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1612: Khroniki smutnogo vremeni
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39 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Not too bad, not too good

Author: Dmitry from Moscow
18 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Title in English is "1612. Chronicles of the Time of Troubles"

Well, one should know post-Soviet cinema to rate this movie. As a whole, it is not so bad as it can seem, especially against a background of lots of new films (mostly very bad ones), which our TV shows everyday on every channel.

Some expressions about History. The plot is fantastic.

1. Poor Xenia Godunova! If she knew what she would "do" in the director's imagination 400 years later, she would die of shame :))) Her travel with some "hetman" is a nonsense - just see any source about Xenia, she was one of the unhappiest women of the Time of Troubles. Also she never betrayed her country or used to live with a Polish robber. Actually she was not able to, because she had been in a monastery for about 7 or 8 years by the time of the movie action.

2. Fedor II Godunov was killed by Russian supporters of the Impostor, not by Poles!

3. Strangely enough, but the leather cannon is not a fantasm of the movie creators. Such cannons did really exist even though it is unlikely that they were used by Russians during the Time of Troubles.

4. Another (at least) strange thing is Kuzma Minin's absence in the action. Probably, he was just cut off as not wanted :))

Actors. It's impossible to understand the reasons Porechenkov was set as Prince Pozharsky. Porechenkov is no actor. If no actor tries to play such a great person you can imagine the result. Almost the same about the girl who played Xenia. She really tried and really did not manage. Zolotuhin is no doubt the great actor, but his character looks and behaves like Gandalf, but not an Orthodox Elder at all. Guys, you live in traditionally Orthodox country, is it really too hard to take a little care of your work? The actor who is absolutely excellent is Michał Żebrowski. Brilliant! Maybe, he saves the whole movie.

Picture. Nice. Battle scenes, especially storm of the fortress, are quite good.

Action. Not bad, not too slowly.

The End. It is disappointing because it's a pure propaganda. They write "November 4th, 1612, Russians liberated Moscow". Ha-ha, they are as stupid as Duma of Russian Federation: both don't even know the difference between Julian and Gregorian calendars. Bad promotion for new "holiday".

And one more thing. Positive. The movie is kind, and that's fine for such kind of film, I think.

As a result my rate is 6, maybe 7. This movie is watchable but definitely not a masterpiece.

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18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Terrifically entertaining historical fantasy

Author: steven-222 from Berkeley, CA, USA
27 April 2009

This is a terrifically entertaining action-adventure fantasy from Russia. I say "fantasy" instead of "historical epic" because as the movie proceeds the story and the main character, a serf who rises to superhero, become increasingly larger than life. This boldly heroic storytelling makes 1612 seem very old-fashioned, in the best way, even as the film-making is state of the art, with some amazing action scenes and superbly staged battles. The hero is played by Pyotr Kislov, Russia's answer to Orlando Bloom; the antagonist, a Polish warlord intent on marrying the kidnapped daughter of Boris Godunov and making himself master of Russia, is played by Poland's #1 leading man, Michal Zebrowski, who has headlined some impressive action films himself, such as With Fire and Sword. The initial set-up is a bit wordy, but once the action starts it just gets better and better. Great fun (though be prepared for some startling battle gore).

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31 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

unrealistic but extremely enjoyable

Author: ssvfolder-1 from Israel
17 February 2008

Well if anyone into physics and pure common sense, for them the plot is too unreal that is for sure. But there were so many other "Pure" historical movies with about the same historical accuracy, and I still Loved most of them. This movie is a great show, I personally loved it way better than all the rest recent Russian movies. I believe that if it gets translated to English it'll become a huge box office hit in US and Canada. Great costumes, Good enough acting and excellent special effects alone make this movie worth watching. The only historical series\movie till now that i put above all other is the "Rome" series. It delivered spirit of the era along with quite accurate general facts and an imaginative interpretation from different more simple point of view. Now if we look at the famous historical movies like Gladiator or Braveheart, besides the fact that the actors are much more talented (in Hollywood interpretation of talent) and charismatic, they are exactly as "real" as this one. I gave this movie 8 out of 10 and definitely advice to see it just to relax and enjoy.

