PDA

View Full Version : 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' - SPOILER


Cartooniverse
01-21-2001, 07:40 PM
Took the family to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ("http://aolsearch.aol.com/redir.adp?appname=TTF&query=%2522Crouching%2520Tiger%252c%2520Hidden%2520Dragon%2522&areaid=mv0448&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2emoviefone%2ecom%2fpageboy5%2ecgi%3fTP%3aMovie%2bUID%3a5519%2bMVID%3a8261%2bQD %3aToday') last night. It's beautiful.

I figured she died at the end. My wife thinks that she attained such a degree of skill in her arts that she flew away. Me, I think that's bullshit. This might be a G.D.- but until I find someone who's read the novels, and might have a firm answer....well, I'd like to leave it here for now.

Also- the jade comb? It played such a big part in her life, just as Jade Fox did. I'm trying to figure out if it was a gift to her from Jade Fox, and that's why she fought so hard for it- or was it just because she didn't want to be bested by the Ruffian from the West??

Cartooniverse

Cartooniverse
01-21-2001, 07:43 PM
Yipes. Try This (http://www.filmomh.com/r32.htm) instead !!! Holy BadText, Batman......

Cartooniverse

Space Vampire
01-21-2001, 10:50 PM
Supposedly in the novel she lives to appear in another scene, (the reunion scene that takes place before thend end in the movie) but exactly how is glossed over. She does NOT fly away, for three reasons: 1)She can't fly. She can jump very far, but she can't fly. 2) MAYBE she could survive it if she wanted to, but that's not the point. 3)It's a crap ending. Basically, she puts her life in the hands of fate... Maybe the legend will be true and she'll get her wish, (whatever it may be) or maybe she'll die. She knows that she will probably die; just because people can jump around doesn't mean magic exists.

Zor
01-22-2001, 02:06 AM
I've been a little confused about the ending as well, until I thought this up... Remember when Jade Fox died, she said that the real poison is Jen, and that she would grow up to be more evil than herself? Maybe Jen finally realized she's doomed to be bad girl, and decided to end it before things got worse. I haven't read the actual novel before, so that's just my explanation for making myself sleep better at night ;)

Oh, technically speaking, the characters in CTHD don't fly. The specific term used for that kind of maneuver is called Qing Gong in Mandarin. A rough translation would be the light way. Supposedly, people learn how to make incredible leaps and jumps that defy the laws of physics...

Meleemancer
01-22-2001, 02:46 AM
This may not be totally correct as I heard it secondhand, but it cleared up some things for me and seems to make sense.

Regarding the comb, I think it's because according older Chinese tradition a woman's comb is uniquely made and akin to her identity, or at least a means of proof of it. That thing that Michelle Yeoh's character gives to Jen at the end of the movie to get the monastery to give her access was her own comb, to illustrate the importance of it, I guess.

Guy Propski
01-22-2001, 08:32 AM
IMHO, she died. Remember the disturbing vision that Chow Yun Fat related at the beginning of the rilm to Michelle Yeoh? He saw a white, featureless void, filled with sorrow, which perfectly described the the last shot we saw of Jen. She killed herself because she could not live the life she wanted--her family wouldn't allow her to be with Yo, and she could never become a warrior monk like Chow Yun Fat.

Cartooniverse
01-22-2001, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by Zor
I've been a little confused about the ending as well, until I thought this up... Remember when Jade Fox died, she said that the real poison is Jen, and that she would grow up to be more evil than herself? Maybe Jen finally realized she's doomed to be bad girl, and decided to end it before things got worse. I haven't read the actual novel before, so that's just my explanation for making myself sleep better at night ;)

Oh, technically speaking, the characters in CTHD don't fly. The specific term used for that kind of maneuver is called Qing Gong in Mandarin. A rough translation would be the light way. Supposedly, people learn how to make incredible leaps and jumps that defy the laws of physics...

