VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

A must read, if you don't already know ...








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 some beauty contest.It's about the continuing adventures of two princesses and their loved ones,set in the mid-reign of Emperor Qian Lung,Ching Dynasty,China.

How Long : Too Long.Double the first part,which would be 48 episodes.

Who : Same people and new characters that I do not know actors' names.The original ones like Ruby Lin,Vicki Zhao,Zhou Jie,Tommy/Alec Su ,Fan Bing Bing and other people.New additions include the characters of Heong Fei,Mou Dan,Siew Kim,Ching Yee and the King's mother,Old Buddha.

Remember : I saw the cantonese version so all names in cantonese unlike the review for HZGG I.And this is not a favourable review and so if you're a fan of HZGG II,please do not read.I do not want to receive a hate mail.

The Plot : They have no plot for this one so they used the same plot of the first part,added some stuff and minused out something really important and pivotal that made the first part such a success,CHARM.Terrible story to tell,and I really do not know how to begin.

I am sure you have already saw HZGG I,and am crazy about it.So was I.Anyway,I saw this one first and my hopes of seeing a classic was immediately dashed in the first scene and my fears were confirmed.This is a complete waste of time to watch and I wouldn't even be writing for this if not for the sake of completion,my Sifu asked me to and because I really genuinely liked HZGG I.So this review will be a way to illustrate to you what can go wrong with a sequal.

A few months has passed and the Emperor Dowager,Old Buddha,feared mother of the King is finally home from her long stay at the temple.She was greeted by everybody except our two heroines who again made a mess over everything.She was not impressed and she didn't like the idea of Yi Hong being engaged to Chi Mei and Weng Kei being engaged to Little Swallow.So the wedding is almost off,but the King will not let it be.Besides her there's Ching yee,The Old Buddha's side kick who seemed quite impressed with the antics of Little Swallow and thought she was cute and fun to be with.They became fast friends but of course Ching Yee wanted to make good the relations between Chi Mei and her because she wants Yi Hong for herself,and the King has hinted to Chi Mei to be much more understanding as a woman.She wasn't and quite rightly so.

Anyway,there is this sub plot.A Muslim Princess from a far away land was being offered as a gift to the King,and she was called Heong Fei,so called because of her flowery body odour(a nice smell by the way).The girl had to marry the king and was given a title.But actually she has a BF called Mou Dan who would not let go.And so he chased her to Beijing and when the gang found out about their touching love story,they decided to help smuggle out Heong Fei before she becomes the King's woman.And by the way,the queen wants them dead again and the Old Buddha is again torturing them.

In the end,they helped her escape,the King was very very upset,and angry ,sentenced them to death and they were rescsed again and they ran away hoping to find life somewhere else but the KIng's men and the Queen's men kept following them.At the end,they have to make a choice whether to return to the City of Memories or to move on when they found out the King had already forgiven them and the King came personally to take them back home.


So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe? : Yes,plenty of Ke-Le-Fes in here who does nothing but just to stand there.

The Biggest Change(s): The plot is the same as HZGG I but the characters changed so much from their ideologies,their purposes and their own beliefs.I really can't believe this is HZGG.
So one by one;

Little Swallow : In HZGG I,she was opinionated,sometimes selfless,quite unreasonable but overall cute and nice to watch.In HZGG II,she became the most irritating,unreasonable,annoying,loud character.She just messed things up again and again and again and again.She caused the problems for Chi Mei,and she doesn't even feel sorry for it.Weng Kei had a hard time controlling her and she became like an uncontrollable typhoon in here,bent on destroying everything she touches.And people thought she was cute.I mean misquote one poetry or saying once,fine,twice,ok,thrice,bearable but again and again and again and again just gets to me big time.And when she starts screaming at people,she just wouldn't stop but goes on and on and on and on.Everything about her is a repetition and frankly,I felt like shooting down this annoying and busybody of a "bird".She was quite intelligent in HZGG I,here I am sorry to use such a word but she is plain stupid in everything that she says and touches.I really can't stand her and i wasn't the only one.

