Da Tian Peng
2020 / 101m - China
Action, Fantasy
The Pig King poster


January 31, 2023


Another take on the Journey to the West saga, this time by streamer king Dai Yilin. With a longer runtime and (presumably) larger budget, Yilin has a lot more trouble getting this film on the rails. The result is a gaudy CG fest that never impresses the way it's supposed to. It just goes to show that some directors benefit from imposed limitations.

The Pig King functions as a prequel to the classic Journey quest, explaining how Tainpeng became the infamous pig character. After Wukong makes a terrible mess in the heavenly Palace, he is banished to Earth, to live on Five Finger Mountain. Tianpeng is sent after him to prevent any future troubles, but romantic woes will complicate Tianpeng's quest.

Like most other Monkey King films from the '10s, the CG is a real eyesore and kills most of the film's fantastical appeal. The background story The Pig King provides isn't all that interesting either unless you're really invested in these characters. Not the film I was hoping for, Yilin has made much better ones under more stringent circumstances.