Spoilers start right now. Stop reading if you haven't seen it. You have been warned.
So, undeniably, that was a really pretty movie. The use of colour is gorgeous, the costumes and landscapes excellent, the special effects -- with the notable exception of the hordes of very obviously animated arrows -- extremely well done. The alternate stories worked well. This was not a bad movie, in fact it was a good movie. It was just a difficult movie to take seriously, unless you have a very deep understanding of, and have bought completely into, the Chinese cultural mindset that gave birth to the film.
Here's why I couldn't take this movie seriously:
- Emperor: I have worked out that you are going to kill me, but I am so full of fucking honour that I'm not going to call the guards because your story has moved me so much.
- Jet Li: And I am so full of honour that instead of laying waste to all your guards, like I've been doing all the way through the movie so far, I'm going to sit here and get shot by thousands of arrows, leaving a cartoon-style arrow-shadow on the wall.
- Broken Sword: And I am so full of honour that I am going to let you stab me to prove I was right that assassinating the emperor was a bad idea
- Flying Snow: And I am so full of honour that to prove I agree with you, I am also going to stab myself.
- All: Oh, we are so full of honour. Incidentally, we've done a scene in every colour except purple. Can we do a scene in purple yet?