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Thread: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    I started watching this series while waiting for the next Total War era game, in the same era as the series.
    Long story short, Three Kingdoms is surprisingly good. Think of a somewhat low budget Game of Thrones early seasons without the plot holes. Frankly, even if the duels are not up to modern standards, the costumes are awesome, much of the acting is very good, the dialogue is very good and the plot entertaining and fast paced.
    It is in my opinion, better than Game of Thrones in my opinion despite the lack of woaaa effects or choreographed duels. I enjoy it very much. It also shows a culture quite different than what I am used to and a dramatized part of history for a place of the world I have very very little knowledge of. Sure, I expect much of what I watch is not exactly accurate. But I have Wikipedia to fill in the gaps and while not accurate it gives a sense.
    It made me appreciate Chinese history much more. We're talking about ministers, bureaucracy and administration in the late 2nd and early 3rd century that rivaled European kingdoms during the enlightment. Sure, sure, it all broke down horribly and countless millions died when it does. That's another part I was not aware of: How much collapse of central government can wreck an Empire.


    NOTE: I have to run to Wikipedia a lot.

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    Kyriakos's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    The duels being so terribly badly done is why i gave up on it

    I hate flying heroes.
    Plot was nice, although Cao-Cao=cringe.
    Like my Hagia Sophia?
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Come on! I asked for a film about Three Kingdoms some weeks ago. I am glad to know there is a TV series covering this topic. In my case if there isn't fantasy such as Game of Thrones I will be happy and is enough for me.

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    I think the fighting choreography is very cheesy, something that even John Woo's Red Cliffs was slightly guilty of as well, but this show really goes to extremes with it. Mind you, it's not as bad as anime versions where Lu Bu is literally flying around in the air and singing like an opera star, but it's still rather unbelievable.

    As for the drama, intrigue and scheming being comparable to Game of Thrones, I think it should be the other way around. I think we should be comparing GRRM's novel to Luo Guanzhong's 14th-century novel ROTK, and not vice versa. This is out of respect for medieval late-Yuan or early-Ming-dynasty literature, of course, which should be the standard, and everything after it should be placed within its context. Of course, GRRM probably didn't use very much Chinese history and historical fiction as inspiration for Westeros, but he undoubtedly did so for his Essos civilization of Yi Ti (which has yet to appear in Game of Thrones and doesn't play any prominent role in his novels).

    I would love to see a show based purely on the raw historical accounts in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi) composed in the late 3rd century by the contemporary Western-Jin historian Chen Shou. Some hardcore fans of ROTK fantasy stuff might find it too tedious and or disassociated from their ideas of the period and divergent from their expectations, though. They certainly wouldn't be getting any Peach Garden Oath scene, which is entirely fictional like many other accounts in Luo's novel.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by Incendio View Post
    Come on! I asked for a film about Three Kingdoms some weeks ago. I am glad to know there is a TV series covering this topic. In my case if there isn't fantasy such as Game of Thrones I will be happy and is enough for me.
    There is no "fantasy" as in dragon's and wights. But there are heroes that can literally jump on a running horse while prone.

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    LaMuerte's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    I enjoyed Three Kingdoms. I think the makers did great within the limits of a seemingly extremely tight budget.(You can notice from the vapor coming from the actors' mouths that a lot of the indoor locations were uncomfortably cold) True, the fights looked attrocious, the drama had a lot of lesser moments, and it started out real slow. But once things got rolling (=Cao Cao becomes a boss), I found myself drawn in. A bit lenghty perhaps...but then again this is Asian drama.