I'm with ya. I didn't mean to imply that I thought she really could fly. The care taken to show them touching feet to walls, rooftops and of course the MOST beautiful and lyrical bamboo trees- all shows that light contact is essential. What a lovely idea. I know nothing of the history of it, however. Wife was annoyed at it, she said it moved the story out of the realm of believeable. ( She's a pain in the ass). I found it to be perfect. Even when leaping across water, their feet touched delicately for a moment, to let them stride again into the air.

The Jade Fox comment makes sense. My gut feeling is that she felt she would be sullying this pure man, this desert warrior if she stayed with him. Classic bad girl stuff I guess, and sad and pitiable for that. But- it rings true in context of that story. She'd rather die and spare him the lifetime with her- even if it meant he'd suffer the agony of her loss forever.

God- what a classic love story. I can't wait to own this DVD, it is moving, calming, distressing, elating.....

Cartooniverse

Wolverine
01-22-2001, 11:38 AM
I tried searching for the author on google and yahoo. This was the best I could come up with that deals with the transition of book to screen. It is an interview with the director and executive screenwriter.

http://www.magiclanternpr.com/films/crouching.html

Ang Lee: It's an adaptation of the fourth part of a five-part novel, by Wang Du Lu. The fourth part is also called "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and was written before the Second World War. I got to read it in Taiwan only about five years ago, when we were finally allowed to publish books that are published in mainland China.

I like the writer and the old-fashioned, nostalgic way he approaches classic Chinese culture. There is a degree of realism to it—it doesn't go too crazy, too out of bounds. It has outstanding female characters and it has a tragic ending, both of which are unusual for a martial arts film. Anyway, this project was in my heart for a long time. I made three other movies before I got to do it.

Is it common within this kind of story to have such strong female roles?

Ang Lee: No. What I'm doing is very different from what's normally done with the genre. It deals with female characters, and it deals with real feelings, which is rare in this genre.

Did you have to bring in a lot of new elements to the story?

Ang Lee: Jen's character was already pretty much there in the novel. Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) was not. And Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) was not so much in this episode, he was the leading character in the second episode. I borrowed a little bit from that, but I recreated Li and Shu Lien.

Johanna
01-22-2001, 12:20 PM
I couldn't tell exactly what her fate was supposed to be, and frankly, I didn't care that it was ambiguous.

For me, the last frames worked so beautifully, the image of the soaring woman in the midst of the misty valley -- it was a powerful, breathtaking image of liberation and finality. Never mind the story at that point. Cinematically, it was absolutely brilliant. It ensures that the sense of wonderstruck awe stays with you as you leave the theater.

Cervaise
01-22-2001, 03:52 PM
I like the ending as it is: soft, gentle, ambiguous. I feel it's more worthwhile to engage with the emotional quality of the ending, and consider that in context with the overall film, than trying to figure out "what happens."

I'll give you another example -- nowhere near as good a movie, but it's worth thinking about. Look at the end of Titanic. Old Rose tosses the necklace, and goes back to her stateroom. We see her lying in her bunk. Camera shows mementos ranged above. Dissolve to sunken wreck, then match dissolve to actual pre-sunken boat, as we race through corridors into the big foyer, amid applauding people, and then to the stairs to where Jack waits with outstretched hand.

Question: Was Old Rose dreaming? Or did she die, and this was her vision of going to Heaven (or whatever)?

I've heard people argue both sides convincingly. It's certainly a deliberately vague and lyrical moment (well, as lyrical as Jim Cameron ever gets, anyway), and if you look just at the movie, it's impossible to prove what happens one way or the other.

But now check out the actual screenplay. This is how Cameron writes the ending:
309 INT. ROSE'S CABIN / KELDYSH

A GRACEFUL PAN across Rose's shelf of carefully arranged pictures:

Rose as a young actress in California, radiant... a theatrically lit studio publicity shot... Rose and her husband, with their two children... Rose with her son at his college graduation... Rose with her children and grandchildren at her 70th birthday. A collage of images of a life lived well.

THE PAN STOPS on an image filling frame. Rose, circa 1920. She is at the beach, sitting on a horse at the surfline. The Santa Monica pier, with its rollercoaster is behind her. She is grinning, full of life.

