The Rise of Phoenixes

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  • Score: 8.6 (scored by 323 users)
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Completed
Skibbies
24 people found this review helpful
Oct 6, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 6
Overall 8.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers
A deeply flawed drama with absolutely phenomenal acting, gorgeous sets, elaborate costumes, layered characters bogged down by inconsistent pacing, questionable editing and unsatisfying scripting, especially towards the end. I love this drama a hell lot, followed it from its initial broadcast which I've never done for cdramas, and by watching the making of documentaries, I deeply appreciated what this team tried to do, but its flaws are also so apparent and hard to overcome that I don't know how to recommend this to anyone, but I still want to so I'm going to try.

The plot is actually about princes' power struggle with sprinkles of romance, the focus is on Ning Yi, Feng Zhiwei plays second fiddle to him, do not come in looking for romance, you will probably be disappointed. Their interactions were actually pretty jarring compared to the rest of drama due to its different tone. It's super restrained, there's no real kiss here, I'm serious! There's just scenes hotter and cuter than kisses. I do like what's shown of their romance, it's nice to have an OTP who understand each other on a fundamental level and have similar ambitions, even if they disagree when it comes to methods. It means they don't really go through misunderstandings, until the drama crashed and burned in the last 10 episodes, but I digress. It's lovely to have a drama that care so much details and trust the audience enough to interpret things that's half said, the schemes are fun since everyone, including multiple antagonists are smart, so it's always multiple parties trying to further their own agenda and screw up leading to unexpected circumstances. The protagonists aren't infallible either, they disagree and sometimes they end up doing things that would seem unwise to the audience. This drama doesn't really play by the books.

The thing is, the first half of the show, up to ep 45 is fairly steady, packed with lots of information in each episodes. Then Minhai arc got shaved off probably 75% because of SARFT, which ugh but can't be helped, we can make out important things that happened (it's all in the dialogues) but that's a pretty bad viewing experience. It returns to normal with some explosive acting, Jinshi arc is relatively simple because scriptwriters can't really touch it but I think it's mostly fine, Dayue arc got probably 30% cut, it's mostly still there. Then comes the last arc which, I'll just say feature a lot of sudden appearance, sudden deaths, sudden misunderstandings (which will get cleared up, no worries! but it sure as hell shouldn't have happened) I suspect that the ending was a very rushed rewrite (which would explain all the plot holes) and the pacing was 3x of the earlier episodes, making everyone who stuck around for 60 episodes fairly confused. The events and character motivations do make sense, but they needed more lead up, foreshadowing and detailing that it was so good at before. Never have I, after watching 70 episodes, wanted to have more episodes so the story wouldn't feel so jarring. I honestly think when they edited it, they should have repaced the drama, if latter arcs were cut due to main plot not popping out, this is NOT how you pop it out.

Ning Yi, as a protagonist is one of most layered character I've seen. He is a gifted manipulator, but also someone who care deeply for people close to him because of his childhood. He can be ruthless to his brothers. childish and awkward with Zhiwei, utterly broken when it comes to his mum. He deeply wants a father-son relationship with the emperor but they sort of can't, as being an emperor means being on guard even against your son. He's pretty morally grey, but some of his lines were dubbed over due to SARFT (most notably, end of crown prince arc and the ending). Chen Kun did an astounding job playing Ning Yi, I was quite bemused by his overacting in the first episode. which I know can put off people, it's just Ning Yi likes be on the edge and taunt people. I was also not a huge fan of his long hair look, but it did signify Ning Yi's carefree attitude. Chen Kun can definitely overact at times, rather like stage acting, but he's also very good at microexpressions and small gestures.

Feng Zhiwei is the female lead that I love through and through, even if I'm somewhat disappointed with how they wrote her. To make her more realistic (compared to how OP she was in novel), she was made into a smart but bit naive and impulsive girl who gets dragged into power struggle for the throne and had to grow. That's fine, except Minhai arc was basically her time to show her abilities is equal to Ning Yi got cut (because the main plot doesn't pop? political reasons? idk). Jinshi and Dayue both had limited time and significant changes that while she wasn't helpless, she was still partially damseled to prop up Ning Yi more, who honestly doesn't need more focus. I know the romance is linked with plot but it's just badly plotted. I do appreciate that FZW is more straightforward, so she tends to lead the romance. I have to say though, I LOVED Ni ni who portrayed her, she's gorgeous as a man AND a woman, and neither look jarring. She had some of the best crying scenes I've seen and had wonderful chemistry with her co-actors.

