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Thread: Hero - Lavish But Irritating

  1. #1
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    Hero - Lavish But Irritating

    This Chinese mythical story of China becoming one country is shot lavishly with great scenery, great colorful moments of fantastical images, and great magnificant sound effects. The storyline is powerful for American tastes and it definitely captures an often used plotline that my wife says that she's seen over and over again and again in Asian samurai movies to the point of tedium. The special effects seem out of place for this movie as it tries to balance realism with fantasy and the line isn't well marked. Dancing on water seems more of a irritating illusion than a solid depiction of more authentic and well-received Japanese samurai movies. I enjoyed the twists and turns, the emotional intensity and sacrifice capture in this film. However, it is more disjointed than I could continually enjoy and believe in even with its mythic eastern slant to the Medieval King Arthur and Merlin's Excalibur legend.

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    Box Office

    Hero opened this weekend with $18 million at the box office topping all other releases. It now also has the distinction of being the highest grossing opener for a foreign - foreign language film ('The Passion of the Christ' is only a foreign language film). This probably only adds to the embarrassment Miramax must be facing, Miramax's COO Rick Sands recently stated that " "We were hopeful, but I have to admit, it did open better than we anticipated," Sands also noted that "if anything, the limited DVD exposure in North America only aided the opening as the film is a visual spectacle best seen on the big screen." I wonder why then they attempted to bankcrupt the sellers selling the dvd's earlier. It's laughable.

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    Harvey vs. the rest

    Here's Harvey defending Miramax's record on asian releases.

    from variety via yahoo,

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...chinese_wall_1

    Here's a well written response from Mark Pollard, editor of Kungfu Cinema.

    http://www.kungfucinema.com/news/2004-09-01-01.htm

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    Harvey is a greedy bastard. Pollard's piece is too mild.

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    I've held out on seeing Hero because Jet Li annoys me. He's got a giant ego.

    But Yimou is a director I respect because he says things like "Films are about emotions" and "Visual impact must be intense. Control it with your cinematography".

    Tarantino's name helps get it seen, but "Quentin Tarantino Presents" is very misleading.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Jet Li annoys you because he has a giant ego and may keep you from seeing one of the best films of the year. But Mr. Gallo is a genius because ??? and you can't wait to watch the new movie with the 10 minute-blowjob and lots of empty rambling. Once in a while J, we just don't see eye-to-eye.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 09-03-2004 at 01:29 PM.

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    I'm not looking forward to the BJ- (I'll probably be lowering my head during the head), but Gallo fascinates me.

    He's a total oddball and I'm very curious about this film.

    Buffalo 66 had an honesty that permeated every frame, and I suspect that "Bunny" will have the same.
    (Despite the filmic fellatio)

    Gallo's ego is mammoth but he appeals to me. I can't explain it.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    I liked most of Buffalo '66 myself, especially the dinner scene with Gazzara and Huston, and Ricci's perf. I've also read that the new cut of Bunny makes it better than the film shown at Cannes. I'm not against explicit sex scenes, but I'm concerned about the blowjob scene as an expression of one artist's domination/humiliation of another.
    BTW, I'm irritated by Tabuno calling Hero "irritating" right on the thread title. Apparently it has something to do with the film being "disjointed", you know....flashbacks and more than a single point of view of events; makes it oh so...complicated. Might as well turn it into a thread about something else.

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    The trailer for Hero is damn impressive, and I will see the movie.

    I said I've "held out" on seeing it. Jet Li actually looks like he's keeping his ego in check for this flick, and Yimou is a hell of a filmmaker. Red Sorghum is one of my favorites.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Tarantino deserves much credit for the way the film is being promoted/released as Harvey pointed out himself in the article above. Miramax did want to have it slightly cut but Tarantino said NO.

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    Let's give'im a fucking Congressional Medal of Honor!

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    Harvey Weinstein -- stingy but irritating

    Though this thread is wobbling around a bit in the direction of other current thills, i.e. Brown Bunny, my other Hero thread is rendered somewhat irrelevant by the discussion here, so I'll put here the salient point from Rosenbaum re: Hero which I put in the other Hero thread.

