Empire Of The Sun

"Excellent"

Empire Of The Sun Review


1941 notwithstanding (and we're all still trying to forget it), Empire of the Sun was Steven Spielberg's first big trip to World War II. For Spielberg, it was an unlikely way to go about it -- examining the British viewpoint of the Japanese incursion into China.

Christian Bale stars as Jim, a British kid born in Shanghai, the son of upper crust expatriates who feel the rising tide of Japanese-Chinese aggression will never reach there strata. Of course it does, and as the Japanese overtake Shanghai, Jim's family is torn asunder, scattering in the chaos. But eventually, like Ben-Hur, Jim returns home to discover his house in ruins and his loved ones gone, so he does the only thing he can think of -- surrender to the Japanese. Only the Japanese don't even want the worthless kid, until finally, after hooking up with a seedy scam artist named Basie (John Malkovich) and his flunkie (Joe Pantoliano), does he manage to get himself arrested and thrown into an internment camp where at least there is the promise of a daily potato and some gruel.

Spielberg was still early on in his Very Serious Movie phase back in 1987, so the film can get a little heavy-handed at times. There's an awful lot of staring at sunsets, watching planes fly overhead, and operatic singing courtesy of Bale's prepubescent rugrat. But looking beyond Spielberg's self-indulgence (the movie clocks in at over two and a half hours), Empire of the Sun is a gem about a kid trying to find his way all by his lonesome. The aristocrat is cut down, and we truly get a sense of what it's like for a child to learn about life outside of the familiar family world.

Side 2 of the new DVD release features the short film The China Odyssey: Empire of the Sun, a Film by Steven Spielberg, with Martin Sheen narrating the 48-minute story of the making of the film.



Empire Of The Sun

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 153 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th December 1987

Budget: $38M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Amblin Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Jim 'Jamie' Graham, as Basie, as Mrs. Victor, as Dr. Rawlins, as Dainty, as Frank Demarest, as Maxton, Masatō Ibu as Sgt. Nagata, Emily Richard as Mary Graham, Jim's mother, Rupert Frazer as John Graham, Jim's father, Peter Galea as Mr. Victor, Takatarô Kataoka as Kamikaze Boy Pilot, as Tiptree, Ralph Seymour as Cohen, as Mr. Lockwood, Zhai Nai She as Yang, Guts Ishimatsu as Sgt. Uchida, Emma Piper as Amy Matthews, James Walker as Mr. Radik

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