Chi Mei : In HZGG I,she was the most giving person and my most favourite character,actually.In HZGG II,she is still as giving but she is one illustration that however giving a woman can be,she can never share her husband with some unknown woman.And it just so happens that that woman is so much better than she is.But the thing is,I saw HZGG I and my first impression of this character was how nice,how feminine,how giving she could be,how intelligent.In here,she does nothing more than cling onto Yi Hong and cry,every ten minutes of the show,again and again and again and again.Of course she should cry.Being beaten,and then almost killed by your own beloved father and then almost sold to be a prostitute and blinded,she should cry,but the way she cried was just too much.The giving selfless Chi Mei in HZGG I became nothing more than an object of hoping to earn pity marks from viewers and I don't like that.

Yi Hong : I Liked this character in HZGG I,though I thought he was a bit wimpish sometimes.Anyway,in here ,he is ok though he cries lot more and is ultra emotional,but only because bad things happened to Chi mei so it's understandable.But somehow I can't help but feel the Yi Hong I knew from HZGG I is like so lost in here,he lost that Ooommphh and he is nothing more than a love sick puppy in here and I don't like it.And a hypocrite as well as i shall explain below.

Weng Kei : This is probably the only character that didn't change much.But he has my greatest sympathy for having to be stuck with a woman like Little Swallow.He deserved someone classier,like Ching Yee.

Queen : Same old thing for this one.I do not see anything new and it is disappointing except for the last episode.Same thing for Yung Ma Ma.

King : Same old thing except he is less grander,less king-ish,less respectable than in HZGG I.Here he is more like a lusty old man,and I hate it how his character has been degraded into one line,lusty old man but it's true.And I don;t like the ending.

Kam Soh : Still crying a lot but frankly,she is bearable.

Lau Ching/Lau Hung : Same old thing only thing time time they had to run away with the gang after the secret is out.Poor people.

The Best Scenes : Some torture scenes,like when they came home late dressed as a eunuch and the Old Buddha saw them and had them beaten non-stop.That was a very good scene and I cheered.I mean what place do they think the palace is?A hotel?

The scene where Little Swallow ran away(again) and was kidnapped by 2 mean people who tortured her.She deserved every single beating because frankly,that girl needs a good smack on her buttocks for the way she behaved.And to think she is a princess representing the Ching Dynasty.

The scene where after they ran away they called the King names like Snoozing Dragon,courtesy of Little Swallow and Weng kei told her right in the face to never ever call his father like that.At least we know Weng kei is a MAN!

But the best scene would be the almost ending scene where the queen leapt on top of Yung ma Ma and tearfully begged for the King to stop.And the expression on that actress when her Yung Ma Ma was being beaten and her own son being taken away,simply classic.That what makes this whole serial worth watching,not because I am a sadist and would like to see the queen tortured but that one scene shows that however conniving a person may be,however mean they are to others,they'll never hurt their own children and they'll always save their trusted sidekick.I almost cried.Very touching,especially Yung ma Ma came forward and said,she was the one who did all the bad things and she was about to be sent off to be chopped off her head when the queen screamed,"wait for me,I'll be coming Yung Ma Ma'.Excellent scene.

The "I don't Get It " Factor : I really do not get this one.The gang plotted to get heong Fei out of the palace because she loved Mou Dan and Mou Dan loved her.Which was strange.because the girl came as a peace offering from her own country,a political pawn and they want to destroy that treaty?They're lucky that the King felt more for his wounded pride than his wounded ego.Ego meaning his wife has ran off with another man and Pride meant that he wanted to save face for his country.
I mean I don't get it?!In HZGG I,when Chi Mei came forward with her true identity,everybody persuaded her to give up her title and status so that everybody involved will not be hurt.But NOW?!It involved an entire nation and the relations between two countries which is politics man!And all they could think is love love love?If I were the ministers,I would've demanded for immediate execution because this is meddling with politics which is absolutely stupid for them to do what they've done.And for Mou Dan to say "I don't care" when Heong Fei asked him "What about our people",was simply irresponsible of him.I understand if Kam Soh or Little Swallow went along with the plan but Yi Hong,Weng Kei and Chi Mei as well?I would have given more credit for relying on their own good sense!

