• The Human Goddess (88 Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: July 9th, 2018.
    Director: Meng Hua Ho
    Cast: Li Ching, Peng Peng, Feng Chin
    Year: 1972
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    The Human Goddess - Movie Review:

    Here’s an odd one, from the director of exploitation and genre pictures like Oily Maniac, Black Magic, Black Magic 2 and Mighty Peking Man comes… The Human Goddess? Yep, Meng Hua Ho was the man behind this 1972 Shaw Brothers production, a bizarre but entertaining mix of comedy, romance and fantasy elements that, if nothing else, serves as a charming showcase for its leading lady, Li Ching.

    Li Cheng plays Seventh Sister, and she’s quite literally sent from Heaven down to Earth where she’s tasked with exploring Hong Kong – which is exactly what she does for a while, she just sort of cruises around and checks out the scene. It isn’t long before the realizes that the Earth she expected to see, a wonderful place where everyone is happy and no one is left wanting, isn’t the Earth she’s not exploring. She sees firsthand the effects of poverty and greed and learns that humans are not always completely honest or erstwhile creatures.

    After witnessing a robbery and getting the kind of attention that a pretty lady doesn’t necessarily want from male goofballs, she befriends a kind young man named Dong (Feng Chin). They hit it off and she learns that he and his friend Bull (Peng Peng) run an orphanage that, unless they come into some money and soon, is destined to close! Nobody wants to see those orphans out on the street but that’s exactly what’s going to happen if they don’t pay off their debts to a shifty real estate mogul. Thankfully, Dong’s got Seventh Sister around to help…

    As strange as it is breezy and, yes, charming The Human Goddess is a reasonably wacky affair that serves as both light entertainment and a neat snapshot of early seventies Hong Kong (the movie sometimes feels like a bit of a travelogue as we wander Hong Kong with Seventh Sister). Li Cheng is front and center in all of this. She’s pretty, she’s charming and she’s prone to breaking into song whenever the opportunity presents itself – and to be fair, she’s got a sweet voice. If her dance moves aren’t quite as intense as those seen in some of the Hollywood song and dance films, so be it, but she’s got enough charisma and likeability working in her favor that even the local birds seem quite taken with her!

    Seventh Sister is also a bit of a prankster, a quality the actress seems to enjoy exploiting, and as such we see her use her otherworldly abilities throughout the movie, typically to comedic effect. Some of this comedy works, some of it doesn’t and some of it probably gets lost in translation but it’s at least always interesting to see where Meng Hua Ho decides to take the picture. The optical effects used to bring this side of the movie to life aren’t ever all that convincing, they’re very much a product of their time – but there’s no shame in an early seventies movie looking like an early seventies movie.

    This might not be the movie that comes to mind when you think ‘Shaw Brothers’ but The Human Goddess is nevertheless an entertaining and, dare I say it, whimsical picture that’s enjoyable enough that those who have a soft spot for oddities like this should enjoy.

    The Human Goddess – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 1080p 2.35.1 widescreen transfer on this 25GB Blu-ray disc is pretty solid. There might have been some minor DNR applied, resulting in some slight softness and some slightly waxy skin tones, but it’s not a deal breaker and it seems less noticeable here than on some of the other releases from this line, which can only be a good thing for fans. The image is pretty much pristine, showing virtually no print damage at all, while the film’s frequently garish color scheme looks great here. Black levels are solid and there are no problems with any compression artifacts. Detail and texture are quite solid in some shots and noticeably soft in others, often times it would seem due to the optical effects employed in the picture.

    The only audio option on the disc is an LPCM Mono track in Mandarin Chinese with subtitles provided in English only. The levels are well balanced and aside from some minor sibilance in a few spots, there are no issues. Hiss and distortion are never a problem and there’s some good bounce to the score when it kicks in at certain times.

    There are no extras on the disc but we do get an insert booklet of liner notes from Calum Waddell that offer up some welcome background information on this one, and its leading lady – well worth reading as there isn’t a load of English language information out there about this one. We also get a reversible cover sleeve and, if purchased directly from 88 Films, a limited-edition slipcover.

    The Human Goddess – The Final Word:

    The Human Goddess is a genuine Shaw Brothers oddity! It’s definitely a genre mashup, mixing comedy and romance and oddball fantasy elements together in sometimes unexpected ways. Those looking for the martial arts action or horror movies that the studio is really known for might be left scratching their heads but this one is pretty entertaining in its own right, even if it isn’t any sort of masterpiece.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Human Goddess Blu-ray review screen captures!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      Boy, I can tell I have been spending WAY too much time on the blu-ray.com forums. The word “Slipcover” made me throw up in my mouth a little.
    1. MartinDeeWan's Avatar
      MartinDeeWan -
      When I started watching this film it was like watching an asian version of a Judy Garland or Julie Andrews movie.
      If Vincente Minnelli & Blake Edwards had co-directed a mashup of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music in Hong Kong, that would be The Human Goddess.
      Plus there was some funny and unexpected gratuitous nudity, so there you go, to remind you were still watching a 70s movie.