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32 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Patriotic and historical show that has escaped the pathetic style

Author: daeris from Warsaw, Poland
26 September 2008

History is my field of interests. I am in a historical re-enactment society, read quite a lot about the European history etc. This was wrote to point, that I do treat history as an important part of my life. I also like fiction and fantasy literature and I like when there is a solid border between fiction and historical scenarios/books/etc. I particularly despise productions, where “historical costume” is used only as an excuse to tell quite present-day politically correct stories about love and patriotism. And I was really worried this could be such a production especially since it was made “by the order” of Kremlin. But it was not. On the contrary – there is love, there is patriotism, there is pride of being a part of Russian nation and even some political correctness (a little) but all of it is served in the funny, warm and definitely not serious way and not the standard pathetic Hollywood-style. As for the history in the picture it is treated similarly, I mean not to serious. There are historical figures and historical events but they are mixed with fiction and fantasy. To do such a thing without losing the “spirit” of the period requires a great deal of talent and is almost impossible. But they have done it and they have done it great! But when I wrote that they treat history not too serious I did not mean “without respect” since there is a great deal of such respect that shows in costumes, characterisation, armament and in the commentaries throughout the movie. Well – there are some mistakes especially in polish cavalry (especially for me – this is the part I am interested the most J) but one can live with that. Treat it as a half historical half fantasy-adventure one and you will have a great time. The actor playing main character adds a lot to this adventurous mood – I think he has a potential for being next Johny Dep! His young and some times it shows that he need practice but he definitely has a talent. Small warning – movie might be a fantasy-adventure one but hen people die there they die, well…, realistic enough, so this is not a “family” movie. In my opinion it’s 9 out of 10 since there are some minor imperfections like the beginning is a little to slow and to mystic sometimes, there are some mistakes in costumes or armament I have mentioned above and some “wooden” background dialogs. Also this is another movie where the heavy cavalry really do not know what the charge should look like. But the movie is definitely a “must see” especially if you like historical and/or adventure shows.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

That'll Do

Author: victorboston from United States
20 August 2009

I am a little confused by the comments blasting this movie for historical inaccuracy. For Christsakes people - the movie has a unicorn (oh and a disclaimer inserted into the last scene, stating that "no one knows all those nominated for the throne...").

In any case, the movie background is more or less accurate, at least as accurate as the background for, say, Braveheart. And I don't remember too many complaints about the Mel Gibson's anachronistic kilt.

That having been said, this is certainly second rate cinema, but its pretty to look at and its fairly engaging, which is an improvement for Russian entries in the "block-buster" category. So 1612 gets 3 stars for execution, 2 stars for story and 1 star for the unicorn. It also gets a firm handshake for keeping me entertained and for giving me hope of a slight upward trend in run-of-the-mill Russian film making. In the words of Arthur Hoggett, "That'll do."

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Lighten up, folks, it knows it's not "history"

Author: mepontoni from United States
7 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I always watch films BEFORE coming to IMDb to read comments. If I dislike a film or am unmoved by it, I never end up here anyway. But when I really like a film, I slide over here hoping to find some fellow travelers who can help me appreciate more what I just viewed, knowing there will always be some folks who hate everything and delight in finding ways to pile on.

When it comes to reviews of 1612, however, I am a bit stunned at all the negative attention this film has brought. Most of it seems centered on historical inaccuracies in the film. As I was reading them I kept asking myself...did these folks notice the unicorn? If you're watching this movie as some History Channel documentary, you're going to have problems with it. There's a unicorn playing a major role! This is not to say there are not problems with this film. There are noticeable editing nightmares that have us jumping into what looks like the middle of an intended scene. Several times we're forced to conclude "oh that must have happened even though it's on the cutting room floor." This was the most disappointing part of the film.

As for the story and art of telling it, I very much enjoyed it. The winged Polish cavalry was thrilling enough to keep me going. I felt like one of the peasant children when I yelled to my wife in the other room "Lisa...they're angels!" The reproduction of Repin's "Barge Haulers" painting in one of the opening scenes was also a treat.

As for the storyline, I had no trouble whatsoever following it and appreciating it. This film is part history, part fantasy, part love story (and a good one at that!), and part vehicle to bring utter mayhem to the screen in new and bloody ways. If you want only one of these you're not going to like this film. If you can put your historic snobbishness aside, however, you can appreciate the splendid qualities of this film.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

What a movie!!!

Author: Michael Malak from United States
14 November 2011

I rented "1612" from my local library. As a Pole living in the U.S. I was trilled to see a movie about any aspect of the Polish-Russian history - especially one presented from the Russian perspective. Of course - the Poles are presented as the bad guys (now I know how the Germans must feel after watching "any" Polish or Russian war movie made during the last 70 years.)

