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China's First Emperor
China's First Emperor
Genres: Educational, Documentary
UR     2008     4hr 10min

Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 10/28/2008


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Movie Details

Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 4hr 10min
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Too much drama
CGScammell | Southern Arizona | 12/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"History Channel is known for its colorful re-enactments, life-like costumes and talented actors. This two-disc set has both. For viewers who like re-enactments, this is a good set. I am more into archival maps, letters and place settings without all the drama.

However, I found the first disc overdone on drama. Although the history of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Haungdi obviously would have little archival documentation, I found the long segments of re-enactments, much of that in Chinese with subtitles followed by dramatic music, a bit overdone. The first disc could have been told much faster without all the drama. But this sort of re-telling is the forte of History Channel productions.

Having said all that, for people who like Chinese history this isn't a bad production. It goes into great detail not on just the young Qin Shi Haungdi and his torturous reign, but on China's prehistory of marauding nomads across the Chinese steppes and the six smaller kingdoms of Zhou, Qin, Chu, Yan, Han, We that he united after bloody conquests.

Chinese and American historians and archeologists are interviewed for this production and explain parts of the history before a lengthy re-enactment follows.

Many mysteries of ancient China and the battles of Qin Shi Haungdi's armies were revealed when the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors and cross-bow triggers were unearthed in 1974 in western China and subsequent diggings of other ancient graves of the time. However, under the current Communist regime sharing the information with westerners has been slow. The few achival photographs in this video are from the unearthing of this vast collection of statues. Much of the new information on ancient China came to light after finding these Terracotta figurines. The use of bronze metals and "advanced warfare" for the time is truly amazing. It all gives a new light to China's real history.

The second disc deals with the building of the Great Wall of China under this emperor, meant to keep the kingdom united. Leonard Nimoy's narration is at times sonombulous, but the aerial footage of this great human construction is quite phenomenal, especially knowing that among that wall are remains of humans.

What brought down the review for me were the lengthy re-enactments and the often-repeated scenes in this production.

JNagarya | Boston, MA | 02/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Of the several productions about China's first emperor, this is one of the best -- essentially a full-lengh docudrama which includes much important detail omitted from the shorter efforts.

Thoroughly recommended.

The second DVD -- "China's Wall of Doom" -- though a bit shorter is also excellent as compared with others.

All in all, as a two-disc set a superior bargain.