My other favourite character is probably the emperor, who is the smartest I've seen in recent years. Emperors in these kind of dramas are usually overly suspicious or useless, and he's neither. He's not a good father or even a good husband, and I'm pretty sure he's sort of an antagonist but that doesn't stop him from being a complicated person. Thanks Ni Do Hong, I'd watch all your scenes all day long. Headmaster Xin had great chemistry with Ning Yi, they shared the same goal but had very different methods and priorities making their scenes a blast to watch. The various princes all had their shining moments too!

It's such a shame most of the people around FZW's characterisations weren't as layered. Her mum was rather conflicted between reviving the kingdom and having her live peacefully, but she was one of the big reason the OTP didn't proceed as well so it's somewhat hard to like her. Her brother is kind of an idiot but had a few nice scenes that I really liked. Gu Nanyi had awesome lines and decent char development, but we aren't show how that happened. I'm actively mad about how they cut out Hua Qiong, who was originally promoted as a main character, and reduced to essentially cameos. Her scenes were largely in Minhai arc, she appeared later and played pivotal role as a best friend and in a scheme then was promptly written out of the story, excuse me?! There wasn't even mourning for her? Helian Zheng actively seem like he's in a different drama just because of his behaviour and he literally can't follow along what Zhiwei is thinking, good as comic relief I guess. I suppose he can also be used as a contrast against Ning Yi, but they also hastily wrote him out of the plot.

Honestly, I think they were too ambitious when they wanted to fuse power struggle + romance, where the OTP can go head to head, they lost their balance. The romance and anything involving the female lead have noticeably more plot holes and is weaker. They also tried to make it more realistic but still fuse in book characters, I love them a lot and would have liked to see a realistic version of them, but I'm in the minority. They should have cut their loses and fused more characters or plot lines. Jinshi is honestly not really needed as an arc, FZW could have gone elsewhere. If it was for uniting the kingdoms, the drama didn't really accomplish that either (whereas the novel managed to establish an alliance there). Da Yue had very nice characterisation moments, but it wasn't plotted that well, they could have written other scenes to get the idea across.

I must emphasis this is recorded live while filming, which is super rare in recent years in historical cdramas due to noise pollution, accents and actors' acting. The drama usually have ambience sounds as bgm, and only play its insert songs during important moments. The sets and costumes are exquisite, I did spent fair amount of time just staring at them. I loved the use of go/weiqi, the tea pouring, the small differences in manners in different countries. I'm a little mixed about the dialogue, I have been taken out of the drama by some rather modern words, but it also quote a lot of classical Chinese, some rather cleverly (like when FZW became imperial adviser) , some I had to look up but got its meanings through context, some is just plain wrong. I appreciate the attempt but they could definitely flow better, rather than it feeling like they just spring it into the drama to look well studied.

Despite all of its issues, I still loved this a lot and will probably rewatch it just for acting and characterisation, which is something I basically never do, as someone who largely care about plot. I deeply wish the female characters played bigger roles as they had likely intended before, but even as is, I still love them because they are different and varied, and they are allowed to be flawed, to make mistakes, just as male characters are. I would love to see more effort in fusing more serious elements with romance because that's much closer to life than just fluffy fun times or only serious business time.

P.S: SARFT is the government agency that all cdramas have to go through, this drama went through it at least twice and they also had people come in half way through filming to check on their progress, and part of the script were rewritten on set. Historical dramas, especially ones that go on prime time slot (this one is, the only other one this year is Ashes of Love) are subjected to stricter scrutinisation, this year have gotten even tighter. Main characters can't be overly dark which is why some of Ning Yi (and maybe Zhiwei?)'s lines were dubbed over.

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Completed
appleeye
10 people found this review helpful
Oct 3, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 13
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
This review may contain spoilers

Beautiful Production, Puzzling Plot

The Rise of Phoenixes kept me hooked from start to finish, and for me this is a serious act of binge watching, but... I tend to disagree with fans on the internet comparing this show to Nirvana in Fire, or even Game of Thrones. This show wasn't up to par compared to those two. I think what mesmerized me were the stunningly filmed scenes and actors. I just love to look at beautiful faces and places. The leading couple took my breath away sometimes. Although Ni Ni was forced to play a Mary Sue, completely different from her character in the original novel, I easily forgot all this by just looking at her. The same can be said about Chen Kun. He sometimes fell into the trap of emotional, hammy playing, with eyeball rolling and all, but compensated this with good scenes that made him a true anti-hero. I loved their flirting scenes and their love scene beneath a water surface. Also the supporting cast did a good job, especially the old emperor.

