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Curse Of The Golden Flower (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A

Chow Yun Fat (Actor) | Gong Li (Actor) | Jay Chou (Actor) | Liu Ye (Actor)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.5 out of 10 (13)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Curse of the Golden Flower is probably the most talked-about Chinese film of 2006. International star Chow Yun Fat returns to Chinese cinema to team up with Gong Li in a film directed by the famed Zhang Yimou, who continues in the period epic genre after Hero and House of Flying Daggers. In addition to these three big names, the film also features acclaimed Mainland actor Liu Ye and Taiwanese top singer Jay Chou in his first costume role. The extravagant palace and the omnipresent chrysanthemums give the film its dazzling colors, creating an unprecedented visual sumptuousness that is beyond astounding.

Turning Cao Yu's famous play Thunder Storm into an epic film, Curse of the Golden Flower details a complicated dispute that encompasses both familial and political dimensions. Patriarchal Emperor Ping (Chow Yun Fat) summons his second son, Prince Jie (Jay Chou), to return to the palace after his tour of duty defending the border. Meanwhile, Prince Xiang (Liu Ye) wants to hide his incestuous affair with his step-mother, Empress Phoenix (Gong Li). Spectacularly beautiful from the outside, the royal family is actually falling apart within the golden confines of the palace. The calculating Emperor Ping wants to slowly kill the Empress with help from the Imperial Physician (Ni Dahong) and his daughter (Li Man), but Phoenix is also trying to ally with Prince Jie to start a coup...

The film demonstrates how the hunger for power eventually distorts human nature and leads to shocking brutality. Filled with jaw-dropping fighting scenes and beautifully designed costumes and settings, Curse of the Golden Flower exhibits the full potential of the genre's aesthetics. Zhang Yimou uses the most exorbitant visual elements to narrate a thrilling story, in which the brightest colors come into contrast with the darkest acts that human beings are capable of.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Curse Of The Golden Flower (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 滿城盡帶黃金甲 (Blu-ray) (香港版) 满城尽带黄金甲 (Blu-ray) (香港版) 王妃の紋章 (満城盡帯黄金甲) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Curse Of The Golden Flower (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Chow Yun Fat (Actor) | Gong Li (Actor) | Jay Chou (Actor) | Liu Ye (Actor) | Chen Jin (Actor) | Li Man (Actor) | Yee Chung Man | Shigeru Umebayashi | Zhao Xiao Ding | Huo Tingxiao 周潤發 (Actor) | 鞏 俐 (Actor) | 周 杰倫 (Actor) | 劉燁 (Actor) | 陳瑾 (Actor) | 李曼 (Actor) | 奚仲文 | 梅林茂 | 趙小丁 | 霍廷霄 周润发 (Actor) | 巩 俐 (Actor) | 周 杰伦 (Actor) | 刘烨 (Actor) | 陈瑾 (Actor) | 李曼 (Actor) | 奚仲文 | Shigeru Umebayashi | 赵小丁 | 霍廷霄 周潤發 (チョウ・ユンファ) (Actor) | 鞏俐(コン・リー) (Actor) | 周杰倫 (ジェイ・チョウ) (Actor) | 劉燁 (リウ・イエ)  (Actor) | Chen Jin (Actor) | 李曼(リー・マン) (Actor) | Yee Chung Man | 梅林茂 (オフィシャル・ウェブサイト) | 趙小丁(チャオ・シャオティン) | Huo Tingxiao 주윤발 (Actor) | 공리 (Actor) | Jay Chou (Actor) | Liu Ye (Actor) | Chen Jin (Actor) | Li Man (Actor) | Yee Chung Man | Shigeru Umebayashi | Zhao Xiao Ding | Huo Tingxiao
Director: Zhang Yimou 張藝謀 张艺谋 張藝謀(チャン・イーモウ) 장이모우
Action Director: Ching Siu Tung 程小東 程小东 程小東 (チン・シウトン) 정소동
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2011-04-21
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1, 2.40 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby TrueHD
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Rating: IIB
Duration: 114 (mins)
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1024323729

