Han Han: Watching Confucius
On chinaSMACK, Charles Custer translates Han Han’s review of the epic Confucius:
Forgetting about all the political factors and watching the movie just as a film, it is a losing film. What the film is preaching doesn’t leave any influence at all. When Confucius was on the screen talking about “rites” and “benevolence”, some guy to my side was having a ten-minute-long phone conversation. The war scenes in the film are like child’s play. The country of Lu cannot protect itself, but Confucius’s few disciples can drive back the enemy just by building a road block and firing arrows into the sky? Moreover, in the film, the dialogue between characters is not at all persuasive. It’s just like when you were small and your parents told you, “today’s work must be finished today”, but their words ultimately could not convince you. It is no longer an era where a “master” can say a few more lines and attract/trick people. From the movie, I found it very difficult to understand why Confucius’s team of workers continually followed him. In moments when the film was playing up the personalities of the characters, I had to endure ten minutes of the disciples continually yielding a bowl of horsemeat soup [to each other] to demonstrate their cohesiveness. [I had to endure] because I had already endured the story of Confucius’s disciple [of a later generation] Kong Rong giving up pears to his elders throughout my entire childhood.
… I want to say that the movie Confucius, whether it is from the perspective of cinematographic meaning, business profits, artistic merit, what it explores, its educational qualities, its historical accuracy, its entertainment value, its emotional resonance, etc., is completely unnecessary. It is a film that could be completely done without.