19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm shocked by some of the reviews here, but not necessarily surprised - The average filmgoer/dvdwatcher has the attention span of a small child on crack & the intellectual curiosity of those small dustbunnies that collect under old furniture. Still, I expect more from you people.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film - & yes, I wasn't actually expecting to. In fact I bought it more than a month ago & kept making up excuses not to watch it. Imagine my surprise when I found myself intrigued by some of the relationships in the film. Tao's boyfriend who mysteriously returns at the beginning of the film then disappears for the duration. Or her strange relationship with the Russian woman Anna. Even more interesting was the relationship between Niu & Xiaowei - why did they end up getting married considering Niu's jealous behavior (he set himself on fire for godssake)? Who knows, but these details make for a supremely fascinating character study IMHO. Like real life, this film demonstrates that our relationships can be extremely complex & often unpredictable. We make friends with the most unlikely people in the bizarrest of situations - maybe we're lonely or just sense something of ourselves in them. We get involved with people we know will hurt us (over & over again). We often feel like we can't fully understand the person we're with & their motives...
Of course, The World's relationship angle is also used in a much broader sense: the employees of Beijing's amusement park & their relationship with China & in turn, China's relationship to the rest of the world. It seems to me that as China becomes more capitalistic this movie will gain in popularity with people who wish to understand these people better. Like most of us, they don't quite know where they fit in the world & although they work in a park that offers a scaled-down glimpse of the world outside Beijing, most of them will never get to see that world first hand.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
giving this 2 STARS on AVERAGE????? Perhaps you should spend more time at 25 theater GOO-GOO PLEX watchin a Michael Bay Marathon or something. GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER!!! GO SEE SOME REAL CINEMA!!!! THINK FOR A CHANGE!!!
For those who felt this deserved 2 stars or less I recommend the following: Cache, Raise The Red Lantern, Yi yi, anything by Kurosawa. oh sorry.. these aren't playing along with all the Adam Sandler films you wanted to see next to the Cold Stone Creamery and the ruby Tuesday you wanted to visit afterward???
WELL TOUGH!!!! you need a friggin education..
review below.. read it ... you might learn something.
How can you truly show disconnection. I think I have truly seen a master in action with Shijie, a film that takes place in a world theme park (this place does really exist) in China.
Zhang Ke Jia is a masterful director. His use of colour and character direction is unreal. One of the things he uses to great effect are arches and hallways. Characters appear in them, or look out of them in what is some of the most visual photography I have ever witnessed. There is also a great conversation scene between two characters who don't share the same language, and the use of reflected light that is truly remarkable, make sure to watch for this scene. But it doesn't end there.
Zhang also does something so miraculous that I thought would be impossible. He borrows heavily from Ozu, particularly a scene that is reminiscent of Tokyo Story and makes something that is uniquely his own.
The basic synopsis of "The World", is of the lives of the workers in the theme park. Some romances develop, a foreign Russian worker Anna is introduced to the group even though she and another Chinese girl Tao don't share the same language. Everyday trials and tribulations happen for these young adults who are trying to work in the 'New China'.
Somehow though with all the issues involved, rural people coming into the cities, technological communication, the erosion of China's agrarian past, the fakeness of place, the exploitation of workers and lead up to prostitution, the camaraderie of friends, the cheapness of life.. somehow all of these themes are jumbled into a glorious presentation that you can't take your eyes off of.
The film is beyond surreal, its real setting makes it all more spectacular and that more effective. I had a hard time separating the actors from the characters, at times I thought I was watching a documentary and I prayed or hoped for someone to do well and be happy and find themselves thinking that these were real people in harsh sometimes difficult situations. "The World" has this effect on you, you can't begin to believe the beauty and harshness it shows, and it tricks you in the most crafty way.
The World is a truly fantastic small place in more ways than one...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The World is aptly named; it's set in Beijing's World Park--a real theme park in China's capital, complete with miniature versions of landmark buildings and monuments from all over the world including, in this film, the often-mentioned Eiffel Tower, as well as the pyramids of Egypt, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Moscow's Red Square, the Taj Mahal, and so on.
The director, Zhang Ke Jia, focuses on a number of younger people (in their 20s) who work at World Park, interleaving their lives with each other to ultimately present a vision of 21st century urban China. This has a markedly different feel and tone from his earlier Unknown Pleasures, set in a rural provincial area, and from my point of view, is all the better for that change of setting.