    I'd also like to call your attention to a new thread started off by jiankevin on IMDb by pasting in Weinstein's self-congratulatory statement, resulting in some pungent replies from contributors -- particularly one by burrobuggy that goes like this:
    His 'restored' versions are always cut, dubbed into English and have new synth scores on them. And what's worse, they become the only way you can see great flicks like Fist of Legend in the English-speaking world (tho thankfully the original uncut, undubbed Iron Monkey is available in the UK and Holland). He doesn't mention that he's been trying to re-edit Hero in chronological order (huh?) for the past year because he didn't think US audiences were smart enough to get it - it was only when Tarantino put pressure and his name on the poster that he relented (I'm no fan of QT, but kudos to him for that). Among Hong Kong film fans, Harvey Weinstein is the anti-Christ. That said, he's an equal opportunities slasher - Harvey Scissorhands has a rep for shelving great movies from all countries for a year or more while he re-edits and ruins them.
    The thread itself begins here: http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000010/...80713#11480713.

    Here's the quotation from my other FilmWurld Hero thread:

    Early this year Rosenbaum had written the following in his roundup of 2003's year's best:

    I suspect that the most meaningful film watching in this country in 2003 was done at home, by viewers who went out of their way to select videos and DVDs from a much wider pool than the latest releases. Only people who made a comparable effort saw some of the lower-profile items on my ten-best list. Of course many people were still expected to show up at the official trough, where they were fed whatever the industry had selected for them. There is one sign that the studios are a little worried that audiences aren't being as docile as they would like: Miramax and its parent company Disney are now just as aggressive about preventing our seeing some movies as in pushing others. It's estimated that Miramax owns the North American rights to at least 56 contemporary Asian films, only 21 of which it's bothered to release in any form, usually after recutting or otherwise altering them. When a Web site that doesn't sell movies, Kung Fu Cinema, recently provided links to sites where Americans and Canadians could order Zhang Yimou's Hero from overseas, Miramax slapped it with a cease and desist order. Apparently one shouldn't even think of seeing movies the company doesn't want to release. Fans of Asian films -- like the extremely popular Shaolin Soccer, which Miramax bought the rights to a couple of years ago and has sat on ever since -- are understandably livid.

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    MIOSLEADING PRESENTATION OF "HERO"

    Giving a viewpoint on how the average moviegoer may be confused by Hero's current presentation here again is the Yahoo Movies viewer's comment (which will be found here: http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&cf=info&id=1808404384) for what it has to say about the date and orgins of the film and the way it's been promoted in the US:

    alright, lets get the facts straight
    by neville1312
    Aug 27, 2004
    386 of 417 people found this review helpful . . .

    First of all, there's a huge misconception about this film. Hero is not a Quentin Tarantino film, he simply brought it to the United States audience. It was filmed over two years ago across seas. I personally went out and bought it on dvd in 2002 and watched the subtitled version. And I found it to be spectacular. You're led to believe it's a nonstop breath-taking action film, when in reality it's a bit of a mystery. I am not satisfied at all with how the trailer that Hollywood has created for this movie, you're almost told too much and far too much misled. I still suggest people go see this movie in theatres, even if they think it's some new cutting edge Tarantino action flick. I think if anything, people should take this movie as a wake up call. They should take it as a notice to the fact that there is a whole world of great foreign cinema out there. And rather than stay couped up and isolated in their own hollywood realm, it is a good idea to go out and explore all the great cinema the world has to offer. I think they'll find that although language may be a barrier at times, great films still come across well to all audiences.

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    I'm a little bit confused: did Miramax end up cutting any of this film for American distribution? I think I've read conflicting accounts on this issue.

    It's a remarkable film, particularly on the big screen. I hope they didn't trim it down to make it more palatable for our consumption.

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    As you know, Harvey definitely wanted to trim it; it was Tarantino's intervention that got the film released in this country now and trimmed back the trimming. This is discussed on many sites. But as you suggest, reports vary. Here's one:
    Rumor has it that Miramax wanted to trim 20 minutes from the film, but finally agreed to leave it uncut in exchange for Tarantino's promotional support, including the "Quentin Tarantino Presents" tag.
    http://www.dailytrojan.com/news/2004...o-706775.shtml
    And here's another:
    Though director Zhang Yimou was forced to cede to Harvey Weinstein's demand to trim Hero to less than 100 minutes (the director's preferred cut runs 108 minutes), Hero remains a genre masterpiece by a great filmmaker.http://www.celebritywonder.com/movie/2004_Hero108.html
    Another site (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=4370) says he wanted to trim it by 18 minutes. This piece may interest you ("Why Does Hollywood Dominate US Cinemas?"). Miramax Miramax, "after acquiring the rights to U.S. distribution of Hero (a huge hit in China), reportedly wanted to trim from the film some elements considered too Eastern for American audiences." (http://www.worldmag.com/newsite/cont...le.cfm?ID=9631).

    Precise data on whether anything was trimmed doesn't seem forthcoming yet. Somebody ask Tarantino: He'd know. But why was this even an issue? There's one simple answer: Harvey Weinstein.

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