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Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) - BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations (Released)

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 (Edited)

The Monkey King Fan Project presents…

Nezha - Conquers the Dragon King (1979)
AKA
Ne Zha Nao Hai
AKA
Little Nezha Fights Great Dragon Kings (BBC title)
AKA
Le Prince Nezha Triomphe du Roi Dragon (French title)

BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

Three versions of Nezha exists that I know of - the official Chinese 4:3 DVD, the theatrical 2.35:1 version & the BBC 1.66:1 version.

The official Chinese DVD of Nezha is actually (surprisingly) good quality, picture is great and subtitles are good… The only problem is maybe that it is too dark resulting in crushed blacks in dark areas/scenes.
But it’s only the 4:3 version in Mandarin, and while it generally presents the most picture information (like an open matte version), there are some differences in the other versions (besides the language dubs) that I feel make them worth preserving.

However, don’t expect great quality, these other versions are basically only available on VHS or poor (bootleg) DVD’s…

The theatrical 2.35:1 version has different compositions in the intro and in some places in the movie itself.

The BBC version has a different/re-cut intro but otherwise seems to be cropped/zoomed from the 2.35:1 version.

The French (VHS) version is a strange one… It has the Chinese theatrical 2.35:1 video, but the audio dub seems to be based on the English VHS version, complete with VHS jingle… And because the BBC cut has it’s own unique intro, it’s rather strange watching the Chinese intro with the audio completely out of sync, only after the intro the audio fits… Weird. (This makes me wonder if there is a different French dub, since I know Nezha had a theatrical release in France, and why would that be based on the BBC VHS version?)

I know that other language dubs exist, but unless someone else comes forward with them or is willing to hunt them down they won’t be included.

Specs:

Theatrical 2.35:1 version mkv
Video: 704*300 x264
Audio: Mandarin, Japanese AC3
Subs: English

BBC 1.66:1 version mkv
Video: 704*424 x264
Audio: English, French (hopefully) AC3

Bonus material:
HQ scans of the following -
-French theatrical program
-French lobby cards
-French theatrical poster (hopefully)
-BBC & French VHS covers

TODO:
-Sync French audio
-Sync English subs

Screenshots comparing the three versions, in order - official DVD, BBC VHS, 2.35:1 version.
As you can see, the intro was recomposited for all versions (also recut for BBC version), the underwater scene has different background/foreground in these versions, the fight scene shows that the official DVD generally has the most picture information.

The Monkey King - Uproar In heaven (1965) Restoration/Preservation Project

Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

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Hello, Satanika..Hows the project going ? I have been looking for a clean version of this chineese classic for a long time.My favorite version is the french one, the narration is better and the vocabulary used to describe the story makes more sense...Do you think there is hope to have a french version ?

Thanks

Daniel

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Yes I will get it done at some point.. in the near future hopefully.. ;)
Not sure what you mean with 'clean version' though, as I said before the official DVD is very good and will be superior to these versions in almost every way, this is basically for completionists or those who have some special attachment to the other language dubs - of which (only) the English, French and Japanese has found their way into my hands.
..but in short - yes. ;)

The Monkey King - Uproar In heaven (1965) Restoration/Preservation Project

Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

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 (Edited)

Interesting it seems the 2:35:1 version has the most picture information.  Most animated films are done in 4:3 format and have the top and bottom chopped off to create a letterbox or anamorphic theater version.

There are obviously some films composed in widescreen for animation like the Studio Ghibli Films, pre ghibli topcraft like Naausicaa.  And of course limited Disney films were composed for widescreen viewing before the modern era.

Like Sleeping Beauty being composed for 70mm and being wider than 2:35:1.

 

This and monkey king have beautiful  hand drawn cel animation.  With all that is known of anime in the west i am surprised Chinese animation remains unknown, or Korean.  Today Singapore animation is used in a great deal of japan animation and the US but the quality is so poor to compare it to this would be criminal.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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skyjedi2005 said:

This and monkey king have beautiful  hand drawn cel animation.  With all that is known of anime in the west i am surprised Chinese animation remains unknown, or Korean.  Today Singapore animation is used in a great deal of japan animation and the US but the quality is so poor to compare it to this would be criminal.

I blame the cultural revolution. Nezha was probably the height of Chinese animation unfortunately, it was all downhill afterwards.
Early Chinese animation was actually the inspiration for Japanese anime as I understand it.
At least we have Uproar In Heaven and this to give us a glimpse of what might have been..

The Monkey King - Uproar In heaven (1965) Restoration/Preservation Project

Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

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 (Edited)

skyjedi2005 said:

Interesting it seems the 2:35:1 version has the most picture information. 

In the first shot satanika posted it does.  In the second and third shots it has much less.  It looks like a cropped 4:3 original to me.  Perhaps the intro was zoomed to focus on the cockerel, if that is what it is. 

EDIT:  Well, IMDB has it 35mm, 2.35:1, with anamorphic as the cinematographic process.  Usually you have extra picture information if you use Super 35 and open the mattes.  In which case, what does anamorphic mean in this context? 

I have never seen this.  It looks really interesting.  I shall have to track down a copy.  I love animation.  Thanks for the thread, satanika!

