Just wanted to kick off a discussion of Hero. Just got back from it, what can I say? Unbelievable!!!
I just saw it tonight myself, and I really have to disagree. I normally love Jet Li movies, and I have no qualms about subtitles. However, Hero was just waaaay too slow with the plot development. Partly to blame was:
[spoiler]the Clue-like “But wait, here’s what really happened!” crap. When they showed the same event for the third time, I though to myself “WTF?! Just get on with the movie already! Couldn’t we have skipped fleshing out all of the false assumption into 20 minute scenes and cut right to the chase?”
Don’t get me wrong; I loves me some kung-fu action, but telling me “everything that you’ve been watching for the last hour didn’t really happen” is pretty annoying, and if done without a good reason, it can come close to ruining the movie for me.[/spoiler]
Also, many of the fight scenes were too stylized for my tastes. I can’t think of any decent way to describe what I mean, but if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll probably understand what I’m talking about.
[spoiler]BTW, what the heck was up with that ~5 minute sequence of “we closed our eyes and visualized the fight while some old blind man played music for us”? I mean, really, what was that? Visualizing a few moves I can understand, but you’re kung-fu badasses, not X-men with psychic powers. You can’t visualize several minutes into a fight as if you knew exactly how the other would react.
I was seriously afraid that the mental battle would reach a conclusion and the “loser” would concede defeat in real life because they lost the visualization. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but still…[/spoiler]
On the plus side, the movie made good use of color to separate the different . . . events. Also, I liked the fact that the ending
wasn’t your standard Hollywood happy ending. That right there redeemed the movie just a tad.
I always rate movies by how soon and how frequently I’d prefer to see it again. For instance, all of the Lord of the Rings movies fell into the “I’ll see it again within the week, and probably again in the theater before it stops running, and then I’ll buy the DVD when it is released” category.
By contrast, I have no desire to see Hero again. Ever.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 4.5. It didn’t suck, exactly, but it came dangerously close to suckitude. And believe me that I’m reluctant to rate this movie so harshly. I mean, I normally love both martial arts movies and Jet Li movies.
Beautiful, but boring.
I saw this in China about a year ago(on DVD). Is it released on DVD in the States? It’s been out here forever. China has really held this director up as a hero for the people. He’s even directing the commercials for the Beijing Olympics.
It has been in Chinese, with English subtitles, hasn’ it? I personally thought the movie was okay, but still think Crouching Tiger is superior, even though Ang Lee is more American than Chinese.
FWIW, I hated it.
The moral comes down to “dictatorships really arn’t so bad! Smashing dissent is great! Sure, people are unhappy, but at least they are united!” WTF sort of moral is that? I guess it is kind of fitting for Communist China, but still…
Anyway, I could have said that in about twenty seconds, and saved a couple hours of boring, emotionless, repetative lameness that acts as proof that the prettiest movie in the world is worthless if the filmmaker doesn’t know how to tell a story.
My best friend from High School was born in China, so I’ve had this on DVD for about a year and a half. Once you realize that it can’t really be facistic jingo, watch it a second or third time (which, in HS, is neccesary for anything you have before it’s out, because it’s “cool”), and think about it for a while, you reach the conclusion that it’s supposed to be funny.
Listen to the emperor as he’s fighting. He sounds like a car engine in neutral. The lovers impaling eachother over and over again is less emotional than it is a running gag. The imperial guard’s helmets make them look like rampaging chickens, and they die whenever a sword comes within 10 feet of them. And the unique approach to bowmanship can’t be taken seriously. Along with the fan-dancing scene (blocking history’s largest waste of arrows) and all the slap-fighting, it makes you feel stupid for not picking up the humor the first time around.
All the pretty stuff and the pseudo-depth is just there to get the government’s critical acclaim.
First of all, I don’t think its fair to criticize a movie because you disagree with its message. That’s more of a GD topic, though.
Second, telling a story with differing points of view is hardly a weakness of a movie. “Rashoman” is the classic example, but “Courage Under Fire” does it, “Manchurian Candidate” kind of does it. “Usual Suspects” does it. “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” does it a little.
While “Nameless” was telling his story, I started to wonder if it was all just a ploy, or if he was one of the assassins himself. Then, the emporer’s story came, and you thought, “ahhh” but you’re still not sure if that’s the whole story. The manner of revealing of the plot and the lessons was a very creative way of telling this story.
What would have been boring would be a movie that starts out with “Nameless”, shows him make the deal with Sky, then go to Zhao and show him make the deal and argue with Cloud and Sword and then go to the emporer’s palace. THAT would have boring.
As it was, different layers of truth were revealed in a way to keep you guessing and wondering at the motives.
Besides that, I really enjoyed the fight scenes. They didn’t overpower the movie like they did in CTHD.
Joe, I wonder what’s the difference whether they were fighting in their minds or in reality? A movie is make-believe. You’re there, presumably, to see martial arts skills on display. What does it matter if it’s a dream, a thought, a flashback, the future, or reality.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. Beautiful shots, good fights, a story line and method of telling it that kept me guessing.
I thought it was beautifully filmed, and I enjoyed the going back over the same events again and again, getting closer to the truth. What I didn’t enjoy was how each time they went back and showed an event again, it was essentially the same fight all over, just with differently colored clothes. I would have enjoyed it much more is every time Nameless and Snow fought, it was a different style, different weapons, whatever. As it was, by the third time they fought, I was ready for it to be over and done with.
I did really like the ending.
Zhang Ziyi is quite beautiful isnt she.
This movie was weak on plot, strong on cinematography. Its basically just a sequence of surreal fight scenes with a Communist moral tacked on to the end.
But by god, the colors, costumes, and sets are absolutely gorgeous. This is a feast for the eyes, and being a visually oriented person (who isnt though?), I’d say this is well worth watching.
The previews misled me however. I saw the gigantic Chinese armies marching, the ridiculously awesome arrow volleys (this alone is worth the price of the movie), and the magnificently grand palaces; I went in expecting an epic, historical, war movie but instead got an artsy, poetic martial arts film.
I think it was amazing and fascinating how incredibly foreign the movie was. There are plenty of subtitled movies out there, but few where the fundamentals of plot, character, cinemetography, direction, hell even color correction and sound, are completely from a different artistic and conceptual tradition that what we’re used to.
As for Joe Random’s point that
I agree!! However, in this case, we differ greatly on that judgement. After the first 5 minutes of the film, I said I wanted to see it again already!!! Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
Gorgeous. The things I want to do to her…
I really liked the movie. Worth it for the cinematography alone.
I’ve had the DVD for about a year and a half. Bought it blind and was extremely won over by the cinematography (esp. the use of color) and the pacing. Fights were good. Did not agree with the message but liked how the movie got there. Yes, Zhang Ziyi is attractive, but over the years I’ve always had a thing for Maggie Cheung. Even a really lousy movie (e.g., Irma Vep) is bettered by her presence.
Oh, and the DTS on the Hero DVD really comes through on my home system.
You know, I really wanted to like this movie, too. It’s weird. I’ve liked pretty much every other Jet Li movie I’ve ever seen. Watched them multiple times, in fact. I can’t really pin down what turned me off about this movie. Sure, I gave some examples earlier, but those are the types of things that I’d normally forgive a movie for. It may just be that the way that everything came together didn’t appeal to me for some reason or another.
But then again, I’ve always had odd taste in movies. For instance, I absolutely hated Kung Pow: Enter the Fist . . . . . the first time I saw it. On subsequent viewings I found it to be possibly the most hilarious thing I’d ever seen. Go figure.