Product Information

Director: Zhang Yi Mou

China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century. At the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill up the Imperial Palace. The EMPEROR returns unexpectedly with his second son, PRINCE JAI. His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing EMPERESS, this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and CROWN PRINCE WAN, her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love CHAN, the Imperial Doctor's daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress's health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path?
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Curse Of The Golden Flower (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

February 2, 2007

This professional review refers to Curse Of The Golden Flower (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
In his collaborations with producer Bill Kong, Zhang Yimou has had opportunity to indulge his more theatrical, or to be more specific, operatic side. In their two previous productions this exuberance has largely been shown through the expressionistic martial arts and the choice of big themes of national sacrifice and romantic love. In Curse of the Golden Flower, this scale is expressed more operatically through the internecine conflicts of the Emperor's family and the setting and ceremonies of the opulent Tang dynasty palace. Emphasis is given to character's interior worlds and the power of the emotions that their apparent luxury obscures. Thematically, it is a film that is more in keeping with Zhang's earlier works like Raise the Red Lantern and Shanghai Triad, films which concentrated on oppression and which articulated the particular nature of that oppression against women. Like these films, Curse of the Golden Flower stars Gong Li and unites her abilities as a compelling actress with Zhang's eye and sensitivity as a director. The early films were the movies of a man in love with an artist and Zhang's penchant for beautiful cinematography was balanced by a wholly satisfying dramatic centre. Some have argued that Zhang's films since his split with his long-term lover, Gong, have been hollow and superficial - movies in search of a human core. Indeed, Gong Li reportedly told Zhang after his recent epics that his work had gone back to being mere cinematography.

Gong's concerns must have been resolved when she was offered the lead role in this film as she is present in a movie which could find itself open to the very criticism she had made. The film is as opulent an eye candy as you will ever see. Where in Hero and House of Flying Daggers the aesthetic was one designed to beautify the concepts of nobility and sacrifice, here the visuals are the wrapping paper of corruption. The beautiful cinematography and set design are in deliberate contrast to the affairs of the heart that the film concentrates upon, the sins and betrayals of the Emperor and his family. These sins are forced on all because of the iniquities that the Emperor's absolute power is based upon, and the film plays not unlike a Shakespearean tragedy of regal downfall. This interest in the inevitable corruption of power was hinted at in Hero where the King of Qin's necessary absolute power became a kind of curse - witness the Greek chorus of court officials pleading dogmatically "execute him".

In this film, Chow Yun-Fat's conniving evil emperor lives with complete control and a toxic loneliness because of it. Chow rules his family much as he would his army: he demands the Empress takes "medicine" every two hours in order to cure her rebelliousness and he spies on his three sons to anticipate any challenges. In his dictator's eyes, rebellion is everywhere and criticism is treachery; in essence his power exists to ensure he is in control and his control ensures that his power is beyond question. Those who help him are either in the shadows, such as his army of ninja-like assassins, or they live for their usefulness and die if their knowledge becomes a threat to him. For what is a huge role, I feel that Chow does rather play it small and seeks to exude a smug unflustered evil that knows it can't be beaten. As an actor, he is robbed of his prime asset of charm and he rather cedes the limelight to Gong Li. I can't help feeling that he is miscast and not helped by direction that leads him to minimalism in a film which cries out for a performance.

With the attention given over to her, the main joy of this film is watching Gong Li work and revisiting Zhang's complete adoration of her. Gong's acting has always had great range and this has been well illustrated with Zhang's films - her determined peasant wife in Story of Qiu Ju, her doomed performer in Shanghai Triad, and the complicated fourth wife in Raise the Red Lantern. In Curse of the Golden Flower, she plays a victim of the Emperor's fickle attentions who finds herself in a fight for her life as he wishes to crush her individuality. She discovers many of his secrets and hopes to replace his patriarchy with a kinder juster authority. Gong manages a kind of pathetic grace and broken intensity and our compassion for her means that we get lost in her terrible fate regardless of any responsibility she may have for it. She comes to represent the feminine which is held in check by the Emperor's masculine mendacity. Gong is, of course, terrific although she is a little let down by the operatic twists and turns that she brings to light and the film's excess of design comes to mirror the lack of subtlety in plotting. This may be an editing down issue as some of the continuity and pacing hurts the final act of the film which is often over the top in its developments, or lacking a smoothness of momentum. I suspect a director's cut may come later which will deepen some of this exposition much as occurred with Hero.

My main criticism of the film is that its central tension of opulence and depravity undermines what is, after all, a glossy blockbuster. The movie is supposed to be an example of how absolute power corrupts and how the masculine seeks to destroy the feminine, but the film itself seems seduced by its own grandeur and loses its moral bearings and sensitivity at times. It is almost as if Zhang knew he needed to replicate the wuxia epics of before and then got lost in a different enterprise more like the great films he previously made with Gong. I feel that Zhang was attempting to fuse the two strands of his work and realised along the way - perhaps in the editing suite - what his more recent audience would prefer. I am tempted to say that Gong's criticism of Zhang's recent work is one that he has listened too much to and I am entirely happy that Zhang continues to make big epic films without the artistic credibility of his neo-realist pieces, and when this film sits squarely in the role of a blockbuster it is terrific. Ching Siu-Tung's action choreography is even better here than before as the fights enter a level of bloodiness that is his forte, Shigeru Umebayashi's score is both stately and thrilling, and the set design and photography is without compare. Some will despair at the excessive use of CGI in the final battle, and the Matrix-style slowmo does need a rest, but the operatic brilliance of this film is hard to resist. More recent fans of his work will bemoan the excess of artistic intention here, and those criticising Yimou for superficiality will find more evidence of decline as well. For me, an unashamed believer in Zhang's whole back catalogue, Curse of the Golden Flower is fabulous entertainment that reminds the world of Gong Li's brilliance. The film would be more successful if Zhang chose to follow the Del Toro example of keeping his blockbusters and personal pieces separate because he should be confident there is more than enough in either strands of his work to enjoy. Flawed, compromised yet brilliant - if you can't enjoy Zhang's latest work then I fear for you.

DVD
Edko release Curse of the Golden Flower in two editions, and the disc on review here is the normal sell-through edition that is available from Hong Kong. The disc box comes with a dust sleeve with slightly different poster art to the box and the single disc edition features the film presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is sharp and very clean with high levels of contrast and saturation. This suits the look of the film well and the impossibly vivid look contrasts well with some of the brutality of battle.

I watched the film on my projector and I was very happy with the quality of the image which easily exceeds Edko's shoddy work on House of the Flying Daggers; the only improvement I could imagine would be greater definition, and I imagine that this film may be a thing of wonder on HD. The main feature comes with three surround options, two of which are in the original language. All of the surround tracks are well created in terms of ambient sound and balance between the rear and front speakers. The Cantonese 5.1 track is not the most convincing dub in terms of synching with lip movements and lacks the impact of the other tracks for this reason, and for a relative dullness in the music and effects. The two Mandarin tracks are more impressive and use the dramatic score and plentiful fight effects brilliantly but both don't always follow the dialogue in terms of spatial representation which is not a huge problem as nearly all dialogue is on screen rather than from behind the viewer. Both tracks are powerful, but the DTS track is immense in the battle sequences and succeeds in immersing the audience in the blood and thunder whilst keeping the excellent bass from overpowering the character's words.

