Blu-ray Review: A Writer’s Odyssey

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“Where does your creativity come from?” That always seems to be brought up during a Q&A session when a writer speaks at a book signing. Of course there are slight answers about childhood and influences found in the newspapers or from classical literature. But what it always feels like is the person asking the question wants directions to a theme park where the author’s wonderful ideas were formed. As if it could be that simple and immersive. A Writer’s Odyssey takes us to a world created by a writer, but for a far more sinister reason than seeing where his ideas come from. The Chinese film goes all out in exploring a realm of creativity with characters that are looking to edit the masterwork.

Guan Ning (The Wandering Earth‘s Jiayin Lei) is not a creative person. He’s a broken man after his daughter vanished. For six years he’s been doing desperate things while searching for her. He gets an offer from a mysterious company. They have located various girls that might be his daughter and will be testing them to see if one of them is the girl. The corporation wants a favor in return. There is a writer who has been working on a fantasy novel where the actions of one of the characters have been causing the head of the company to also experience them. He’s been getting hurt like the character. It’s a literary voodoo doll. The corporation wants Ning to put an end to the novel because they fear the character is about to get written out of the story. The corporation’s head doesn’t want to see what that swift action does to him. He locates the writer and tries to get close to the guy before taking him out. Instead of a swift assassination, Ning finds himself sucked into the world of the book that is being written. Can he really stop the writer or trust the head of the corporation? Does he want to be part of the fantasy?

A Writer’s Odyssey is an engulfing tale as it flips between reality and the creative world. We do get two stories that flip through Ning’s life. The movie is visually stunning during the fantasy scenes. There’s a battle scene with floating dragon balloons that turns into an inferno on the city. There’s nightmarish swordsmen terrorizing the fictional Ning. There’s a bit of depth and emotion to Ning’s character so he isn’t merely a bland hitman on a mission. A complicated relationship develops between Ning and the writer. Can he really go through with canceling the book? After being absorbed in the action, can he avoid not seeing what happens in the end? A Writer’s Odyssey will get you trapped in the fantasy world that leaks into reality.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p resolution brings out the glow of the visual treats. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA English dub. There’s also a 2.0 mix. You can listen to the original Mandarin soundtrack that’s also DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0. The subtitles for the movie are in English.

Trailer (1:29) sets up the action and the huge special effects.

Shout! Factory presents A Writer’s Odyssey. Directed by Yang Lu. Screenplay by Shu Chen, Yang Yu, Yang Lu and Haiyan Qin. Starring Jiayin Lei, Mi Yang, Zijian Dong, Shengdi Wang, Hewei Yu, Jingfei Guo, Yi Yang & Liya Tong. Running Time: 130 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Release Date: March 8, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.