Empire of the Sun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Empire of the Sun Reviews

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Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
October 26, 2016
The pseudomystical vagueness that seems to be Spielberg's stock-in-trade stifles most of the particularity of the source.
Top Critic
Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times
October 26, 2016
The film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to.
David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
October 26, 2016
[Empire of the Sun] has too much childish buoyancy to serve the disturbing historical events it's ostensibly based on.
Joanna Berry
Radio Times
October 26, 2016
Now considered a trial run for the more moving, horrifying and involving Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg's drama, set in China during the Second World War, is a glossy and rather tame affair.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5

People Magazine
October 26, 2016
The sun sets on this Empire without convincing us that either Jim or Spielberg has come any closer to growing up.
Top Critic
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune
October 26, 2016
This is derivative melodrama with Spielberg hedging his bets by ripping off his previous adventure films to lighten a story that cries out not to be turned into a comic book.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune
October 26, 2016
Empire of the Sun wants very badly to be a great film, though as Steven Spielberg really ought to know by now, wishing doesn't make it so.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
August 21, 2014
Spielberg knows how to tell a story and this one is worth telling.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
April 7, 2013
The best mix in his directorial career between typical Spielbergian flourishes of audience-friendly spectacle and seriousness of intent.
Full Review | Original Score: 10/10
Keith Uhlich
Reverse Shot
April 5, 2012
Arguably Spielberg's strangest object.
Scott G. Mignola
Common Sense Media
January 2, 2011
Beautiful, but lacking WWII saga about a boy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
May 17, 2009
Spielberg has dreamed of flying before, and this time he earns his wings.

TV Guide
May 17, 2009
Spielberg...displays a progressive and sophisticated awareness of issues of class and race that may be viewed as an apology for the casual imperialist and racist assumptions of his Indiana Jones series.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 17, 2009
Christian Bale, then 13, is a revelation as Jim, an obnoxious British colonial child being brought up in luxury in China.
Top Critic
Variety Staff
June 2, 2008
No special use is made of the talents of Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano and the others, so it is up to young English thesp Bale to engage the viewer's interest, which he does superbly.
Steve Crum
March 2, 2008
One of Spielberg's best films, yet seldom shown.
| Original Score: 5/5
Cole Smithey
October 13, 2007
Christian Bale's debut is a doozy.
| Original Score: 5/5
Emanuel Levy
June 20, 2007
One of Spielberg's most underestimated films, this survival saga of a boy separated from his parents in WWII Shanghai is necessarily episodic, but it's beautifully rendered, offering early evidence of the good actor Christian Bale would become.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Martyn Bamber
Slant Magazine
October 11, 2006
Empire of the Sun is not as graphic as the hellish worlds of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, but Spielberg doesn't sugarcoat the horrors of war.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
John Gill
Time Out
January 26, 2006
Spielberg includes a strand of populist heroism, yet even this fails to dent the awful message. And the budget makes itself seen, as does Bale's superlative Jim.
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