So why do I feel unsatisfied after 70 episodes? I think it was the script. With historical drama there’s usually the choice between (a) the “man meets woman/they fall in love/they have difficulties/their love survives or not”- storyline or (b) the “man meets woman/they support each other/one of them choose to break up for the common good”- storyline. I guess this production didn’t make this choice. It started as a love story, and abruptly hopped off to version (b). I wonder why, because we didn’t see the suffering of the common people at all, they were absent during all scenes.

There was also an inconsistency in characters. Normally there are outright heroes, villains, and anti-heroes in a show. Ning Yi is the anti-hero type, who should have become more defined as the story fleshed out. It didn’t happen. In the original novel his life experiences made him another man. In the end he dares to choose for his personal happines. In this production however, although he’s portrayed as a highly intelligent man, Ning Yi only wants to win the throne above all other things, turning him into a Macbeth type. This makes his character difficult to portray. How can this prince be a romantic anti-hero, a highly treacherous schemer, and an intelligent person at the same time? The same goes for Feng Zhiwei. She’s the protagonist/heroine of the story. She’s young, intelligent and she becomes an imperial adviser, she doesn’t know her origins and is highly naive, although she can be plucky and daring at the same time. The moment she knew about the fate of several people who gave their life for the sake of her heritage and dynasty, she should have thought about her purpose, her goal in life. It would have been a call to action for her type of character. This happened in the novel. In this production however, after a few revengeful thoughts, she became like many heroines in other c-drama: a brokenhearted, passive love interest.

This production could have been a complicated love story. In stead it became the story of many people whose lives became intertwined. They just happened to meet at the same place, at the same time under difficult circumstances, namely the struggle for power at the imperial palace. All actors did their very best, this makes it worth your time. There are many questions left about certain events, and characters, so it feels that even 70 episodes is not enough. Perhaps a remake will meet the challenge.

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Completed
lienfan
2 people found this review helpful
Nov 5, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers
The Rise of Phoenixes lingers in my head: beautiful cinematography, remarkable art and design, and excellent performance and acting. There are lots of implicit story details hidden in Chinese dialogue, actors'/actresses' lines, their subtle performance, and sets/props, which could be easily overlooked. If one tries to find something entertaining, simple, and straightforward, this is not a good fit for that purpose. However, with an imagined historical setting, this drama challenges many Chinese traditions and Confucianist norms. First, The Rise of Phoenixes presents a new level of gender equality in the protagonists' relationship. Although they had romantic feelings towards each other in an ancient setting in which women were subordinates to men, the male protagonist always respected the female protagonist's decisions and intelligence, and she always considered herself an equal to him -- she never asked for help, protection, or acted as an appendage in the court politics. Second, the male protagonist has an interesting modern (also liberal) personality: a challenger and an idealist. His utopia was ALL ARE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW. This ideal was shared by the female protagonist (hence the strong bond between the two). It is also an interesting reflection of social reality in China and can be discussed in depth in terms of Chinese view about social justice without the system of democracy. In terms of his personality, he is not afraid of confrontation. He is also aggressive and true to his feeling and emotion. He does not compromise. These are not considered to be positive qualities in Chinese and Confucianist culture, and many Chinese stories and TV drama portray that in order to succeed, especially in politics, one must endure pains, hide emotions, and avoid confrontations. Finally, this series presents the emperor/father as a real human being, rather than just a symbol of power. The emperor/father was a man who always chose power over his family, but he was also hurt, had weakness, and felt the pain when he was a father. Unlike other Chinese historical drama, in which the emperor often functions as a symbol of power and is always cruel, I really enjoy the actor's performance, complicating his role between the emperor and father. Highly recommended! This work is worth of going back again and again.

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Completed
hatsoomeme
2 people found this review helpful
Nov 5, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I'm sorry, but everything I've seen in China before and after in terms of acting and cinematography just pales in comparison to Rise of the Phoenixes. The series is embedded with layers and layers of pathos, and the characters seemed so real and well-fleshed out that the lines between fiction and fact blurred. The pacing may seem tonally slow, but I was completely invested. Why? Because the character interactions were often raw, cathartic and deeply affecting, and the issues brought forth and questions asked were often times painfully real and humanely complicated to answer. It also helped that they had a budget and production values fit for a king. The series is truly a sumptuous feast for the eyes. The music? Puts my emotions through the wringer. Oh my poor heart!

