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Fly Me to Polaris
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a lobby card from Fly Me to Polaris
Chinese: 星願  
Year: 1999  
Director: Jingle Ma Chor-Sing  
Cast: Richie Ren (Yam Yin-Chai), Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi, William So Wing-Hong, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Sheren Teng Shui-Man, Sandy Lamb San-San
The Skinny: Ultra-manipulative weepie uses the hammer and still manages to bring home the goods. Cecilia Cheung has the makings of a major star.
by Kozo:

A summer hit in HK, this romantic fantasy from Jingle Ma is shamelessly manipulative, incredibly cheesy, and totally sappy. It goes to extreme lengths to yank your chains and push your buttons...and it works. Amazingly, this manufactured piece of sap is also an entertaining, compelling movie.

An HK version of Ghost and Always, Fly Me to Polaris stars Richie Ren as Onion, a blind-mute who’s in love with his nurse Autumn (Cecilia Cheung). Before any feelings can be exchanged, he dies in a Meet Joe Black kinda way and proceeds to win a celestial contest. This flimsy plot device states he can have one wish - which he uses to live again. They deny him that, but give him the opportunity to return for one week.

There’s a catch: no one will recognize him and he will be unable to reveal his true identity to anyone. He returns nonetheless for the chance to see Autumn, and subsequently suffers untold buckets of heartache and pain as every last facet of his resurrection prevents him from reuniting with his stricken love, who apparently loved him too.

Where this movie fails is pretty obvious. Despite great production values, the characters lack depth, the story complexity, and the film an overall quality that can only be described as panache. This year’s When I Look Upon the Stars was similar in its sap potential, but it had a smart, stylish quality that made the synthetic mush easier to swallow. Fly Me to Polaris is more similar to the hokey and overwrought Love and the City. Like that film, the sap and sorrow is thrown at us straight up, and the chance for alienation is quite high.

Still, Jingle Ma punches all the right emotional buttons and they certainly cast the right people. Taiwanese pop star Richie Ren has a sympathetic quality and the remarkable Cecilia Cheung is quite moving as Autumn. It hurts to say it, but this is a workable piece of commercial crap. This is a made-to-order date movie with pretty stars and palatable pathos. Romantic drama fans will dig this film, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but I wasn’t unmoved. (Kozo 1999)


19th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best New Artist (Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi)
• Winner - Best Original Score (Peter Kam Pui-Tak)
• Winner - Best Original Song ("Sing Yu Sum Yuen" performed by Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi)
• Nomination - Best Picture
• Nomination - Best Actress (Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi)
• Nomination - Best Cinematography (Jingle Ma Chor-Sing, Chan Kwok-Hung)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Golden Harvest Entertainment Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen