Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan

Did you know that Genghis Khan was really a lovable family man?  That he married his childhood sweetheart and was a hopeless romantic?  I guess my only perception of the man was that of a ruthless warrior and conqueror.  Mongol doesn't necessarily take issue with that very Western, stilted perception, but does attempt to humanize him, portraying his formative years.
I have absolutely no knowledge of Genghis Khan's life, so I don't have any idea if this movie is historically accurate.  I am assuming that the history has been thoroughly adapted, first, because we're talking about events that occured something like 700 years ago, and second, because it's really hard to fit a couple of decades of an important historical figure's life into 2 hours of film, especially when some of that time has to be taken up with elaborate, extensive, bloody battle scenes.  I was reminded of movies like Braveheart and Gladiator, where the protagonist fights oppressors and for the freedom of his people.  It just seemed funny to view Genghis Khan as the hero, given that his name is synonymous, from a Western perspective, with oppression.

Mongol has a very authentic feel, but, battle scenes aside, was pretty slow.  The sheer scale of the movie is impressive, though.  There are hundreds of people running around in some of these scenes!  Fierce mongolian horde, indeed!  The overall story arc is a gentle curve rather than a roller coaster, which may reflect history better but doesn't make for a very entertaining movie.  If this were on The History Channel it would fit right in.

Bottom line, 1 1/2 stars.

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