We PAN OFF the last picture to Rose herself, warm in her bunk. A profile shot. She is very still. She could be sleeping, or maybe something else.

CUT TO:

BLACKNESS

310 THE WRECK OF TITANIC looms like a ghost out of the dark. It is lit by a kind of moonlight, a light of the mind. We pass over the endless forecastle deck to the superstructure, moving faster than subs can move... almost like we are flying.

WE GO INSIDE, and the echoing sound of distant waltz music is heard. The rust fades away from the walls of the dark corridor and it is transformed... WE EMERGE onto the grand staircase, lit by glowing chandelier. The music is vibrant now, and the room is populated by men in tie and tails, women in gowns. It is exquisitely beautiful.

IN POV we sweep down the staircase. The crowd of beautiful gentlmen and ladies turn as we descend toward them. At the bottom a man stands with his back to us... he turns and it is Jack. Smiling he holds his hand out toward us.

IN A SIDE ANGLE Rose goes into his arms, a girl of 17. The passengers, officers and crew of the RMS Titanic smile and applaud in the utter silence of the abyss.
So in other words, in Cameron's own source text, the answer is, "Both and neither." It doesn't matter; it's about the emotional quality.

I would agree with Jomo Mojo, and assert the view that a literal reading of the end of Crouching Tiger doesn't just miss the point, it threatens to create a reduced emotional experience. I'm sorry some people feel like they have to have The Answer To What Happened, that they feel cheated if the movie doesn't spoon-feed them all the plot details and their specific ramifications, but then that's their movie-going preference. It isn't mine, and it isn't how Crouching Tiger works.

Johanna
01-22-2001, 05:08 PM
Gee, thanks, Cervaise. :)

Space Vampire
01-22-2001, 06:22 PM
What the hell? It's beside the point, but Ang Lee is full of shit. This genre is KNOWN for its strong female roles.

The Devil's Grandmother
01-22-2001, 07:41 PM
Maybe I’m an optimist, but I imagined a different ending. The Desert Warrior had told Jen a story of a boy who saved his parents by believing and jumping off a cliff. I think she was wishing for Li Mu Bai to come back to life and for everybody to live happily ever after.

I like Guy Propski’s tying in Li Mu Bai’s vision into the ending, but she *could* have run away with the Desert Warrior (damn! What was his name?). Jen had already left her family. I didn’t get the impression that she would be damaging Desert Warrior’s purity by staying with him. Was there some symbolism that I missed? I did not think that Desert Warrior was a pure character like Li Mu Bai or Shu Lien.

Space Vampire
01-22-2001, 08:44 PM
I think that's her wish, xtal, but I think it's a dying wish that can't come true.

Montfort
01-23-2001, 10:17 AM
Here's a completely tangentical question, pertaining to the movie, but not the OP (I didn't want to start a new thread).

Why is the lead female character in the film called Jen in the subtitles, but something like Shai-Lo by the Chinese speakers? I realise that Jen is a common Chinese name, but when it was spoken in the movie, it sure didn't sound like the Jen that's common in the West.

Space Vampire
01-23-2001, 11:17 AM
The name is actually Jiaolong. "Jen" is just used because, as far as I can tell, they think westerner's heads will implode if they have to keep track of too many Chinese names.

Modian
01-23-2001, 11:43 AM
but she *could* have run away with the Desert Warrior (damn! What was his name?).

His name was Lo.

Great movie though I was confused by the ending too. One of the few movies to elicit emotion from me. :)


Before the movie they showed a trailer for Pearl Harbor. That was one of the best trailers I've seen and also had me choked up for some reason.

Fiver
01-23-2001, 12:07 PM
xtal:I think she was wishing for Li Mu Bai to come back to life and for everybody to live happily ever after.
I read the scene the same way, xtal, although I think it's good and appropriate that Lee left it ambiguous.