And then a few tapes later,we have a man named Siew Kim,who is actually the brother of Little Swallow who wanted to find his sister and seek revenge on the person who killed his entire family,that is the king.And what did Yi Hong told him?Change of tune here.Now he says "forgiveness.let it be,let go".Why didn't he said the same thing with Heong Fei's situation?Because he didn't want to entertain the idea that if that man tried to kill the king and was caught,his hopes of a formal wedding with Chi Mei would be dashed?What a hypocrite!

And then the Queen.I mean she is still one angry woman,and the more she does what she did,the more she hurt her son's chances to be King.So why can't she just stop?I'll tell you why.Plain jealousy and I too would do so when i have this "Bird" flying everywhere in front of my face and saying things without thinking and with no discipline whatsoever,I too would want to break her wings.

The Old Buddha,seemed like an intelligent reasonable woman,and she was so foolish so as to believe that they all confessed to plotting to kill the King when she had tortured them overnight??

And this one scene.Chi Mei's fingers after being tortured was all swollen and she almost died.But she survived and she even played the piano.And guess what?Our hero,Yi Hong took her hands every so gently and his eyes was full of tears.Isn't that a bit over acting?

I don't know what's in their mind that they thought the King would forgive them after what they've done.I mean the King treated them ever so nicely,gave them freedom,let them have their ways and they turned Sau Fong Jai into a rowdy bar of some sort and ,they would go around,lied to him,acted in front of him,and did so many things to make him looked like a foolish king!Where is the respect?And they expect the King to be so touched by his wife's story with another man that he'll just forgive them without doing anything first to let them know he is the KING?What kind of children has this mighty and powerful man got?

The idea that these people could just walk in and out of the residences of the princesses.It's all so fake.Chinese held above everything else proprieteriness,good manners and trust and here there is none.

The idea that they could smuggle people in and out like that.I thought Yi Hong was supposed to be a sensible and morally upright man,whose job is to protect the King's safety.Here bringing people in and out of the palace is utterly irresponsible of him.And to have Weng Kei participating in it is simply awful.Those men could have been assassins.They never really checked their backgrounds,just believeing them on the strength of their words.Hello!We are talking about the palace here not some amusement park!

The songs that they sing.In HZGG I,it was very suitable because all were traditional songs but here,all comes with drums,guitars,organs and plenty of back-up singers.It was really funny and I wasn't the only one who laughed.

Kam Soh is supposed to be the best friend of Chi Mei,though she may've been a maid to her.Chi Mei clearly loved this maid of hers.This one I do not get.If there is so much love,wouldn't Chi Mei insists that Kam Soh calls her by her name,and not some title/status?Clearly if I was Kam Soh I too would be constantly reminded that I am maid and always will be.

In HZGG I,Chi Mei bequethed Kam Soh to Yi Hong,thinking she was dying.Very noble of her.But I really do wonder,what in the maid's right mind that she thought he will marry her,a maid who can't even call her Siu Che as Chi Mei?And it was very hurtful of him when he broke off the engagement and gave lame excuses like "I am actually helping you because I care" routine.Typical response of a man I guess but this is so unbelievably corny!

And why can't Siew Kim marry Kam Soh?Why must we be reminded that a servant must marry someone of her own "class'?I mean I have nothing against Lau Hung(or is it Lau Ching?I am confused with their names),but hey,why must it be this way?

The Make up in part one was simple.Part two was quite nice up until almost the end where the girls' suffered from over make up,especially Kam Soh,like 5 inches thick and she even dressed nicer than her Master,Chi Mei!Very unreal.

The dresses are all still great but why can't the Queen be given more wardrobe?She is always,from Part I to Part II,in that yellow outfit.

Why must the King be portrayed as begging them to come home?Don't he have other children as loyal?I mean nice scene but I just don't like it that a great man like that had to be downsized to their level when in the first place,it was their fault.They have betrayed something sacred between the King and them and that is trust.They used his love and affection for them to help total strangers and hurt their own loved ones and the King has to come and beg for them to come home?And they went home to great cheers!Everybody cheered!Totally unbelievable.

