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February 2006

February Issue: Romance

Gallery

Columns

  • EMG News:
    February 2006
  • Wombat Droppings:
    On Romance
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Let There Be Light!
  • Behind the Art:
    Basics of Composition
  • Cosplay101:
    First Thoughts when choosing a Costume
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Sun, Part 1

    Features

  • Living with an Artist
  • My Wife the Artist
  • Romancing an Art Director
  • Online Marketing Part II: Your Site

    Fiction

  • PA Spotlight: Leonie Character from Elizabeth Weimer
  • Poem: The Limmer Bard’s Wife
  • Fiction: Time for Valour: Treasure
  • Fiction: Do I Make You Happy?

    Reviews

  • Movie: 3rd Generation
  • Movie: Brokeback Mountain
  • Movie: The Promise


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  • The Promise
    Movie Review
    by Georgette Tan

    Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
    Director: Chen Kaige
    Language: Mandarin
    Cast: Dong-Kun Jang, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Chen Hong, Liu Ye.

    In the wake of a battle, a little girl scavenges for food only to be trapped by a boy who promises that he will give her food if she will be his slave. She agrees but breaks her side of the agreement immediately and runs off to give the food to her mother.

    She meets a Sorceress (Chen Hong), who tells her that her mother is dead and asks if the girl is willing to give up true love and genuine happiness to become a princess that all men will desire. Having nothing more in life to go on for, the girl accepts.

    Years later, a mighty General (Hiroyuki Sanada) in bright red armour faces what may be possible defeat in battle. His honour is unwittingly saved by a Slave (Jang Dong-Kun) who is able to outrun the wind.

    The General takes the Slave under his service when the battle is won, but word comes that the King is under siege at his palace. The General and The Slave travel back, but lose their way, and then each other, in a dark forest.

    After The Sorceress appears to The General, he is attacked by The Assassin (Liu Ye) and badly wounded. When The Slave discovers him, The General tells him to don his armor and proceed to the city without him.

    Meanwhile, the Princess (Cecilia Chung), who indeed was the little girl at the beginning of the movie, stands on the rooftop with the King while observing The Duke of the North’s (Nicholas Tse) huge enemy army below.

    Things happen and the King threatens the Princess with a sword. The Slave arrives in time to see this. He kills the King and rides off with the Princess.

    The Duke gives chase and corners them at a waterfall. He promises to set the Princess free if the General (who is really the Slave in disguise) would jump. He does so. The Duke naturally doesn’t keep his promise and takes the Princess prisoner.

    The Promise is both strange and beautiful. Obviously it’s fantasy. The Sorceress’s hair and costume behaves as though she is underwater. The Slave can run so fast that he goes back in time. The Assassin can fly. The General and his army wear blazing red. I’m tempted to make an Alias joke here, but the red is more likely a symbol of their strength than anything else.

    Sitting in a well-attended screening, I was rather surprised at the reaction of some audience members. I got a feeling that the same people who sat through Lord of the Rings and Narnia without batting an eye actually have trouble accepting Asian fantasy.

    The story itself is like a fairy tale, not very complicated but a little infuriating at some parts. The elaborate costumes and sets make it look like a lot more. Seekers of eye candy won’t be disappointed.

    Georgette Tan writes for a Malaysian newspaper. She is fond of movies, long walks on the beach and clichés.
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