The movie is almost EXCELLENT. There are little too many unicorns for my taste, and the main character of Andrei looks too soft for the role he's playing. I would have preferred if Andrei was played by someone harder, tougher. And it's not his physicality, or corrupted faulty character that make him soft, but rather his good looks. His face is just --- too pretty. He looks too much like Johny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco and he "should" look like ...I don't know - harder, tougher; like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry :) And yes, Andrei ages about 10 years during the first 15 minutes of the movie, while the Tsarina retains her youthfulness despite passage of time.

The movie is not a portrayal of historical events, but a fantasy merely set in a historical period. It entertains - it entertains like hell! and prompts one to get on-line and look up the real elements of that period.

The story, the plot twists, the battle scenes - are just incredible - Hollywood could learn a lesson or two from these Russians.

I'm glad I saw this movie and would recommend it to anyone willing to go for a ride on the back of a panting snorting stallion. I'm also getting on-line right now looking for more films from the director Vladimir Khotinenko.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

He likes me,... He likes me not...

Author: jlpicard1701E from New York, NY
5 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I like it, but I don't like it...

Funny, but true. As a modern action movie it stands at par with other similar stuff that even Hollywood manages to produce (see "300").

Not so much for special visual effects, of which there are virtually none, except for the occasional battle scene, but rather for the silliness in language and story development.

It is a simple fun movie. One for popcorn chewing moviegoers.

Unpretentious and yet captivating in its silliness.

At times, while watching it, I was reminded of movies of yesteryear, such as Errol Flynn's escapades in "The Black Hawk" or more recently Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow's shenanigans in "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Costumes and settings are gorgeous though, and even the music is pleasant and appropriate for a movie of this type. But let's face it, it's just another cape and dagger movie, not really Russian history as it pretends to be.

Sure, there are hints to that (and many, but then again distributed freely throughout, without an actual chronology). All we get to know is that after Czar Boris Godunov's demise and that of his entire family (but one surviving Princess), there is a period of anarchy in Russia.

Add to this the ever-lasting "bad" Polish invader, riding in with very fanciful armor which sports applied feather wings (actually an accurate depiction, but just reserved for the Royal Polish Guards of that time and only worn during parades, never in battle - for obvious reasons).

True to history is the fact that after the fall of Czar Boris, Russia had been literally invaded by opportunistic tradesmen from everywhere in Europe. This has been simplified and centered around a central Hispanic figure, represented by a mercenary, and apparently, former Conquistador. The reality though, was different, and the so-called invasion was far less pervasive and intrusive. Europe simply needed new trade routes through Russia and did indeed send out emissaries for this purpose.

Yet then the entire story goes through a mystic development, even involving unicorns and a mysterious Hermit chained on a pole in the midst of a forest. It may be significant for Russians but for a foreign audience who may not know all the symbolic significances of this, it still remains a puzzle to the end of the movie.

As said, as an entertainment movie, not too bad, but as a pretense in historic fact it really leaks all over.

The actors, probably all unknown to the Western world are all competent, especially in secondary roles and do their job quite convincingly. The action scenes (battles, swordplay, fights, etc.) are all very well choreographed and at times, even spectacular.

But does this mishmash stand for something?

Not really.

Not even as other reviewers have stated, as a propaganda movie for the Medvevev / Putin duo.

If it is true that this movie was pushed by the Kremlin itself, then the taste of this entity has considerably diminished since Stalin's times. It has become so very simplistic and populist (mind you, not popular) that I question whether they are still able to read Pushkin, Dostoevsky or even just Tolstoy, or whether they too have slumped into just reading pulp fiction if not bad cartoon strips.

Not wanting the invasion of Western culture in their Country, in that sense at least, is utterly wasted effort, since this movie proves without a doubt that they have already been "contaminated" by this bad taste kind of trendy movie.

What next? Japanese "Animes" to entertain the masses in Russia too?

At least Stalin had Eisenstein to propagate his views, and those movies have become true Classics.

But "1612"? Forgettable at best.

Being of Russian descent myself, I regret this popularization in Russian history. Why can't we have true historic, if not epic movies about the true history of Russia?

The theme alone, Boris Godunov, already made famous by a well-known Opera, should entice any film-maker deserving this definition, to make an extra effort and develop a true biopic around this figure. But not just limited to this period.

