THE DREAMS OF JINSHA It would be great to be able to recommend an old-fashioned, hand-drawn animated film right about now, something to counterbalance the barrage of CGI/3D fare with which we've recently been inundated. But director Chen Deming's The Dreams of Jinsha, five years in the making and China's most expensive animated film ever, is too flat and too flawed to warrant that recommendation. After committing an act of crudeness that exists solely to be heavy-handedly countered in the third act as a show of how much he has evolved, the blandly conceived and portrayed middle-school student Xiao Long is mysteriously transported back 3,000 years to the ancient kingdom of Jinsha. The viewer is fed lots of generic pap about prophecies and a golden-child savior before the showdown between Xiao and a towering, robotic manifestation of ultimate evil (whose havoc-wreaking is oddly more tedious than terrifying), and the triumph of good. There are a handful of nice (nothing more than that, really) images — a nighttime rainstorm, a massive swarm of malevolent insects — but they're not enough to distract from plot holes and gaps in logic. There's a magical dog and a magical amulet in the story, but little real magic on the screen. (Ernest Hardy) (Music Hall)
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