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Where would one get a hold of the 2:35:1 version of this, where to get the restored Chinese DVD.  Is it in NTSC  or PAL ?

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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My versions are not yet released, with luck I'll have time to finish the French sync this month.
The official Nezha DVD is not really restored I guess, it's just from a pretty good source. Worst feature of the transfer is the crushed blacks. Try yesasia or even ebay. Chinese DVDs are usually PAL.

The Monkey King - Uproar In heaven (1965) Restoration/Preservation Project

Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

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Hi satanika

did you ever publish the BBC version of this? I'm searching for a copy for my wife, who only has the mandarin version. She only speaks Cantonese so would prefer the eng dub.

Thanks

 

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I was rushing to finish this little project and was about to release it when I discovered I had made a mistake resulting in some blown out whites in the last part of the film. I didn't have time to redo it at that point.

I don't have as much time for this kind of work anymore though unfortunately, however these and other projects are definitely not abandoned. I will get them finished and out there at some point. I can't say exactly when though, sorry.

* If someone wants to help with subtitle editing/syncing that would help immensely

* If someone can capture SECAM VHS that would be an excellent help also

This would speed things up A LOT

The Monkey King - Uproar In heaven (1965) Restoration/Preservation Project

Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) BBC 1.66:1 & Theatrical 2.35:1 preservations

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Is there an HD version or have there only ever been SD broadcasts ?

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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hello, is this project finished and downloadable? it's great.

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If you still need help syncing subtitles I’d be very happy to help! I love the old BBC version 😃

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Smrgol said:

If you still need help syncing subtitles I’d be very happy to help! I love the old BBC version 😃

Yeah, I’ve never been able to find the BBC version, so I’m hopeful this project keeps going. Though that is greedy of me, as I’ve already had the wonderful gift of the Uproar in Heaven project (which is the other hugely significant animation of my childhood: I think both of them were showing during the same Channel 4 film festival back when I first came to the UK as a baby in the early 80s).

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was there ever a home video release in the theatrical ratio?

Raccoons

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slideyfoot said:

Smrgol said:

If you still need help syncing subtitles I’d be very happy to help! I love the old BBC version 😃

Yeah, I’ve never been able to find the BBC version, so I’m hopeful this project keeps going. Though that is greedy of me, as I’ve already had the wonderful gift of the Uproar in Heaven project (which is the other hugely significant animation of my childhood: I think both of them were showing during the same Channel 4 film festival back when I first came to the UK as a baby in the early 80s).

There was a pretty terrible copy of the BBC dub on Youtube about 10 years ago - wish I’d tried to download it back then 😭

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Smrgol said:

There was a pretty terrible copy of the BBC dub on Youtube about 10 years ago - wish I’d tried to download it back then 😭

I used to have the Nezha BBC dub, sad I didn’t manage to rescue it before my mother taped over it years ago. But meh, I’m sure it is floating around somewhere on the internet, just have to hope it emerges. 😃

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The film now has an official 2K transfer and English subtitles (which are possibly different from those on the Taiwanese DVD, but I don’t have that to compare them), which have been available from IP addresses in the UK and Ireland for some months in an online Chinese Cinema Season.

It is in 2.39:1, when, considering how it looks to have been made in 1.375:1 and protected for 2.39:1, it could have been optimised for 16:9 TVs by presenting it in 1.7̇:1, and that wouldn’t have shown anything we weren’t meant to see and wouldn’t loose anything essential. Less tolerable than that (which does reproduce how it was shown in cinemas), it suffers very badly from DVNR (which films in cinemas around 1980 definitely would not have had).

Yet, considering the obscurity of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio productions outside Chinese-speaking countries, and the attitude of the studio’s current owners to its back catalogue, I can’t imagine this film ever getting a Criterion-worthy treatment, and one has to grateful that it hasn’t been subjected to the same kind of “restoration” that Uproar in Heaven is now only officially available in.

Mentioned on the film’s own page is that one of the season’s organisers is looking for people’s memories of the BBC’s English-language version. She doesn’t seem to have considered VHS copies of it still existing, or at least a transfer of one being in circulation online – or is maybe looking specially for the impact it had on UK residents who saw it as children?

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Furious-Wurious said:

or is maybe looking specially for the impact it had on UK residents who saw it as children?

It had a massive impact on me. I first watched it at a few months old, which I think is probably at least partially responsible for my lifelong love of animation, along with a fascination about China (and Japan). I’ve continued to constantly rewatch throughout my life (I’m 40 now), plus I’ve got an Uproar in Heaven (which I saw around the same time) inspired tattoo on my foot (I’m planning a Nezha one too).

So yeah, I should probably get in touch with her. 😉

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I’ve been looking for the BBC dub of this for a long time. Did anyone have a link they could send me of this preservation project?

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It had a massive impact on me. I first watched it at a few months old, which I think is probably at least partially responsible for my lifelong love of animation, along with a fascination about China (and Japan). I’ve continued to constantly rewatch throughout my life (I’m 40 now), plus I’ve got an Uproar in Heaven (which I saw around the same time) inspired tattoo on my foot (I’m planning a Nezha one too).

So yeah, I should probably get in touch with her. 😉

Let’s see the tattoo then!