Ice Fantasy [幻城] is a 62 episode TV series from China that was broadcast in 2016 on Hunan TV.
A fight for power between the Ice and Fire Tribes, the Fire being evil. Also, a challenge for power to be the King between Prince Ka Suo and his younger half-brother Yong Kong Shi. Ka Suo doesn’t want to be King but to live carefree with his love Li Luo.
Feng Shao Feng [冯绍峰] (or Feng Wei) plays Prince Ka Suo
A very popular actor with a very decent list of TV shows and movies. Evidently, he likes British crop circles!
Ma Tian Yu [马天宇] plays Prince Ying Hi
A mando-pop singer and actor. A long list of TV shows on his resume. His mother died when he was 5, his father left due to debts and was bought up by his grandparents.
There are a lot of characters of note but I have to make a special mention of:
Cheng Pei Pei [鄭佩佩] who plays Feng Tian (Grandma)
She lived in Hong Kong, trained with Shaw Brothers, best known in the movie Come Drink With Me. She moved to California to raise her children, attended business school at the University of California and taught Chinese dance. She starred in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and also had a Mandarin-speaking talk show on Los Angeles TV station KSCI. I think she is quite a catch for this TV show.
The sets on this show were artistic which, for me, was the main draw. The Ice world was done the best, the Fire world was like hell but not so good.
The special effects are very similar to that on US daytime soaps, similar technology.
So, there are some points about the sets and special effects. It was 62 episodes and must have been quite a struggle for the staff involved to keep the quality going, which they didn’t. Most of the work was done by green screen, the actors would move around but not in tandem with what was superimposed on the green screen. There were simply too many special effects so they seemed to get more amateur as the show progressed.
They obviously had a library of incidental music to use with the series, like a similar tune for the action sequences. Some of the music was exciting, some a little annoying, some just didn’t match the scene. They seemed to have reserved some original score for the last few episodes.
“Flame”, head of the Fire Tribe, actually looked like the lead character from Pirates of the Caribbean. Generally, the costume department did really well with the outfits.
Although there was one story throughout the series there were arc’s throughout. This cut this up into manageable chunks for the viewer. In parts, they would jump from one part of a story to the next without any explanation. The continuity was all over the place, something would happen and I would think “did I just miss something”?!
This was probably a difficult show for the actors as they had to use their acting skills but also work with so much green screen and position their bodies for the special effects. For 62 episodes this was probably quite exhausting for them. All the actors did quite a good job, I think the best performance was by Alina Zhang who played Princess Yan Da of the Fire Tribe.
The ending? Well, I didn’t expect everyone to be knocked off but 3 of them came back from the dead. I thought at that point it got a bit daft and pleased it was over.
There is a season two, called Ice Fantasy Destiny, which appears to be set in the future. It’s only 16 episodes so I might give that a go at some point.
I would give it 2/5. It lost points on the script and struggle with the special effects. Reviewers gave it anywhere between 7.7 and 9.1 out of 10.
Where to Watch
Netflix had it for a while but it vanished from their library, for some reason. However, it’s currently on Viki. I notice Viki doesn’t have Ice Fantasy Destiny.