All we have are just excerpts from Russian history. We never get the whole picture. What about the first Viking invasion of Russia, when it was still unknown under that name? In fact Russia takes the name from the first Conquerors of the land, which the native population named "Rus" after their reddish scalps and beards.

What ever happened between Boris and Peter the Great. Who were the various successors, what did they do, what have they achieved, how long did they all rule? These are all still unanswered questions that no one ever bothered to tackle with in any serious form.

My simple question is: why?

Russians of today want to be respected from Westerners and be considered as equals. Well, then help us understand your history in its fullness and allow us to penetrate your culture more thoroughly. Not just through literature, or through music, but also producing movies that open a window upon a respectable (or even not so respectable) span of time and allow us to penetrate this world of the past, to better understand your recent past and even the present.

"1612" is not it. It deserves only 5 stars out of ten just (and I have decided to be particularly generous) for the effort of all those involved, who nevertheless did their job. But none of these stars are referred to the story, nor the quality of the picture, which in my own opinion, is below the average level of movie-making, which I know to be otherwise excellent.

Go back to film school and watch some true classics and you will see what I mean...

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Historically based Mayhem and Magic

Author: gradyharp from United States
6 July 2010

1612: KHRONIKI SMUTNOGO VREMENI is a strange Russian epic seemingly composed of pasted together bits of history, myth, and fiction by writer Arif Aliyev and directed with a complete lack of continuity by Vladimir Khotinenko. Why these production choices were made in what is apparently supposed to be a critical turn of events in the history of Russia is unclear, but the reason for making the film seems to be to out-Hollywood Hollywood without the benefit of CGI that serve as Hollywood's main 'character' in epics of this sort.

Apparently from the title we are to accept this tale as a recreation of the death of Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (1551 - 1605) - de facto regent of Russia from 1584 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign and the murder of his son saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles. There was a witness to these murders, one Andrei (Pytor Kislov) who fell into serfdom and then into being a mercenary with his friend Kostka (Artur Smolyaninov) for the Polish hetman (Michal Zebrowsski). Apparently one Godonov remained, the Tsarina Kseniya (Violetta Davydovskaya) and was loved by both the Polish hetman and by Andrei. The entire film is an extended battle between the Polish and the Russians for the control of Moscow and the dream of the Polish hetman to marry Kseniya and ascend the throne as the new Tsar. The referenced year 1612 is the year of the Battle for Moscow when the Poles were successfully defeated making way for the rise of the Romanovs as the royal family of Russia.

Somewhere well hidden in this collage of decapitations and other examples of battlefield mayhem are the identities of the characters who populate this story, but the tale is so chopped up by amazingly bad editing (to the point that the film feels like there are large gaps missing as the screen simply goes dark frequently), by flights of fantasy that focus on a unicorn, moments when the past is recalled through the use of pixels of supposedly previously viewed material, and just plain lapses in plot details that the movie appears like a richly colorful blood bath with some unintentional (?) comedic moments. The machinations of the battle between the winged Poles and the oh-so-inventive Russians fighting against all odds border on absurd. But then perhaps that is the point of the film: war is madness and kingdoms are built by serendipity. It is a long song and tedious, but if you know the realities of Russian history it may be a very entertaining movie!

Grady Harp

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Historical drama in the spirit of Die Hard

Author: D. B. from Nebraska, United States
8 September 2011

This is a film that aims to create action entertainment, with great historical costumes to be sure, but it is not a "serious" historical drama. Broadly speaking, the action is not less realistic than say, many of the James Bond movies, and it is not intended to be. The hero protagonist and his "ethnic" sidekick really draw on cop buddy films as much as anything else, and it is modern action/adventure films with which this movie should be compared.

There are not an enormous number of films with which this movie compares, but in general, if you wouldn't like Zorro, you wouldn't like this one.

I would argue that where this film really excels is in its use of tragedy and the mystical/magical. Neither of these elements are dominant, but the elements are well done, and they add weight and a touch of meaning to an otherwise light film, without desecrating religion or the folk traditions of Russia.

If I was a person who normally watched this sort of film, I would rate it higher, but as a matter of taste, I am simply giving it a 6, meaning that I think it is objectively, a bit better than average.

The crucial point about whether you should watch this film is really whether or not you like fairly light entertainment of this sort. This is a movie that has the costumes, but not the spirit or atmosphere of the average American or British costume drama.

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