Anna and the King (1999)

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Because of Paheli, I wanted the next film I see to be about some other culture. I picked Anna and the King because I knew this was Chow Yun-Fat’s (周润发) first non-action English film, and I wanted to see how he did.

The setting of the film was very grand, luxurious, epic! Later when I checked out the featurette, I couldn’t believe they actually built the entire palace! That’s right, they didn’t shoot the movie in Thailand, the production team built everything!

So I indirectly got what I wanted – to see how it is being in the Thai kingdom. However, I wished the movie was more seamless and romantic. Both Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster are great actors, but Chow wasn’t as good as usual because he wasn’t speaking in his native tongue; and Jodie Foster, she has too strong of an appearance for an Anna. She’s not girly and soft enough, she’s too tough. And the two didn’t really have chemistry, sad to say…. There were some other surprises, though, such as Bai Ling, and the kids, they all did very well.

I would definitely recommend the one made more than 50 years ago, The King and I.

Although the costume, acting, and production design would not compare, it’s a better film in terms of story-telling. Plus it’s a musical, by Rodgers & Hammerstein, so it has great music!

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