(aka 'Children of the Silk Road' or 'Escape from Huang Shi')
Australia China Germany 2008
Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of George Hogg, a young British journalist, who rescues 60 orphaned children. He leads them on a treacherous 1000-mile journey along the Silk Road, through the Liu Pan Shan Mountains into the spectacular Gobi desert. Over the course of the journey he falls in love with a determined, self-trained nurse, and makes a friend in Chen, the leader of a Chinese partisan group. Madame Wang, a surviving aristocrat, assists in guiding them to safety in a remote village near the western end of China's Great Wall.
I have no idea who brought
basketball to China.
Theatrical Release: February 8th, 2008 - European Film Market
DVD Review: Sony - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Sony Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 4.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
The Challenge of Hunag Shi (11:48)
The Children of Huang Shi is a film that many critics showed indifferent but a lot of casual movie-goers adored (example Ebert gave it 2.5/4 but his readers escalated that to 3.5/4!). I probably fall somewhere in between - interesting and very enjoyable but possibly less impacting than I began to expect as the film rolled along. It does hit home and the production has impressive performances, cinematography and direction. I expect most people would rate this film very positively and the children-angle is never cloyingly exploited.
The Sony DVD transfer is dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive. Aside from the usual SD weaknesses - noise, less vibrant colors and some softness - the image is totally acceptable for standard viewing. It is certainly not stellar but presents The Children of Huang Shi well enough to appreciate the film. I have a feeling though that this could look exceptional or at least much stronger with another transfer as some of the geographic visuals are quite lush and epic-like. I don't see excessive digital manipulation and the image is expectantly, very clean.
The audio is competent if unremarkable and the DVD sports optional subtitles in an awkwardly large yellow font.
Aside from a stack of Sony advert trailers (and one for the film) the only supplement is an 11 minute featurette - entitled The Challenge of Hunag Shi. Director Roger Spottiswoode gives input on the impetus and evolution of the production with some behind the scenes clips.
I certainly don't want to dissuade anyone from seeing this - it is quite an excellent , touching and historical drama - in many senses. The DVD is pricey in my opinion but definitely worth a rent one evening.