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The Four Feathers (2002)

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1/10: This director doesn't know...
Thursday, September 6, 2007

This director doesn't know what a square is for - SOME SPOILERS This movie should have had SO much going for it. A top rated if somewhat revisionistic director whose first big effort in the west, Elizabeth, certainly made me look up and take notice. A pair of strong male leads whose work in films like American Beauty and The Knights Tale certainly wasn't shabby. Superb production values. And some research certainly went into it as shown by the introduction which references Sir Henry Newbolt's famous poem of Victorian and Edwardian youth and manhood going into battle as if they were going to a football match.Then, as they say in the Victorian army, 'it all went 'orribly wrong'.SOME SPOILERS BELOW The history behind this director's chosen period - the first Gordon relief expedition - certainly has more than enough adventure and drama to it, particularly when one considers that not only does Newbolt immortalize it in Vitai...

4/10: Skip This Lackluster, Inaccurate Version...
Friday, March 20, 2009

Skip This Lackluster, Inaccurate Version and Watch the 1939 Rendition. British author A.W.E. Mason, sometimes referred to as the poor man's Rudyard Kipling, would rollover in his grave if he saw what a shambles Indian-born (as in India) director Shekhar Kapur of "Elizabeth" has made of his classic war novel about camaraderie, cowardice, and second chances. For the record, Hollywood produced "The Four Feathers" for the first time in 1915 and the second time in 1921. American director Merian C. Cooper of "King Kong" fame came along and made it the third time in 1929 with Fay Wray and Richard Arlen in 1929, and British director Zoltan Korda did the best known version in color in 1939, (the fourth time if you're counting) with Ralph Richardson. Weirdly enough, Korda remade "The Four Feathers" under a different title in 1955 called "Storm Over the Nile" with Anthony Steel, James Robertson Justice, Ian Carmichael, Ronald Lewis, Michael...

10/10: I demand the 3-hour...
Thursday, August 28, 2003

I demand the 3-hour original release! This film had so many things going for it, despite the odds. In the end, it was the odds that pulled it down. The film was well made, and though I wasn't too impressed with Elizabeth I think Shekhar Kapur did an admirable job under very pressurised situations (constantly visited by worried producers, directing a film whose script isn't finished yet, the rigours of the desert, as well as the daunting aspect of directing 1,000+ extras which few films nowadays have with the advent of CGI replicating). The cinematography was wonderful, seriously on par with The English Patient though in a different way - in its way. The score - what can I say about it except that I've almost worn out the score soundtrack CD by James Horner due to the unique Qawwali wailings combined with a heartbreaking and tender piano theme. Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson and Wes Bentley, all...

7/10: Slightly too studied in parts...
Friday, March 2, 2007

Slightly too studied in parts, but on the whole a worthwhile remake of A.E.W Mason's novel. The 1939 version of The Four Feathers remains one of the best movies ever made, even 70 years on from its release. It seems strange that this particular story should see cinematic light once again in 2002 – grand, colonial adventures of this kind don't seem to get made very often these days. Having said that, a director as innovative as Shekhar Kapur (of "Bandit Queen" and "Elizabeth") should ensure the film has the potential to approach its oft-told story from a few fresh angles. Kapur's slant on the story is visually breathtaking and has by far the most realistic battle sequences of any version made so far. But it also feels excessively studied and serious at times, with an occasionally unclear narrative and too many international actors trying (only partially successfully) to pull off upper class English...

2/10: Forget this version, see the...
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Forget this version, see the 1939 one instead This film had so much promise, the story is one full of romance, action, honor and so forth. The 1939 version is fabulous, just one problem, it isn't politically correct. However, the action is better and the story is more believable. In 2002, it seems near impossible to make an old fashioned adventure film about the British Army putting down whacked out religious fanatics in The Sudan in the 1800's. That isn't the whole story, to tell you more would give it away. Trust me on this one,the 1939 version is better-it does not have any political correctness to it. The battle scenes are great and for those who champion the little guy, the British Army still get's it's butt kicked in a couple scenes, so see-it will make the feeling guilty PC Anglo feel like there is some justice in the world. Forget...

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