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Written by Funn Lim


This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



Which Is
Not about a ghostbuster kinda story but is esentially a love story,not between a ghost and a man,but between a man and a woman,with a ghost to help bring them closer.Shanghai's 1960's,and supposed to be a comedy.

How Long
20 episodes/10 tapes.

Who
Lawrence Ng,Esther Kwan,Yuen Keng Tan,Chu Mi Mi,Yew Ying Ying,Tong Ying Ying and that Lee Chi Hou of Kindred Spirit.I'll add his name here later.

Remember
It's supposed to be a comedy,but the ending isn't funny.Anyway,this will be a short review because I have nothing much to say.

The Plot
Very simple.It started out with Esther as the uneducated and overworked AhYing,taking care of her future in laws,with a future mom-in law who is a gambler addict and a father in law who still lives in the memories of WW II.Her BF is supposed to be Lee Chi Hou of Kindred Spirit,so you kinda guessed that he's gonna be a sumcbag later.Anyway,she worked as a ticket seller with her best friend,Tong Ying Ying in a haunted cinema.It was indeed haunted and during one time when she was praying,she accidentally knoced over the pot on an altar and the spirit of Yuen Keng tan,called Ngan Che was released.The spirit followed her home,caused some chaos,and they ended up being friends.Then Lawrence Ng,the first son of the first wife of the owner of the cinema comes home to help the father with teh business,to great disapproval of his step mother and a little brother who is a spoilt brat.They gave him ugly words to listen to and gave him faces.Anyway,he succeeded in making the cinema better and in the process,he fell for Esther because who won't?A nice hardworking gril.But there was her fiancee.And then he came back from his sailor years to have changed dramatically,now preferring to woo a spoilt rich girl (Yew Ying Ying) who cared for him like she would care for a beggar on the street.He tried to strike it rich but it was his downfall to try to be successful in too short a time.And in the end,tragedy strikes Lawrence and like I said,it isn't funny.

So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe?
Actually,yes,which is sad to say.They're just to fill in some empty spaces,so as to make this serial looked like it has a lot of people in it.But Yuen Keng Tan's Ngan Che is important.She was actually the servant to Lawrence's house and when he was 11(?) or so,she asked this boy to help steal the company chop so that she can borrow some money to help her BF.With that she made the boy swear that he won't talk or thunder will strike.In the end the boy didn't talk at all even when his father was caning him.Ngan Che went to look for her BF but he disappeared and she fell into the sea and drowned.She went back to the cinema to wait for the BF's return and instead,was mistaken to be the bosses' first wife and was trapped ever since for years by some taoist sifu hired by the second wife.

The Best Scenes
Every scene with Yuen Keng tan.She is so funny.And that scene when she told Esther and gang how she died and she ended being scolded for threatening a boy to help save her man.And mind you,in cantonese it isn't that politely said.It was a very funny scene.

When Lawrence died and the ending scene.Almost like it stopped suddenly.I wasn't laughing but Iw as shocked.I thought it was supposed to be a comedy and then there is a very different ending.Something totally unexpected.Watch the ending and you'll see.

Worst Scenes
Almost towards the end when Lawrence confessed his love to Esther and she said no.And there goes two whole episodes of how reluctant they look at each other and the ending,was sad.Anyway,if you love somebody,do everybody a favour.The thing about class and aducation differences?It's old news and way too passe for the world today,especially the new millenium.In the context that this serial was set in,I could understadn the woman's reluctant but even until today,we can see,in real life people afarid to confess their love for somebody else and afraid to accept that love because of class or education differences.I would just say,you may not have much in common,He may like opera,you Aaron kwok,he may like Rembrant whilst you may not even know how to pronounce that name,he may wear Gucci whilst you,Ku-Chi.Anyway,my point is,there is actually one thing in common between you two...that is you like/love/are in love with each other.So for goodness sakes,GO FOR IT!

Most Favourite Pair
I would wich I could say Lawrence and Esther,but they just don't click.No chemistry at all.

Best Performances
I hate to admit it but Lawrence Ng was good as the overall nice guy that did not deserve the ending in this serial.He was sweet,educated and great English as well.Very believable as an educated man .But when at the end he was an amnesiac spirit,his wooden acting is a bit irritating.Don't give him emotional scenes and he could be good.

Esther was very very good.She is getting too good at playing characters that are relcutant at first to do something and then excelling in it as the time goes by.But she is a bit old to act as an innocent girl but then,it is this character's kindness that Lawrence fell in love with but couldn't say more because she rebuffed him when she was dumped by her fiancee.So I would say she is good.

Definately Yuen Keng Tan.

And also that Lee Chi Hou guy.He's getting to good at being a scumbag who does not regret his actions.So when he played an almost scumbag that turned out to be a gentleman in Time Off,wow!I was surprised and impressed.A good actor.

Is it worth Renting
Quite a nice show really,and your mom may like it.Anyway,it's short,it's sweet and nothing complicated and it is funny though it tends to drag towards the end.But I enjoyed it because it is simple and not too much thinking involved.So why not get this one for some relaxed TV moments?

Interesting Facts
Esther Kwan has finally left TVB for good (ok ,maybe not for good),because of money.She is like the No 1 actress of TVb and now that she is gone,I do wonder who else to take over her position?Kenix?Probably faint from exhaustion.Ada?Probably also faint from exhaustion.And now don't you even dare say Charmain,Joyce,Lee San San,Flora Chan,etc.Not even one come close.A great pity indeed because this is one actress that can act better than all of the above named people and she does have a likeable face.And the viewers just love her.A great great loss for TVB,and perhaps this move may bring her more wealth but I do doubt more exposure.For that I admit TVB is a good publicity workshop kinda place,and they do make good serials,most of the time.

You can now see Lawrence as a overall good guy in Heaven Sword And Dragon Sabre.One guy in the list named it as the best TV serial so far for this year.I could only say,"Really?!".I haven't watch it yet and I don't intend to.I don't care if it is the best because Lawrence is totally wrong for the role and I can't imagine Charmaine being able to portray a good girl turned bad girl character.Why Lawrence?He should've played the father and leave Cheung Mo Kei for young actors.The problem with TVB is they never ever give chances to unknowns,and so there might be a Chow Yun Fatt lurking somewhere but it may take 10 years to discover him when they could just hold auditions and take maybe 2 years the most.A great pity indeed.

Interesting Observation
Very interesting indeed.At first,Esther wears very kampung(village) ish clothes and then halfway,she has got enough budget,as a ticket seller to wear the modern clothes at that time,and it gets much more nicer as each episode goes by.Unbelievable and the only flaw with this serial.Other than that,it's quite consistent.The cinema,the songs,etc.

Unimportant Stuff
In Malaysia,and in the old days,people love to talk about haunted cinemas or some cinames built on the Japanese burial ground,etc.The toilet is always the most feared place to be,because it's far away,it's quite and it's dark.And in Malaysia,they always say that the old cinemas will always have extra few chairs by the side,where they do not sell tickets for thsoe seats,They're reserved for ghosts!!

Anyway,now no more such stories.Old cinemas have to give way to much more comfortable and smaller sized cinemas,and much more expensive as well.Or people will watch tapes,or pirated VCDs,no matter how bad the qualities are.

And you'll notice one character in this serial that paints thsoe big poster picture to be hung outside the cinema.We use to have them here but now they prefer posters.It is a dying profession and a dying art,except for some rural places.

One more thing.The cantonese title is Chuen Yuen Moon Jor,which means a Sold out Cinema,which doesn't tally with the English title,A Loving Spirit.the Spirit in question isn't loving at all but I guess it refers to Esther's character and Lawrence's character.





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