    The nice bit about this series is that it gets you more involved in Chinese history...if you're one of those fact checking people that is. I enjoyed catching up with real history.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    We're talking about ministers, bureaucracy and administration ...
    And a puppet emperor in a golden cage!
    Last edited by LaMuerte; June 04, 2018 at 10:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by LaMuerte View Post
    I enjoyed Three Kingdoms. I think the makers did great within the limits of a seemingly extremely tight budget.(You can notice from the vapor coming from the actors' mouths that a lot of the indoor locations were uncomfortably cold)
    I believe that's because of realism, because they wanted those frozen vapors to show. The tight budget (the whole thing of 95 episodes costed as much as half-a-season of GoT) is IMO mostly because the cost of costumes and settings as well as the payment of the actors was much lower than for GoT, not because they did a half-bad job.


    Quote Originally Posted by LaMuerte View Post
    True, the fights looked attrocious, the drama had a lot of lesser moments, and it started out real slow. But once things got rolling (=Cao Cao becomes a boss), I found myself drawn in. A bit lenghty perhaps...but then again this is Asian drama.
    Some fights looked atrocious to the 21st century Hollywood crowds. Coming from an era that we watched the 70s and 80s movies the fights are OK (large battles) or baddish-but-tolerable (some duels). Certainly not atrocious IMO.
    The drama is mostly very well IMO if a couple of things are a bit cheesy. And most of the cheesy things I checked (like Lu Bu and Diaochan romance) were directly from the 14th century material. Back then those things were not cliché and over-used I guess.
    I didn't find it slow in the beginning (I am still at the beginning).

    As for long... it tries to cover many decades! If anything it is not long enough.
    The burning of the capital by Dong Zhuo was shown within less than 2 minutes with the narrator telling us "they burned the city". I expected to see fighting, people running, people crying, soldiers setting fire to (cheap scenery) houses etc. Several weeks of battles are summed up with a few seconds of large-pitched battle and then cutting to generals discussing "we're winning" or "X is losing, Y is making gains, Z is holding". When I wiki- such campaigns I find out there were lots of events historically that were abbreviated and summed-up with a few lines of reference.


    As for involvement in Chinese History: It sure does. There are battles with like 100K combatants in that period! Like this one, although I really think Yuan Shao's numbers were inflated by historians.

    At first when I learned there will be a game focused on China only (a single culture) I was a bit underwhelmed (same with Thrones of Britannia and S2TW) as I want variety. But now, after spending a lot of time in Wikipedia about those parts, I am eagerly anticipating the game.
    For starters, who would be governor of which province and loyalty of generals as well as minister positions would probably be important factors as in ATW with guys changing sides and taking their province with them... I also wish we will have the "abandon settlement" scorched earth policy since it seems to factor heavily in the era.
    I think we will see about 20-25 provinces with a few minor settlements each.

    Cao-Cao: He's portrayed as a real pragmatist in the series and... that seems to have been the impression of historians about him. He is my favorite anti-hero \ villain in the series so far.
    Last edited by alhoon; June 06, 2018 at 02:43 AM.

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Cao-Cao: He's portrayed as a real pragmatist in the series and... that seems to have been the impression of historians about him. He is my favorite anti-hero \ villain in the series so far.
    I loved Cao Cao in John Woo's Red Cliff, portrayed by actor Zhang Fengyi. His performance was very believable and even somewhat cathartic, since he was an anti-hero but one that you couldn't help but sympathize with given his plight by the end of the film (including his health problems). He also exuded the manners and look of a wise and noble statesman. He was also capable of having a menacing, intimidating presence on screen (for instance, in the clip below, the boy emperor is nearly peeing in his robes while Cao Cao offers his rhetoric about the throne and the conflict of the day). Not many actors can achieve that and he was complemented by the equally good script and directing.



    Compare that please to the freaking goofy depiction of Cao Cao in this Three Kingdoms show. I mean, seriously, who would run away from a meeting like this (i.e. waving his arms around and bobbing from side to side while giggling)?


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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    The first I can't watch and the second I like regardless. Yes, in that particular case it is goofy but I don't mind it. When I reach thaaat far into the show I may have changed my opinion but so far what I said before still stands: Cao Cao is my favorite anti-hero \ villain in that very nice series.

