Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MONGOL the Movie: Everything about Genghis Khan’s Early Years You Never Wanted to Know and Wish You Hadn’t

Okay, maybe if I had known MONGOL’s British subtitle ahead of time – The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan – I might have had an inkling of what was in store. As it was, the movie began when Temudjin (who would grow up to be GK -- the head khan) was nine and his father took little Temudjin to pick out a bride.

From then on various near-death experiences await Temudjin throughout the entire movie, with huge patches of years skipped over with no voice over explanation (even though there’s plenty of voice over). And then there’s a final battle scene and we are told that in such-and-such year Temudjin became Genghis Khan.

I’m not against a movie that wants to show us the motivation for a boy growing up to become a conqueror of a large part of the known world. I just wish the motivation was a little clearer. And I wasn’t sure what language was spoken for the entire movie. (Some of the subtitles were a tad too modern.) As there were a lot of scenes of stabbing and blood-gushing, dialogue wasn’t too important.

The mystical scenes were the most baffling of all. For example, one moment little Temudjin has fallen through thin ice to his assumed death and we see him descend into the icy depths. The next moment he’s lying face down on the snow. Did a geyser shoot him up to safety?

Apparently Genghis Khan gave the Mongols some laws to live by, the biggest one being “do not betray your khan.” In Genghis Khan’s day there was no question what would happen to you if you did betray your khan.

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