Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Genghis Khan To the Ends of the Earth and Sea|
Director: Shinichiro Sawai
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
After 27 years of planning, Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea finally captures the mystery and majesty of one of history?s greatest rulers ? Genghis Khan. This landmark achievement of Japanese cinema represent... more »
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A partially realized mythical bio
Judy K. Polhemus | LA | 09/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Creating a magnificently filmed biographical epic of the rise of the great Genghis Khan is a daring adventure in film history. Although the film has the look of success, bringing the Khan to life is only partially realized. Part myth, part history, Genghis Kahn steadily rises to power, making bold battle decisions and faltering rarely. What is missing from this solid film is a core of passion. Too many scenes drag.
Director Shinichiro Sawai wanted to be circumspect in telling the story of Temujin, who finally unites the Mongols to claim the title Genghis Khan. But in presenting Temujin as a man growing into leadership, Sawai has to evade some truths. The Temujin of this film, played by Takashi Sorimachi, is thoughtful and honorable, almost to a fault, a reputation at odds with the one of history.
Toward the end of the film, Khan tells Kulan, his female soldier, that blood must be spilled to open borders, a seeming contradiction that is sensible to him. Indeed, having a whole world without borders is perhaps a euphemism for total world domination. Another omission from history is that the Khan left his DNA all over Asia and Europe yet none of this is part of the story. In fact, the movie implies that Temujin is faithful to the one wife. It's little telling points like these that make the film less effective. Having a hero without warts is terribly unrealistic and unreasonable.
The film is episodic in nature, presenting key moments in Temujin's life, showing what manner of man he is all along his life's journey. Unusually kind and considerate toward his women, Temujin, in fact, reveals a major life issue: whether he is truly a child of his father and the great blue wolf or if he is blood issue from a warring tribe, of which one member took his mother to wife for a while.
History repeats itself when his own wife is abducted and recaptured by Temujin, only to discover she is pregnant. Is this baby his or the child of the enemy? When he captures the girl soldier, she insists on death rather than be taken as a spoil of war. Temujin shows his magnaminity by allowing her to become one of his soldiers, then later she invites him to take her as concubine. The director chooses to depict Temujin as an equal rights proponent when history would most likely dispute this.
His loyalty to his childhood friend is the most telling episode of Temujin's character. The final scene between them is painfully slow, again to reveal the inner turmoil that Temujin feels.
The longest drawn out scene is the naming of Temujin as the great Genghis Khan, a scene that went on and on and on. In contrast, the final scene is the impending attack upon the Great Wall of China and the Jin Dynasty with the suggestion of extending the kingdom to the ends of the Earth and Sea.
Even with the film's omissions and perhaps slight shifting of truth, "Genghis Kan: To the ends of the Earth and Sea" is a rewarding movie experience. The vistas of Mongolia alone are enough to see this epic film."
C. R. Swanson | Phoenix | 08/31/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Genghis Khan was one of the great military minds of history. He built an empire that spread from China into Europe. His armies fought in modern Hungary and even, if I remember correctly, into Vienna. One of his few failings, in fact, was was attempt to invade Japan. An effort that was foiled by the original kamakaze.
This film tells the life of Genghis back when he was just Temujin. We see him coming of age, meeting his future wife and blood-brother, and learning military tactics. The story leads from there up to his rise to power, eventually becoming Khan and ends with him about to invade China.
Technically the movie is quite good! Filmed on location in Mongolia, you see some of the areas where the battles actually happen. The battles themselves, when you see them in the film, are stunning! I understand there were thousands of extras involved in the film, and you really see them. The only real problem with the battle scenes is that they are rather brief.
The costumes are impressive, and the sets are well done. Love the wheeled yurt. :)
Where the movie fails is that it seems rather disjointed at parts. I'm betting there are large parts of the film we aren't seeing. I don't know if they are available in a special edition overseas or something, but they are sure aren't here.
The film gets four stars from me, but the DVD gets exactly zero. Why? First, there's no extras. At all. Zero. There's trailers, but I never count those. There's also a very annoying trailer at the begining of the DVD which you aren't allowed to skip over. I'm also rather confused as to why Funimation, which apparently specializes in anime, is releasing this DVD here in the States.
Still and all, I liked this movie. I don't know that I'll watch it again, but I'm glad to have watched it once."
Definitely, an ambitious and epic accomplishment by the Japa
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 05/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A film that took twenty five years to plan, it was not until 2006 when major music label and entertainment company Avex Entertainment, Inc. along with producers Haruki Kadokawa ("Yamato", "Kamui no Ken") and Katsuhito Matsuura took on one of most expensive and ambitious projects ever done by Japanese filmmakers.
The plan was to adapt Seiichi Morimura's historical fiction novel "Chi hate umi tsukiru made: Shôsetsu Chingisu Hân" to film and for several months, in order to create this epic film, the needed to shoot in rural Mongolia, fly their talent and crew and make Mongolia almost like their second home for four months.
