Empire of the Sun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Empire of the Sun Reviews

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October 5, 2016
Empire Of The Sun features a great debut for Christian Bale and is emotional at times, despite its slow pacing and somewhat boring story that are not typically in a Spielberg film.
August 30, 2016
A unique war film that showed what Spielberg could do with war long before Saving Private Ryan, Empire of the Sun is a masterpiece with great performances, a captivating (if long) story and impressive sequences.
August 28, 2016
The film suffers from awkward drama and some forgettable characters.
July 18, 2016
When you make as many movies as Spielberg, there are bound to be a few misfires. This is unfortunately one of them.
July 12, 2016
One of the best child performances ever
June 16, 2016
My favorite film of all. Spielberg's best movie!
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2016
Perhaps the best Spielberg film ever, this war drama has a large cast but focuses on mainly one character, a boy out of his familiars. Malkevich plays an
American, capitalism uncaged, for whom the war is primarily an opportunity for gain. Richardson is a British socialite, forced against her will to look at real life and none too happy about it. And Bale, the star, is a Brit of privilege too, but barely manages to make do. This piece had two things against it as I went in, Spielberg and Bale, but both rise above their comfort zones to deliver an exceptional story.
½ May 25, 2016
Christian Bale carrying a movie as a youngster, showing the confinements of what he shall become. The movie itself plays out on a rather interesting point of view of the WW2. From e foreign perspective in Shanghai, as China goes under Japanese controll, Bale and Malkovich among others are captured in a prisoncamp. Endurance is gold.
½ April 22, 2016
Young Christian Bale š???
½ April 16, 2016
Visually spectacular, Spielberg doesn't hold back in making something special. It's scope along with its fantastic designs and locations help to transport the viewer and experience this situation as Bale's character does.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2016
Another film I have only just got aroundd to seeing. Superbly done by Steven Spielberg and with a great performance from Christian Bale, it's strange that this film is underrated.

A harrowing coming of age tale of life during World War 2 occupation and all the nightmares that entails. If you haven't seen it, I do recommend it.
March 29, 2016
I would love to see this movie in its' entirety!
½ March 10, 2016
There is a scene in Spielberg's film adaption of J. G. Ballard's novel, Empire of the Sun, where an imprisoned boy by the name of Jim salutes and sings the heart-piercing "Suo Gān" to three Kamikaze pilots in their pre-flight ritual. This little airplane enthusiast has no care - more specifically, he doesn't know - of the class and physical barriers that separated Japan and their captives. He respects and cares for all; everyone is equal in his innocent eyes. He salutes, befriends and surrenders to Japanese and American alike without a thought of wires or possible consequences, and everyone, even the brutal Japanese sergeant Nagata, enjoys his presence with a certain respect and adoration for him.

Like the author J. G. Ballard's own experiences, Jim, or James Graham (Christian Bale's first major role that brought him into the limelight), lives in the untouched International Settlement in Shanghai before Japan invaded it, while his well-to-do parents keep him oblivious to the intense nature of the war raging outside the metal barricades of the settlement. When the Japanese do finally march in, Jim and his parents are separated by the great throngs of chaotic crowds. Jim now has to survive on his own until he runs into a strange, snobbish American, Basie, whom he persuades to protect him. The war moves on, and our characters are moved to the Soochow camp, but we don't care as it makes no difference to unenlightened Jim.

Spielberg definitely succeeds in creating movies on World War II, and like any other of them, the oppressors bring down numerous beatings, though Spielberg curbed it to a PG rating, and mild language is spit out in intense, emotional scenes. Though Jim loudly proclaims his atheistic faith, his beliefs are radically different. He talks about God and what he does, possibly a touch in order to appeal to Christian viewers.

Throughout the movie, the tween-aged Jim often cries "I surrender" to anyone in a uniform, hoping to gain access to his parents or a guardian through that act. But I doubt little Jim understands that phrase, because, instead of a weak, fainthearted boy, we see one with a strong constitution and standing up to oppressors and respecting all (even the dead). Even in conditions so arduous and severe, his manners and respect last through the entire war, recognized by us and an admiring Basie who says, "You've got nice manners. I appreciate that."

Spielberg's powerful use of the camera and Bale's show-stopping performance emphasizes what man would do in harsh and demanding environments. On the other hand, Jim, scraping out a living through a complex network of theft and trade, lives unknowing to the motives behind the cruelties of the camp in his high world of airplanes. We follow Jim and his experiences like a close friend, but like everyone else, we can't convince him of the real dangers and truths he is ignorant of. Unlike Jurassic Park, Spielberg enhances the original material, and touches it with emotion, friendships and an inspirational story.
½ February 9, 2016
Really tough one to get through for me. Has some nice visuals, but I feel this is definitely one of Spielberg's worst films. It drags from start to finish and Christian Bale's character is one of the most annoying kids I've seen in a movie. I just wanted this to end as soon as possible.
January 13, 2016
Yup...once again I am in the minority. I hated this with every ounce of my soul! I found it boring and I really didn't care about the story at all. Everyone likes to blow Spielberg...but this movie was just not for me.
½ December 20, 2015
Watched this on 21/12/15
Spielberg's film about the loss of Innocence is surprisingly not an antiwar film and it has a mature performance from Christian Bale in the leading role. The film is about a boy of British Origin born and raised on Shanghai who knows nothing about politics or patriotism and the only thing he respects is aviation and the pilots who fly the war planes despite whichever country they belong to. The film has one of the best aviation sequences shot for film after Top Gun I believe. The boy salutes the aviators even from Japan who imprisons him and he exhales in happiness seeing P51 fighters bomb the hell out of Japan, moreover he sees the beauty in Atomic Explosion. This is the better than Spielberg's hit films such as Close Encounters, ET, Jaws, Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones series.
Steve Grady
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2015
"Empire of The Sun" is a superb drama film of 1987. The plot to this movie is that a 13 year old boy named "Jim" portrayed by "Christian Bale", who's family is extremely wealthy. Jim's family lives in Shanghai during the 1940's. After Jim and his family are trying to escape Shanghai, Jim looses his family and tries to find them. The plot to this film is amazing, the character change of Jim's character is perfect. The acting in this movie is superb, even at age 13 "Christain Bale" was an amazing actor. Another great actor in this film is "John Malkovich", he does a great job at playing the character "Basie". "John Williams" is perfect for creating suspenseful and dramatic music in movies, and "Empire of The Sun" is no exception. "Steven Spielberg" always films movies beautifully, he made a hot and dusty place look great. The drama in this movie was handled very well, because this movie could have easily become a kid crying all the time, but due to "Steven Spielberg's" perfect directing it didn't. If you enjoy drama films then I highly recommend you watch "Empire of The Sun" as it is a film with great acting, great directing and amazing music. I give "Empire of The Sun" an 8/10.
½ December 10, 2015
Even if not completely as striking as it was aiming for, this remains a strong WWII movie from a still-unrecognized point of view that brings out Spielberg's best in detail and human drama, and represents a shining start for Christian Bale.
November 8, 2015
Una pelicula, bueno, aceptable, aunque notoriamente mal actuada y demasiado exagerada.
½ November 8, 2015
Well I, for one, didn't know that Christian Bale had been a child star and, having seen this, it's no surprise that he has gone on to be the adult star that he is. This is a very interesting account of an English kid living in luxury in Shanghai with his posh family when the Japanese take control in the second world war. It's epic but worth it.
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