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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire on BLU-RAY at last!
Bathed in nostalgia, and filled with sadness for the irrevocability of the past, for "a strange, inconceivable England" as Ballard says in his novel Empire of the Sun (New Windmills) (ch. 2) - albeit an England surreally transposed to the far east - Spielberg perfectly captures the spirit of the book with his gorgeous cinematography and a superb soundtrack courtesy of...
Published on 7 Nov. 2012 by John Hamilton

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a nicely shot film but lacks the tension and emotion of ...
This is a nicely shot film but lacks the tension and emotion of the book. The characters seem less defined and much of the crucial detail is lost.
Published 2 months ago by Jo


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire on BLU-RAY at last!, 7 Nov. 2012
By 
John Hamilton (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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Bathed in nostalgia, and filled with sadness for the irrevocability of the past, for "a strange, inconceivable England" as Ballard says in his novel Empire of the Sun (New Windmills) (ch. 2) - albeit an England surreally transposed to the far east - Spielberg perfectly captures the spirit of the book with his gorgeous cinematography and a superb soundtrack courtesy of John Williams, including the hauntingly beautiful Suo Gan - a song which I don't think has ever been sung more beautifully (the soloist in this performance was James Rainbird). Complemented by a stellar cast, Christian Bale deserves a great deal of credit for his outstanding performance as Jim.

Blu-ray releases are often a case of hit-and-miss, but I'm glad to say that this blu-ray is excellent. Fans of the film will find that the cinematography is *enormously* enhanced by its being presented in glorious HD - the pin-sharp picture is just a complete joy to watch from beginning to end.

Extras:

Making-of documentary, 'The China Odyssey'
Theatrical trailer
(Both these were formerly available on DVD. Neither are in HD.)

The film can be listened to in its original (English language) soundtrack, or dubbed into French, German, Italian, Spanish (both Castilian and Latin), and Portuguese.

Optional subtitles:
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (again, both kinds), Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Chinese.

Comparison with US release:
The US release of this movie: Empire of the Sun [Blu-ray] [1987] [US Import] - which is multi-region, so can be viewed on any UK blu-ray player - is a special digibook version with a second disc. The second disc is a documentary about Warner Bros' WWII propaganda department, entitled "Warner at War". This 2008 documentary (which is narrated by Spielberg, and lasts about three-quarters of an hour) has really nothing to do with the movie (the Intro to the documentary can be viewed on YouTube). But the digibook itself is very nice. It has some well chosen photos from the movie and is quite a handsome product. However, at the time of writing, it does cost considerably more than the UK release. So if you're not much bothered with the packaging and are only interested in the disc content, then I'd probably go with the UK release since it is significantly cheaper, and the bonus feature on the second disc of the US release is not really an "extra" related to this movie.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Powerful, 11 Nov. 2006
By 
C. Leenhouwers "claireann82" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As the previous reviewer has said this is a poweful, cinematic masterpiece. From the moment that Jim (Christian Bale) is separated from his parents we follow his journey of survival in a Japanese POW camp. I agree with the previous reviewer that the slow motion sequence with the bomber is powerful and moving but there are several other scenes which are equally moving. There is a moment when Jim saves the doctor (Nigel Havers) from a beating by bowing to his Japanese captor. Also, when Jim salutes the Japanese pilots and sings as they go off to fight. The scene in which Jim is convinced that a bright light is the passing of his friend but is actually the first atom bombs is masterful as well. However, for me the most memorable scene is the final one which I can't mention as it would spoil the story. This is a weepie movie but beautiful and Christian Bale is superb and brings out a wonderful array of emotions far beyond what you'd expect in someone so young.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Speilberg's finest....., 3 Nov. 2006
By 
Mr. M. L. Evans (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
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An outstanding film based around the life of young Jim (Christian Bale in one of his first films), the son of a couple of aristocatic ex-pats living in shanghai around the time of the Japanese invasion of China in 1939. The movie is a masterpiece of cinematic set pieces and excellent casting including a brilliant John Malkovich as Jim's 'tutor' through his internment by the Japanese and a suprisingly good offering by Nigel Havers as the camps doctor.

This film has one of THE best scenes in cinematic history as far as I'm concerned, involving Jim (Bale) standing atop of a burned out building as a P51 Mustang fighter plane fly's by him so close that you clearly see the pilot smiling and waving at him. It is one of the finest slow motion sequences I have ever seen and I challenge anyone not to be moved by it.

