New Gods: Nezha Reborn Parent Guide
This film has a few major problems and a whole heap of minor ones.
Parent Movie Review
Li Yunxiang (Stephen Fu) grew up on the mean streets of Donghai City, a metropolis controlled by the ruthless De Clan and under tight water rationing. To make ends meet, Yunxiang has taken up work smuggling essential goods on his motorcycle, but increasing scrutiny and shrinking water supplies mean that something will have to change if the city is to survive.
Following an altercation with Ao Bing (Aleks Le), the son of Ao Guang (Andrew Kishino), leader of the De Clan, Yunxiang learns that he is the reincarnation of the ancient deity Nezha, and a long-time enemy of the Clan. Exciting though it might be, this revelation isn’t going to solve his problems. Yunxiang is now in more danger, and unless he can harness his powers, the De Clan is going to destroy him, his family, and most of Donghai City. His only hope is a mysterious masked man (Jason Ko), a demon living in anonymity who can teach him how to tap into Nezha’s incredible power… but the clock is ticking.
Ok, first things first: This is not a sequel to 2019’s Ne Zha. Don’t go into this expecting the same style, characterizations, or quality. They have different studios, directors, and casts. And, unfortunately for Nezha Reborn, the 2019 version is considerably better in almost every way.
Nezha Reborn has a few major problems and a whole heap of minor ones. The big problems are in the pacing, writing, and editing. These conspire to give the film a near-fatal case of third-act-drag, because the structure of those first two acts cruises along…and then promptly downshifts into neutral for some internal character struggles. This also plays into the other problem: demographics. On Netflix, this movie is rated TV-14, I expect primarily for the violence, which is also the only major concern for parents. But I can’t imagine a 14-year-old who wants to sit through a film this obviously geared at 10-year-olds. The characters are, optimistically, two-dimensional, and the story is predictable.
I imagine that part of the problem, for me at least, is simply a lack of familiarity with Chinese mythology. But I don’t dislike this movie because I don’t understand the 3000+ year history of the Dragon King of the East. I dislike it because it bumbles around, bouncing story elements off of underdeveloped characters, and wasting my time. While I clearly can’t speak to the mythological accuracy, for raw entertainment value you’d do better with 2019’s Ne Zha.Directed by Zhao Ji. Starring Xiaoming Xuan, Tianxiang Yang, and He Zhang. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release April 12, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for New Gods: Nezha Reborn
New Gods: Nezha Reborn
Rating & Content Info
Why is New Gods: Nezha Reborn rated TV-14? New Gods: Nezha Reborn is rated TV-14 by the MPAA
Violence: There are frequent depictions of fantasy violence which result in burns, impalements, loss of limb, and death.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are infrequent uses of mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are shown drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
New Gods: Nezha Reborn Parents' Guide
Yunxiang struggles reconciling his identity with Nezha’s. How does he learn to live with both parts of himself? Nezha has committed terrible crimes in the past. How does Yungxiang react to the memories of those deeds? How does he try to improve?
For more information about the role of Nezha in eastern mythology, you can check these links:
Shenyun Performing Arts: Ne Zha –
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you want to learn more about Chinese myths, check out Illustrated Myths; Legends of China; The Ages of Chaos and Heroes by Huang Dehai, Siang Jing, and Zhang Dinghao.
Young readers will enjoy Chinese Myths and Legends: The Monkey King and Other Adventures. This brightly illustrated collection is written by Shelley Fu and illustrated by Patrick Yee. The duo have also written Treasury of Chinese Folk Tales: Beloved Myths and Legends from the Middle Kingdom.
Newbery Honor Winner Grace Lin has used Chinese mythology to create a fantasy trilogy that begins with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The next books are Starry River of the Sky and When the Sea Turned to Silver. Suitable for tweens, the books are fully illustrated.
Related home video titles:
Obviously, Ne Zha is a good choice. More western depictions of Chinese history can be found in Disney’s animated Mulan and the recent live-action remake. Technically, Iron Mask intersects with some elements of Chinese mythology, but it’s more than your life is worth to try to sit through that garbage. If you just want a fun, brightly coloured, action-packed dystopia for tweens, I’d recommend Cosmoball.