Movie and DVD Guide

Find Movies and Tickets

Choose Your Movie

All movies
or
Heaven and Earth (1991) Set during the feudal wars of the 16th century, Heaven and Earth is a lavishly dull Japanese period spectacle plays like an ersatz Kurosawa movie.… PG-13 Action/Adventure Drama Foreign Language Historical War Masahiko Tsugawa Takaaki Enoki
Movie Review

Heaven and Earth (1991)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Find theaters showing Heaven and Earth in your area

EW's GRADE
C-

Details Rated: PG-13; Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Foreign Language, Historical, War; With: Masahiko Tsugawa and Takaaki Enoki

Set during the feudal wars of the 16th century, Heaven and Earth is a lavishly dull Japanese period spectacle plays like an ersatz Kurosawa movie. Director Haruki Kadokawa comes up with a reasonably accomplished visual facsimile of the master's 1980 Kagemusha — color-coordinated warriors, amassed by the thousands, galloping in grand formation, the violence of their clashes somehow subsumed by the eye-popping beauty of ritualized battle. Slathered over the images is a soundtrack of mournful-majestic Japanese synth-pop. In Kagemusha, Kurosawa understood that the notion of war as visual pageantry was deeply ironic. Kadokawa, on the other hand, just seems to like the pretty colors. His story is about two rival clan leaders: Takeda (Tsugawa), who wants only power, and Kagetora (Enoki), a young idealist seeking freedom for his people. As the movie portrays it, though, there's virtually no difference between the two men. When they finally meet in a duel, the moment has little dramatic weight; the film's climax has more to do with how many ravishingly costumed extras Kadokawa can cram into a single shot.

Originally posted Mar 22, 1991 Published in issue #58 Mar 22, 1991 Order article reprints