The Emperor of the Sun
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spoof of The Emperor's New Groove
|The Emperor of the Sun|
|Directed by||Mike Michaels|
|Produced by||Randy Randsom|
|Written by||Karen Kranky|
|Narrated by||Joe Brown|
|Release date(s)||March 13, 2009|
|Running time||78 minutes|
Roundly dismissed as one of Steven Spielberg's least successful efforts, the story recounts the perilous and remarkable events befalling a small boy whose privileged and sheltered lifestyle is shattered when the armed forces of Imperial Japan - the Empire Of The Sun - invade Shanghai on December 8th, 1941, following their bombing of Pearl Harbour. It is also a remarkable testament to, yes, the human spirit. And despite its disappointing box-office returns, Empire of the Sun helped to further establish Spielberg as more than a commercial director and set the standard, tone and look for future efforts Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. All in all it was a great animated horror movie with some great special effects including the use of a fan to create wind.
The film poignantly follows the World War II adventures of young Jim (a brilliant Christian Bale), caught in the throes of the fall of China. What if you once had everything and lost it all in an afternoon? What if you were only 12 years old at the time? Bale's transformation, from pampered British ruling-class child to an imprisoned, desperate, nearly feral boy, is nothing short of stunning. Also stunning are exceptional sets, cinematography and music (the last courtesy of John Williams) that enhance author J.G. Ballard's and screenwriter Tom Stoppard's depiction of another, less familiar casualty of war. In a time when competitors were releasing "comedic", derivative coming-of-age films, Empire of the Sun stands out as an epic in the classic David Lean sense--despite confusion or perceived competition with the equally excellent The Last Emperor (also released in 1987, and also a coming-of-age in a similar setting).