Blu-Ray Review: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
by: Jared Counts, August 6, 2010 5:08:03 am
(Sony Pictures Classics. 2 hours. 1 disc. Color. Widescreen. Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and some sexuality. Directed by Ang Lee.) Chow Yun Fat (Master Li Mu Bai), Michelle Yeoh (Yu Shu Lien), Zhang Ziyi (Jen Yu), Chen Chang (Lo/Dark Cloud). Music by Tan Dun with Yo-Yo Ma.
Re-released in time for the film's 10th anniversary, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon follows the story of Master Li Mu Bai (Yun Fat) and his mystical Green Destiny sword. After deciding to change his focus in life, Li Mu Bai gives his sword to a friend, only to have it stolen by a mysterious martial arts master. With the help of his longtime companion Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh), he must return the sword to its rightful owner, all while battling the nefarious assassin Jade Fox and deciphering the motives of young aristocrat Jen Yu (Ziyi). Think of it as Sense and Sensibility with Kung Fu, and you'd be on the right track, though that glib of a phrase really does this film a disservice. Beautifully shot, beautifully choreographed, with a stirring love story and a wonderful soundtrack, there is something for everyone. Some parts might seem silly on the face, but there's a lyrical, almost poetic tone to the proceedings. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, though very physically gifted, are fantastic as an unrequited pairing, conveying so much to each other while saying so little. I could gush on, but this should all be common knowledge by now, right? The transfer to Blu-Ray is crisp and lively, especially during the battle in the bamboo thicket. The special features are a bit disappointing, being repeats of the same commentary tracks and featurettes on the earlier DVD releases. However, special features or no, this disc is worth the purchase for the movie alone.