The Banquet

2006

Action / Drama / Fantasy / Romance

49
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 6,558

Synopsis


Downloaded times
January 12, 2021

Director

Cast

Daniel Wu as Prince Wu Luan
Xiaoming Huang as General Yin Sun
Xun Zhou as Qing Nu
Ziyi Zhang as Empress Wan
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.18 GB
1280*720
Chinese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
131 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.42 GB
1920×1080
Chinese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
131 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mailonekms-imd 9 / 10 / 10

A beautiful yet disturbing art piece

Definitely worth catching on the BIG screen, this is an epic about court intrigue in the Five Dynasties period, which follows in part the Hamlet setup of a murderous uncle usurper (You Ge) and his duplicitous queen (Zhang Ziyi), with an angry yet distant, brooding prince (Daniel Wu). The details and setting are different enough so that the new story carries its own weight and is interesting, however. The acting is strong (some excellent), the martial arts scenes memorable, and the sets are fantastic! This is not a fully realistic historical drama, by the way. Director Xiaogang Feng has crafted a modern art piece here, highly stylized in some parts, and often gory, especially the martial arts scenes, so if you can't stomach people flying and leaping like phoenixes (while disemboweling each other), skip it. The highly artistic feel of the film is kept somewhat in check by the gritty, used, and sometimes decaying feel of the palace, and more so by the tight, sparse dialog, the drama and the tension of the story. (Although following in the footsteps of highly stylized films like some of Zhang Yimou's, the focus returns very firmly to the story in this one, thankfully.) Similarly, the stunning beauty of parts of the film is balanced by the unmitigated ambition of the characters and their other dark flaws. These left the story with no single, simplified protagonist to cheer for – the very opposite of Hollywood formula. (The supporting role played by Xun Zhou might be an exception, but she's the very image of innocence and purity to a fatal flaw, and you pity her more than rooting for her.) The raw ambition, incestuous lust, jealous hate, betrayal and/or impotence darken nearly every character. While refreshingly different in this sense, it almost left me reaching for my goblet of hemlock. The Chinese title Ye Yan should have been translated as The Night Banquet rather than The Banquet (its English billing where I am), as the climax occurs at a midnight banquet unwisely set by the emperor at an inauspicious time, and it would have better reflected the darkness of the film. Overall, I give it a big thumbs up.

Reviewed by tripxyde 8 / 10 / 10

More than just a Hamlet Adaptation

"The Banquet" is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" which, I believe, is Shakespeare's most powerful literary creation, and one which has been adapted (as I count) 5 times in the silver screen (my personal fave is the version with Mel Gibson; I have yet to watch the one with Ethan Hawke). This adaptation is so loose that oftentimes it feels like it has its own originality and only drew inspiration from "Hamlet". One of the original aspects of the film is that of the character played by Ziyi Zhang, which is a product of a revision of the original script. A revision which added quite a depth to the storyline. Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, Farewell My Concubine) was originally supposed to play Zhang Ziyi's part. Maggie Cheung (2046, Hero) was also considered for the role. Due to scheduling conflicts. When Ziyi Zhang took over the part, the script was rewritten to make the character younger. Her character is a former love interest of the Prince Wu Luan (the main character) but was later wed to the Prince's own father and eventually, to become the Empress to his uncle. Such a character has given a large amount of dramatic tension to the storyline and further complicates it, making the story more unpredictable even though it is an adaptation. It is such a wicked delight to see Ziyi Zhang play such a dark snake of a character in this movie, a character who claims a love which is actually of self rather than something pure. Since her breakthrough in "Crouching Tiger..." she has proved time and again that the potency of her talent doesn't easily wither, and in her youth she has already made great performances, more than enough to satisfy a cinema-acting retiree. Likewise, impressive performances from Daniel Wu as the Prince Wu Luan, (the alluring & yummy) Xun Zhou as the Opheliac Qing Nu, Jingwu Ma as the wise Minister, and You Ge who also deserves much praise for playing the Emperor Li, a character who defies being generalized as black & white; a character which is richly layered with many levels. THE BANQUET is mainly drama, You do not watch this film for the Martial Arts, even though Yuen Woo Ping has a hand in the making of this film as both producer and action choreographer (I would consider Yuen Woo Ping as the living god of Martial Arts movies, having directed timeless classics like "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" & "Drunken Master" until now, & was given international spotlight when he worked as Fight choreographer of "The Matrix" movies), but you watch this movie for its beautiful storyline. Although there are moments that induce awe in some of the fight sequences, these are expected to be minimal compared to the dialogue-driving motion of the film. It may even be observed that the martial arts here is a mere icing on the cake. Along with that icing is the amazing visuals that it presents. From flying stunts, to set designs to costumes. You can feast your eyes upon the visuals, which wakes up viewers from a possible boredom. It employs a semi-surreal style of setting. It seems that ever since it broke into worldwide popularity, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has opened the floodgates for Chinese dramatic epics which are done in "closed form" of movies, movies which such a forced unnatural ambiance that generally use wire-works to do fantastic martial arts feats and exaggerated vibrancy and style on sets which depict surreal environments (although this style was long used in Hong Kong, but mostly only for action epics). But this type of fantasy-like genre was getting old and it needed to be complemented with really good story lines. Such was achieved by Yimou Zhang's "Hero" (which starred Jet Li & Donnie Yen). This same surreal "closed form" style is employed by THE BANQUET. THE BANQUET is powerful, dramatically rich, and such a masterpiece of a work, as dark and beautiful as the Shakespearean tragedy from which it is based on.

Reviewed by wandering-star 8 / 10 / 10

Much more than just visually stunning!

Movies out of HK and China are increasingly rivaling or surpassing the best out of Hollywood in acting, cinematography, costuming and artistic vision. 'The Banquet' is a shining example. This is a loosely based interpretation of Hamlet adapted for the Tang dynasty period. In my opinion there is too much energy spent on this site debating whether it is a good adaptation of Hamlet, comparing it to other Hamlet films, etc. It is not a straight "remake" of Hamlet - it obviously takes inspiration from the play, and uses many of its elements, and that's it. So just sit back, watch it and judge it on its own merits. This is primarily a drama but it's sprinkled with great martial arts choreography a la Yuen Wo Ping. Many fight scenes follow the wu xia (fantasy kung fu) genre – just suspend your disbelief and enjoy the beautiful spectacle of it. A riveting moment comes when a one of the Emperor's mandarins (scholars who rule over the provinces) introduces Wan as "Dowager Empress", language that means Wan is the mother of an Emperor (Prince Wu Luan) and is a slap in the face to Li. Wan and Generals alike must decide where their allegiances lie. The acting is very good and I enjoyed Zhang Ziyi playing the lecherous Empress, You Ge playing a convincingly imperial Emperor and Xun Zhou as the naïve Qing in love with our 'Hamlet'. One of The Banquet's strong points is it is absolutely stunning visually, right from the first scene in a verdant and swaying bamboo forest that makes you wonder if such a beautiful place really exists. The costumes throughout are incredibly rich and detailed. It lags a little in the last half hour (maybe I was just tired) but to its credit does not run much longer than 2 hours. Highly recommended.

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