The Banquet Directed by Feng Xiaogang
This website was created to promote the 2006 Chinese& wuxia drama film, The Banquet. Its DVD release in the US was in 2008 under the name Legend of the Black Scorpion. I happened to enjoy the visual spectacle movie, although on Rotten Tomatoes the critics rated it only at 35%. The US audience rated it higher at a 60%, but it wasn't a big hit even though it offered a visual feast, with sumptuous costumes, exquisite production design and vast landscapes. Unfortunately, The Banquet, for all its visual splendor, had none of the pathos or originality of Crouching Tiger. Well, perhaps that is true, but I remain a fan. Just the other night, I donned one of my favorite Dark Knight shirts purchased at Moon At Midnight - my fav for Batman t shirts, and sat down for an evening of wuxia drama films. As you might already know, wuxia translates into "Martial Hero" (Wu = Martial, Xia = Hero), and the most recognizable of Wuxia is sometimes romanticized literature from historical figures and stories. Well, Batman seemed appropriate attire for such an evening with friends. In fact everyone of us was wearing a different Batman t-shirt. There were no duplicates. Just goes to show how many different designs there are. I wonder if there is an extensive line of equivalent wuxia t-shirts sold in China. We started with the Legend of the Black Scorpion, saw Once Upon A Time In China, and ended with Fist Of Legend on that particular wuxia movie night.
After the movie's promotional machine ceased, the site's usefulness was over. Its domain registration eventually expired. First of all, I must admit I was a fan. When I recently discovered that the site's domain was available, I bought it with the goal of recreating the site from its archived pages. Unfortunately there was little content. So I have posted reviews when the film was initially released worldwide under the name, The Banquet and added stills and promotional images to give a feel for the visual lushness of the film.
The site does not look like the original website, so please be indulgent. And enjoy.
The Banquet: released on DVD in the United States as Legend of the Black Scorpion is a 2006 Chinese wuxia drama film. The film was directed by Feng Xiaogang and stars Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, Daniel Wu and Zhou Xun. It is a loose adaption of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet and Henrik Ibsen's play Ghosts, featuring themes of revenge and fate. It is set in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China.
Initial release: August 30, 2006 (China)
Director: Feng Xiaogang
Initial DVD release: February 26, 2008 (USA)
Screenplay: Heyu Sheng, Gangjian Qiu
Awards: Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
Waiting for u! The Banquet! Nguyeen Tuw Minh Tris November 8, 2006 08:07:38 PM
Hello everybody! i am the Vietnamese. Ivery like this site (it run very fast).
About the film? I love the story! It exited me! moreover, the characters are very famous and look excellent!
very good film Hasim November 5, 2006 01:51:17 PM
I see this film, is very good
Everlasting Movie Rowin November 4, 2006 08:40:07 PM
the movie was just fascinating, like an Alfred Hitchcock. i like the props, imperial guards custumes, i can say the best of all. for me, its kinda better than most medieval custumes.. who killed Empress? just the effort to think of it, we should understand chinese, the english translation are sometimes misleading to their conversation. we better ask chinese people :)
ZHang Ziyi, the best performance. Daniel WU, well it just keeps on getting better.
Great Movie AnD November 1, 2006 10:44:19 PM
I love the soundtrack, the effects, the art, the costumes, the acting, the mystery that envelopes the whole move. Who killed the 1st emperor? Could it be the Empress? Why did she have a "small amount" of arsenic -- which she used as payment for the poison she bought? Could it be that she used part of it to kill the 1st Emperor, dropping the cloth with the drawing to the Crown Prince to mislead him so that the Crown Prince avenges the death of his father thinking that with her brother-in-law dead, she can reign with the Crown Prince? Anyone who coveted being Emperor could have killed the Empress -- her reaction at the point of death was unbelief that even if she possessed the power and glory, she was still vulnerable.
Satisfaction Dany November 1, 2006 07:02:51 PM
I was invited for a preview of "The Banquet" in Thailand. It was my first time to see a Chinese film of this kind. I was so impressed with the quality of the film, music and most of all the stars. They were great, in particular Daniel, Zi Yi and the Emperor. Thanks for making such a wonderful film.
Availability in Canada Dan October 28, 2006 08:25:53 AM
I tried to get this movie in Canada, but cannot seem to find it. anyone know if it is here? Thanks
I want to watch this movie Nemo October 28, 2006 01:55:39 AM
Hi, I'm from Japan. I'm so interested in this movie!! Is this movie gonna be released in Japan?? If it is, when will it? If not, please do so as soon as possible.
