Archive for January, 2009

Cheesy Chinese-y movie – The Mummy III: The Golden Emperor

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 by Lara

I saw this recently on a plane, and although its release was carefully timed to coincide with the run-up to the Beijing Olympics (and thus exploit international interest and audience for Things Chinese), I liked it. Partly because I like Brendan Fraser, who doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously – at least not in these sorts of roles – and partly because it was a pretty nice mishmash of what the average westerner thinks of when they think of China: Terra cotta warriors, Great Wall, Jet Li, determined Communists in the late 1940s, kung fu. Of course, they don’t usually associate these things with mummies coming to life to destroy western values, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Anyway, this was an amazingly ridiculous movie, so a good thing to watch when you’re stuck in a flying can for ten hours – not so compelling that you wish the picture and dialogue were clearer, but sufficiently fun and with enough fights and explosions to divert you from thinking about the sneezing woman right behind you and the germs she’s sending your way.

Red Cliff – the movie vs. the book

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 by Lara

The big-budget movie of the Battle of Red Cliff was so cumbersome that it was split into two thrilling installments. One was released last July just before the Beijing Olympics, and the other is now out in theaters, at least here in Singapore. Part I starts with the rescue of Liu Bei’s son, Ah Dou, defeats the forces of Cao Cao in the Eight Trigrams formation, and stops with Sun Quan’s paltry navy lined up across the river from Cao Cao’s enormous array of ships. I haven’t seen Part II yet, but we all know how it ends.

Although I am a newcomer to Three Kingdoms, even I could see the main lines of change from text to movie. Some of it is welcome, from a modern point of view – more girls, preferably swinging swords, are needed in any action film, and Sun Quan’s sister gets a bigger role. His mom, none, nor any old people save perhaps for Liu Bei and Cao Cao, who looks remarkably well preserved. Maybe I would, too if I were running China with a lot of resources behind me.