In December 05 I enthusiastically went to see Memoirs of a Geisha, Rob marshall's latest "creative" feat. Soon thereafter I forgot about the movie as the New Year swept around. Today, I stumbled upon a BBC article hyping the movie for the UK release and I thought it may be a good time to share my thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I really really wanted to like this movie!
First the actresses, their Chinese. That sucks. I understand that Rob Marshall thinks he can justify this with "I'm just looking for good actresses" but here's the thing -- it didn't work. From the BBC article this quote was offered on the subject,
"In Asia, we constantly play Koreans, Malay, Chinese. We do not question that, as you do not question an Englishman playing an American or a German."
Yet another genius key point... But Americans, English, and Germans all commemorate the end of WWII together. Some other nations don't. Bottom line, finding the "best" actors and actresses for a role without considering "reality" works great for films like Frank Herbert's Dune; let's not kid ourselves Memoirs of a Geisha falls short of that 5 hour epic.
Next is the language of the film. First it's Japanese then it's English then it's Japanese and then it's BAD Japanese and English. WTF. Even Zhang Ziyi was nervous as this was her first English speaking role; and I forgive her for that but she didn't have to tread on Japanese too. That's just asking for it.
Let me end by saying that it's not all bad. Zhang Ziyi is still "HOT", Bao Li is still the classic beauty, the dancing is nice, and the cinematics were shiny, that's about it.