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CJ7

Score: 80%
Rating: PG
Publisher: Sony Pictures
Region: 1
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 88 Mins.
Genre: Family
Audio: English, Chinese (Mandarin),
           French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Chinese
           (Cantonese), Thai 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,
           Arabic, Korean, Thai, Chinese,
           Indonesian


Features:

  • Cast and Crew Commentary
  • The Story Of CJ7
  • The Making Of CJ7
  • Anatomy Of A Scene
  • "How To Bully A Bully"
  • "How To Make A Lollipop"
  • CJ7 Profiles

Chow Ti (Stephen Chow) is a poor, yet hard working construction worker. After a long sickness, his wife died, leaving Chow in debt and as the sole provider for his son, Dicky. The two live in a demolished building and feast nightly on spoiled, rotten food. Chow wants more for Dicky, so he spends all of his money to send Dicky to an expensive private school. Given Dicky's lowly status in society, he is constantly picked on by his teachers and classmates; his only friend is Ms. Yuen, his favorite teacher.

One day in a department store, Dicky begs Chow to buy him a toy robot, the CJ1. Chow can't afford the toy and the two get into a major fight inside the store. Later that night, while Chow is scrounging in a junkyard for shoes, he discovers a peculiar green ball that he gives to Dicky. Dicky isn't convinced that the green ball is better than a CJ1, but curiosity gets the better of him and he begins to play with the ball. Not long after, the ball turns into a stretchy, Furby-esque dog that Dicky names CJ7. That night, he dreams of all the major life changes that it will bring, only to wake up the next day and see that these changes were just that - a dream.

CJ7 is a fun movie with a great message. At the same time, it feels a bit directionless. There are essentially two core stories here; the relationship between Dicky and Chow, and CJ7's influence on Dicky's life. Though multiple plots isn't bad or uncommon, CJ7 flip-flops between the two core stories frequently enough that neither take a lead role; instead both feel like concurrent subplots without a sturdy foundation.

Dicky and CJ7's adventures, or at least the ones Dicky dreams up for them, are some of the movie's best moments, followed closely by Dicky's run-ins with schoolyard bullies. I appreciated the story between Dicky and Chow, but the dramatic moments really don't work that well for my tastes. Alone, both core stories have potential, but together they feel mismatched. This is especially apparent during the ending; it just sort of happens and only comes about because of an awkward deus ex machina device.

CJ7 features a number of language tracks, ranging from the native Chinese to a full-on English dub. I'm one of those odd balls that will usually go with the English dub over the native tracks, but here is it probably better to stick with subtitles. Some of the voices don't match the characters and it sounds like actors are flatly reading off a script, so it feels "off". If you decide to watch with the English dub, make sure you at least do it without the subtitles.

The HD transfer is excellent. There are a number of breathtaking city shots and it really enhances some of the over-the-top action sequences. At the same time, the HD transfer also makes some of the compositing issues more noticeable than they would be in SD.

There are a number of interesting and not-so-interesting extras included on the disc. I really liked the behind-the-scenes features, especially the "Making of CJ7" and "Story of CJ7". Both give a good idea about the original concept and what it took to get the movie made. My favorite production-related extra was the "Anatomy of the Scene" featurette that breaks down the process of filming a live action scene and mixing it with CG characters. Some of the other extras, "How to Make a Lollipop" and "Bullying a Bully", are unique but pointless.

CJ7 is a fun, family movie, though it is probably a better rental.



-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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