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State of Divinity
Taiwan 2000


  Richie Ren                           Anita Yuen                          Vivien Chen                       Song Ta Ming
       as                                      as                                      as                                     as
Linghu Chong                       Ren Ying Ying                       Yue Ling Shan                       Lin Pingzhi

Liu Xue Hua as Dung Fang Bu Bai
Li Li Qun as Ren Wo Xing
Sun Xing as Tian Bo Guang
Cai Can Te as Yi Ling
Jiang Ta Wei as Qu Yang
Xu Shao Qiang as Xiang Wen Tian

State of Divinity 2000 was produced by StarEast Production and sold to TVB. Contains of 52 episodes and took most of sets in Mainland China, this serial was a big success in Taiwan.

As a novel adaptation, I would have to say this one is not good. Miscasts, deviated much from the original plot, mischaracterizations, missed lots of details, the story also dragged too long...too much unneccessary scenes.

As an original serial, a self stand-up serial, it's very good. Shooting angle, great choreographed fight scenes, magnificent sets, great twist of plot. The only major flaw as an original serial is...the producer casted Richie Ren as the main character, the supposibly noble, dashing, charming yet a carefree hero. Sadly speaking, Richie Ren didn't suit the role. I wouldn't mind if only because his face is not handsome. A lot of un-handsome actors that suits a dashing/noble/charming hero, because of their charm and charisma. But, Richie don't have that at all. He don't have that charisma to be the main hero. Personally, I think he only suits well as a comical character from the story. 

SOD 2000 starts out very interesting and you can feel the mystery and excitement during first ten episodes. The first three episodes focuses more on the prologue of the mysterious and evil sect,The Sun Moon Sect. It feels like you're watching those early 90s Hongkong ancient movie. The first battle was superb between Qu Yang and Xiang Wen Tiang, very intenseful. And, starting episode 4, the story follow tightly to the first chapter of the novel. But, as the story goes on, it gets further...and...further from the novel. The characterizations are also getting different. And, it gets more screwed up towards the end of the serial. The last episodes are total dissapointment for me. The final battle is not as intenseful as the first battle, since the final villain is Ren Wo Xing, which on three last episodes before the final episode, he seems to be very friendly with LHC and close with RYY. So, the feeling of excitement and instense were gone, as RWX seems not like the main villain. The last episodes also contains too many unneccessary scenes, they chat too much. Dragged too long, in my opinion.

Other flaw, making Dung Fang Bu Bai as an important character is not appropriate. Different in the movie...since it's a 108 minutes movie, so it's understandable made DFBB as an important character was to entertain the audience. But, this is a serial. What made DFBB a unique and mysterious character is because he/she only appeared in ONE chapter. So, when you see him/her for the first time, it was like...."WAH!"....y'know! But, DFBB showed up too many times in this adaptation, not to mention played by a female actress too, made you feel this is just a regular female character. The mystery just gone.

Richie Ren don't have strong chemistry with Anita Yuen as much as he has with Vivien Chen. This is a pity, since LHC and RYY suppose to be the main couple in this story. It seems here, LHC looks like respect her rather than love her.

The actor who played Lin Pingzhi didn't do his job that well. He's good with the suffered and tortured expressions. But, unfortunately not with the evil face. But, maybe this was also because of the script, I don't know. I was dissapointed LPZ didn't turn feminine at all after he mastered Pi Xie.

One of the plus points, is they casted Anita Yuen as Ren Ying Ying. Anita is superb as Ren Ying Ying. Very elegant, yet cruel and viscious in the beginning of the serial. She also have the perfect face character too as RYY. Unfortunately, she's not cruel enough after the beginning episodes, which was totally not Anita's fault, but the scriptwriter fault I guess. Vivien Chen was also good as Yue Ling Shan. She portrayed her cheerful yet spoiled and a little selfish. I like her. Yet again, towards the end of the serial, she portrayed her too calm(I don't know whether this is Vivien's flaw or the script's flaw). YLS was suppose to look rather emotionally uncalm as soon as she knows that LPZ never love her, y'know...with the over-crying and all. Anyway, another plus point, is the music themesongs that sung by Richie Ren. I have to say Richie is a great singer, unfortunately...a bad actor. I personally like the opening themesong, but in my opinion...the themesong didn't suit the 'spirit' of the story. Songs like that suited comical serials like Duke of Mount Deer or Hap Hak Hang better.

Overall, SOD 2000 have it's own plus points and minus points balance. I mean, the number of the plus points are just as much as the minus points. It seems everything were planned very well and the realizations were also very good at the beginning. But, towards the end of the serial, it seems the crews lost their strength. The actors didn't act very well anymore. The other crews didn't care about details anymore, and didn't pay attention on how to make the story not boring. Anyway, SOD 2000 is not one the best Jin Yong adaptation. But, as I said before, as an original serial, it has it's own title in the entertainment world.


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