Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original title: Xiao men shen
A modern world no longer interested in the spiritual beliefs of its ancestors has relegated guardian spirits to a realm in which they concern themselves only with their own activities. Down on earth, the posters that used to act as portals between worlds are rarely to be found except on the door of a modest cafe run by a single mother (voiced by Nicole Kidman) after the death of her elderly mother. Up in the stratosphere, the two famed Guardian Brothers, once creatures of legend, are tired of the boring bureaucracy of their own realm and contrive a way to make their way to earth to start some trouble in order to then save the world from it. Meryl Streep acts as narrator in this strange hybrid of folkloric storytelling and sassy modern humour, featuring passable animation but terrible writing and direction. The voice acting is all awkwardly performed, while the script feels like it was translated from another language by a robotic computer program and not a person. The kids might be amused but even that’s not guaranteed.