The First Emperor
- TV Movie
- 1h 50m
The film narrates how Ying Zheng became the king of Qin state in 221 B.C. at 13 and finally the first Chinese Emperor. The excavated Terracotta Army finds, his wars, paranoia's, court intrig... Read allThe film narrates how Ying Zheng became the king of Qin state in 221 B.C. at 13 and finally the first Chinese Emperor. The excavated Terracotta Army finds, his wars, paranoia's, court intrigues and quest for immortality are also discussed.The film narrates how Ying Zheng became the king of Qin state in 221 B.C. at 13 and finally the first Chinese Emperor. The excavated Terracotta Army finds, his wars, paranoia's, court intrigues and quest for immortality are also discussed.
- Self - McGill Universityas Self - McGill University
- (as Prof Robin D.S. Yates)
- Self - University of Cambridgeas Self - University of Cambridge
- (as Dr John Emsley)
There have been a recent trend on channel 4 in the UK for taking subjects worthy of documentaries and making them into docu-dramas. So it was with this look at the fascinating life of Ying Sheng, the King who unified China (or what became China) and left behind a legacy of clay soldiers that pointed to the great kingdom he had. The subject easily made me invest my time in this documentary and it was almost enough to carry it. The discussion about Ying is interesting and the investigation into the legend of his tomb easily held my attention. This part of the film uses experts but uses them far too sparingly and doesn't do their knowledge and passion justice.
For the majority of the time we are presented re-enactments of the past with Samuel West's narration over the top. And sadly this is where the film falters. As I said, the story is fascinating enough to carry the film and while West narrates, having pictures underneath doesn't do any real harm. However it is the dramatisations that are a problem because, although they look good, they are flat and poorly delivered. The acting is almost laughably bad and I could not help but feel that the film would have been much better just using the dramatisations as silent back drops while the narration did the work yes it would have lacked the emotional engagement of the acting but the acting stopped that happening anyway in my opinion. Despite this though the film just about works simply because the story is fascinating and the revelations at the end made me interested to find out more.
Overall then this is not a great film but it manages to be worth watching just for the subject. The dramatisations are clunky and poorly acted and they take away from the value of the film just sticking with the narration would have been better. However the basic seeds it gives the casual viewer will be enough to make it worth watching, although I doubt that it will offer much to anyone who actually knows anything about Ying Sheng.
- bob the moo
- Apr 2, 2006