Anna and the King (1999) is a non-musical, epic remake by 20th Century Fox. It was nominated in the 72nd Academy Awards . Under the direction of Andy Tennant, an international cast and crew representing more than 20 countries are working to bring this epic drama to the big screen.
The film score was composed by George Fenton and was nominated in the 57th Golden Globe Awards . For Anna and the King, Fenton utilized various instruments from multiple asian regions, combining it with traditional western orchestrations to provide a rather moving and emotional score to the film. The music fits the mood of the action perfectly well, and in the proper scenes it is so uplifting that it steals the attention of the viewer. The behind-the-scenes team includes several of the most noted artists working in film today, including the Academy Award winning production designer Luciana Arrighi, Academy Award winning costume designer Jenny Beavan and Academy Award nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Comes as no surprise at all, Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster were chosen, and, brilliantly portrayed the title roles.
The film itself is beautiful beyond belief, which masks the hollowness of the story. Humour and politics are given equal measure, there are also plenty of scenes with the King's children (involving cast from many different level of ages) and it was so realistic, with Bai Ling's intense performance as Tuptim adds emotional depth to the film. The story shifts between the (non) relationship between Anna and the King, and a revolution in Siam, and picks up near the end of the movie when the latter is emphasized.
At its core, the story is largely the same as it has always been: Brought to Siam to instruct scores of royal children and wives in Western ways by a forward-looking king, the strong-headed and resolutely Victorian widow Anna Leonowens becomes the sovereign's friend and confidant while butting heads with him over everything from his foreign policy to the terms of her contract.
Overall this is a highly enjoyable and well-executed picture — that will leave you thinking for a while; you will feel touched in a very special way because it might have addressed issues of history, progress, slavery, social order, colonization, and spirituality. If you have a heart, the movie will speak to it.
Seeking permission to shoot on location, Andy Tennant faced a hypercritical Thai Film Board still stinging from Hollywood's singing version of Siamese history (created by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II originally for broadway, before it was brought to the big screen in 1956's adaptation, The King and I), which has been banned in Thailand for portraying its esteemed former monarch as a buffoon.
After the board rejected four versions of the script (each with increasing historical accuracy and a far wiser King), the production moved to Malaysia. From the vast palace grounds created specially for the film, to a myriad of stunningly ornate costumes, to the lush mountains of Malaysia that stand in for Siam of the 1860s, every frame of the movie is alive with visual vibrancy.
Jodie Foster, Yun-Fat Chow, Bai Ling, Tom Felton, Syed Alwi, Randall Duk Kim, Kay Siu Lim, Melissa Campbell, Keith Chin, Mano Maniam, Shanthini Venugopal, Deanna Yusoff, Geoffrey Palmer, Ann Firbank, Alif Silpachai, Bill Stewart, Sean Ghazi, Ramli Hassan
Dharma Al-Rasyid, Afdlin Shauki, Yusof Kassim, Harith Iskander, Swee Lin Neo, Lim Yu Beng, Kenneth Tsang, Kee Thuan Chye, Patrick Teoh, Aimi Aziz, Ellie Suriaty, Tina Lee Siew Ting, Ruby Wong/ Cheuk Ling Wong, Zaridah Malik, Robert Hands, K.K. Moggie, Fariza Azlina, Zulhaila Siregar and thousands of extras & a menagerie of specially trained animals
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