We all experience some form of time travel when we get on a long-haul flight. Getting off a plane on a different day in another time zone still feels surreal to me.
But that kind of time travel is not nearly as exciting as the kind in movies. This month’s entertainment selection shows that the fantasy of travelling through time to change the past (or to know the future) still makes for great drama.
Following clues left behind by his late grandfather, the young hero of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children travels back in time to 1943 and discovers an institution sheltering children with special powers, known as Peculiars. The home’s headmistress, Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), protects the young Peculiars from a German air raid by keeping them in a time loop that repeats the same day over and over.
Director Tim Burton brings the fantastical ideas of Ransom Riggs’ young-adult novel of the same name to life in his signature gothic visual style, creating a spooky, alluring alternate reality filled with otherworldly creatures.
Also onboard this month is the latest Chinese Odyssey movie. After two decades of spin-offs and ‘inspired by’ works, director Jeffrey Lau finally gives fans an official sequel to the wacky A Chinese Odyssey, a 1995 time-travel retelling of the Chinese classic Journey to the West, with A Chinese Odyssey (Part Three) – a direct continuation of the original films. Lau once again turns to the Journey to the West mythology, telling the tale of a woman who must change the course of history after seeing doom through Pandora’s Box – a time-travel device.
The first two films are modern masterpieces, and actor Law Kar-ying’s cringeworthy rendition of Only You in the first movie remains one of the funniest moments in Hong Kong cinema history.
In the latest iteration, original stars Stephen Chow and Athena Chu have been replaced by Han Geng and Tiffany Tang respectively, but Lau’s distinctive brand of nonsensical slapstick humour is still alive and well. The highlight for me is an imitation of Michael Jackson in Moonwalker, as performed by Tripitaka, the monk who leads the Monkey King on his journey to India.
Back in the present day, the end of this month marks Lunar New Year. Ring in the Year of the Rooster with our selection of New Year-related programmes, including Fight Back to School III (starring Stephen Chow), a collection of highlights from the annual Spring Festival Gala TV special and Chinese New Year, a documentary series showing how the festival is celebrated across China.
Alvin Lai is Cathay Pacific’s assistant product manager – communications and entertainment content