Review - 'A Fantastic Ghost Wedding' by Meng Ong
Tending more towards a family drama than a ghostly tale, A Fantastic Ghost Wedding is Singaporean filmmaker Meng Ong’s second feature and the movie is a collaborative effort between Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Known for bringing television series Police and Thief to fill local households with laughter, this movie of Ong’s is no exception as it banks heavily on comedic moments between the various characters instead of scare factors. So if you are looking forward to having a scary time, you might be disappointed.
Viewers follow the emotional journey of ex-singer Mrs Wu (Hong Kong actress Sandra Ng) as she tries her best to cope with the sudden passing of her son Peng Peng (Taiwanese actor Wang Bo-Chieh). Convinced that getting a wife for her dead son will help him rest in peace, she hires well-known boy medium Boy (new-comer Keane Chan) and his father Master Wong Fei Hong (local actor Mark Lee) to search for a living bride. As the search gets complicated and things get lost in miscommunication, trouble starts brewing and strange encounters start to occur.
Simple and straightforward, viewers will find the story easy to follow and that helps direct most of the attention to getting the humour and the comedic moments that happen every so often. The cast did a good job fleshing their individual characters, especially Sandra Ng and Mark Lee – they were the heavyweights that kept the show going and filled in the potential gaps.
However, there were portions that seemed placed deliberately just for laughs , which chopped up the pacing of the movie as whole. If there was a weakest link, it would have been the slow-paced and uneven editing. Certain moments lingered too long, and there were post-punchline moments when we were staring at the actor way too long after the laugh had been delivered.
The movie also faltered on its ending. Even though the movie’s ending wrapped the whole story up nicely, it was unnecessary and was simply milking the short heartfelt message for whatever it was worth. Instead of being able to indulge in the touching moment that Mrs Wu and Peng Peng shared, it began to feel like the National Kindness Movement had a message for us. The film’s underlying moral of the story could have been delivered with more restraint and economy, which was a bit of a pity since the film achieved a moderately suspenseful buildup in the first half when the hovering big question was: ‘Who would the prospective wife be?’
The best part of the movie would be centering the storyline on a cultural practice that does not get much attention in this age of technology and modernism. Reminding viewers of practices that are still existing in Singapore and bringing it onto the big screen is a great idea, so kudos to the script writer and the team on bringing it all to life.
All in all, A Fantastic Ghost Wedding is a local movie worth supporting and will get you laughing with some moments from beginning to end despite its flaws.
Review by Dawn Teo