The good news: Stephen (Shaolin Soccer) Chow's venture into science fiction, CJ7, has been a huge box-office smash in China, in spite of record-breaking snow storms. The movie has made an impressive US$18 million in its first two weeks, meaning that other Chinese film-makers may be tempted to ditch martial arts for space adventure. The bad news: Everybody pretty much dislikes it.
Says Hindu News Service:
Failed by a lackluster script, CJ7 fails to deliver heartwarming family humor, but it's redeemed by its computer-animated star — the lovable extra-terrestrial dog-like creature CJ7, which the movie is named after.
Variety calls it "spotty" and emotionally vacant, and says you shouldn't expect another Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle, because Chow tones down his trademark humor. Says LoveHKFilm: "Hey, wasn't Stephen Chow supposed to be in this movie?" (Chow pretty much stars in the film, but not the funny Stephen Chow everyone knows and loves.)
Online fan reviews are even harsher, saying things like: "There was no plot." Or "I almost asked for my money back." (Although that second commenter warmed up to it.) And then one science fiction fan comments that the alien creature weirdly doesn't add much to the movie other than being cute:
It was clearly meant to be little more than a humorous piece, lighthearted and fun. It achieved that. But, as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I found it interesting that the film could get away with such a thin development of the alien creature, and old-fashioned style spaceships.
But at least everybody thinks the critter is cute.