From the New York Times (link):
Set in an enchanted, fantastical China where the boundaries between the human and the supernatural are as blurred as some of the computer-generated imagery, “The Promise” occupies a curious landscape somewhere between opera and cartoon.
Its director, Chen Kaige, is best known for historical epics like “The Emperor and the Assassin” and “Farewell My Concubine,” the first and still the only Chinese film to win the top prize at Cannes. After an unhappy Hollywood adventure (which yielded an eventually-straight-to-DVD sex thriller called “Killing Me Softly”), Mr. Chen has returned home, and returned to lavish, large-scale cinema. Reportedly the most expensive movie ever made in mainland China, “The Promise” is full of grand, widescreen set pieces. Some are breathtaking, others merely out of breath.