INCREDIBLY EVER AFTER – Blu-ray review

Set in a historical fantasy version of ancient China, “Incredibly Ever After” weaves a campy, delightful tale that explores the relationship between a husband and wife with a unique twist – they are super heroes.

Once upon a time, the people of a city in a certain ancient kingdom suffered from injustices inflicted upon them from a variety of super-powered villains. The local authorities, when faced with a threat they lacked the manpower or skills to confront, would often call upon their city’s mysterious guardian angel – a masked super hero known as Gazer Warrior to save the day. With his swirling cape, powerful eye-beams, and terrifying strength, Gazer Warrior strikes fear into the hearts of villains everywhere.

However, Gazer Warrior is not the only light of hope for the downtrodden citizens. There is another fighter for justice who lurks in the night – Aroma Woman, a super-powered lady who protects women with her seductive scent, incredible physical strength, and dangerous energy blasts.

The people of the land love both Gazer Warrior and Aroma Woman. But it’s a sort of Team Edward vs. Team Jacob situation as obsessive fans of each hero clamor for the pair to fight and determine who is the best once and for all. As for the heroes in question? Well, it was love at first sight. With refreshing speed, Gazer Warrior and Aroma Woman hit it off and proceed to have a charming whirlwind romance, eventually deciding to marry and settle down. They hang up their capes, tuck away their masks, and find a tranquil village in which to live happily ever after.

Years pass, and we find out happy couple living a quiet, but amusing life as regular citizens. They are happy, however the peaceful life is beginning to wear them out a bit. Aroma Woman is hankering for a child, and Gazer Warrior is experiencing some strange fluctuations in his super powers.  They need a little excitement in their lives to get their blood pumping again and revive their relationship.

When an ostentatious procession of military and martial arts masters arrives in their village, Gazer Warrior and Aroma may just find the excitement they are looking for. Their remote village has been selected to host a martial arts tournament. Warriors from across the land will be competing and showing off their various disciplines. It’s an exciting event, and our super-powered couple are just the ones to help organize it.

But there is something sinister going on as well. An undercurrent of evil lurks with the arrival of this tournament, and Gazer Warrior and Aroma Woman may find their marriage suddenly strained and their love for each other tested in unexpected ways. Will they be able to figure out what darkness is hidden within the tournament? Can they maintain their marriage, keep their identities a secret, save the world, and start a family?

I enjoyed this feature and was smiling when it was over. My main impression of it is that it is simply so… good-natured. Is it the greatest action movie ever? No. The greatest super-hero film? Not even close. Yet there is still something low-key and nice about it. It’s a clean, campy comedy that doesn’t go over-the-top with the slapstick, yet still has plenty of absurd humor. Everyone plays their characters and dialog straight, taking their situations at face value and steering perfectly normal conversations into the realm of the ridiculous without batting an eyelash.

There are a good number of fighting and action scenes (mostly toward the end), but no blood or gore. I would almost say this could be a family film, though there are sexual jokes delivered mainly through innuendo. The special effects are all over the place. There are some lovely energy mists, and the dazzling blasts of Aroma Woman’s powers, but then there are also cheesy CG roof-top running effects paired with silly 8-bit video game music.

The lead couple are an extremely likeable pair with a believable relationship, even when you take into account their fantastic super powers. A great amount of time is spent building the foundation of their relationship, so they really feel like a married couple with fleshed-out personalities. They have that aura of comfortable familiarity with each other that feels authentic and really becomes the heart of the film. Even after years of marriage, Gazer Warrior and Aroma Woman still have much to learn about each other. Do they still have what it takes to be superheroes?

Video:
This package contains both the Blu-ray and DVD editions of the feature. For my review, I watched the 1080p 16×9 Blu-Ray. This film looks beautiful. The picture is crisp, the colors are vibrant, yet natural, and the contrast is deep. The special effects, a combination of nice and deliberately-campy CG, all looked fantastic. I have absolutely no complains with how this movie is presented.

Audio:
There is only one audio track in this disc: a Dolby True HD Cantonese 5.1 track. While most Chinese or Hong Kong movies I’ve seen are dubbed  – they often dub in the voices even in the native language  all the actors are all speaking anyway – so the lip movements don’t quite match the dialog, I am still glad there is no English dub. English is even more difficult to match to the lip movements and I always find this lack of sync distracting.

Extras:
I was disappointed to find very few extras on this disc. All we get are a few theatrical trailers for the film and some trailers for other Funimation releases. There are some outtakes during the ending credits, but with all the fighting and special effects featured in this movie, I hoped we’d get some kind of BTS featurette or something. No such luck.

 

Miscellaneous:
This is a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. There are 2 discs packed into one Blu-ray keepcase, which slides into a Blu-ray cardboard sleeve.

Film Value:
“Incredibly Ever After” is a charming, good-natured comedy that plays around with super hero tropes  and martial arts action. There are some plot similarities to the animated film, “The Incredibles” (even the title would suggest as much) delivered with whimsical Chinese flair. I don’t think this film will win any awards for spectacular effects or stunning originality, but it is a pleasant piece that tries hard with reasonable success. In the midst of all the absurdity and fighting, this film has a good heart.

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