Another twist conspirator October 26, 2006 12:22:59 AM
Who Killed Empress Wan!!! Did the first king faked his death. He was perhaps poisoned by
Empress Wan but he did not die. He knew he does not belong in his Empress heart. He knew that the crown prince lay in between him and his empress. He would allow the drama unfold
Remember when Empress Wan and Wu Luan was sparing after her bath, she had mentioned that it was the first King who had taught them the art of using the maiden sword. He should be very good at it. He is their martial guru. By the way, he had injured his hand when he grabbed General Yin's knife. Lu Luan may have faked his death, but not an injured hand turning crimson due to poison. His right hand was also poisoned. Obviously the knife was thrown from a distant with some skill, probably not from an injured hand. I find too many question mark to resolve if the knife was indeed thrown by Lu Luan.
The death of the first King was shrouded with mystery. Scorpion sting! Poisoned! it was all hearsay as implied in Qing's reply when pressed by Wu Luan. Empress Wan surely appeared surprised when stabbed. Her response appeared to indicate that she was stabbed by someone she knew well. I should say that the first emperor who possessed the skill of using the maiden knife struck the blow. The way all the rest of the empress maid left quietly showed that it was carried out by someone with authority. The emperor himself.
Almost to the end of the banquet, Wu Luan still strongly believe that his uncle killed his father. There was no indication that he suspected of the Empress. The cloth fallen from the skies just indicate the method how the murder took place but the caricarture did not indicate it was carried out by a women. Just a legless evil symbol. Who threw down the cloth?
Why is there blood+tears flowing from the helmet on two occasion. How did it happen.
It is either the emperor or his unsettled spirit.
film fireball October 14, 2006 07:25:12 PM
Wow seoulite October 11, 2006 04:15:29 PM
This movie has simple plot.
However actors, background setting and
music can cover everything. I enjoy it
Lord Chamberlain comradewolf October 11, 2006 11:27:40 AM
Does anyone have more information about the Lord Chamberlain? I think the actor's name is Zhou Zhenghe. Please let me know by email. I really liked his performance alot too!
the Flying scene leela October 9, 2006 12:11:59 PM
first of all A BIG huge applause to cast n crew "THE BANQUET".. But of cozz.. FENG XIAOGANG...the superbzz.. what i like about this movie is the flying stunts.. it was FLYING blue Colours... but then again.. the costume was among the probs that i like too... those GUARDS look SO REAL.... Congrats
at world films... giftpo October 8, 2006 02:16:45 PM
I'll watch this movie at 4th world films festival in Bangkok on oct14. It's a very extravagant film in the year indeed.
costumes ja October 6, 2006 04:37:40 PM
Look at paintings and sculptures of Tang Dynasty people and you can find
the similarities in the costumes.
costumes apple October 6, 2006 02:56:41 PM
i wanna ask if really the costumes shown does actually resembles the Tang dynasties ppl wear or it was designed without refering to it.
banquet. zhan. juaan October 6, 2006 12:47:55 AM
this show is arguably the best from feng xiaogang yet.
i do think the character which captured me the most was zhou xun's qing nu in which she acted out with so much depth and the much needed innocence to make her character come alive.
fantastic music as well.
nice movie LuPYeE October 3, 2006 06:01:49 PM
The Banquet absolutely is a great movie.. ppl check it.. omg the ^^... u are so smart enough.. is Ling-er !!! she killed the empress Wan !.. this movie rulez.. finally ... haha... add me if u wanna talk abt the banquet .
great score john October 3, 2006 12:57:24 PM
great score..and music
emperor's wan hongorzul October 2, 2006 11:04:35 PM
when i watch her . she look like nobel and happy but in true her inside is full affiction her heart is only for prince
Great but exasperating movie!!! momo October 2, 2006 11:30:53 AM
Truly a great movie but leaves too much questions unanswered. Intentionally I suppose to leave you guessing. Great performances and what majestic scenes. But tops is definitely the music...haunting and moving, something dvds cannot magnify. Catch it in the cinema and experience it.
question. markus September 29, 2006 11:34:03 PM
is this movie showing in the U.S.?
Poem Minh September 28, 2006 11:56:00 AM
Does anyone have the whole poem featured in the movie w/ translation?
Review Chewxy September 27, 2006 10:20:30 AM
Hey guys, I've watched the Banquet, and I've written a nice long review in my blog, so do http://blog.chewxy.com/archives/2006/09/27/the-banquet/
Desire killed Empress Wan Banquet_Fan September 26, 2006 11:02:51 AM
In original movie script, Empress Wan maid, Ling-er is a spy engaged by the General to kill her. In the movie, Feng Xiao Gang want to express that "Desire" killed Empress Wan.
WHo???? banquetx_audience September 26, 2006 02:51:33 AM
Can i ask is who finally killed the "Empress Wan's"?
