It’s been a very long time since I had seen Empire Of The Sun, and it could easily be between 20-25 years. Which of course made me wonder how good my memory would be. I remembered him being slapped by his maid when he went back to the house. I remembered the camp and some of the things that happened there. And well, that’s about it. So it was kind of cool watching a film again and almost discovering from scratch.
The first thing that really struck me when I started watching the film was just how good Christian Bale was as a kid actor. I mean, his quality as an adult is without question, but he was also one of those child actors who seemed to be performing well above their age level. He was in every scene of the movie, and that’s a lot of pressure for any actor to deal with, let alone a kid, and let alone a kid who’s journey is pretty full on like it is in this film.
The scale of the film was actually much bigger than I remembered, with a few set pieces seeming to have hundreds, if not cracking over a thousand extras, which is always an epic thing to see on screen, and even more so when you know they aren’t CG. It had the typical Steven Spielberg comedy elements that can sometimes break you out of the film, but that’s not to say they were bad, and the John Williams score brought a real familiarity to the film that stayed throughout.
It’s a long film, and not perfect, but it does tell an interesting story that I’m sure many people aren’t fully aware of. Because let’s be honest, a story about westerners living in China, being caught up in World War 2, and spending the war in Japanese camps within the boarders of China, isn’t something people are used to when watching war films, or even prisoner of war films for that matter. But they should watch it, both for the entertainment value, and the learning aspect of all the kinds of stories of war.
8.5 out of 10 from me!!!