Anna And The King

"Good"

Anna And The King Review


Anna and the King of Rock and Roll...

My theory is that every generation needs their own version of the film The King and I. Namely a new king. My grandparents had Rex Harrison, my parents had Yul Brynner, and now my generation has Chow Yun-Fat. Hold the phone right there, mister. Chow Yun-Fat... isn't he that the guy from those crazy, violent, Hong Kong action movies by John Woo? Fear not, kind reader, for Chow Yun-Fat commands the role made famous for all these years and gives both Harrison and Brynner a run for their money.

When I watch Chow Yun-Fat, one person comes to mind: Steve McQueen. Watching Chow move across the screen and establish his presence strongly echoes the attitude and the acting style of McQueen. Upon the viewer's first impression of the king of Siam, Chow is the complete image of royalty in Eastern Asia. His curt, rigid mannerisms and omnipotent status as king are delivered strongly with simple, direct looks. This attitude clearly draws the line between the customs of the East and West. As the film progresses, I watched Chow evolve from this distant, commanding presence to an emotional, tangible creature that, with an honest glance, can covey passionate love for his family and for his country.

The chemistry between the King and Anna is made concrete by Jodie Foster's amazing acting abilities. She encompasses fully the role of a Victorian lady born and bred in England. Her staunch avocation towards defending her actions and securing proper respect from the King is fueled by the directness of Foster's character. Foster projects a silent understanding of the King's actions towards his family and strives to communicate with him on an equal level. She brings to the role a hidden sorrow that is shared by the King, and this sorrow lets them draw closer to one another. Her reservations towards temptation are laid bare and Chow supplements the situations with his own reservations towards love for another person.

The main issue with films that deal with an epic theme -- one that requires grandiose set constructions, hundreds upon thousands of extras, an amazing selection of costumes and jewelry, and exotic locations -- is that it can all fail with the wrong director behind the camera. With all the amazing acting achieved by Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster and complex character development they pull off so well in the film, Anna and the King has the wrong director for the job. This is where my main criticism for the film lies.

Andy Tennant, director of such hits as Fools Rush In(that crazy Salma Hayek comedy) and Ever After, must have gotten his directing credentials out of a Crackerjack box. The emotional impact of many intimate scenes between Chow and Foster were lacking one thing: Intimacy. Tennant never draws close to the character's faces and I felt distant and removed from most of the scenes. The acting of Chow and Foster held strong conviction for me, but the inclusion of these images would have left a greater impression. Tennant also lets the actors move within the scene without letting the camera move with them, but this only instills greater remoteness towards the audience.

Another main fault is the film's script. I'm not to sure that this subject matter should have been handed over to two guys, Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes, whose last film was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I could just see the first treatments of the film: "Kirk to Spock, put the phasers on stun because the King of Siam needs our help to rid his country of imperialist forces uniting against him in a deadly trade war". "Dammnit Jim, I'm a doctor not a political advisor!"

This "political struggle" of Chow's King Mongkut between British imperialism and the internal power struggles of his kingdom adds only a distraction to the film's main focus of the unrequited love people can hold for one another. When it attempts to give partial validation to the love of the King and Anna by their uniting to overcome this "power struggle," the film becomes trite and reaches resolution without fanfare or emotional involvement from the audience.

Overall, the film is commendable for the acting of Chow and Foster and the impressive set and costume designs of the film. Anna and the King should also provide Chow Yun-Fat the ability to finally move into a stronger category of American actors and achieve the fame he has held for so long in the East. Would that it did more for the audience.

Hail to the King.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 148 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th December 1999

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Fox 2000 Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 49

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Anna Leonowens, as König Mongkut, as Tuptim, as Louis Leonowens, as The Kralahome, Prime Minister, as General Alak, Kay Siu Lim as Prince Chowfa, King Mongkut's Brother, Melissa Campbell as Princess Fa-Ying, as Prince Chulalongkorn, Mano Maniam as Moonshee, Leonowens' Indian Servant, Shanthini Venugopal as Beebe, Leonowens' Indian Servant, Deanna Yusoff as Lady Thiang, Head Wife, Ann Firbank as Lady Bradley, as Lord John Bradley

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.