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DVD Reviews:  The Last Emperor

The Final Say!

Feature Score:

Reviewed by Yianni Pak
Distributed by:
Magna Pacific
Running Time: 162 Minutes

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 ride. 

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 fascinating individual. 

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 Features

  • None


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