Do I wish it could have ended better? Yes. But I think it has more to do with the fact that I bought so much into Ning Yi and Zhiwei's romance that I just wanted them to be happy together no matter what it cost. Reflecting on how it could have ended better, I realized that it is a difficult task. The ending felt rushed and disjointed. But if it was 100 episodes instead of 70, would I have been satisfied? Probably not. I would want to see my Phoenix couple together for 100 more.

Initially, I knocked off a star for the rushed pacing towards the end and the lazy use of flashbacks in some parts, and another for some really messy writing towards the end. But I asked myself, would I watch it again? If so, I would restore one star for replay value. The answer was a loud and resounding yes.

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Completed
a_chan
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 19, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
First of all, I must say that the filming of the drama was ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING it felt like I was watching a movie the entire time.

This is one of the few dramas with older actors (30+) that I've actually really enjoyed. I for one can't believe that Chen Kun (the one who plays Ning Yi) is actually in his 40s, that man looks like hes in his mid 30s still. I must say even though the romance between Ning Yi and Feng Zhi Wei wasn't the most obvious thing in the world they still had their moments. And lemme tell you, those moments were absolutely beautiful and the chemistry between the two were undeniable. Sometimes when Ning Yi would appear on screen I'd think he looks a bit like Willie Wonka, Johnny Depp's version (pretty sure just me though :)). Throughout the drama there's bits of comedy here and there to uplift the heavy atmosphere that the drama usually provides. The only character that I didn't seem to like was Shao Ning Zhao (the princess), she was too naive and never really understood her other brothers, since she only relied on the crown prince and Ning Qi, even though she knew they were committing such crimes, she still trusted and believed in them.

The soundtrack for the drama was AMAZING (probably used the word amazing like 10 times already :)). The music was carefully added in when it was needed and stayed away when it was not. Through this drama I've also learned the beauty of instrumental music, and how each song doesn't need to have words in order to show its meaning.

P.S. I need a man like Gu Nan Yi in my life :) . It was interesting to see how his character developed throughout the span of the drama. Even though he didn't have many lines, each line that he said was delivered wonderfully. My favourite line that he says is "???? ????" which roughly translates to "wherever you are, I am there" (not 100% confident in my Chinese skills though) every time he says that line it brings tears to my eyes.

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Completed
Birdy
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 22, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 7.5
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 4.5
This review may contain spoilers
I didn't intend to watch The Rise of Phoenixes (TROP). The 70 episode length was daunting and despite the stunning cinematography, cast and novel material, I was just too burned out to invest the time. It wasn't until late one night after randomly watching a cast interview of Chen Kun regarding his role as Ning Yi that I changed my mind.

Chen Kun and his portrayal of Ning Yi did not disappoint. He truly anchored the drama and was the most consistent character, despite some gratuitous plot lines. I liked Nini's portrayal of Feng Zhiwei, but I did not like what they did to the character of Feng Zhiwei. I hated all the tropes that they forced on her...the everybody loves me syndrome, the damsel in distress, the constant unknowing pawn, the noble idiocy, and so on....As early as the 20 episode mark I was already at my wits end. Seriously, how could someone be so smart and calculating but always fall into other people's traps? When she wasn't interacting with Ning Yi, I had to start fast forwarding or else I would have had to quit the drama all together.

The supporting characters were also a mixed bag. The Emperor, Headmaster Xin Ziyan, Head Eunuch Zhao Yuan, and the deposed Crown Prince Ning Chuan were the more memorable of the bunch. The exceptional abilities of each actor to portray multifaceted, complex individuals is commendable. As for the rest, I felt that they were merely check boxes for dramaland requirements...the run of the mill mastermind, some bad guys, some good guys, the lackeys, the second lead, everyone that hates the main leads, every that loves the main leads, etc. Although they fulfilled their purposes, none really gave a believable performance that I could connect with.

