The Treasure Hunter

As far as I can recall there have been three successful “tomb raider” film franchises: Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and the Mummy series. Now two Taiwanese stars are attempting to make the first Asian blockbuster on the theme: The Treasure Hunter 刺陵 [Official homepage, in Chinese]. Costing about US$12 million, “the action-packed film tells the adventure of Qiao Fei (Jay Chou), who strives to protect a hidden treasure with the help of Lan Ting (Lin Chi-Ling).” Should be out just in time for the New Year.

2 thoughts on “The Treasure Hunter

  1. I’m in. The promo looked pretty cool. It has all the things I could hope for. A cool bad guy. Lots of hordes of the undead, or clashes between armies. I expect there’ll be some kung fu. Great looking hero and heroine. Will it be widely distrbuted in the North american market, or is it a niche market production? Maybe this is the way TV will go once LOST is off the air? Of course, to do something like this without looking cheesey would involve a big production budget, and I’m just not seeing executives at the big 3 networks considering the possibility. CGI has come a long way, and techniques have improved after Stargate and low budget Relic Hunter. I’m sure the space channel is considering something like this. Also it would be terrific to give the “tomb raider” genre an update by including plot lines from Manga (Taiwanese is Manhua, I think). Or even to follow on graphic novels like “Y The Last Man.” At least that’s my hope. But I know it’s unlikely. I suppose what they’re looking for is what works well on an i-phone size screen. The commodification of music has atomized the album into ring tones and single down loads, so why not movies and television series. What is You Tube other than a mix of tv genres formatted to one or two minutes. The whole versatility of hand-held devices has led to a molecularization of scale of entertainment. In a sense, these “relic hunter/tomb raider” movies hearken back to the grand films of the 50s and 60s. Heroes larger than life but still human, confronting enemies and perils of a supernatural or sublime scale. I can see “Lawrence of Arabia” in the trailer of “Treasure Hunter.” Even the music often carries that grand sweep of emotion that is evident in Maurice Jarre’s score. And the world always hangs in the balance–Lawrence is confronting the aggression of the Turks, but also acting to set up a pan-Arabic nation; the “tomb raiders” are up against enemies that would change the world, or even destroy it, but their grand dream is often to defeat the enemy and return to the world as it is. It is a return to a domestic hearth–home and marriage (no wonder Indianna Jones marries at the end). The whole idea of marriage or coming home as a theme is a filial relation to its classical form in the Odyssey, and other tales. But we all love it. And thank heavens for big screen cinema (that doesn’t fit on a small phone screen). At least until my generation goes, we’ll still be allowed the pleasure of the darkened theatre, the smell of popcorn, and the companionship of the one you love. What else is there. Bring on “Treasure Hunter.” I’ll be watching.

  2. Often these films go straight to DVD in the US, but if they do well enough someone might consider giving them limited theatrical release.

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