Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee)

Asian superstars Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film.

Film Review Archive (date seen: October 17, 2010)

I've heard how popular and phenomenal this film was many, many times so finally, I got the chance to see it. Well, for some reasons I can never quite grasp, I thought this one was not the very "great" film that the advertising and the Oscar awards made it appear to be.

Its beautiful cinematography is, of course, one of its great strengths, putting all of the characters in a Chinese landscape untouched by any CGI effects and letting its authentic beauty do wonders with the film's mise en scene (ironic given "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's" fantastical visuals). But the rest are forgettable at worst, especially the story. For 2 hours, we're given a narrative revolving around a search for a sword without any emotional crescendos to accompany the film's potential visual power; it's something like an uneventful trip in an otherwise very picturesque place.

It's a good martial arts film, but I thought Zhang Yimou's "Hero" is much better than this, and no way this defeated "Amores Perros" in the Best Foreign Language film category at the Oscars. Well, maybe the jury members were more inclined on a honey-glazed mythology than Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's rabid reality at the time.


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