Extras
Extras wise this single disc edition is a little light with perfunctory trailers, photo gallery and filmographies. The main extra of interest is the documentary "Secrets Within" which has clearly been made for the US market and consequently is aimed at people whose knowledge of cast and crew may be a passing one and consequently comes over as promotional fluff regardless of Zhang Yimou and cast's comments about the intent behind the film. Chow Yun-Fat comes over as genuinely pleased to be there and even drops hints about fancying Gong Li and the raspy American voiceover tells the viewer what to think during the 20 minutes or so of this featurette. Adequate English subtitles can be chosen for the interviews during this piece which are in Mandarin, but they also appear during the interviews which are in English. The filmographies are disturbingly brief and give equal space to the acting credentials of Gong Li and Jay Chou and any biography is in Chinese.

Overall
Great entertainment that should be allowed to be just that, but a film which is not as successful as Zhang's previous wuxia let alone the transcendent Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. This disc is a fine budget way to pick the film up before R2 and R1 versions appear later in the year. Not a triumph but still a cause for joy.

by John White - DVD Times

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This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Curse Of The Golden Flower (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.5 out of 10 (13)

jasmine
See all my reviews


April 13, 2009

This customer review refers to Curse Of The Golden Flower (Hong Kong Version)
Too much of everything Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
Given the promo & trailers, I did not hesitate to the cinema once it was on. Just as he tried with House of Flying Daggers (who's outdoor scenery was breathtaking), this time around they were opulent costumes (reminds me of Lee Han Hsiang's trademark for period epic for all those Shaw Brothers' movies) and brilliant colours. Unfortunately, though, as many reviewers have spotted the same shortcomings, ladies of that era do not wear such revealing costumes, those 'fake fingernails' were not in fashion (except during Manchu rule) and stunts were overdone (especially when the ninjas came off the mountain on the ropes and I "keep walking down that same corridor" with those specially designed pillars.

Hats off to Chow Yun Fatt who put in a very good effort of speaking putonghua (mandarin) without a cantonese accent (compared to Jay Chou) and Gong Li was reduced to struggling with her bosom for a better performance. Poor girl. Had Zhang not overdone with these, we might find it a little more bearing as the story is really quite compelling and sad.
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Rhoda
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August 8, 2007

This customer review refers to Curse Of The Golden Flower (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Wow Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This film is really amazing. Deserves to reap all the awards they got. The costume and the acting is really something. I also like the sotry... no boring action. Jay Chou .... you rock. Real different from his Initial D role. Great actor, great singer. This movie you should make sure you get a copy.
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KiraChi
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April 30, 2007

This customer review refers to Curse Of The Golden Flower (Limited Collector's DVD Boxset) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Beautiful! Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9 out of 10
For a start this boxset is worth every penny! It's stunning.

The movie itself is another beautiful film from Zhang Yimou. His films seem mainly based on stunning visuals followed by breath taking fight scenes then plot.
The plot of this film is quite thin, like his other films, but it's also very different to anything he's done before as the main focus is on drama not action.

The lament of Empress Phoenix, trapped in a world of a royal court were things must be done in such away that it leaves her very life in danger is compelling to watch.

If you enjoyed Zhang Yimou other's film and know not to expect too much action you will love this movie.
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Phoenix Lin
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April 11, 2007

This customer review refers to Curse of the Golden Flower (US Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Predictable entertainment Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
You basically know the whole story as well as outcome simply by reading the cover or insert for the movie, but I was unprepared for the spectacular show of opulance. That distractor is probably what made the story not so obvious. There were some eyebrow raising sequences of swordplay but mainly it was the magnitude of the bloodshed that is meant to shock...and it delivers. Unfortunately, by this time, both Gong Li & Chow Yun-Fat are over-rated.
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shine
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April 5, 2007

This customer review refers to Curse Of The Golden Flower (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

A very colorful film. Customer Review Rated Bad 4 - 4 out of 10
This movie, i think it's not worth it to buy. I recommend to rent it first at any video store before purchasing. The only thing i like about this film is that the director did a great job filming, a lot of colors and beautiful scenes. The storyline itself is simple. It just a big family problem that the king have and they each reveal their secret as the movies rolls on. Not many action scenes.
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