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Old 06-05-01, 11:12 PM
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

What a farce! This film got way too much acclaim. The flying was way over done, the fighting was confused, the story was all over the place, and the experienced actors could have been replace with scab labor for all the depth that this film contained. Okay, okay, no more sugar coating. Better fighting was in the "Matrix", and the cinematography was sub-standard compared to "Anna and the King". There's something going on with the Academy Awards committee, and it ain't straight. This film only stands up against other "Hiiii-Ya!" films as anything exceptional.

IMO.
Old 06-06-01, 12:36 AM
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IMO

I'll trying to keep this in mind before sounding sarcastic and smart-ass-y.



The flying was way over done

Well, it wouldn't make much sense if they stopped flying halfway through the movie, as if they ran into a vat of kryptonite.

The fighting was confused

Which Part?

Spoiler:
Fight 1: Jen v Shu
------------------------
Jen was running after stealing the sword. Most of the fight was a chase until the end which was done VERY well. Not much confusing there.

Fight 2: Li v Jen
------------------------
Not really much of a fight, because although Li is the more skilled, he has no desire to kill Jen. He just gets his sword back. Again, no confusion.

Fight 3: Jen v Everybody
------------------------
This was one of the most entertain scenes I've seen in a LONG time. It was beatuiful to see Jen counter every move and weapon coming at her. While she's obviously not on par with Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, she managed to entertain me just as much. That's a lot of credit to the cinematographer. Since you like comparing this to the matrix, just remember, even the Martix didn't have a scene where Neo kicked the ass of over 50 people in the course of 8 minutes.

Fight 4: Jen v Shu (again)
-------------------------
You want to talk about fights? This kicked the ass of Neo v Morpheus. I can't even put into words how enjoyable this was for a one on one scene. It was scripted perfectly as well, all the way down to Jen's cheap shot at the end. Was this confusing? No.


the experienced actors could have been replace with scab labor for all the depth that this film contained

There's not even a reason to entertain this.

Better fighting was in the "Matrix"

Close, but no.
Old 06-06-01, 01:27 AM
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Originally posted by MrVette99
Better fighting was in the "Matrix"...

IMO.


takes guts to say something like that

--HN

Old 06-06-01, 03:01 AM
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Originally posted by MrVette99
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

What a farce! This film got way too much acclaim. The flying was way over done, the fighting was confused, the story was all over the place, and the experienced actors could have been replace with scab labor for all the depth that this film contained. Okay, okay, no more sugar coating. Better fighting was in the "Matrix", and the cinematography was sub-standard compared to "Anna and the King". There's something going on with the Academy Awards committee, and it ain't straight. This film only stands up against other "Hiiii-Ya!" films as anything exceptional.

IMO.

Two questions: did you watch it in the original Mandarin or with the English dub? Are you familiar with other films in this genre? Do you have any preferences?

With respect, I think it's near impossible to watch this movie now without being ruined somewhat by the immense popularity and attention it has received over the past year. Personally I think this movie is near perfect, but to each their own.

[Edited by THX 1138 on 06-06-01 at 12:05 AM]
Old 06-06-01, 03:03 AM
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Oh, and better fighting in 'The Matrix'? I think not.
Old 06-06-01, 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by Triple S
Well, it wouldn't make much sense if they stopped flying halfway through the movie, as if they ran into a vat of kryptonite.

Why were they flying at all is a pretty good question.

Originally posted by Triple S
The fighting was confused

Which Part?


Most all of it. Just a blur of arms and swords and other sharp things, and to much of it in the dark.

I won't bother to counter each of your Fight #s. It must come down to personal preference, but I am amazed at how silly it all seemed with all the flying and the stepping on each others toes. It was laughable how the flying darts where caught so deftly and with chop sticks too.

I found Jen's role to be the biggest disconnect. Why the big desert love thing. I wasn't sure I was watching the right film. Also she seems so jeolous of Shu's warrior status, yet was a warrior herself. She said stealing the sword was for fun, but defended it with such effort. Then she just about turns on everybody that was dear to her. Any why was Li Mu Bai so interested in training her? She was messed up bad in the head in the way she acted. Bad character judgement on his part.

Now that I've had a chance to address many of the points of this film, even "Enter the Dragon" was better then this.
Old 06-06-01, 09:48 AM
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Originally posted by THX 1138
Two questions: did you watch it in the original Mandarin or with the English dub? Are you familiar with other films in this genre? Do you have any preferences?
I watched the Mandarin with english text. I watch a lot of films.