Though the scene where Yung ma MA was beaten and Chi Mei begged the King to spare their lives was very touching,in real life this would mean that the Queen would not have any say anymore,which is a direct contrast to HZGG I.We know the Queen has important relations because after all,you can't be a nobody and be a Queen.So there goes for power play because if I were the servants,I would not need to heed her commands anymore since she "lost" to these pests.Poor woman,I understand her anger but frankly,I like the ending where they just be friends.Why wanna fight?But in reality,the Queen's life in tbe palace will have no more status anymore.

Little Swallow was so angry when her things was stolen and they all cried foul play.The degree may have been lesser but just a few episodes before and a few episodes later dear Little Swallow herself stole some fruits.Why the double standards?

There are a lot of pulling of ranks in this Part II.Which was amazing.For a princess that insists that her servants sit with her to eat at the table,she could so easily flaunt her title around to get what she wants.In the end,she is the same as Old Buddha and the Queen.

The first scene when they were escorted to be beheaded and the ordinary folks all knelt down and said "please spare the People's Princesses".Excuse me?What did they do to deserve such respect?I can't remember anything from Part I and in Part II,though they have saved some,it wasn't until after they were running away when they were rescued by their BFs.

Everytime they're in trouble Ching Yee is there to help.The funny thing was they didn't really know her and when she helped them they had this expression on like,why are you helping us look.It was funny.I was hoping of something more out of Ching Yee.Quite a disappointment in that respect.

The Most Hated Character : Not Yung Ma Ma,that would be for HZGG I but rather,MOU DAN!I mean what a wimp!A man that would beat another woman in some uncontrollable fashion because his GF is somewhere else is simply unforgivable.What did Heong Fei see in this man?There is nothing noble about him,or his intentions.He's like one big kid throwing tantrums and mind you,he is a very strong kid.He reminds me of a bull and a bull has more sense than this man.

The Most Beloved Characters : Different from my choices with Part I.I like Ching yee,she's so nice and Siew Kim.they do deserve each other I guess.

The Most Annoying Character : In HZGG II,she is THE FORCE and here,I'll call her THE PEST.One big busybody who had nothing better to do than to be drunk,cause some problems,scream,yell,kick,that is that bird,Little Swallow.I can't stand her in here and she is plain annoying.

The Most Level Headed Character : Weng Kei.I have nothing much to say about him in HZGG I,and he's not exactly an outstanding character.But here,he is almost the voice of reason,but then he had to go along with their ridiculous plans and betray his own father for what?!To help two lost souls?I really do fear that if he ever becomes king,it will be big problem because with a wife like his,how is he going to extend the empire?By being nice?

The Most Tearful Pair : Chi Mei and Yi Hong,they cried so much I kinda forgot why they cried in the first place.

Most Favourite Pair : I like the idea of Siew Kim and Kam Soh,but then it became Siew Kim and Ching Yee,that we have to wait for HZGG III.

The rest I really do not care about.

Best Performances : However bad this review is,it is as to the storyline and the characters.Can't blame the actors when they are given a weak script.But they did all they could and so I guess in some ways,they're all good.

A special mention to the Queen,this actress is really very good.

Worst Performances : None here but everybody tends to over act a bit.Like for example,in HK serials,to express great shock they look shock and they couldn't say a word.In western movie,it is almost the same.In Indian films,they sing.In this serial,they would always walk three steps back,almost falling but not falling.They act too much with their bodies that they sometimes tend to forget that they should also act normal,not over act in that way.

Is it worth Renting : Those who saw HZGG I would want to watch this.Those who didn't watch HZGG I,would want to watch this because of the popularity of it.I mean the actors became so famous and it single handedly launched the career of two young actresses to super star status.But frankly,is this HZGG II worth your time?

The answer is please watch HZGG I first so that this will not leave a bad impression.If you must then watch this one to see why HZGG I is such a classic and this one is such a pale comparison to the predecessor.And then feel really angry that the writers and the producers to give us nothing but nonsense,and used our affection and love for the characters in HZGG I to earn more money.If you really do want to do a sequal,make sure it is better,start with a good script.This one has a very weak script,that I would call it a failure from the first scene because they drag and drag and drag for hours and hours and hours.Like this ultra long review.I taped the show and I fast forward like 40 minutes of utter nonsense and repetitions and I still didn't miss a thing.HZGG I may have been long winded but it wasn't boring.This was so boring I almost wanted to stop watching if not for a friend who wanted me to write something on this one and my policy is if I didn't watch it,I won't write for it and so i had to watch it and it was pure torture.

Notwithstanding what I have said,you'll still love this show and you'll probably hate me for this review.I really do not care because it's time somone who is not influenced by her affection for HZGG I say something truthful and honest.This sequal is absolutely horrible.I pity the actors and actresses in it,because they had so much potential,and they had so much success from HZGG I and then they had to do this.I feel angry for the writer Chung yao who gave us a brilliant HZGG I,with great sceneries,a majestic view of the palace,a touching storyline all in 24 episodes and then she had to write this one and spoilt her perfect record.Come to think of it,Princess Xin Yue is even better than this one.

The problem with the writer is that in all her books,she has always been trying to import modern views and outlook in life into the 1700s which is totally wrong concept.In here there are plenty.And there are no real villians in here,the only bad guys are themselves actually.I was hoping to see Ching Yee as the bad person,conniving character but the writer deemed it fit to have this character charmed by the gang's antics.And I was so very disappointed but she ended being my favourite character in here.

Don't waste your time with this one.Just go for HZGG I and you won't miss a single thing.

Interesting Facts : There was a Xiang Fei,or Heong Fei .But the question is whether was she ever the concubine of Emperor Qian Lung?The Chinese authorities said yes but the Muslim country from where she was said no.There were many conflicting stories and frankly that should've been the basis of this story and it would have been much more interesting.I mean if Heong Fei were to die that would be much better but the writer wanted a happy ending and this is just too corny for me.

Anyway,some said she was married to Ali something,the King of that state and when the Ching troops entered,she killed herself when her husband died.

Some said the King was so smitten with stories of her flowery scent(ALL true),that she was ordered to be captured.She killed herself on the way to Beijing.

Some said she was captured and the King tried to win her heart but she died of depression.

Some said she became his concubine and lived until her 50s.

Which is the true one I do not know but I am sure there is no Mou Dan and if this woman ever lived she would have rather killed herself than disgrace her country by running away to live happily ever after with him,forgetting her duty and her responsibilities and their people,something Little Swallow will never be able to comprehend.

There will be a HZGG III,I guess continuing with the story and I hope a better script.

Interesting Fiction : Frankly,if the King's mother is really Old Buddha,the gang would have been sentenced to death and there was nothing the King could do.

But the real Old Buddha lived about after Qian Lung's reign and believe me,she would never have Little Swallow beside her and calling her a grandma.She would have personally chopped off her head.

Sad News : [July 2000] You must've noticed that I have so far said nothing about the actress that played Heong Fei.Out of respect to this young actress that died tragically at a young tender age of mid 20's in such a horrible accident,I have decided to refrain myself from commenting about her performance and her character,Heong Fei in a critical way.Quite tragic,so young and she has left us too soon.Sometimes things like this just doesn't make sense.

So people,if you're reading this right now,never ever sleep by leaning onto the door of a moving vehicle,without making sure it is closed tightly and locked.If not one sudden swerve and you might be flung out of the car and then ran over by another oncoming vehicle,which was what happened to this young actress.

A great pity indeed.May she rest in peace.


3 comments:

  1. Hello,

    love your review, couldn't agree more, why you didn't write review of HZGGIII? I did not watch the whole drama, a bit here and there, a few episode from youtube, don not like the series very much as in HZGGI, not because the character roles change, (I don't mind with new actor and actress in HZGG3) but too bad, they didn't have a good story line,
    I walk in coincidence in your blog, and love it very much, keep up the good work ^-^

    Nissa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! I wrote this so many years ago when the series was just released. Why didn't I write for HZGG III?

    Because I didn't see it. By HZGGII I decided not to watch this crappy franchise anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous27.2.10

    ur review sucks

    ReplyDelete

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