Thursday, February 03, 2005

Horse of Frying Ladders

I wanted to have a whole post about House Of Flying Daggers.

Suffice it to say, it's my new favourite 'kung-fu' movie. There have been several good movies lately (Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Iron Monkey, etc) but this one is a step above all of the rest.

For one thing, it is one of the most visually arresting movies I've seen in ages. The detail on the costumes, the colours in every scene... They just pop off the screen. I'm very glad I saw this in the theatre as it just would not have been near as vibrant on my crappy TV.

The House Of Peonies set is worth it just for the extravagant set and costumes and that's just the first 10-15 minutes of the film! There's a part of that first set-piece that struck me as being a live-action version of the bath house in Spirited Away, only with less demons. The bamboo battle and the final summer to winter transition is amazing as well.

It also was a very cool movie to watch from an action perspective. Not only was it less floaty compared to many recent 'wire-fu' movies, it also had some really cool projectile-cam shots that were really cool. It was almost like a live-action anime in some scenes. The Echo Dance sequences were both stellar.

But on top of everything else from a technical standpoint, it was just an interesting movie to watch. The story wasn't terribly complex but there was a lot going on under the surface. Everything flowed from start to finish without having to derail the action for exposition, or vice versa.

All in all, it was like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon without the sudden train-wreck of a stop in the middle... Like Hero, but with more than 4 sets. I loved it.

No comments: