Monday, August 26, 2013

Movie Review - Emperor

Tommy Lee Jones as MacArthur. That's gotta be good. Unfortunately, he only had about 15 minutes of screen time during the entire movie and I had to spend my time watching Matthew Fox wander around like a refugee from the "Lost" set. I had expected to see a movie about MacArthur's relationship with the Japanese Emperor during the occupation. What I got was a bad characterization, and not a historically accurate one either, of Gen Bonner Fellers. Gen Fellers was on MacArthur's staff and was charged with investigating the emperor for war crimes. This opened up the opportunity for some dialog accusing the west of being as big an imperialist power as Japan. And, of course, Gen Fellers had a romantic relationship with a Japanese girl before the war and he used his office to try to find her. His investigation culminated with a description of the attempted coup by the militarists once they learned that the Emperor had made a recording about surrendering to the Americans. This was shown as proof enough that the Emperor had resisted the militarists and was therefore not guilty of war crimes.

The actual history, of course, is more complicated. The government had done several studies on Japanese culture during the war that underscored the need to keep the Emperor in place as a pacifying influence on the population. Keeping him was a central part of the occupation planning.

I can't recommend this movie, even if it does have Tommy Lee Jones. It's not a good love story, it's not historically accurate and Fox is not a good actor.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

And the apologists have made another anti-war "we're no better than they are" movie.

And wonder why it fails at the box-office.