With respect, I think it's near impossible to watch this movie now without being ruined somewhat by the immense popularity and attention it has received over the past year. Personally I think this movie is near perfect, but to each their own.
That's pretty much what set me off. The hype (IMO) was way over done. It say's right on the box "One of the Greatest Movies ever made" -- Joel Siegel. Ahhh -- I think not!

/--------------------/
More faults with the story:
1) I thought the green destiny sword was suppose to be magical -- nothing magical ever emminated from the sword.
2) How come nobody ever tires after all the fighting?
3) Why didn't Jen stay with her lover in the desert to be free of societies constraints?
4) What was her fascination with the comb? And then not really want it once it was returned.
5) Why did she kill herself at the end in front of her boy friend?

I'm going to watch it again, but this story is riddled with holes. I expect much more from "One of the Greatest Movies ever made". Good Grief!

[Edited by MrVette99 on 06-06-01 at 07:51 AM]
Old 06-06-01, 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by MrVette99

With respect, I think it's near impossible to watch this movie now without being ruined somewhat by the immense popularity and attention it has received over the past year. Personally I think this movie is near perfect, but to each their own.
[/B]
That's pretty much what set me off. The hype (IMO) was way over done. It say's right on the box "One of the Greatest Movies ever made" -- Joel Siegel. Ahhh -- I think not! [/B]
Thats why you gotta live under a rock, like me

Friend says "hey Dave, you seen Crouching Tiger yet?"
Dave says to friend "nope *shrug*"
Friend says "it's a cool flick, you'll like it. Why dont we check it out this weekend?"
Dave says to friend "alright, sounds like a plan"

*hours pass

Dave says to friend "yup, your right, was a really cool flick, will be buying that on DVD "

Nothing was said, didn't know about the flying, never read any reviews on it, all I saw where a few commercials on TV.

Made it much more enjoyable
Old 06-06-01, 12:13 PM
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Dude, it's not based on real life. OF COURSE he's going to knock
Spoiler:
all the darts but one away. It wouldn't have been as suspenseful if, say, 15 darts stuck him. Then he surely would've dropped dead and you wouldn't have the final scene with the two lovers.


Once again, I watched the movie, and maybe your DVD is broke or crap or something, but I didn't see any blurs in any of the fight scenes. I saw arms and legs and weapons. I DID however, see a lot of hyper-blurs in the movie YOU worship (Matrix.)

They never really "flew" in the literal sense. Legend is True kung-fu master can find a foothole on the tiniest of things, such as holes in trees of sides of houses. Watch the movies. They don't defy gravity in the superman sense. They just land right.

If I get bored later, I'll explain the whole movie to you, but I'm a work now, and they do expect SOME work from me today. But I'll answer all your questions later.
Old 06-06-01, 12:44 PM
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Why were the flying at all, you ask?

It's really no big deal. Just a convention of the genre. The movie is a fantasy. It's amazing to me that so many Americans have a problem with this, as we absolutely devour movies with fantasy elements left and right. Like last year's huge hit X-Men, for instance. But some say, "no, the powers of the X-Men were explained in the film." Okay, well why is it ok to have so many things WITHOUT explanation in our films and entertainment? Why is it OK for Merlin or other wizards to do magic, or a dragon appear in a movie set in mideval times? These things always just happen, without explanation, and the audience totally buys it. Why is it OK for Odysseus to run into a Cyclops and everything else in The Odyssey, or Ghosts to appear routinely in Shakespeare's stuff, like Hamlet? All of these things are every bit as fantastical as the "flying" in Crouching Tiger, and there aren't any "explanations" for any of these things, either. But it's okay. The reason is that these particular elements of fantasy are CONVENTIONS in their genres. Stuff that is so recognizable that it need not be explained.

It's the same in Crouching Tiger. "Flying" martial artists is a convention of the wuxia genre, just like all the magic, dragons, ghosts and other conventions in our fantasy genres. To people who know these films, it doesn't seem out of place at all, and there is no explanation necessary - it's part of the genre.

I can halfway understand why Americans unfamiliar with the genre would be a little confused at first by the "flying"(which is really called "Chi Gong", where a fighter uses his energy to "lighten" himself, not fly - notice they "bounce" rather than take sustained flight, and it tires them out, too). But I'm absolutely AMAZED that people don't "get" it. When a film introduces you to its "rules" early on(in CTHD's case in the first fight scene), aren't you supposed to just accept that that's the way it is and enjoy the rest of the movie? Now if they didn't pull this out until the very end and it didn't fit the tone it'd be out of place, but one of the first things they teach all screenwriters is "establish the rules of your world early and then the audience will accept them for the rest of the film". But people were still perplexed when the characters were "flying" at the end of the movie, like they'd just seen it for the first time.