But that wasn't all, the film would then entail of having over a thousand crew members, over 27,000 extras and 5,000 Mongolian Army Soldiers involved and also to transport a large number of animals and to try and recreate this time from over 800 years ago into film. To base this film around a warrior named Temujin also known as Genghis Khan, the conqueror of Asia.
Many of us know of Genghis Khan from books or films as having one of the largest contiguous empires ever created but knowing that he is also credited for unifying Mongolia and re-uniting China.
As many films have shown the war tactician and his conquering of lands, "GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" goes a different route. This time humanizing the ruler by showing him as a son, a father, a conqueror and most importantly, a man who loves his country but wanted peace but in order to achieve piece, he had to unify all nomadic tribes in Mongolia.
Of course, because the film is an adaptation of a novel to film and there is only so much of that history of Genghis Khan that could be included, without complicating things, the factual and complex history (of what was recorded at that time) of Temujin and what is presented on the film is quite different. But the film's true intention of showing what kind of man Temujin (Ghengis Khan) truly is, is the heart of what the film is all about.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" is presented in 1080p High Definition (16×9). The film was shot in Mongolia and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The scenery is so beautiful as you see the clouds and mountains in the horizon that I had to rewatch several scenes to find out if they looked as if certain elements such as the background were added in post production but after watching the special features, you realize that these outdoor shots of Mongolia are as is. Just a beautiful location and was absolutely moved by the cinematography.
Of course, to create something so epic with hundreds of warriors, there was a bit of post production in CG work to making the armies look so vast. But overall, the high definition transfer of the film was absolutely beautiful. What was captured on film was definitely a sign of how large the production was for this film and how expensive and challenging it would be.
Overall, picture quality was well done and I found "GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" to be a beautiful film. Blacks are well done, I didn't see any scratches or dust or any major form of artifacting. Absolutely beautiful picture quality!
As for the audio quality, I was quite surprised to hear my home theater setup being utilized. From the drums to the armies moving, you hear the low rumbles through your subwoofer and also utilization of the rear channels during the action scenes as well. The film utilizes a lot of dialogue but you do get a good sense of the action scenes through the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio (in Japanese). For an epic film like this, I chose not listen to the Dolby Digital English dubbing via 2.0 channel at all.
"GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" features a good amount of lengthy special features which were presented in 480i Standard Definition and in Dolby Digital Japanese 2.0. Special features included are:
* Filming Journal - (43:00) A wonderful featurette in which we see how things were behind-the-scenes. The utilization of so many crew and volunteers but also the challenges of transporting the animals, having to deal with the constant changing weather (it rained once a day) to another major snafu in which all the trained horses escaped while the crew were sleeping and thus delaying the film process. Also, how the fighting scenes were choreographed and how blood was used in the film. Also, behind-the-scenes of the various talent and the Japanese and Mongolian crew working together despite the language difference.
* Peek Behind the Scenes - (4:18) This segment features the Mongolian extras (thousands) of being fitted in costumes and preparation for the ceremony scene in which Genghis Khan is introduced.
* Great Plains of Mongolia - (9:48) This is a video scene of Mongolia landscapes and the beauty of the rural lands accompanied by beautiful music.
* Premiere on Stage Greetings - (15:52) This segment features the Japanese onstage screening which took place after the screening and the Direct, producers, author and talent greet the viewers and talk about their character roles and the film.
* Premiere Screenings - (33:42) This segment features the elaborate premiere in Mongolia, interviews and press conference, world premiere screening and the Hong Kong premiere screening and press conference.
-Mongolia Premiere Screening and Interviews
- Mongolia Premiere Screening and Press Conference
- World Premiere Screening
- Hong Kong Premiere Screening
* Uncut Battle Scenes - (32:08) these are the extended battle scenes, unedited in their full glory. These were intense scenes featuring so many actors and volunteers. For scenes that were so epic, it was great to have these uncut battle scenes included. The scenes do include English subtitles but the time stamps are included on the video.
- Merkit Raid
- Borte's Rescue
- Battle Against the Tatars, Their Sworn Enemy
- Battle Against Jamuqa
- Jochi's Battle in the North
* Original TV Spots - (5:02) The original TV commercials promoting the film.
* FUNimation Trailers
I really enjoyed watching "GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA". The film is so epic, well-written, well-acted and just beautiful to look at.
What is more interesting is that it's not solely an all Japanese film but a film that utilizes Asian talent for this large scale production. The film is about unity and behind-the-scenes, various ethnicities united and gave their part for the creation of this epic film.
Japanese crew and talent teaming up with Mongolian crews and also utilization of Korean performer (and J-Pop singer) Mink and Korean commercial queen Ara, this was a production that I have not seen in this scale before. I was very impressed with the final cut and then to watch all that transpired behind-the-scenes via the special features.
I first had the pleasure of learning about the film "Aoki Okami" (The Japanese title of the film) through my review of the CD single by Mink titled "Innocent Blu~Chi hate umi tsukiru made", the theme song for the film. I was touched by the beautiful melody and how it showcased the female talent in Mongolia. Beautiful cinematography and then it led to the two Japanese trailers for the film.
