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Empire of the Sun (1987)
Very emotional film, with brilliant young Christian Bale.
Empire of the Sun, I have just revisited this film on DVD and was amazed the effect it left on me. This is almost an unknown film relative to most other Spielberg work. The DVD is not even available in Australia, so I had it 'Amazoned' from the US.
Christian Bales performance as the 12 year old Jim is mesmerizing. He is in virtually every scene of the 2.5 hour movie and gives us the full range of emotions. He also one of the best looking kids I've seen, which add tremendously to the viewing appeal of the movie. A true heart throb in the making.
As a history lesson Empire give us an insight to the happenings in China in WWII, and the ambitions of the Japanese Empire, which are never touched on in other WWII movies.
The most emotional part of the film for me: Jim is looking through the fence at the Japanese airbase, the sun is setting, he is dreaming of flying in those incredible machines, pilots are smartly uniformed and decorated, offices passing drinks to the young pilots, superb music playing, Zeros ready to go, Jim salutes the Japanese heroes as they are flying out. What we know is that the war is lost for Japan and these pilots are surely on Kamikaze suicide missions. We feel great empathy for these fellow human beings despite the fact that they are the enemy.
The images in Empire are beautiful to look at, the movie is thought provoking and provide some history lesson, if somewhat fantasy and sacrine sweet. A behind the scenes war movie with heart. My favourite Spielberg movie and in my top 15 of all time. Other favourites in no order. Titanic, Patton, Unforgiven, Airport, Terminator, Salaam Bombay, 2001, Bridge on River Kwai, Minority Report.
Superb, amazingly real and emotional.
This film has prompted me to put some comments here at IMDB, which is a rarity. A movie that takes you by the neck and never looses its grip for the entire journey. For me the thing that made it was its believability. I was there on the ship in the first few moments in the calmness of the fog, then, a distant flash, and all hell breaks loose as the HMS Surprise is pulverised by enemy cannons. Never has an action scene appeared as forcefully and emotional as the first ten minutes of this film.
Over the past few years I have failed to `get into' hardly any new action-adventure movies. The Star Wars prequels, Matrix sequels, have all disappointed because of the low believability factor for me. But here is a movie that makes you believe again in the `movies' and there ability to take you to another time and place and feel for the people involved.
Not once did I think I was looking at any computer generated scenes or looking at a ship in a `big tank', so the effects were perfect, that is, they didn't look like effects, they were seamless.
So here we have action, drama, adventure on a grand scale. And no BS love connection to annoy the hell out us and the progress of the HMS Surprise.
This is a 10 out 10 movie for me.
Here is some of my other favourites in no order or significance
Terminator 1, Terminator 3, Titanic, Minority Report
Some movies I didn't like
Pearl Harbour, Attack of the Clones, Fast and Furious
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
A heart wrenching and very realistic drama.
Having just returned from an extended trip to India I was keen to see a quality Indian film (not bollywood drival)and I have come across one of the most realistic and moving films I have ever seen. Having been involved in helping street kids in India I was pleased to come across this film which so accurately depicts life, love and death around a group of street boys in Bombay.
SALAAM BOMBAY is the story of a 12-year-old street boy surviving and etching out an existence on the squalled streets of Bombay. The interactions these kids have with each other made me feel I was watching a doco. The kids in India are so much like Chipau and the others depicted in Salaam Bombay its amazing. They all have there individual lives and dreams like us all but are burdened with extreame poverty.
The story lines in the film are about the prostitution business, drug addiction and homeless children. All these elements combine so as we see the people and lives behind them. These issues are rarely dealt with on such a personal and emotional level as we see in this film. This ain't Hollywood and it sure ain't Bollywood.
For me my favorite all time film. You may have difficulty in finding this film at your local video library but it truly is worth viewing.
Recently we showed this film to a group of street kids in Pune, India. They were amazed at its realism. All thought they were watching real people not actors,(These kids have grown up watching Bollywood films). This same group would have watched this film 5 times now. And all could identify with the characters.