The underlying thematic feel of the film is the inevitability of ephemeral relationships given not so much the availability of current technologies like the cell phone, but more so the reliance on them and, maybe most importantly, the enormous degree to which people's psychologies have been changed by these technologies. In fact, this short-lived nature of relationships, indicates Zhang, is inextricably enmeshed in the existence of World Park itself. People want to see and hear the world, all of the world, as quickly as possible, and World Park gives them that opportunity, even if in a fake kind of way--just like cell phones give people the opportunity to connect to anyone anywhere at any time, just as the Internet itself does.
But it's this instant "connectability" that also fosters relationships that cannot last. Tao, the female lead and a dancer at the World Park, has a strong emotional connection with her boyfriend Taisheng, a security guard in the same place. But he cannot commit; he cheats on her; she finds out. Meanwhile, another relationship is characterized by a boyfriend who always wants to know where his girlfriend has been, always asking her the same question--as if desperately trying to reverse this instant "everywhere at once" psychology that current technologies--and World Park itself--perpetuates.
This is a truly intriguing film, because it probes more deeply than a lot of other films have managed to do the nature of how globalization has effected a paradigm shift in how we think about our relationships with others, how we see ourselves--or maybe don't see ourselves too well at all--in the context of the world, and how we cope with those around us who have, just like us, changed--likely in the same way we have.
Highly recommended. A real find and worthy of the high praise it's received from a number of critics.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
You can get the blu-ray for 20 dollars including postage from amazon's uk site.
The DVD lists 143 minutes, so this is the longer international version. The WOrld Park is set outside Beijing, not Hong Kong, as one reviewer wrongly maintains. This is from the film's press kit: World Park
--provided by the Beijing Foreign Affairs Office
Located in the Fengtai district of Beijing, 16 kilometres from the city, World Park features 106 of the most famous sites from 14 countries and regions the world over. The park, encompassing 46.7 hectares (115.4 acres), consists of two parts : the scenic area in miniature displayed according to the position of its country on the map, and a shopping, dining and entertainment area. The entertainment area is situated in an international folkloric village characterized by buildings in the American and European styles. Tourists can take an electric train and a motorboat through the park to simulate a trip around the world.
The park includes most of the recognized spots of interest on the globe. Among these is the Wooden Pagoda in China's Ying County, the world's oldest and best preserved wooden pagoda; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Eiffel Tower of Paris. China's Qingyingjing Park, Japan's Katsura Imperial Villa, and an Old Style US garden are grouped together to represent the splendor of the world's different gardening styles and in recognition of the many distinctive forms which landscape gardening has taken in China.
Great efforts were made to build the structures out of the same materials as the real ones. Marble and granite surfaces, together with copper and gilded sculptures, help produce a realistic effect. For instance, the Great Pyramid is made of 200,000 white marble bricks, each as large as a bar of soap. Moscow's Red Square is paved with over 5 million red bricks, each smaller than a mahjong tile. Lawns in the park are dotted with 100 well-known sculptures, among them the Statue of Liberty, Copenhagen's Little Mermaid, Michelangelo's David and the Venus de Milo.
The park also has a fountain operated by laser beams, a plant maze and a fairyland in which children and adults alike can enjoy themselves. Regular international folklore parades are planned to provide tourists with a chance to view folk customs from different countries.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This film starts out with a great deal of gusto - unfortunately, too many underdeveloped characters are introduced into the story which makes it progressively slower and less interesting.
The plot involves young people drawn to Beijing for work in various industries, but most of the action takes place at an amusement park with replicas of famous places around the world- The Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Manhattan, Egyptian Pyramids, Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc. As we get deeper into the lives of the characters, we find they are not happy with their work situations in Beijing. No doubt they feel trapped in low-wage jobs that leave them unfulfilled and yearning for something more. Their personal lives are not going that great either- with cheating boyfriends & girlfriends, separations from children and spouses, problems with siblings, etc. I think "The World" is suffocated by the overwhelming sadness that touches the lives of the characters and the birth of 21st century Beijing. This film even has you feeling a deep sorrow for the camel who is used as a live prop for the Egyptian Pyramid display. There he stands, alone in his boredom, tethered to a boulder in a barren landscape for the amusement of paying guests. The end of the story is nothing short of perplexing. Watch this film, but be forewarned: this is no merry romp through an amusement park.