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The Banquet (2006)
"Ye yan" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy  |  15 September 2006 (China)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 5,495 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 56 critic

A loose adaptation of Hamlet, "The Night Banquet" is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Empress Wan
...
...
...
Jingwu Ma ...
Minister Yin Taichang
...
General Yin Sun
Zhonghe Zhou ...
Chamberlain
Qiusheng Zeng ...
Governor Pei Hong
Xu Xiyan ...
Ling
Liu Yanbin ...
Messenger
Ma Lun ...
Pharmacist
Xiang Bin ...
Imperial Guard
Chunyu Zheng ...
Imperial Guard
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bing Bo ...
Executioner
Kai Cui ...
Dancer
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Storyline

In 907 AD, the Tang Dynasty is in tatters; infighting snarls the imperial family. Crown Prince Wu Luan loves Little Wan, but his father takes her as his Empress. Wu Luan goes into exile, studying dance and music. His uncle murders his father, taking throne and Empress; uncle sends assassins to kill Wu Luan. The Crown Prince eludes death and comes to court. The Emperor arranges for Little Wan's coronation and dispatches Wu Luan to a distant land; he then calls for a midnight banquet on the 100th day of his rule. Poison, treachery, Wu Luan's return, and the love of the innocent Qing for Wu Luan set up the final entanglements. No Fortinbras or Horatio lay the dead to rest. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 2006 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Legend of the Black Scorpion  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gong Li was originally supposed to play Zhang Ziyi's part. Due to scheduling conflicts, the role was passed onto Zhang Ziyi and she gladly accepted because she thought the character was so interesting. See more »

Connections

Version of Lletres catalanes (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Much more than just visually stunning!
25 March 2007 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

Movies out of HK and China are increasingly rivaling or surpassing the best out of Hollywood in acting, cinematography, costuming and artistic vision. 'The Banquet' is a shining example.

This is a loosely based interpretation of Hamlet adapted for the Tang dynasty period. In my opinion there is too much energy spent on this site debating whether it is a good adaptation of Hamlet, comparing it to other Hamlet films, etc. It is not a straight "remake" of Hamlet - it obviously takes inspiration from the play, and uses many of its elements, and that's it. So just sit back, watch it and judge it on its own merits.

This is primarily a drama but it's sprinkled with great martial arts choreography a la Yuen Wo Ping. Many fight scenes follow the wu xia (fantasy kung fu) genre – just suspend your disbelief and enjoy the beautiful spectacle of it.

A riveting moment comes when a one of the Emperor's mandarins (scholars who rule over the provinces) introduces Wan as "Dowager Empress", language that means Wan is the mother of an Emperor (Prince Wu Luan) and is a slap in the face to Li. Wan and Generals alike must decide where their allegiances lie.

The acting is very good and I enjoyed Zhang Ziyi playing the lecherous Empress, You Ge playing a convincingly imperial Emperor and Xun Zhou as the naïve Qing in love with our 'Hamlet'.

One of The Banquet's strong points is it is absolutely stunning visually, right from the first scene in a verdant and swaying bamboo forest that makes you wonder if such a beautiful place really exists. The costumes throughout are incredibly rich and detailed.

It lags a little in the last half hour (maybe I was just tired) but to its credit does not run much longer than 2 hours.

Highly recommended.


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