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Empire of the Sun
Year : 1987
Country : United-States

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Dancing_P  [ 6.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Spielberg's direction is both a blessing and a curse for this story of an aviation-obsessed boy (Christian Bale) living in China during WWII. When war breaks out, Jim is separated from his parents and falls in with a hustler named Basie (John Malkovich) and his crew (which include Joe Pantoliano and Ben Stiller, in one of his first roles). Eventually they are put in an internment camp where Jim dreams of flying planes. There's a certain Apocalypse Now vibe running through this thing, particularly at the end (some shots of a mud-stained Bale certainly look a lot like the shots of a painted Sheen in AN) but where Apocalypse Now was a brilliant, hallucinatory allegory... this falls victim to Spielberg's patented brand of sap. The film is simply too glossy and too prone to hysterics to truly grip; it feels Hollywoodized through-and-through. Young Bale's performance is decent, although it sometimes reaches heights of annoyance only surpassed by Jake Lloyd and Malkovich is always a solid addition to any cast. As with most minor Spielberg movies, it has its moments, though: the scenes of Jim losing his parents in the crowd are actually very well done and it's got some great lines. But mawk remains mawk, and Speilberg is not exactly good at this stuff.

grean  [ 9.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

an excellent symoblic portrayal of war by Spielberg ..

babyduck  [ 7.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

While meticulously filmed by Stephen Spielberg I personally felt that this film went on a bit too long.

madcow  [ 8.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

analyzed the crap outta this film in high school... made it quite interesting.

Mohawk  [ 8.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Few films are this honest and forthright....

jeff_v  [ 8.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Spielberg's densely allusive war drama covers his familiar preoccupations (parental abandonment/separation, optimism surviving innocence) from a fresh perspective. Rather than focusing on an adult who sees the world through a child's eyes, he reverses it to show a child who must see the world through adult eyes. There are references to Oliver Twist (indeed, the film was originally slated to have been directed by David Lean, and the film does seem like one he would have made) and Citizen Kane, as well as a deeply personal strain about having to take life seriously but retaining one's spirit (keep in mind this was only Spielberg's second "serious" film). It's also a film about spirituality; Jim at first believes God is his dream, and we are all God's dream. Later he conflates God with his own absent father, and proclaims atheism. But ironically, it's the sight of a nuclear explosion that restores his faith, calling the event "God taking a picture."

suki  [ 7.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

a fascinating film

JD  [ 2.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

By far, this is Steven Spielberg's worst film directed. This artsy attempt at a war drama is pointless and boring. It's also two and a half hours which is way too long. I just hated it.

Love_Spoon  [ 6.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

I first saw this film when I was a young teenager, with my Dad. He thought we were going to see The Last Emperor, and I was just happy to go out for Pizza and a movie with my pop. Exiting the theater, he asked me what I thought, and in a normal prepubescent answer, I replied, "It was... interesting." I haven't seen it again since, but I think that if I did, I'd appreciate it more. It's the story of a spoiled young British boy in pre-World War II Shanghai. He is separated from his parents during the Japanese invasion, and meets soldier John Malkovich, who teaches him to survive in the real world. Probably a great story of coming of age and prevailing against adversity. I probably ought to give this one another look.

boat   8.5  ]
rleduff   7.0  ]
mike   8.5  ]
EmperorJones   5.5  ]
Verbal   8.0  ]
astrosheil   8.0  ]
nyesguy   4.0  ]
DokBrowne   7.0  ]
Rosario   8.5  ]
adelely   9.0  ]
Emmitt   5.5  ]
Edwards   5.0  ]

Weighted Rating : 7.0
No. Ratings : 21
No. Reviews : 9

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Ranked by Rating
1987 52
1980's 504
All-time 3973

Ranked by No. Ratings
1987 14
1980's 73
All-time 399

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