Due to this film playing heavily off of Nikolai Gogol's short story(ies?), I find the subject matter warrants a quick mention of comparison to the series "Gogol". Both dealt with the supernatural and science, faith and faithless, etc. "Gogol" was more in depth in their adventure as a series, making it more of a sincere input into God and science and death. "Forbidden Kingdom" was less so as it was not fleshed out, even rushed.
The production was good, dark and slightly whimsical, in line with Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice In Wonderland, etc. The editing of scenes, from flashbacks to present, from simultaneous actions, lacked a cohesive blend. Match this with at least three characters looking like the same person (due to the cultural style) and you can get a little confused on who is doing what and when.
There was a culture presented here in which many men believed all women were witches. This was not explored to give an understanding to how such beliefs come into play, and it was used as a short vehicle to connect the film's intention with Gogol's short story. It basically somewhat came off as a movie of chaotic, greedy, lusty men and victimized (yet divinely powerful) women. The dubbing always loses the film's initial charm.
By th film's end, a science-pushing skeptic sees a miracle and a cult-of-personality villian becomes so traveled and 'educated" that he creates his own religion with the help of science. This is not fully explored but he talks about it in the end. The film relied more on fancy imagery and an ambience of darkness (which I liked) and less on exploring the deep gray area of man and science, both of which are testaments to God's creation. Worth a watch but I wouldn't revisit it like Pirates of the Caribbean.