The Boy and a Magic Box (Review)
The Boy and a Magic Box
aka Shen Tong Bao He aka Boy With His Magic Box
Directed by ????
Screw The Boy and screw his Magic Box, the only reason you should see this film is for all the freaking weird monsters that show up! We got dinosaurs, we got three-headed guys with swords, we got dinosaurs with beards, we got flying monkeys, and we got unofficial Japanese Kaiju cameos. Sure, most are defeated by some kid, but the monsters are the reason to watch because monsters rule and stupid kids drool. This is the THIRD Taiwanese film we have watched with giant monsters that has a kid running around like he is Kung Fu Superman (Flyer of Young Prodigal and Young Flying Hero are the two others) so I can only conclude this is a popular genre in Taiwan and there may be many more such films waiting to be uncovered. And many more annoying pseudo-Kennys. Oh, well. So let’s get to seeing these monsters!
The only evidence of the film seem to be a few entries on film databases, most of which is in Chinese. So what we have been able to find out is this is a 1975 Taiwanese production, and the two surviving prints (by prints I mean VHS tapes that have been dubbed to DVDR) have either subtitles in Korean or cropped off English subtitles that you can’t read. So, essentially, no subtitles. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! I am guessing a widescreen remastered print is too much to ask for, especially since this is probably a children’s film. I hope some day 35 years from now a Chinese neo-blogger is reviewing Elmo’s Potty Time as if it is a serious film. Because, then, I win. TarsTarkas.NET victory!
Hey, no subtitles and a confusing script lead to confusing reviews. So just go with the names we made up for everyone, it will help you in the long run.
Wong Lau Yeh and his goofy servant (who might be named Shui Wei) visit an inn during a rainstorm. The inn has a lady sitting in a glass room named Yeung who isn’t supposed to move, but she does manage to smile as Lau Yeh, causing him to write a love poem on the wall. The servant and Lau Yeh then go outside and another woman flies in, sees the note, and calls some sort of Monkey Bird Man. Monkey Bird Man attacks, but an Old Guy appears out of nowhere and fights him off, then the Other Woman appears and chats with the Old Guy. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been attacked by Monkey Bird Men after writing love poems on the wall. Maybe three times, though one of them might have been a Baboon Bird Man…
Looks like someone got lost from Oz!
Lau Yeh and servant are back at the inn, and Lau Yeh is nudged towards the room where Yeung is by a ghostly Old Guy . Old Guy controls Lau Yeh’s arms and makes Yeung uncomfortable, and then Old Guy is in the room chastising Lau Yeh. I don’t get the point of trying to cause seduction only to spoil it all in the last second.
Lau Yeh and his servant come up with a plan, they tie themselves together so Lau Yeh can’t be forced to run off to Yeung’s room (he doesn’t know Old Guy is forcing him to move) but the plan fails and Lau Yeh is forced into room again, so Old Guy threatens him with a blade weapon. Things happens and suddenly there is a wedding where Lau Yeh is marrying Yeung. Old Guy even screws with Lau Yeh on his wedding night by causing Lau Yeh’s clothes to keep going back on.
Meanwhile, Servant thinks he has a girl, but it is just a broom and only he can see the girl. Old Guy is manipulating him as well. Old Guy is such a cut-up! As in I would cut him up if he tried this crap with me. I am an internet tough guy. For some reason Lau Yeh and his servant have to go and it is sad.
Up in heaven lots of hot babes are visiting Monkey King! Wait, did I just get dropped into the middle of Monkey War? Monkey King speaks in a crazy high-pitched voice, like how a guy pretending to be a guy in drag would speak. The line of women going to see Monkey King includes Yeung, and Monkey King uses his magic monkey powers to see inside her belly and finds a baby in there! He panics, and calls his friend with three eyes, who we are calling Triclops. Triclops uses his magic third eye to also look in her belly.
There is some serious belly-looking-into action in Boy and a Magic Box!
Triclops takes her away and is going to chop her up, but she begs him to spare her life. Geez, abortions were REALLY unsafe in ancient China!
Her dad comes up and everyone argues until the King of Gods or someone shows up to issue a proclamation. The Babymation Proclamation. Lau Yeh returns to the inn months later, and Old Guy hands him off the baby while Yeung just sits in the window room non-responsive.
It is now many years later. Suddenly, there are two sons of different ages and it looks like Lau Yeh is married to another girl. It is somewhat confusing, but the older son (The Kid) is the baby from Yeung while the younger son is the son of Lau Yeh and his new wife, New Wife. The youngest son did something really bad because royal guards come in and grab him away. Ah, oppressive regimes, seizing children for death trials. The family does nothing except The Kid, who chases after to try to save his bro. The Kid tries to take the punishment instead from the judge – death (what in the frak did this kid do?) The Judge orders them both to die! Good grief!
A watching God Guy who is only named Sifu (master) teleports them out of the courthouse and into the forest. Not far into the forest, as the guards are soon chasing them. They catch The Kid when he distracts them from catching the younger boy, and toss The Kid off a cliff. But the watching Sifu saves him. The Kid is like the best big brother ever. Sifu starts to train The Kid in Kung Fu, because that’s what happens in these films, don’t you know? Sifu also gives The Kid a magic box, and now we have a boy and his magic box, thus 46 minutes in is the title!