Ace_Face
01-23-2001, 01:29 PM
What I didn't understand is, did Jen really want Li Mu Bai to die? I don't think so, but when she goes to fetch the antidote, she doesn't seem in much of a hurry. She doesn't use the "light way" and leap across the tops of buildings. Instead we see her amble back on a horse, IIRC. We saw her move much faster than that earlier in the movie!

Ace_Face
01-23-2001, 01:32 PM
What I didn't understand is, did Jen really want Li Mu Bai to die? I don't think so, but when she goes to fetch the antidote, she doesn't seem in much of a hurry. She doesn't use the "light way" and leap across the tops of buildings. Instead we see her amble back on a horse, IIRC. We saw her move much faster than that earlier in the movie!

I quite liked the complexity of her character though. Is she a good bad girl? A bad good girl? Shudder to think how a typical hollywood director would have handle this.

Space Vampire
01-23-2001, 05:24 PM
How many times do I have to say it? She can't fly like a bird or an airplane; she can jump really high and far, but doing so as a mode of transportation would seriously drain her.

The Devil's Grandmother
01-23-2001, 06:22 PM
Space Vampire, why couldn’t Jen have her wish? It’s just a movie...and a new redeemed-by-her-sacrifice-Jen would be just the place to start the sequel. Either with a living Master Li (married to Shu Lien) or a spectral “Obi-wan” Master Li.
I imagine we will find out what her wish was and if she got it when the sequel comes.

Montfort
01-23-2001, 10:05 PM
Another question:

Jen came into tutelage of Jade Fox shortly after she first met Lo, right?

She was 18 at the end of the film. She spent 10 years studying under Jade Fox, which means she was 8 when she first met, fought, fled, and fucked Lo. Hmm...

Am I missing something in the chronology?

Tiburon
01-23-2001, 10:30 PM
She was well over 10 when she met Lo. If you watch the scene where she leaps on the horse (she does this a few times) and also the scene where she comes upon the bandits scavenging through the things they have stolen, you can see her use the fighting techniques she learned from Jade Fox.

Also, Jade is in the compartment (for lack of a better word) and is the one who tells Jen to stop playing with the comb for fear she'll break it.

Tibs.

Space Vampire
01-23-2001, 10:59 PM
Why can't her wish come true? Your reading is that her wish is for "for Li Mu Bai to come back to life and for everybody to live happily ever after." Is that correct? Well, I can think of a few problems with that, namely 1)Jialong is dead. 2)Li Mu-Bai is dead. 3) The dead cannot come back to life. Maybe they can in supernatural movies, but I see no reason to view this as such. Forgive my smartass response, but I really can't think of any other way to put it.

Ace_Face
01-24-2001, 02:14 AM
Originally posted by Space Vampire
How many times do I have to say it? She can't fly like a bird or an airplane;

You can say it again if you like -- but I used the word "leap", not "fly."

she can jump really high and far, but doing so as a mode of transportation would seriously drain her.

Now this you haven't said before... She can fight multiple enemies for 10+ minutes, but using her speed for a short time to help save a friend would "drain" her? Anyway, my original point was a bit tongue-in-cheek anyway. I don't really think she wanted him to die.

As far as the ending goes, given her melancholy state (highlighted by the scene of her last night with the desert warrior) I think she dies. But I too liked the ambiguity of it. It's very much in keeping with Jen's enigmatic character.

Space Vampire
01-24-2001, 05:05 AM
Okay, so maybe I'm getting confused... I've had this same discussion a number of times. I'm going to withdraw for now, because I haven't seen the movie for about six months (I'm so hip it's actually physically painful) and people who've just seen it are bringing in details I can't recall exactly.

The Devil's Grandmother
10-02-2002, 01:14 PM
bump to answer a question in Cafe Society.

GargoyleWB
10-02-2002, 02:25 PM
Thought this would be of interest to those who asked the question a year and a half ago ;)

Here is a listing of the novels and summaries of each, gives some interesting background to the movie...

http://owl.usc.edu/~hding/Movie/Ch/novels.html

John Kentzel-Griffin
10-02-2002, 03:43 PM
Off to Cafe Society.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator