If a film boasts giant creatures, you can bet I’ll be eager to check it out. I’ve mentioned many times before that I’m a creature-feature junkie, so if the beasts are larger than life (literally), then I’m set to be happy. The fine folks at Well Go USA released a film today titled CHRONICLES OF A GHOSTLY TRIBE, which features just such monsters. And while it’s not a perfect film, it is still entertaining and fun, a decent addition to the genre.
If you are not familiar with CHRONICLES OF A GHOSTLY TRIBE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:
The Mongolian Border, 1979: Massive fossils of unknown creatures are discovered in the mountains, and the research team assigned to excavate the remains includes acclaimed Professor Yang (Wang Qingxiang), Hu Bayi (Mark Chao), and Ping (Yao Chen), the professor’s beautiful daughter. When a freak explosion triggers a rockslide, only a handful of explorers survive the fall to the mountain’s floor…unearthing an ancient temple and the hideous creatures waiting within.
Now living a quiet but tormented life as a librarian, Hu studies demonology manuscripts, seeking answers for that fateful day. Little does he know Professor Yang has just been found wandering the mountains thousands of miles from where he supposedly died; a young woman with amnesia was just discovered in a recently-uncovered tomb; and a Northern Chinese mining town has just been ravaged by giant, ravenous beasts…
CHRONICLES OF A GHOSTLY TRIBE is shot very well and has a great appearance onscreen. The breathtaking landscape is captured in vivid detail by the cinematography, and the camerawork is top notch. Add in a nice dose of super CG animation, and the result is a collection of spectacular imagery.
The acting is nice as well. Although nobody gives a breakout performance, there are no wooden portrayals or cardboard characters that should have been shelved.
As mentioned, the special effects in CHRONICLES OF A GHOSTLY TRIBE are excellent. The CG imagery is crisp and well done. My sole complaint about the effects is not so much the execution as it is the concept behind the creatures that attack the mining town. Instead of terrifying, they look like nothing more than recycled werewolves from another film.
The biggest problem I find with this film is in the story itself. To be honest, it’s pretty choppy, a jumbled mashup of several different storylines. This actually wouldn’t have been so bad if the writers had chosen to follow-through on one or two of them; but instead, the film comes across as a picture that’s trying too hard. The ‘resolution’ of the story makes you scratch your head, and I’m still not sure if my assumptions are accurate.
There are also a couple of inconsistencies that stand out. For example, the legend starts off by calling the creatures that came to earth aliens…but then later they are referred to as demons. Later still, it’s back to aliens. The flip-flopping got annoying.
But I can’t deny I enjoyed CHRONICLES OF A GHOSTLY TRIBE otherwise. It’s over-the-top fun with some hair-raising moments and plenty of tension. The action is entertaining, and the visuals are excellent. Overall, I recommend the film for what it is, and I suggest giving it a shot. If you can overlook the storyline flaws, you’re in for a treat.