The Kid starts walking back home…
HOLY CRAP! GHIDORAH the three headed monster! Ghidorah grabs the kid in one of his mouths and flies up in the air, The Kid punching in vain at the head. You can’t punch Ghidorah unless you are Godzilla, The Kid! The magic box starts to smoke, and shoots out blasts at Ghidorah. The box opens and The Kid now has a hook sword in his hand! He begins to hack away at Ghidorah. Eventually he wins and hops off, floating down to Earth.
Wander around too much and Toho monsters will try to kill you!
Then a volcano goes off and earthquakes. 2012 – end of the world! No, wait, it’s ancient China…2012 BC! End of the world!
The Dumb Kid falls into some lava, but gets saved by his magic box again when it has a giant bottle come out and he flies on it. Why am I writing these sentences? Gah. Don’t worry, now there is a Triceratops-looking dinosaur stomping around. Imagine a triceratops had a love child with one of the dancing Chinese lions and you will get a sense of what this guy looks like. But it is the biggest beard I have ever seen on a Triceratops. Triceratops starts to chow down on The Kid, and even his Sifu shows up to save him but is no match. In fact, Sifu gets stomped on while The Kid can only look on in horror. And then try to kick the Triceratops IN THE MOUTH! Way to almost get your foot bitten off, moron!
But then…a horned Tyrannosaurus Rexish monster pops out of a cloud of smoke! The two monsters fight, which is sort of goofy because the Triceratops is two guys in a costume, while the T-Rex has his head on a long neck that isn’t connected to the guy inside so his head flops around all crazy. And the sound effects are of two real dogs fighting, so sound effects by Micheal Vick!
Then things gets weird.
Yeah, I know!
A three-headed, six armed gold green monkey thing with swords is walking around. While Three-Head tries to slice up The Kid, the T-Rex starts spitting out flames. And flames. And flames. Finally, the T-Rex tries a new strategy to fight the Triceratops – he has a ball and chain appear in his hands so he can fight the Triceratops with conventional weapons. Conventional for ancient China. So he stabs the Triceratops with a knife on the end of the chain. One dead Triceratops!
Three-Head has a bell that he rings and that causes The Kid to hurt his ears. Three-Head traps the kid in a metal ring, but the Magic Box makes The Kid immaterial so swords go through him and buys The Kid time to try to get out of the stupid ring (pull it over your head, moron!) This kid is terrible and only a stupid box is saving him from dying of a stubbed toe. The Kid stabs Three-Head dead (he’s lucky four of the arms don’t work!)
NNOOOOOO!!! Not Three-Head! He was my favorite character. Because he wanted to kill The Kid.
Krazy Kaiju Action!
The Kid then rides the T-Rex (if Julio from Dinosaurus shows up…I quit!) T-Rex then throws The Kid into a cave. The Kid wanders out the other side where there is a huge mansion and garden and two guys playing Go while eating peaches. They throw some scraps to The Kid and then vanish.
A guy dressed as a cross between a Taoist priest and castle guard shows The Kid around, focusing where some of the Monkey King’s brides are bathing. Hey, way to broadcast you are a perv, guard guy! The girls take a ride back up to Heaven, and The Kid follows them on his flying magic cup gourd. Yes. The Dumb Kid then picks a fight with Monkey King!
What the heck? And he makes a gold stick appear when Monkey King starts throwing odd-shaped nerf balls at him, batting the balls back. The Kid traps Monkey King in his magic flying bottle.
Would you believe this is the second Taiwanese film I have seen recently that involved trapping monkey people in bottles?
The Kid lets the Monkey King out, and then goes to see his mom Yeung, who is trapped in a stone jail. The Kid throws the magic box at the jail and sets her free, but Triclops appears and won’t let them go. So now Triclops fights The Kid. The Kid tries his immaterial fighting trick, so Triclops retaliates by zapping The Kid with yellow effects that make lots of “Boing!” sound effects. the Kid sends them back with more “Boings” that appear as red kaleidoscope patterns around Triclops, trapping him.
Kid gets back to Earth with Mom, but then Triclops turns her into a twig and has Yeung back up in Heaven. Screwed again, Kid! Doesn’t ancient Taiwan school teach Ancient Greek myth about Orpheus and Eurydice? That should be like current events then! Maybe fire up Ancient Google and do some research. Yeung is trapped forver and tells him so. That what you get for being in love, woman!
The Kid chats with some shady dude down on the Earth who turns out to be his younger brother all grown up! And we see Lau Yeh all old looking at an image of Yeung in the sky. Most of which is cropped off, so I am assuming it is Yeung and not just some random woman in the sky like Lucy and her diamonds.
The Kid finds the box in a field and touches it, and turns into an adult! Now I guess I can’t call him The Kid anymore…dang it! And he just skipped puberty! Shouldn’t this be horrible traumatic? But we are supposed to be happy he is now 35 and has a styled goatee. How dare he skip Junior High Gym class and getting pants in front of the cheerleaders! Now he can go find the other magic box: pussy!
Rated 6/10 (Tree-wife, anger, blood-stomping dinos, Old Daddy, Mom in the sky cut off by bad framing, fancy)
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