Unless you close your eyes to all things Chinese in Hong Kong, which many residents here do, you simply cannot miss the ubiquitous posters for the film League of Gods, the one with the macabre six-armed toddler.
This latest film adaptation of the 16th-century Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi (translated as Investiture of the Gods) features big names such as Jet Li Lianjie, Fan Bingbing and Tony Leung Ka-fai, and boasts state-of-the-art CGI and special effects.
The novel itself has long been considered second rate by literary critics.
Completed sometime in the Longqing (1567-1572) and Wanli (1573-1620) periods of the Ming dynasty by an author whose identity remains unknown, the main story is set against the historical backdrop of the founding of the Zhou dynasty some two-and-a-half millennia earlier.
Unlike historical novels in which facts are tweaked to spin a good yarn, in Investiture, real figures such as the last king of the Shang dynasty, his wicked queen, Daji, the founding king of the Zhou dynasty, his adviser Jiang Ziya, and so on, are aided or abetted by demons, immortals and deities, whose numbers are legion in the novel. It’s not an easy read, and you’ll probably be better off watching the movie.