscreen transfer."
    - Anthony Clarke
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