Curse of the Golden Flower dir. by

23 April 2007

Script: ,
Cast: , , , ,
Setting: ,
Rated :

or Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia

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Set in the Tang dynasty in the 10th Century, this film tells the tale of the Emperor Ping and his cold war with his wife, Empress Phoenix, as well as both of their attempts to influence the three princes. The eldest, Crown Prince Wan’s mother was the Emperor’s first wife, has been raised by Phoenix as well as her two sons. But the emperor is not happy with his wife. As her father is an important neighbouring king he cannot do away with her in the open and instead decides that as she is “sick” she needs to take her medicine. Medicine that he has formulated, and which includes a poison that will slowly cause damage and leave her nothing but a vegetable. Obviously she doesn’t want this to happen and so makes other plans.

Visually this film works exceptionally well. Almost every scene is gorgeous. The costume design is also fantastic, even if I really did wonder how often “cut” had to be shouted when a breast popped out of place. Running around in those outfits would not be a good idea.

And the acting was pretty good too. Yun-Fat Chow and Li Gong were great, and I also thought that Jay Chou was pretty believable. The rest did the job but didn’t stand out for me.

Despite all that praise however I really didn’t like this film. It was just plain boring. Lovely scene after lovely scene, but who really cares if the story and/or characters don’t engage. I just felt a huge sense of “and? your point being?” throughout the film. And even more so at the end.

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5 Responses

  1. Carl V. says:

    Its too bad that the story didn't match the quality of the actors and the beauty of the film. It is one I want to see sometime, but won't rush out now and get it.

  2. weenie says:

    Same here, I was hoping for another 'House of Flying Daggers' which was beautiful, with what I thought was a good storyline to match.

  3. Fence says:

    Carl maybe if you go expecting rubbish then you'll be able to appreciate the pretty pictures :)

    Weenie, I liked the first half of <cite>The House of Flying Colours</cite>, the second half wasn't as great, but still watchable. This isn't anywhere near as good.

  4. Talena says:

    Thanks for the review of this movie. I haven't seen it yet, but usually love watching Asian films just for the visual poetry they unfold. ("House of Flying Daggers" was an especially good example.) However, they do often have that "And? Your point was?" effect. Unless of course, it's Jackie Chan. Or Jet Li. Then, the whole point is how many guys he can knock out per frame, with maybe a little witty sarcasm and a few good one-liners thrown in for good measure.

    Heya, Fence.

  5. Fence says:

    Talena, I agree that a lot of them don't have much by way of story. But this one took it to extremes. How are you?