The Last Emperor, a film which
won a staggering 9 Academy Awards, traces the life story of Pu Yi, the
eponymous last emperor of China, who ascended the throne at the tender age of
three, a mere three years before China became a republic. After this
monumental event in Chinaís history, Pu Yi remained in the Forbidden City,
surrounded by eunuchs and still revered as emperor, whilst outside the walls
China changed into a new nation.
As the emperor matures, he
begins to question the traditions which the people surrounding him hold so
dear, and adopts a more modern and western outlook. This is due in part to his
tutor (played brilliantly by Peter OíToole), who exposes the impressionable Pu
Yi to English and American newspapers and culture.
Eventually Beijing is captured
by a warlord and the Emperor is expelled from the Forbidden City, to live
outside and re-evaluate his own existence, and the audience is taken along for
The Last Emperor is essentially
a bio-pic, and is definitely an interesting and human look into modern Chinese
history. The tale is told through a series of flashbacks as the Pu-Yi, now in
prison and accused of war crimes, regales the story to his captors when they
demand confessions. The film is well-acted and features some beautiful costume
design, and is undoubtedly worth a watch for itís candid look at the life of a
The video quality of this DVD is
not perfect. In some parts it is extremely grainy, and there is quite a lot of
dust evident. However, there is nothing bad enough to detract from the overall
viewing experience so people neednít be discouraged as the movie is still well
and truly watchable.
The audio is of fairly good
quality, with nothing that really stands out and needs to be complained about.
All dialogue is nice and clear, and special mention should be made of the
excellent score. The music really complements the film well, which is a very
good thing in a movie of this type.
Um, extra features. Well,
thereís a trailer. And scene selection. But doesnít EVERY DVD come with a
trailer and scene selection? Rather disappointing.
Overall, The Last Emperor is a
great movie. Itís just a bit of a shame that no-one could find the time to dig
up some decent extras. Worth watching for sure, but a few special features
would have been nice.
The Last Emperor