The Banquet Asclepius September 25, 2006 08:54:04 PM
Firstly, I would like to say that one does not see why everyone is so hung-up over the fact that The Banquet is an adaptation of the Shakespearean play of Hamlet. Hamlet is a classic, and it is little wonder that it was adapted for The Banquet. Tragedy is a never-ending theme in life, and it is found in the Western, as well as the Eastern culture.
Also, I would like to reply to a reviewer, andY, who said that there were too many details in the movie. Like for example, "blood dropping from the bridge". (Dear God, repeating this defilement of the English language makes me want to dip my fingers into a vat of acid.) It is symbolic, to say that there was enough bloodshed in that era of chaos to taint an entire river. If one cannot see that, how can one appreciate the movie? The Banquet is viciously political, everything said and done has a deeper effect than can be seen. it is the same for the movie's visual effects. The overwhelming sets gives us a certain sense of the level that the characters are at, that is, absolute power. And absolute corruption. And please, this movie is where the movie-goer is omnipotent, giving us a candid look inside into this world of chaos, so don't be a prude, Janice, what's the point of sanitizing the truth?
And of course, the final scene. I myself would like to know the killer, of course. But it seems much more important to recognize that Empress Wan got killed because no one, will be able to toy with the flame of desire and come out unscathed, especially with a flame as intense as Empress Wan's.
Brilliant kcsk September 24, 2006 09:31:27 PM
This movie is brilliant. The combination of art,history, music, actors, actress and storyline are really good. Probably, the best movie of the year.
Thanks to Feng Xiao Gang
reico September 24, 2006 04:09:50 AM
The art direction is pretty nice. All the weapons, costumes, background scenes, are damn nice! The feeling that after I watched was miserable and bitterness. And I want to have it's DVD collection. What makes me wanna watched this movie at first was just the character_Daniel Wu. Haha.
Jun Bu Zhi SPGalaxy September 24, 2006 03:21:49 AM
The movie begins with a haunting song of loneliness and accompanying dance of men in masks ending in bloodshed and tragedy. The most lonely person in the show, also the final victor and consumate artiste - is not the reigning Emperor (his perceived act of poisoning his sleeping brother via a 'scorpion' put him in the realm of the crude, as emperor, he lived a life of almost grovelling desire towards the Empresss and finally died for her. Nor the Empress (outwardly the manipulator with a mask for a face, the phonenix who could rise from the ashes around her, stringing along the lives of men -she had berated the prince for being a laugh of an artiste - someone who needed to wear a mask to perform as his emotions were fully displayed on his face). It is Prince We Luan - who was finally the consumate artiste. Even at the end of the show, no one saw his real face. No had had fully understood his lonely song of hidden desire and scheming. Jun Bu Zhi.
"LOVED IT RG September 19, 2006 11:05:22 PM
I saw the movie today (19th Sept, 20060 in Shanghai. I am sorry to hear that Andy didnt not enjoy the movie, but I love every minute of it. I love the costume. the story, the soundtracts, and even the cheesy lines. This might an adaption on Hamlet ( I use this term losely too), but it is certainly not another Hamlet so to compare it to Hamlet or wishing that the movie should be more like Hamlet is a fallacy.
Bottom lines, I loved it, I will watch it again and again.
Cheesy tragedy andY September 19, 2006 10:08:54 PM
Watched the movie today in Shanghai. Was not really happy with it. The movie focused too much on visual effects, detail viewings, like blood dropping from the bridge. More energy should have been spent on the story. Reminded me of that classic European tragedies from the 16th to 18th century where in the end everyone dies. Never liked those. A bit less cheesy language, more realistic characters and story would have helped. This film definitely cannot compare to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or "Hero".
Dont like the chinese version of hamlet Lilac September 19, 2006 05:59:47 PM
Chinese Version of Hamlet, I dont like it ,as its neither like a Chinese ancient story nor even Hamlet. Its just fine business, not artistic at all
Cat Janice September 18, 2006 12:27:41 AM
I think this movie should be classified as Cat 3!!!
Emperor Li killed Empress Wan! YC Yeoh (Singapore) eptember 17, 2006 11:39:21 PM
Evidences to prove Emperor Li killed Empress Wan:
(1) Emperor Li did not vomit blood unlike Qing Nu when he drank the supposedly poisoned wine.
(2) Nevertheless, the Imperial Guards surrounded Emperor Li before he drank the wine.
(3) The Chief Eunuch could have exchanged the wine cup when he brought it back from Qing Nu.
(4) You can check out the 'Making of The Banquet' and you will find footage of Emperor Li shaved bald preparing to be a monk.
(5) May be after he seeked revenge on Empress Wan, he was too devastated to rule after losing his 'beloved' Empress Wan. Filled with guilt, he decided to live our his remaining days as a monk.
Please feel free to continue this review if you agree or disagree with my analysis. Thanks.