The usual plotting for the throne and revenge are nothing new and it's not unexpected that TROP falls in with the usual 90% of C-Dramas where the last act goes off the rails and the ending is a hodgepodge of how to piss viewers off to no end. However, I still can't believe how disappointed I feel. The last arch of the drama was an absolute misstep. If I ever re-watch this drama, I'll stop at episode 50 and consider that the Ning Yi and Feng Zhiwei eventually fulfilled their promise to each other. Forget the rest of the crap that came afterwards...LOL

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Completed
pammo1949
1 people found this review helpful
13 days ago
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.5
Story: Like all Chinese dramas with multiple characters throughout you must download a Playbook. I always use a cheat sheet I print from Wikipedia to follow the entry and exit of most characters with a brief description of their roles so I can follow. This allowed me to truly appreciate the quality of storytelling and the writer's intent. This drama was very complex to watch so it requires your full attention to almost every scene (I had to do multiple rewinds even if I looked down or away for a moment). Drawing the viewer's interest required me to become invested in the outcome of each character and emotionally committed. There were plenty of emotional moments for me and the ending did not disappoint (but could be predicted). This in no way took away from the quality of the drama. I must also add liked the costumes and cinematography.

Acting: Superior acting skills infused a sense of reality to this drama - I almost felt it was a historical piece - but had to remind myself constantly this was fictional. The family conflicts, the depth of love and romance was magnetic - either polar or attractive but all actors did a great job fulfilling the role of their characters without a feeling of - "this isn't right."

Music: I am always annoyed by music that overwhelms the drama or that is inappropriate for a scene. However, there were periods of time that the music was almost a lullaby. It soothed the soul and when needed it led the viewer into a transitional period for emotional changes - romance or conflict. The composer did a good job - only wish the subbers would have translated some of the lyrics. At one point the music was so outstanding I replayed the scene just to close my eyes to listen to the music.

Rewatch Value: Not something I would say rewatch. This is too time-consuming - took me 10 days of marathoning this drama to enjoy it. Plus, I would only recommend marathoning this drama because of the complexity and details of storytelling and the highs and low ebbs of the storyline. I usually watch 6-8 dramas weekly but they had to be delayed or relegated to my evenings only so that I would be consumed watching this drama.

Overall: we all have our preferences. Always love lots of romance in any drama but the writer focuses only on romance as a backdrop not the substance of the "phoenixes". I am glad I watched because I enjoyed every minute, was never disappointed and after 10 days not regretting the fact that my life was "paralyzed" watching and reading every subbed line to fully enjoy. Not everyone's cup of tea but for me - I give it a 9.5 because I really enjoyed the substance of the story the movement of the plot - always forward - never stuck in reruns of memories and there was a probable ending (not like many Chinese wuxia, romance historical dramas currently being produced)

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Completed
Freakazoid87
1 people found this review helpful
13 days ago
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers
With the very first episode I was immediately drawn in. The description for this series on Netflix does not do it justice, so, after first I wasn't sure if it would be my cup of tea, turns out I it was.

The characters were so well made, so real that it often felt like you were participating in the story with them, like you had a close encounter with each difficulty or accomplishment they felt or created for themselves. I give high praise to the creators of their characters.

I don't speak Chinese, but I do understand a very small amount, courtesy of my job and my love for Asian dramas, so, I often felt drawn in into the series, as if I wasn't reading the subtitles, I felt like I could understand how they felt without that language barrier being there. I must admit, I did shed some tears, I am in no way a crier when it comes to dramas (or anything for that matter, including real life). So, the fact that remains is this moved me to my core.

There were a few times where a few times where I went ahead and spoiled myself by looking up specific characters because the first ten episodes at least, are kind of confusing. I needed solid information to determine whether I could fall in love with these characters or not.

I love how Zhiwei was portrayed, a rebel. Though, she did not know of her own history or her actual bloodline, they way she chose her own path, even though it frequently collided with Ning Yi's, it was still hers to choose. The actress who played her, did a magnificent job in portraying the characters personality. Both character and actress are favourites now.

Ning Yi, though I found him unbearable at first, and his role had confused me greatly, I came to find his character endearing, even if he had ulterior motives throughout the entirety of the series. His actor did a great job of portraying him as well.

A few of my other favourite characters were:
-Headmaster Xin ( I was able to guess that the actor has mixed blood, I usually am able to tell this...it's a weird ability): I found his character amusing, and his actor was phenomenal, I hope to watch other shows or movies with him as either a support role or main role. I often found myself laughing aloud with Xin's antics or how he and Ning Yi acted with one another.
-Hua Qiong: It's hard to describe why I liked her so much.
-Ning Chen: While his actor is very attractive, he played Ning Chen with finesse, it was as if it came naturally to him. I feel his character was a little underrated at times, but liked how he was developed, even toward the end where from his perspective he was doing the right thing.
-Gu Nanyi: Such a young actor to portray him, though his age certainly couldn't be told while he was acting. I liked his child like demeanor when it came to Zhiwei, and how this character was so determined to protect Zhiwei, even to the end, though he would not be able to follow her anymore. I was saddened that she left him behind.

