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Discussion in 'Movies' started by oscar_merkx, Aug 16, 2004.
a dream team combination
That's excellent news! However. . .
I have no idea how much of the quality of their recent films has been the result of studio interference, but that quote might have it backwards!
I think Woo and Chow should have got back together a long time ago, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms is still my ultimate fantasy of a movie (broken down in parts), but I don't look forward to this pair doing this story. The War of the Red Cliff (if I'm guessing the translation correctly) is the most famous battle in the book, but it's going to be impossible to film. The amount of history and characters involved in this battle are going to be very difficult to film as a single movie. Plus I think both Woo and Chow's strengths lie in a modern sensibility, no matter how much romanticism or honor appeared in their work.
Just an update
Red Cliff is now the biggest budget Chinese film of all time at $80 million. To give a comparison, Zhang Yimou's Hero was budgeted at $31 million, and Lee's Crouching Tiger at $15 M. It should be massive.
The film is to be divided in two parts in China, one before the 08 Olympics, one at the end of the year. I'm not sure how it will be released in the West. Chow backed out of the film, so the headliner actors are Tony Leung, Zhang Fenyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Ken Watannabe.
I still have my reservations about the film, due to Woo, the cast, and magnitude of the film. Nonetheless, this is among my most anticipated films in 08. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is traditionally considered one of the four great novels/epics in Chinese culture, and the War of the Red Cliff is the central battle in 100 years of Chinese history.
EDIT: might be a good idea to strike Chow's name from the title of the thread
The film is not getting to my local art house theater until early January, but in the meantime I jumped on a more than affordable price for the UK Blu-ray of Parts 1 and 2.
watching it tomorrow (friday)! woo hoo!
Was it the 5 hours version that combined parts one and two? Or the 2.5 hour version that was just released in North America?
I went ahead last week and imported the BRD so I can see the complete version and to free up space on my DVR.
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I have only seen Part 1 of the two Asian theatrical releases, so my comment is limited to that part. The rental DVD I got in Taiwan for part 2 was abused too much for me to finish the movie. I thought Part 1 was close to a disaster. Of course I am familiar with this material, but I don't think it's because I thought it was unfaithful to the material, which it clearly isn't (to both history and the most well known story). The invented material are clearly meant for popularity's sake, which is fine in itself, but done rather in a uninspiring way to me, which is not. Little skirmishes are endless battles, with ludicrous highlights on certain individual characters (these are all legendary figures in Chinese society). The female characters are given tremendous importance, with an absolutely unbelievable infiltration subplot. I also thought the musical score was among the most inappropriate that I have heard in a long time. The Chinese dialogue is illiterate.
The American reviews seem to be generally pretty fair, and of course I haven't seen Part II, the main battle itself. I may yet give the American release a shot, but my enthusiasm is low.
I've just added BRD release dates for both versions of this fine film to the BRD Release Schedule.
i got this as a UK import a couple weeks ago. i agree the story leaves something to be desired. while the plots unfolds with "clever" twists that leads up to a pretty cool final battle (i'm completely new to the story so i don't know what's invented and what's old), the overall story lacks any real drama as the material is treated with an almost light-hearted fable-like feel. this ain't Braveheart or Crouching Tiger or 300.
I watched about the first five minutes and was a little surprised by the cheapness of the film score. Sounds like someone banged it out on a Casio.
Something must be wrong with me because I liked the film score.
Kirk, I'm not sure if you're going to enjoy the movie in its entirety by watching part 2, but for me, part 1 was a lot like LOTR:FOTR -- mostly setup and character intros with some pacing problems that made watching parts of it tedious. Part 2 is like LOTR:TT in that it is much more briskly paced, and the last 90 minutes of the film is simply non-stop. In retrospect, the time Woo took with each character paid off -- I was never left wondering who was whom during the frenetic battle scenes. The only nitpick is that some of the battle scenes are repetitive -- how many times after the 30th time a person is hit with a hail of arrows is too much? How many catapulted explosive devices is enough? It was as if Woo spent too much effort filming each shot to leave anything on the cutting room floor.
All in all, I really liked the movie taken as a whole very much. I didn't notice any faults with the soundtrack. And not being at all familiar with the story or the language, I didn't find a lot of the faults that jumped out at Kirk.
I ended up reading up on the Three Kingdoms on Wikipedia after watching the movies, and it was interesting how fictionalized and Shu Han-centric Romance of the Three Kingdoms is. Woo apparently sought to bring some even-handed treatment of the characters to the story by following a more historical route (notably the depiction of Zhou Yu), but, of course, the movie itself has very loose connections to historical fact (for one thing, they still go with the 800,000 troop count from ROFTK even though it was more like 200,000, and the events surrounding the climatic naval battle are made up of whole cloth).
BTW, I didn't understand the structure of RC I and RC II going in (I assumed the second was a sequel), so I was taken aback when I learned after watching for 130 minutes that I would need to watch for 130 more to finish the story. Still well worth it. My wife really liked it as well.
If I were to assemble a top ten list for 2009, Red Cliff 1 & 2 would make it easily.
I watched both parts last week and enjoyed them more than the American version.