Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Curse of the Golden Flower

One of the long-standing complaints of D&D is that anyone with high skill, like for instance, a doctor, also has high hit dice and can fight dozens of ordinary soldiers at once. This movie, the Curse of the Golden Flower, embraces that idea to the hilt, making it the ultimate D&D movie. Movies often give the main characters too many lucky breaks; CotGF makes it into a law of physics.

The Emperor, despite being an old man who needs to be carried around in a chair, can fight his super-hero son to a stand-still without getting out of his chair. People are physically afraid of him because he can kill whole battalions by himself. In the climatic battle the son is surrounded by thousands of ordinary soldiers, and piles up the bodies before being overcome by sheer mass. This is after his entire army of 10,000 has been slaughtered around him.

But it doesn't end there; the Imperial Doctor must be a high-level character, because he beats down dozens of ninjas with just his golden shovel. His wife and daughter are equally effective at clobbering the faceless mooks. Apparently just being a Very Important Person gives you weapon skills and super vitality... just like in D&D.

That battle scene shows what the 0th level soldiers in D&D are for, by the way: they mostly serve as human ladders so the heroes (and his mid-level entourage) can climb over the walls and fight the enemy. Also, they carry stuff and wear snazzy uniforms to look cool.


  1. But do you know what this movie really needed? More color. I mean, everything was just so drab.

    (also, a more concrete ending would have been nice)

  2. LOL!

    It was a truly gorgeous film... they got their $45 million worth.

    The ending was a bit empty. Rather than end on a big climax, the story just stopped when they ran out of characters to kill.

  3. It felt very Shakespearean. Plot-wise. We'd watched a Korean film and a Japanese film just before this - both subtitled - so the BF didn't want to watch this one unless it was the dubbed version. I'm going to watch it again with the subtitles shortly - I enjoy getting the different takes.