Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I Need a Hero

I bought a DVD copy of Hero at Comic-Con International, and finally watched it this weekend (I figured the point of buying a Hong Kong DVD is to watch a movie before I can watch it in the theater, so I might as well take advantage of it on opening weekend). That's a convoluted way of saying "I watched Hero, so now you're going to read my opinion on it."

My initial reaction is to compare it to Crouching Tiger, but they are two different films, so the comparison is unfair. Hero is beautifully shot and centers around a basic Confucian premise: the notion of filial piety to build a strong country. An interesting note, in the version I watched, the "country" was translated as "All Under Heaven;" in the version in theaters, it is translated as "Our Land."

Confucian philosophy is based on the premise of strong people building strong families, strong families building strong communities, and strong communities building strong nations. But the leader of the nation is to be respected and revered (heirarchy is very important in Confucian philosophy), and not to be questioned something I find slightly unsettling. Hero deals with the concept of leadership and the importance of the structure of the nation, and does so rather well - Liz didn't care for the ending, although upon further reflection, I think it fits. I had the same reaction I do to most Confucian philosophy - that is to say, I find its faith in its leadership runs contrary to my core beliefs that no one should ever be above being questioned - but is still worth watching, especially if you're interested in Eastern philosophy.

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