For the last episode, I honestly was not okay with it. There was so much left unsaid that I had more questions than answers, not even looking it up online helped. I understand the path Zhiwei chose, but I was also really hoping that she could stay with Ning Yi, and with her counseling they could change the empire little by little, with as little bloodshed and the sacrificing of innocents as possible to that time frame. I would love it if they made a sequel, so we could all know how Ning Yi's rule went, how he moved past his love for Zhiwei, how he felt on the wind that he knew she was no longer with the living. I was so touched, so sad at what had transpired.

I also really enjoyed the music, and if there is a soundtrack for it, I will go and hunt it down for purchase.

I will also probably rewatch this series later down the road, or at least my favourite episodes.

I give and will forever give this entire series 10/10 on everything.

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Completed
mamadrama
1 people found this review helpful
10 hours ago
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.5
It's hard to critique any 70 episode drama without finding some flaws in it - so I won't.

I loved so many of the characters that it would probably be an endless list of who and whys. Ning Yi (Chen Kun) / Male lead and Feng Zhiwei (Ni Ni) held their spots of being my favorite movie couple of all time and people in this drama. I loved the playful banter and tongue and cheek verbal exchange that they had especially during the difficult moments in their lives.

Chen Kun reminds a of Daniel Day-Lewis in mannerisms and acting style- when facial expressions and body language speak volumes. Ni Ni was such an endearing person - you couldn't help fall in love with her fierce desire to do what's right. I really like that in spite of the tangled mess of situations that unfolded - they and those close to each of them remained loyal.

I'm kind of surprised by the lower ratings - I loved it. Rewatch value? I could watch it again now - and I just finished it this morning. Suffice it to say it's been a long time since I've watched a historical drama I've enjoyed this much. I hope to see more of Ni Ni - I think this is her first TV drama since she's mainly a film actress. And well Chen Kun - I'm totally going to movie/drama marathon him.

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Completed
haadinet
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 15, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 3.0
I watched this on Netflix and must say I was obsessed, I loved it until the very last three or so episodes, hated the ending, that said still worth the watch. What really stands out about The Rise of the Phoenixes is atmosphere and attention to period detail – it’s a big, complex, grown-up story, rich in culture and period flourish, delivered by a talented creative team and performed by an enthusiastic cast. Military academy with headmaster Xin Ziyan (Zhao Lixin) and Prince Ning Yi (Chen Kun), and Feng Zhiwei (Ni Ni) are amazing. Sleeper Star: Hai Yitian does a good job showing the Crown Prince as the weak weasel he is.

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Completed
MysteryMel-Bookish
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 15, 2018
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
Watched on Netflix by chance. Visually compelling LONG story of power, justice, and love that can never fulfill.
Story: timeless and ever told saga of power for the BIG chair - no man, woman or child or LOVE will hinder that drive. Costuming & scenes were amazing and vivid.
Actors: the main leads had sizzling chemistry (wishing for a fulfillment) with all the actors cast perfectly for their roles - each and everyone. The emperor was one of my most favorite characters. Love mature actors!
Music: fit the mood and time and not overbearing.
Summary: was this perfect drama? No, it sagged in some spots, technically jumpy, storytelling seemed overly convoluted - confusing at times. YET, the main actor -KC introduction into the drama portrayed a deeply complex and tormented man in search. Thus I was hooked. This is a long drama, and well worth the time . "With smart people, you must be strategic." This drama was one heck of a go - chess game.

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Mac Alma Mulles
0 people found this review helpful
29 days ago
70 of 70 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
I love the intense scenes and the cunning and manipulative thoughts and actions of Ning Yi. I just felt bad on the ending and disappointed but I guess tmost of the chinese series i have watched so far has no happy endings except for eternal love. The female lead always die. I wish they change that idea as people like happy endings and not a sad one . Hope there is a continuation for this as i like ning yi to be happy after all the trials and pain he went through lol. Cinematography is so great and the intricate and lavish costumes . I loved the historical part of it

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