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Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan
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Award-winning Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov illuminates the life and legend of Genghis Khan in his stunning historical epic, MONGOL. Based on leading scholarly accounts, MONGOL delves into the dramatic and harrowing early years of the ruler who was born as Temudgin in 1162. As it follows Temudgin from his perilous childhood to the battle that sealed his destiny, the film paints a multidimensional portrait of the future conqueror, revealing him not as the evil brute of hoary stereotype, but as an inspiring, fearless and visionary leader. MONGOL shows us the making of an extraordinary man, and the foundation on which so much of his greatness rested: his relationship with his wife, Borte, his lifelong love and most trusted advisor.]]>
First entry in a proposed trilogy, Mongol vividly captures the beauty and brutality of ancient Mongolia. Beginning in 1172 and ending in 1206, Sergei Bodrov's Oscar-nominated epic presents future conqueror Ghengis Khan as more lover--and fighter--than diplomat. Against his father Esegui's wishes, nine-year-old Temudjin chooses his own bride, whom he marries in the years to come. Hopes for the future, however, turns to thoughts of vengeance when the clan forsakes the boy upon Esegui's death. While Temudjin (now played by Zatoichis Tadanobu Asano, a quietly commanding presence) makes his way in a cruel world, turncoat Targutai (Amadu Mamadakov) becomes the new khan. When an opposing clan kidnaps Temudjins wife, Börte (Khulan Chuluun), he eventually retrieves her, but betrays blood brother Jamukha (Sun Honglei, Seven Swords) in the process, leading to further enslavement and more Kurasawa-style slicing and dicing. Throughout his travails, Temudjin comes to believe that Mongols must unite to share the same language, culture, and set of values. Sustained by his faith in the god Tengri and the devotion of Börte, Temudjin sets out to wrest control of Mongolia from Jamukha and his women and children-killing hordes. Except for an over-reliance on CGI during the climactic battle sequence, Mongol equals the scope and grandeur of historical predecessors, like Braveheart and Hero. If much of the cast is Chinese and Japanese, Bodrov, who directed Prisoner of the Mountains, conjures up authenticity through detailed costumes, Mongolian dialogue, and remote Central Asian locations. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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On a personal note I've studied... no no not of schooling but as schooling just for my own personal knowledge ... I love learning of people in history ... Warriors in part to learn not only of who they were as Warriors but who they were as people and you really did capture that and I thank you for that especially ... Genghis Khan who doesn't usually get a fair shake in movies.
thank you for telling the story and the way that history did not remember him ...
Kathy from Vacaville California
I am no more qualified than anyone to discuss how accurately this movie portrays the life story of Genghis Khan, though as a descendent of Mongols and having traveled extensively in the footsteps of Temüjin by way of foot, camel and jeep I can say that much of what I saw such as the sharing of milk, the blessing over it, the drunken parties, the relationships of the Mongolians with their families and with each other, and the background scenery of much of this movie is dead-on accurate. I've been there ... the movie, in a sometimes idealized way, often shows us exactly what Temüjin himself saw 900 years ago.
Taken as a movie, not a history book, the cinematography is excellent. The music is eerily accurate as a popularized version of exactly what camel herders and local entertainers performed for me and have performed for others for centuries. The costumes were romanticized, of course, in most cases. There were times it was hard to focus that we are talking about the 12th century and the movie's costuming simply jumped all over time and space.
I am extremely happy that the dialogue of the Mongolian actors was in their native dialect (while the Chinese actors spoke Mandarin and some of the other characters spoke in a Turkic dialect). With my limited knowledge of the Mongolian language I recognized what the people I lived with in Mongolia spoke to me. The sub-titles were well done. To dub the dialogue into the local language of the movie's viewer would have utterly destroyed the movie.
I'm not sure what I expected from this movie before seeing it, maybe a preachy documentary or something featuring Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian in the lead roles to sell at the box office, unfortunately if Hollywood made this movie that may actually have been the case. It was easy to ease into the more casual and less hammy acting of the actors who were chosen. There were no miscasts, although Honglei Sun as Jamukha might be just a little over the top with his backaches and neckaches.
Watch the movie with an open and relaxed mind and tune in on the many subtleties used to help us understand the conditions and circumstances that formed one of the most memorable people in all of history. Take time to dissect the battle scenes to see how Temüjin progressed from being the underdog to becoming Genghis Khan, perhaps the most brilliant military strategians of all time. And do read the subtitles, there aren't that many of them.
I highly recommend this movie.