13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A film of substance ?,
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This review is from: Confucius [DVD]  (DVD)
Although I was aware of the film, it had gone under my radar as it was not one of my top priorities to see.but when purchasing other films of a similar nature, it sprung forth and I am quite an admirer of Chow Yun -Fat as an actor...Crouching Tiger etc...so I thought it might be worth watching and Confucius seemed a more meaty role ,so I was intrigued to see how they portrayed him and whether it could be considered an epic.
The film commences with his rise to Justice minister in the Kingdom of Lu, a reward for diverting the assassination of the King and preventing the Kingdom been seized by the King of Qi..jealousy from other ministers forces Confucius ( or Kong Qiu as he is known in the film ) into exile, so he and his disciples wonder the land teaching and looking for shelter and a place to settle..Confucius and his disciples end up destitute and struggling to survive. However, the very person who forced his exile, the Prime Minister of Lu is dying, and they face attack from their neighbours. Confucius agrees to return home, but on the condition he is not sought for advise on politics or military strategy and that he can be left to his books and teaching and so the film ends with him sitting in this library surrounded by all his works..and you look and think wow.
So was this film epic? Well there were large battle scenes between the neighbouring kingdoms and the production sets looked grand ...though not on the scale of hero...and that for me is where it ends. I don't know any of the previous films by the director Mei Hu, apparently this film did pick up an award,
For me this was a watered down sanitised more biographical account ,which left me with no lasting impression and made reviewing it very difficult. Yes Chow Yun -Fat looked convincing as Confucius but that is the extent ( for me anyway) as to the depth of this great man of history...not the fault of the actor but the script which he was handed.
An opportunity to show the world a lasting and memorable portrait of probably one of the greatest philosophers of all time wasted.
Too much emphasis was placed on the waring kingdoms, and very little on the teachings of this great man, yes there were token saying laced in the script..but at the end of the film, I was left disappointed..This should have been a film of magnitude, that could have gone down in cinematic history..I had hoped that I would learn more about the man ,his teaching...I wanted to see more inter action between him and his disciples....this film should have given me a thirst for knowledge, and understanding..it should have engaged my mind and been thought provoking ..It should have educated me and helped make me wiser..that for me is true entertainment.
What a shame that one of Chen Kaige, , Ang Lee or Wong Kar-Wai had not directed , I can't help feel we would then have been left with a master piece and a film of great merit and Chow Yun Fat's portrayal as Confucius would have been hailed as one of the best performances.
Subtitles both Mandarin and English got confusing at times and the print went very small..which made film hard to follow at times.