Anna and the King (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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Academy Award winner Jodie Foster and international action star Chow Yun-Fat bring to life the epic true story of a woman who challenged the heart of a king and inspired the destiny of a nation. English school teacher Anna Leonowens has traveled to Siam to educate the fifty-eight children of King Mongkut. If she has preconceived notions about the East, the King has similar notions about the West. But amid the danger of growing political unrest, their respect for each other slowly turns into something more.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I have read very few reviews that point out just how much, unlike the previous other three versions - two of them "musicals" - available on DVD, this film version is at first unsympathetic, if not downright critical, of Anna's Imperialist and Colonial attitudes and opinions.
These were taken for granted and apparently supported, never questioned, by Rodgers and Hammerstein in their musical version - which, because of this, now appears somewhat "outdated". Since, in the musical, the composer and lyricist were not sensitive enough to the social and political implications of their approach, Anna's story is, to this day, still banned in Thailand...
In this version, King Mongkut fares a lot better and is treated with greater respect. A highly cultured and civilized monarch, he is understandably at a loss when "Hurricane Anna" first arrives at court! His is a far cry from Yul Brynner's broad interpretation, where he was portrayed as a "barbarian"; where Anna could do no wrong! This is a fresh, different, multicultural approach to a well-know, well-loved tale.
In this age of the Global Village and multiculturalism, all cultures deserve greater respect than they once received in the 19th century. Could this be one of the main points of this "remake": to set the record straight and hopefully correct the situation?
In spite of its flaws (well represented in other reviews), this film is well worth watching many times. Who knows? It might help us uncover and correct our own negative views as we relate to other peoples and cultures...
On a side note, Jodie Foster delivers a solid performance like always. All the acting is good in this one, even by the child actors.
The movie evolves around three clear themes. First, the clash of cultures, which is enlightening and entertaining and as the movie evolves so does the acceptance and admiration each of the characters show for the positive points of the other's culture. Second, the relationship between Anna and the king, which starts as annoyance, moves to respect and continues developing from there. Third, the political atmosphere, which is characterized by attacks to Siamese people by Burmese armies, suspected to be supported by no other than the British Empire (the events unfold in 1862).
Although the movie is rather long, the events unfold at a pace that keeps the viewer interested at all times. The music fits the mood of the action perfectly well, and in the proper scenes it is so uplifting that it steals the attention of the viewer. Jodie Foster delivers a well-rounded role, but in my opinion the performance of Chow Yun-Fat is at a higher level.Read more ›
The film itself is done with tremendous diligence -- the costumes, the scenery are fabulous. More importantly, the script is good -- the story itself is a good story. Some films have a really deepening story so that the characters and events are well understood and interconnected, and this is one of those. But the language is also beautiful. It's full of good lines. I think above all, it is Chow Yun-Fat's acting which makes the film -- his humanity, his depth and his nobility. I'm also astounded by the acting of the woman who plays Tuptim... And Jodie Foster fully holds up her end as well.
However, I can see many reasons why people would avoid it. The most important of these is that it's banned in Thailand. The Thai people regard it as an very Westernized take on the sotry. King Mongkut was in fact an old man at the time this happened, and not the charming young Chow Yun-Fat. There's apparently no evidence from King Mongkut's private diaries that he had anything like the feelings expressed in this film. I can easily believe this is true. The film is fiction. At the very least, I doubt very much that Mongkut's heroic stand on the bridge happened like it's portrayed in the film.
But I also can't buy that the film comes across as putting down Eastern culture. Unlike in "The King and I" (of which it is by no means a simple remake) where Anna clearly has the upper hand, this is an even match. She has as much to learn from him as he from her. England has as much to learn from Thailand as the other way around.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoy Anna and the King very much and I will see it againPublished 10 days ago by Barbara Bissett
The movie was very brilliant. The actors did an excellent job. The scenery was great along with all the animals and humanity. I loved the telling of story was captivating.Published 8 months ago by suzanne burgess
I will view it over and over. Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat are wonderful together.Published 14 months ago by M. Marsan
It is greatly appreciated to view this movie on DVD as we had it on VHS only...one that we enjoy watching from time to time.Published on Dec 2 2013 by Kanden
I had seen the movie before, but it was one I knew I would want to watch many times. The movie arrived quickly and in excellent condition.Published on July 31 2013 by D. E. Kaye
wonderful movies and history telling in such a way that you are glue to television to see how the people had to live and fight for the freedom..... Read morePublished on July 19 2013 by Prague Castle
Le film Anna and the King a été reçu en bon état et conforme à l'annonce du vendeur. Le DVD fonctionne très bien.Published on May 7 2013 by Daniel Mérineau
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