OK, so maybe people in America that haven't been exposed to these movies are unaware of the convention, but it still blows me away that it's such a big deal to them, when we live on a steady diet of VERY fantastical things in our movies. Ghosts, vampires, immortals, you name it. All the sudden, when confronted with a fairly tame fantasy element from another culture we're sitting here scratching our heads. It just doesn't make sense to me. At any rate, I think Americans are slowly learning the "flying" convention - well, of course they are - $125 million for a subtitled movie, which is simply incredible and shows lots of repeat business, shows that the convention is taking hold here, too. Which is great. We could all use a little more of the fantastic in our lives.
Old 06-06-01, 01:37 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by MrVette99

Originally posted by Triple S
The fighting was confused

Which Part?



...Most all of it. Just a blur of arms and swords and other sharp things, and to much of it in the dark...


Everybody is entitled to an opinion, which is what forums are for. So now it's time for my opinion on this. :-)

Looking at the film, all the fights are played in wide shots almost exclusively, where it is very easy to tell what's going on. The only times it gets really close is when the "confusion" of the fight is what is trying to be conveyed, and this is very rare in the movie. The moves are much more complex and fast than in The Matrix, where the choreography is very standard and "robotic" - like a metronome - one, two, one, two. It had to be that way in The Matrix because the fighters Yuen Wo Ping had there weren't really fighters and didn't have experience in martial arts films at all. As a result, the choreography in The Matrix often seems pretty "just okay" or even "fakey". There's a WHOLE LOT of "waiting to be hit" in that movie. "Okay, I've done my move, now I'm going to put my arm down and wait for you to hit me while I'm staring right at you." Case in point, Agent Smith versus Neo on the subway platform, when Smith hits Neo twice "boom, boom", then puts his arm down and stares at him for seemingly no reason(and for an agonizing amount of screen time for a fight) as Neo hits him back with the third, metronomic punch. This is just an example, and it happens many times in The Matrix, and once you notice it, it's extremely distracting and takes you out of the fight and the movie, because it looks more like they're "doing moves" than fighting. In Crouching Tiger there's hardly ever any moments where it looks like people are "waiting to be hit" or "doing moves". The choreography is very smooth and fluid, and like I said before, much more complex and fast.


...I won't bother to counter each of your Fight #s. It must come down to personal preference, but I am amazed at how silly it all seemed with all the flying and the stepping on each others toes. It was laughable how the flying darts where caught so deftly and with chop sticks too....


About as silly as Charbydis in The Oddysey, Ghosts in Hamlet, or Dragons in take your pick. Like I said before, it's just a fantasy convention of the genre. On another level, even "straight" American action movies are very "silly" in many ways - but it's just fantasy, too. How else can Bruce Willis get smashed in the face a hundred times and come out without so much as a scratch? And as for catching darts with chop sticks - this is absolutely no different than our Westerns(Westerns share many elements with Wuxia films - they're like cousins). Often in a Western, you'll see the hero or villain do amazing(and almost impossible) things with a gun(and how they shoot it). It's intended to show the superhuman prowess of the larger than life characters on screen, and announce to you or remind you what kind of movie you're watching. When Clint Eastwood shoots the apples off a tree a hundred yards away with a pistol without really aiming(or something along those lines) in the Sergio Leone movies, it's the same thing(and just as fantastical). He's showing the other characters and the audience what kind of a character he is. These ARE fantasy martial artists. Of course they can do something so simple as catch a dart with chopsticks...


...I found Jen's role to be the biggest disconnect. Why the big desert love thing. I wasn't sure I was watching the right film. Also she seems so jealous of Shu's warrior status, yet was a warrior herself. She said stealing the sword was fun, but defended it with such effort. Then she just about turns on everybody that was dear to her. Any why was Li Mu Bai so interested in training her? She was messed up bad in the head in the way she acted. Bad character judgement on his part....


The movie, like all Ang Lee movies, is more of a character-driven film than a plot-driven one. It's not about "getting the sword back", and once that's done the movie is over. It's not an object-oriented movie. The movie is really "about" Jen and her character-development. Even though the desert scene is a flashback, it tells us a whole lot about her character, her motivations, and her conflicts in the middle of the film, moving her character forward in the film, and thus moving the film forward, since it's about her.

It also helps introduces and complicate one of the film's major themes. The contrast between Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai and Jen and Lo. The balance that the film is arguing for rests between those two extremes. On one hand, we have the repression and tragedy of Love not expressed. Locked in tradition. This theme is shown beautifully at the first of the film as Shu Lien enters Beijing, and her cart rides firmly in the grooves of the city, where centuries of carts have worn a traditional path. The cart can't escape from that path, neither can Shu Lien, and the results are tragic. She is too disciplined and repressed.