Dont' even think about it - just buy the DVD today, you won't be disapointed.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars engrossing, 23 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Empire of the Sun (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
An amazing tale of the child's view of war. One of my favourite books and easily my favourite film. I recommend this to anyone with heart, consideration and understanding of the human cost of battle
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotive. Depth. Brilliant. Unforgettable music and scenery., 22 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Empire of the Sun (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
I have watched this WWII portrayal several times and each time I learn something new of the horrors of war and the specifc adventure a young british boy experiences as he struggles then fights tooth and nail to survive the brutal stark indignity and horrors of captivity and basic starvation during japenese led invasion and capture.
A heart breaking story with loads of adventures along the way. The boy grows from pampered sheltered middle class "plenty"- to abject suffering and lack.
A happy ending I am pleased to say of a "comming of age" young boy who gets seperated from his mother during the round up for the concentration camps during WWII. I shan't tell you anymore,just to say: "Go AND Buy IT. You wont be disapointed.
A young Christopher bale ('Batman') makes his debut here and impressive it is as he acts his heart out. Sings hauntingly pure, too. Probably one of his finest performnances. Very watchable. Full of haunting brutality. Imaginative honest sensitive scenes and massive direction. At times over the top. At other times very understated...cleverly done.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Speilberg's best serious movie, 5 Mar. 2006
By 
D. Brockis "dave6566" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Empire of the Sun (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very good adaptation of a very good novel. Speilberg is a great film maker but, in my opinion, not always the best storyteller. Fortunately here we have very true reading of J.G.Ballard's work: far better than his re-working of Schindler's Ark into Schindler's List. Definately worth watching.
If you do enjoy this, I would also recommend you watch the Japanes anime "Grave of the Firlies", which is an even more
powerful examination of the impact of war on children.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN "A" CLASS CLASSIC, 7 July 2002
This review is from: Empire of the Sun (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
i must admit, im a bit of a movie buff. Ive seen hundreds of movies and plenty of war movies at that. I must also admit that im a real fan of steven spielberg and films such as "jaws, close encounters, e.t, indiana jones, the minority report" but I have to say Empire of the sun is probably my favourite of them all.
Its a brilliant film in every way, its thoughtful, moving, and wonderfully performed. Bale gives a superb performance and proves that kids can actually act in films. Some scenes really stand out as stunning such as the bombing of the prison camp and the scenes between Bale and the japanese pilot.
This film ranks as one of my very favourites, because its only one of two films (shawshank redemption being the other) that brings me close to tears every time i watch it, and im a grown man!!!! hehe. Not to be missed. *****
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MOVING MASTERPIECE,GREAT CINEMA AND GREAT ACTING, 28 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Empire Of The Sun [VHS] (VHS Tape)
one of my prized possessions in my video collection, empire of the sun is a moving film following the traumatic journey of Jim,a boy who loses his parents during world war two in Asia. This an epic in every sense of the word, great soundtrack great cinematography and superb acting. Watch out for a young Christian Bale as Jim in a stunningly mature performance....the ending will move you to tears.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant classic!, 28 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Empire of the Sun (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film when I was very young and although I didn't fully appreciate the goings on of the 2nd World War at the time, something about it stuck with me. It details Japan's bombing of Shanghai after the events of Pearl Harbour and follows a young English boy's view of the bombing's aftermath. He goes from having everything to nothing, including his parents. Spielberg's use of imagery in representing the deterioration of Shanghai life is fantastic and certainly does justice to J.G Ballard's novel which I could read over and over again. The film did not do as well as expected on release but do not be fooled by this, Empire of the Sun is one of the most touching films around and gives people, like myself, who did not live during the war,a sense of just how horrific it was. I would highly recommend this to anyone, young or old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever made, 20 July 2007
One of Spielberg's finest movies (based on JG Ballard's book) that introduced us to Christian Bale. Also includes great acting performances from Nigel Havers and Leslie Phillips. Young Jim is seperated from his parents as war breaks out in shanghai and must adapt from life as a privalaged public school boy to a child who needs to survive in an adult world during war while all the time grapling with the innosence of a child. Jim must befriend the right people and do what must be done in order for him to survive. Soudtrack truely amazing (also available from amazon- a must for your collection). Cannot recommend this film highly enough had to wait ages for it to come out again on DVD... certainly not disappointed
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