Monday, August 30, 2004

Notes on Hero 

I was prepared for another monstrous failure of a movie, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I was very pleasantly surprised.

This movie has an interesting story that goes with it. Nameless has killed the three assassins that have been trying to kill the king, and the king has summoned him to hear what happened, see the proof, and provide the bounties for their heads. Instead of being so straight forward, though, the story tellers are lying, and hypothesizing. So you see the same scenes played out in different ways, Rashomon-like, depending on who is talking/lying/theorizing. It's a wonderful narrative device, and really pulls you in, making you more and more curious to find out what's happened. (Perhaps it is this aspect, the fact that most of the movie plays out as storytelling, that made me find the ridiculous martial arts totally tolerable this time).

In any case, I don't need to tell you much else about the movie, other than that I think it all works well together. You've seen the trailers, so you know that the cinematography and directing is great, and the acting is, well, as good as it gets in this sort of movie. It's a great time.

I guess for Crouching Tiger you really had to appreciate the old Gong Fu movies that it referenced. Ridiculous would be the very last word I'd use to describe it. Fantastic, wonderful, dreamlike, would all come first. But yeah, if you can't get over people flying, you'll probably have a bad time.
Nonsense. If that was the reason I didn't like it, why would I like Hero and Kill Bill so much?

But in any case, I don't buy that argument. Mentally replace "Kung Fu" with some other generally horrible genre, like Blaxploitation, or Late Night Cable TV Titty Porn, and try to imagine the wonderful movie that would make your comment valid.

(To be clear, I'm saying that the genre is orthogonal to the movie's quality; don't start naming wonderful Blaxploitation movies to "prove" that I'm wrong here).
Well, I haven't seen Kill Bill, but I think that movie was also based on old Gong Fu movies, so I guess you've proved my point.

But Crouching Tiger was great. It was two really good love stories, it had an epic scope, and the evil in the movie was caused by the "good guys", leaving them to clean up their own mess. I'm not sure why that formula is so appealing, but it can be pulled off really well.

Also, there are two version of CTHD out there. I saw the cooler cut. (I remember renting it again and saying "this isn't the same movie.") It was minor edits, but this one scene in particular that had a huge emotional impact became this little wimper.
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