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The Banquet [2006] [DVD]


Price: £5.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Banquet [2006] [DVD] + Curse of the Golden Flower [DVD] + House Of Flying Daggers [2004] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun, Ge You, Ma Jingwu
  • Directors: Feng Xiaogang
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: In2film
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Feb 2009
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001MAA6VU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,558 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Bloody historical epic about court intrigue in China's Five Dynasties period, loosely based on Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. The setting is an ancient Chinese kingdom, where malice and treachery rule. The latest turmoil arises with the sudden death of the emperor. Suspicion falls on his ambitious brother Li (You Ge), who takes the throne as well as his brother's young, beautiful wife, Empress Wan (Ziyi Zhang). The only obstacle in his path is his brother's son, Prince Wuluan (Daniel Wu), a melancholy youngster who harbours a sexual longing for his stepmother and has consequently exiled himself to a colony in the wilderness. When the new emperor's ninja assassins reach the colony the prince barely escapes with his life. Returning to the palace, he is at once embroiled in schemes, counterschemes and suspect declarations of love. The film climaxes at a late night banquet where murder is the main dish on the menu...

Review

The world's best choreographer, Yuen Wo-Ping might have topped himself with fight scenes --Hollywood Reporter

Superb, A Spectacular Epic ... Prepare To be Gobsmacked ... Mesmerising --Morning Star

Spectacular ... Sensational Battles ... Stunning --Mail On Sunday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Milt M. R. Ingarfield on 25 Jun 2008
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Unlike the DVD incarnation of this 2006 production the Blu-ray is in the proper 2.35 aspect for all of the 2 hour and 10 minute running time that's a full 5 minutes longer than it's DVD counter-part and instead of the choice of digital stereo and 5.1 surround sound Blu-ray has DTS-HD master audio or digital stereo and the signal type is MPEG 4 AVC, which shows this spectacular visual delight in the best light.

Everything about this film is impressive from the lighting to the costume design and all the departments in-between, Xiaogang Fengthe man who gave us "A World Without Thieves" and "Assembly" comes up trumps again with the Asian take on Shakespeare's play "Hamlet", as with the bard's story this movie is about the complex relationships and passionate characters.

The Banquet in 1080p resolution is a feast for the eyes with mind-boggling ballet like choreographed fight sequences which are interspersed with floods of crimson spatters of blood with deeply satisfying clangs of the swords and other weaponry coming from the surround speakers and dazzling landscapes which using everything from water being splashed by the running horses to the bright colours of the silk costumes to create the atmosphere of the piece.

For those who admire of Xiaogang Fengwork (I count myself amongst them) the look and feel of "The Banquet" will not disappoint as it maintains the running themes of the previous movies stunning martial arts, spectacular use of landscapes and costumes all this comes together and over loads the senses which looked impressive on DVD but now in its Blu-ray incarnation it tests both your system for sight and sound, not to be missed if you are fan of this director highly recommended.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Clever Spud TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 May 2008
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Which was, of course, The Lion King.

I'll touch on the aspect ratio thing which has been mentioned before. I was aware of this before watching the film and expected it to have more impact than it eventually did. You're left aware of what the film should have been once the opening credits roll un-cropped and then fade back into fullscreen. Aside from that if I hadn't known about it I doubt I would have noticed while watching so it wasn't as big a deal to me as I thought it would be.

The emperor is dead, his young widow is being seduced by (or is it the other way around?)the emperor's brother who intends to be crowned emperor himself, while the emperor's son has removed himself from the court, and its intrigues, to study the arts. NOTE: not martial arts but music, primarily. From here things kick off in spectacular fashion.

To be honest this is one of the first of these Chinese epics that I've managed to follow the plot of, obviously because it's based on Shakespeare's Hamlet and is a bit of a classic. Couple this with stunning set pieces (and not just battles) and the spectacular Chinese scenery and you have one extremely compelling film.

The violence is over the top and bloody but nothing that will have you hiding behind a cushion. The fight scenes seem slightly toned down than some I've seen though there's still a bit of aerobatics and you won't be cheated of epic set piece battles. I think the fights are grittier and it works.

You already know by now whether you're a fan of this sort of film and if you are you should get your hands on it. If you've tried previous films like Crouching Tiger, Hero or House of Flying Daggers and found the extended superheroesque blade-walking high flying jousting just a bit too much for you then at least give this a rental because it's more toned down and brutal than those previous epics.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Kay on 4 Sep 2010
Format: Blu-ray
This is a feast of a film - few blu ray reviews here - so a quicky to clarify this isn't like the cropped DVD version that has given this wonderful film such bad reviews. The blu ray sounds and looks wholeheartedly widescreenly magnificent.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 May 2008
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Banquet is a stunner. If you enjoyed any of the recent popular martial arts dramas (Crouching Tiger, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, etc), then you're almost certain to revel in the beauty, horror, action and extreme emotions of The Banquet.
Don't be put off by the knowledge that it's based around the plot of Hamlet, because you need no knowledge of Shakespeare to enjoy this film. it's also not quite the same story -- and definitely not the same characters! In fact the lead character, torn between ambition, love, desire, hatred and fear isn't the young Prince at all...

You will need to concentrate on the plot to enjoy the fine detail and political intrigue of this Tang Dynasty drama. The Emperor is usurped and his brother takes the throne: the young Crown Prince in is immediate danger (although he can't be killed publicly); the queen must decide whether her future lies with the new Emperor or with her old loyalties, and her old lover.
All this intrigue is set against jaw-dropping backgrounds; scenes of breath-taking beauty and simply stunning action sequences. There are some horribly bloody scenes which serve to underline the brutality of the regieme, while the massed ranks of the court bow and scrape in a corordinated and colourful unison. Everywhere you look on the screen is a riot of intricate detail, much of it with an underlying significance to the plot.
By now you've probably guessed that I really can't praise The Banquet highly enough. It captivated us for two hours, and I'll be happy to watch it again in a couple of months. It's a great shame we couldn't see it at the cinema (all that colour and spectacle would be brilliant on a big screen), but this is a film not to be missed whatever format you can see it in.
9/10
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