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Showing 1-10 of 80 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 107 reviews
on June 7, 2017
A marvelous expression / Interpretation of Hamlet within the culture of China - concerned with the ideological aspect of Shakespeare and not a word for word translation. Artfully scripted by Gangjian Qiu and directed by Feng Xiaogang (look these guys up if you don't know their work. They put out many worthy works) the movie is a beautiful wedding of Greek, English and Chinese elements. Staged in a theatrical style the presentation is executed at once in a limited view (the stage) and expansive as the stage often explodes in action with players floating around and one time they enter the scene floating on bamboo tree tops as seen in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. They also display three dimensional movement by floating in and out of view and fighting / flying to the various levels of a multidimensional structure built on a beautiful set.The incorporation of Greek flavor is accommodated by Greek style mask worn by the players in some beautifully executed performance. Their contribution to the films artistry and imaginative makeup is wonderful. The acrobatics performance of the wushu players is done with a visual grace and refinement throughout that should please any fan of wushu theater.

The director displays remarkable restraint in maintaining an even, steady purposeful pace throughout the production. I've read that some consider the pace slow at times! I sometimes found the films pace a challenge to my will and my ability to hold my emotions in check so I did not race ahead of the presentation. This excertion of self control created a level of suspense and tension between the film and myself that I very much appreciated as it forced me to match the pace of my emotions with what I saw unfolding before me. A wonderful experience as I was able to see and appreciate the refinement of the players brilliance. Every moment is well done and should be appreciated for the quality on display throughout. For example; I enjoyed the performance of the masked players as so well done I found myself completely drawn into their visually artistic and, I thought, ingenious performances.

Singing is an important component in the Chinese traditional theater. The singing in this interpretation is wonderful. Teeg Geer has a vocal ability capable of summoning the spiritual expression of any soul listening to his wonderful interpretation of the play. Of course, this is Shakespeare, and lust and ambition drive several characters to the conclusion which is a who done it killing. You will be well rewarded for the scant price of this blue ray. You may even find yourself watching it several times finding new gems with each viewing, ENJOY
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on November 2, 2013
This movie pretty much has it all if you want a top notch Chinese production, the sets are amazing, the costumes, the imaginative fantasy martial arts sequences, the cinematography captures it all with beatific style. The only thing I found lacking was a more traditional music score to complete the effect... but the modern compositions does work very well, it's not lacking... I just thought that a more traditional Chinese music approach might have better suited the sumptuous visuals better. I noticed it's a modern Chinese composer and features Lang Lang so it works for the modern approach over all.
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on March 6, 2008
The Good Things:
*Actions scenes are pretty darn awesome. They are well-choreographed, have lots of slow-motion, and are quite bloody. Some of it even looks beautiful.
*Filming style is good. It has plenty of good camera angles, and has a lot of vivid imagery.
*Sets and costumes are very imaginatively designed.
*Music is interesting.
*Acting is good; characters are interesting, and it is easy to see how they correspond to Shakesphere's "Hamlet," from which the story is derrived.
*Even though this is an adaptation of "Hamlet," it is a very different and liberal one. The story and characters stands well on its own.

The Bad Things:
*A little slow at parts.

As with other great modern martial arts films (like "Hero," or "Shinobi"), this one has a very lavish, mesmerizing style and lots of impressive fight scenes. It is not quite Shakesphere, but it is definately artful martial arts. Even the bloody scenes are done with style; Stanley Kubrick would have been jealous. I would definately reccomend this to anybody who likes martial arts.
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on March 29, 2008
I was irked that this retitled reissue of THE BANQUET wasn't identified
as such. Obviously, I had THE BANQUET already. But this reissue has a radically superior print and audio and very, very well-done subtitles.

It's really an Asian retelling of Hamlet. But an adaptation so slick and well-done, it's like a whole new story. The concept of combining dance with swordplay with an extraordinary musical track really comes across with this improved version.

The second disk of added features doesn't add much,
just the usual self-back-patting face-on spiels.
And humorously, so deadly serious.

The less-than heavy characterizations comment of other reviewers noted is true. But the graphics alone are worth the trip. Costumes, scenery and set designs are magnificent.

( But I still think that Amazing Amazon should PROMINENTLY
note that such repackaged/retitled films are not re-make's...)
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on August 27, 2017
I was kind of surprised by how much I liked this film. Very good performances, costumes, and sets. Nice martial arts sequences too. Overall a very good film.
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on December 2, 2016
Amazing in every way. Every.
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on June 18, 2017
I have always loved martial arts movies and this one did not disappoint.
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Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet aka The Legend of the Black Scorpion certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful looking films ever made. A spectacular Chinese adaptation of Hamlet filmed on an epic scale with no expense spared and with all the action scenes that Shakespeare forgot to write, it's clearly aiming to be another Hero, with nods to Akira Kurosawa's Japanese samurai Shakespeare films along the way. Although it never quite hits the same highs, it works surprisingly well, with Daniel Wu's Crown Prince brooding over his father's murder by his uncle while his former beloved Ziyi Zhang is consumed by revenge in her desire to kill the new emperor as courtiers plot and intrigue around them. With superb art direction by Tim Yip, excellent cinematography by Li Zhang, striking fight sequences courtesy of Yuen Wo-Ping at his best and a fine score by Tan Dun (Andrew Lloyd Webberish end title song notwithstanding) and filled with colour, light and movement, it's always a treat for the eyes and ears, especially in this 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.
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on June 9, 2017
Exciting subtitled film in fantasy China
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on August 9, 2017
"Good Movie."
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