Jen is the opposite. She is not really jealous of Shu Lien's warrior status. Jen is the talented, impetuous youth who has come into much power WITHOUT discipline. She wants to be a "hero", and lead an exciting life, like most young people. She doesn't follow tradition at all, and jumps into everything without thinking. The reason Li wants to train her is because he sees how powerful she is, but she hasn't had a good master, and has come into that power without knowledge. Which is very dangerous. As he says, "If I don't train her, I fear she'll become a poisoned dragon". In effect she's taken "the quick and easy route" to the dark side. She doesn't want to go through years of training - she wants it all now. But the training is totally necessary, because it trains your spirit as well as your skills. After going through years of training without taking action, then you emerge a true hero, because not only can you do all these things, but you've attained the discipline to do them justly and wisely. She didn't want to "waste" that time, because after all she could already do many of these amazing things - why "waste time" training to do things I can already do? She was lured by the temptation of action in the now. She didn't understand(and most young people don't), the real value of discipline. Basically, she hadn't EARNED her power, and was thus misusing it. She wasn't trying to misuse it, but that was the natural result of incorrect guidance.

She was just wanting to live the fantasy that anybody who watches movies(or in her case reads martial arts novels) wants to live - we all want to be George Clooney, coming into the Titty Twister and kicking the guy out of your seat. The badass. The known warrior. That's all. Stealing the sword was just something to do to have fun at first, and in fact she went to put it back - it wasn't dear to her until she was married, and felt more trapped than ever. Then she stole the sword and went into the Giang Hu, martial arts life. Traveling around, making a name for herself. The sword was so powerful that it became very easy for her to do that - live an epic life of adventure - but without "earning" it and thus not having the discipline to do it right. Lo represents the "normal" for her, though a better alternative than life in the court. She was torn throughout the whole movie, the product of a bad teacher. And she was very confused, again, like many young people.

Li didn't exhibit bad judgement when he wanted to train her, he saw that without training she'd be very dangerous to the world, but with training she could've been a great ally for good. When she realizes how much pain she's caused at the end, it obviously affects her, as shown in her tears and in her final act of the film.

So moderation is the key. Too much discipline and tradition had tragic results for Yu Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai, and wanting it all right away without earning it through discipline caused just as much strife and tragedy for Yu Jiao Long(Jen). This is the main thrust of the movie, but the movie IS Jen's movie and about her character and how it affects others.

Unlike most action movies, this film not only has great action but strong character-development and multiple layers of meaning and subtext that you see further into every time you watch it.

[Edited by Dagan on 06-06-01 at 10:44 AM]
Old 06-06-01, 01:55 PM
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It's a good (not great) movie

I too am amazed the acclaim it got. The plot was very weak (just like most other films), but the fighting was damn cool

I thought the wire work was quite bad, but thats probably the look they were going for rather than more realistic movements.

Think i'll rent it to get a second opinion becasue its been a while since I saw it.
Old 06-06-01, 03:02 PM
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Dagan -- Thanks for the write up. To the point, clear and without a condescending tone.

Your point is well taken that American Pop films also are guilty of unbelieable (i.e. impossible) feats of action, and yet are accepted as part of the film experience and fun.

It's a pity that I had to see this after such a build up. I'll watch it again and try to put aside my American film expectations.

Thanks again!
Old 06-06-01, 03:50 PM
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MrVette99,

I'm so glad you didn't get upset at my detailed post. Of course they're all just opinions of mine, nothing more. It's just that sometimes when people see a point of view that is presented with much detail they take offense for some reason - ironically, to some people it's more "polite" for somebody to just say "you're wrong, or I disagree" and not give any reasons. If somebody has an argument, I like to hear WHY they think what they do as well as what they think.

I Love to discuss movies(and DVDs), and it's nice to see actual discussion often goes on in this forum, whereas in other areas of the web one cannot have an alternate opinion without a flame war.

You may feel exactly the same about Crouching Tiger after watching it again as you do now. If so, make sure you come back on here and tell me why I'm wrong. :-) Afterall, that's the fun and value of forums like this.

Another note, I am a "convert" myself to some of the Eastern genres of filmmaking, like the wuxia genre. I encourage anybody who hasn't yet to give this genre a try - some of these films are just amazingly creative. While there are many, like Crouching Tiger, that are more grounded in their certain rules and laws, many of these films just go crazy - while it wouldn't be good if all films were like that, it's nice to sometimes watch a film and literally have no idea what's going to happen next, because it could be ANYTHING. There's something very refreshing about that.


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