Immediately, I wanted to watch this film but because of its high level of Japanese dialogue, I knew that my knowledge of the Japanese language would not suffice in terms of enjoying a film this epic in production without English subtitles. Almost two years later, I was very happy to find out that FUNimation Entertainment would be releasing this film on Blu-ray and I absolutely loved the film!
With my review leaning towards the positive, I did find one negative. The only thing that caught my attention immediately is how small the menu's were. I have a 51 HDTV and this was the smallest type I have seen on a menu and had to use the back of the DVD case to read the menu. But that was it. Everything about the film and the Blu-ray coverage was absolutely positive. As for others, perhaps those who want a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English dub may have problems that they are getting a Dolby Digital English 2.0 track but I'm not the type to watch a Japanese live film with an English dub. If anything, I was happy to find a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Japanese track.
I've only read about Genghis Khan in books and typically, those books tend to tell of his warfare intellect and his conquering of lands. So, if anything, this film really opened my eyes to the human side of Temujin as a son, father, the leader and conqueror. In the special features, even Mongolian and Japanese crews stated how they were glad to see a different perspective, a positive portrayal of their country's founder
I was amazed to see one of my favorite Japanese actors, Takashi Sorimachi in the lead role. He definitely made the character of Temujin much more charismatic but well-liked. In Mongolia, Genghis Khan is just revered as a national hero for his accomplishments and with so many films and books that described him as a deadly conqueror, the film portrays him with a man of faults but at the same time, ideals to unify the Mongols and what better to celebrate the 800th Year Anniversary of the founding of Mongolia through this film.
I felt that each talent from Mayumi Wakamura's Hoelun, Rei Kikuwa's bolte to Yusuke Hirayama's Jamuqa and Naoki Hosaka's Yesugei, each and every talent made this film feel quite special with their level of emotion and making us believe but also hooking us in with the beautiful cinematography, direction, storyline and the acting.
Typically when we think large scale Japanese films, we think of a classic like "RAN" and when you think of historical films, there have been quite a few produced in Korea and Hong Kong but to see a Japanese co-production with Mongolia utilizing so many people, staff and even animals, it was something I would never expect.
But I'm glad it did happen because "GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" is one of those special films that manages to grab your attention and appreciate it.
And I have to admit, watching this on Blu-ray really made me enjoy this film much more. Beautiful picture quality, clear and subwoofer trembling audio and lengthy special features definitely makes me give high recommendation for this Blu-ray release. I can only hope that FUNimation Entertainment continues to bring more Japanese live-action films stateside.
Final judgment: "GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA" is highly recommended!"
800 Years in the Making ... should have waited a couple of y
Grimmy | MD USA | 09/02/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to like this movie. The cover looked great. Here's what was inside.
There are three ways you can make a movie about Genghis Khan (GK) - either a hagiography, the opposite, or something based on knowable history, warts and all. This is the hagiography, make no mistake about it.
In this version, GK is a sensitive, Western-educated Enlightenment champion of women, whose goal - in his own words near the end of the movie - is to conquer so that trade, cultures and traditions of all peoples, will flourish. It's the most ridiculous scene I've seen on film for a while, even counting Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo. I don't have anything against GK, but such a statement is simply idiotic. And the claims about his efforts to establish equality for all, including women, are mostly made by Mongolian historians and, to my knowledge, are without any supporting evidence whatsoever. So ... bring along many grains of salt.
Which GK is the GK of history? Here, he's a 90's man, missing his woman ("I missed you!") and loudly lamenting the death of his son, and waging war for the sake of multi-culti. He doesn't take women as spoils of war, unless they insist - insist, I tell you! - on becoming part of his harem (not shown) out of respect and admiration. I don't buy it for a second!
The other side sees him as a genocidal Lothario, killing and pillaging and always keeping the most beautiful women for himself. This view is entirely absent from this movie.
No, he kills to preserve culture! (and trade.)
The plot is interesting, as it deals with tribal warfare, problems of fatherhood and the identification thereof, and the sufferings of women in such a culture. Is his father a hated Merkit? Did he just kill him? And so on. The dialogue is just passable, but my opinion may be due to hearing and reading the English version.
But the cinematography and lighting are pedestrian. The costuming is another problem - the lead actor looks sufficiently conflicted and pained, but frequently looks lost in costumes or armor which look designed for a much larger person (John Wayne?), an unfortunately comical effect. It may be authentic, but it was a mistake. Some headgear bring to mind Jackie Chan's seal cap in "First Strike".
And everything seems too clean - the clothes, the huts, everything. Spotless. It may just be my ignorance of ancient Mongol cleanliness, though. Or propaganda. You decide.
As for the music, the score doesn't fit at all; it is decidedly Western in tone, and at times *really* Western - I mean *cowboy* Western. It's quite a strange mix.
In conclusion, I learned something from this movie - or, rather, from trying to verify how much of it was true - and was quite skeptical of the overall picture. It's probably as "historical" as "Kingdom of Heaven" or "JFK" or "Harold and Kumar" - and by that I mean: not too much. I give it two stars for sheer earnestness. It will be interesting to compare this to the upcoming "Mongol"."