It’s that wonderful time of the year of all-night mahjong, wanton feasting, and at least one and a half days of complete rest from work. This being one of the rare times of the year an entire family gets together, most Chinese New Year movies are produced with the intention of entertaining the whole family.

This coming Chinese New Year holiday, we have:

If it isn’t tradition for your family to watch CNY movies together, we think you should start. Here’s why: You won’t fully understand or enjoy these movies without your parent/child/sibling/cousin/uncle/auntie/grandparent.

See our suggestions on who you should include, for which movie.

1. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – the pop culture geek

For those of you who think: black = unlucky; panther = cat; cat = natural enemy of dog; and therefore Black Panther ≠ good CNY movie, you couldn’t be more wrong. The story follows T’Challa, who returns home to Wakanda to take his rightful place on the throne following his father’s assassination. But a formidable old enemy tests the mettle of the new king and Black Panther must rally his: 1) sister, 2) mother, 3) uncle, 4) cousin, 5) mentor, 6) girlfriend, 7) token white friend to defeat him and defend Wakanda’s safety.

You’ll soon find out that watching Black Panther is really a family event, because halfway through the film when you forget which character is which, all you need to do is nudge the pop culture geek who could very well be your 1) sister, 2) mother, 3) uncle, 4) cousin, 5) mentor, 6) girlfriend, 7) token white friend (who doesn’t have anywhere to go during CNY), and he or she will remind you.

 

2. Wonderful! Liang Xi Mei The Movie – parents/elder siblings/grandparents/anyone in the family who watched MediaCorp’s Channel 8 in 2003

Aiyo, how could you not know who is Liang Xi Mei – Singaporean director Jack Neo’s louder than life alter ego? It could happen if you – or your kid – were born in the 2000s. For who could forget this cultural icon who was almost synonymous with Singaporean Chinese comedy skits in that decade?

But if you need introduction to this colourful character, all you need is to ask your parents/elder siblings/grandparents. Most recently, just in 2016, Jack Neo reprised the role of Liang Xi Mei for dialect variety show Happy Can Already!, a government-commissioned production to educate the older folk on government policies and schemes. Expect more placement messages in Liang Xi Mei’s 2h-long movie debut, as its producers try to fulfil their national duty by being the only Singaporean flick screening in theatres this CNY.

 

3. Monster Hunt 2 – the kid

If you think Black Panther is too violent for the kiddos, you might want to consider Monster Hunt 2, directed by Raman Hui, who was one of the animators of Shrek.

Being rated PG, any kid below 12 can’t possibly watch this without adult supervision anyway. But the adorable Wuba is joined by none other than Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, in this sequel to the highly successful 2015 fantasy comedy. In Monster Hunt, Wuba is born to the Monster Queen and is destined to be king. Will he be able to stop an all-out monster civil war in Monster Hunt 2? We’re positive that everyone in the family would want to find out together.

 

4. The Monkey King 3 – the Chinese classic lover and the feminist

Another Monkey King story? For CNY? Just like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, it’s a tale that just keeps on giving. This time, the story focuses on the leg of the journey where Xuanzang and his trio of disciples reach the Womanland of Western Liang. Usually depicted as a giggling, girly citizenry, we finally get a contemporary take on a territory which has never needed, or been tainted by, well, men.

This is where your Chinese classic-loving parent/sibling/grandparent will tell you: If only the Marina Reservoir were like Womanland’s Motherhood River, Singapore’s low birth rate issues would be solved. Why? Bring them to watch the show and find out.

 

5. Operation Red Sea – action blockbuster-loving dad

I don’t know about you, but my dad is the kind of guy who doesn’t consider himself thoroughly entertained unless there’s boobs (sorry, mum, but I’m sure you’ve noticed too), mystery (not the armchair kind), or action. If your dad is like mine, show him this trailer and I bet he will be excited to watch this movie (sorry, no boobs though).

It’s about the Chinese Navy’s Jiaolong (“Sea Dragon”) Assault Team having to rescue a bunch of Chinese residents whose lives are endangered by a coup and a terrorist plot in a North African republic. What will the Sea Dragons have to sacrifice to accomplish the impossible?

 

To find out how to avoid last-minute queues at the box office during the Chinese New Year period, read this article. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

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