Havoc in Heaven 大闹天宫 ~ Chinese Movies&TV


Today let’s take a brief introduction of a famous Chinese movie named “Havoc in Heaven”.The film Uproar in Heaven (Da Nao Tiangong) is a lavish production of Shanghai Animation Film Studio. It is divided into two episodes, and was finished in 1961 and 1964 separately. Adapted from the first seven chapters of the masterpiece Journey to the West, the film is the best animated interpreter of the classic Chinese novel. It is directed by the reputed Wan Brothers, the founders and pioneers of the Chinese animation industry. Wan Laiming, one of the directors, is the chief adaptor of the animated movie. The two-episode two-hour film took the dozens of animation creators four years to complete.

Uproar in Heaven won great acclaim after putting on the screen. It received Best Film Award at the 13th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the 12th London International Film Festival respectively, enjoying high reputation both home and abroad.

The animated film integrates elements of traditional Chinese operas, vividly depicting the household character Sun Wukong (Monkey King) on the screen. In terms of the design, background, and coloring, the film learns from the features of ancient painting, temple art, and folk new-year painting. The characters and background designed by the renowned arts and crafts artists Zhang Guangyu and Zhang Zhengyu are featuring strong Chinese characteristics – romantic, exaggerated, and graceful. The design of the characters in the film learns from that of traditional Peking Opera, for instance, the peach-shaped face and harelip of Sun Wukong, the black eye sockets of Mighty Magic Spirit (Julingshen), the arched eyebrows of Jade Emperor, etc. The film features smooth storyline, compact rhythm, lively characters, and attractive story.

The incidental music in the film is also full of Chinese characteristics. Traditional music instruments like drum and cymbal are mostly used in the fighting scenes, which vividly present the agility of Monkey King and the magnificence of the scene.

A foreign media reviews, “Uproar in Heaven has the beautifulness presented in Disney works, yet the design art excels that of the Disney movies, namely, it expresses traditional Chinese artistic style to its full extent.” “It’s the real masterpiece of cartoon movies.”


上海Shàng Hǎi: the largest city by population in China, and the largest city proper by population in the world.
孙悟空Sūn Wùkōng: also known as the Monkey King, is a main character in the 16th century novel Journey to the West and in many later stories and adaptations.

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