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    The first I can't watch and the second I like regardless. Yes, in that particular case it is goofy but I don't mind it. When I reach thaaat far into the show I may have changed my opinion but so far what I said before still stands: Cao Cao is my favorite anti-hero \ villain in that very nice series.
    To be honest, I was more titillated by Cao Cao in this trailer for the new TW game than the Cao Cao of this TV show we've been talking about.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhhHecSt3LM

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    Kyriakos's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Total War: Naruto
    Like my Hagia Sophia?
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    LaMuerte's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Some fights looked atrocious to the 21st century Hollywood crowds. Coming from an era that we watched the 70s and 80s movies the fights are OK (large battles) or baddish-but-tolerable (some duels). Certainly not atrocious IMO.
    I wasn't really speaking as a 21 century Hollywood crowd member. I was speaking as a fan of early Woo-Ping Yuen work (think Yong Zhe Wu Ju/Dreadnaught) and as a 80's-90's Jackie Chan fan.(think Shi Di Chu Ma/The Young Master). You can stylize and ritualize your duels as much as you want, I really don't care. If that's what it takes to move the story on, so be it. This is Chinese drama after all. It's like watching a Bollywood movie with the expectation everybody will start singing and dancing at any given time. But when heroes start flying all over the place, something dies within me. Why o why would you contemplate such a horrendous art direction?

    Rope tricks are good at accentuating a powerful kick or something of the sort. But they are awful at portraying flying people. Flying heroes are an instant immersion killer (a lesson Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Samo Hung learned early on from Bruce Lee). The great philosopher Miles Davis used to say 'Less is more'. Most thought Miles was talking about jazz, while in all factuality he was talking about life in general...and that includes rope use in movies. Leave flying actors out of historical series! Less is more!

    The large battles and sieges themselves are actually quite ok-ish. They get the point across. I respect men toiling desperately to reach the gate with their battering ram while under arrow fire. As long as they don't fly, I'm all for it! And they don't...

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Cao-Cao: He's portrayed as a real pragmatist in the series and... that seems to have been the impression of historians about him. He is my favorite anti-hero \ villain in the series so far.
    Good choice! You can't really go wrong with Cao Cao. He's the one with the devilishly clever schemes. He had me smirking quite a few times. Interesting anti-heroes are such a rarity. I think some credit needs to go to the actor Jianbin Chen for that. He clearly knows what character he needs to play, and also how to play such a character. And he's enjoying it immensely. Wouldn't you?

    BTW : Did Cao Cao already explain why he killed that servant that awoke him?
    Last edited by LaMuerte; June 08, 2018 at 12:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by LaMuerte View Post
    I wasn't really speaking as a 21 century Hollywood crowd member. I was speaking as a fan of early Woo-Ping Yuen work (think Yong Zhe Wu Ju/Dreadnaught) and as a 80's-90's Jackie Chan fan.(think Shi Di Chu Ma/The Young Master). You can stylize and ritualize your duels as much as you want, I really don't care. If that's what it takes to move the story on, so be it. This is Chinese drama after all. It's like watching a Bollywood movie with the expectation everybody will start singing and dancing at any given time. But when heroes start flying all over the place, something dies within me. Why o why would you contemplate such a horrendous art direction?

    Rope tricks are good at accentuating a powerful kick or something of the sort. But they are awful at portraying flying people. Flying heroes are an instant immersion killer (a lesson Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Samo Hung learned early on from Bruce Lee). The great philosopher Miles Davis used to say 'Less is more'. Most thought Miles was talking about jazz, while in all factuality he was talking about life in general...and that includes rope use in movies. Leave flying actors out of historical series! Less is more!

    The large battles and sieges themselves are actually quite ok-ish. They get the point across. I respect men toiling desperately to reach the gate with their battering ram while under arrow fire. As long as they don't fly, I'm all for it! And they don't...



    Good choice! You can't really go wrong with Cao Cao. He's the one with the devilishly clever schemes. He had me smirking quite a few times. Interesting anti-heroes are such a rarity. I think some credit needs to go to the actor Jianbin Chen for that. He clearly knows what character he needs to play, and also how to play such a character. And he's enjoying it immensely. Wouldn't you?
    I agree that it would be better without the flying people but I can tolerate it. Even 3KTW (is that how we call 3 kingdoms total war?) will have a "non-classic" mode where the heroes are single units without bodyguards taking down hundreds of people by themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by LaMuerte View Post
    BTW : Did Cao Cao already explain why he killed that servant that awoke him?
    I am at episode nine. :-)
    For every 45 mins of episode, I spend like an hour+ in Wikipedia or the net. Some events and names are hard to remember and some are barely mentioned or glossed over. Some details I find interesting and research (make up of Chinese women in 2nd century AD speaking of a 20-minutes search during episode 9 when Diaochan showed up all painted up.)
    Sun Jian's fight to reach the capital that has like 4-5 important battles is glossed over as "We're fighting, we're not receiving supplies, we're battered, we're close".
    It is like trying to figure out the Roman Civil war from watching Rome season 1 if you had no idea that something called "Roman Republic" existed. It is simply impossible and you would spend half your time in Wikipedia.

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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    I gave up on the show after ep 10 or something like that. Ie the ep with the ridiculous hero fight.
    And i saw on youtube that even Red Cliff has some pretty terrible hero fights, so i gave up on that as well
    Like my Hagia Sophia?
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    LaMuerte's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakos View Post
    I gave up on the show after ep 10 or something like that. Ie the ep with the ridiculous hero fight.
    And i saw on youtube that even Red Cliff has some pretty terrible hero fights, so i gave up on that as well
    Well, Three Kingdoms is like a fine wine. It's only after the first bitter sip you notice a dazzling variety of flavors. I always considered the first 10 episodes bitter compared to the rest of the show and difficult to get into for a variety of reasons.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Really? I find them exceptionally good. I hope that doesn't mean I won't like the rest of the story.

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    LaMuerte's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    I think it probably means you will like the rest of the story even more. But perhaps we should let it rest until you reach episode 20, because only by then will you really know what I am talking about.

    My view on the matter is: The more power the major players gain, the more interesting the plotting gets. You get this new level of depth with all the scheming courtiers at the different courts. Also, by then most men have had their mask fall off by accident at least once, which adds another layer to the story.(usually the ceremonial etiquette at court shields a man quite well from revealing his true intentions)

    These subtleties are being spoonfed throughout the whole series, but it takes some episodes to notice.

    I could tell you more, but I'm afraid I might spoil. So I shut up. Peace.
    Last edited by LaMuerte; June 13, 2018 at 08:23 PM.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    The plots thicken more?! I am impressed! There are double agendas everywhere in episode 9...
    Palace intrigue is what keeps me in the series along with... giving me things to check in Wikipedia.

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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Compare that please to the freaking goofy depiction of Cao Cao in this Three Kingdoms show. I mean, seriously, who would run away from a meeting like this (i.e. waving his arms around and bobbing from side to side while giggling)?


    To answer your question: Cao Cao would if it was part of a ploy to mess with your head. Breaking with decorum was one of his many tricks.

    And did you just call the boss goofy? Check this out!

    Last edited by LaMuerte; June 16, 2018 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Three Kingdoms (2010 TV Series)

    Quote Originally Posted by LaMuerte View Post
    To answer your question: Cao Cao would if it was part of a ploy to mess with your head. Breaking with decorum was one of his many tricks.

    And did you just call the boss goofy? Check this out!

    It is a pretty cool scene and historically Cao Cao did strong-arm the Eastern Han imperial court into moving the capital to Xuchang. However, I can't get over some of the anachronistic military armors and garbs shown here. These guys should all be wearing lamellar, scale mail, or coat of plates typical of the late Eastern Han. The outfits worn by the bureaucrats and ministers look okay, though, along with the garb of the emperor (including his crown/hat, the "Jiuliu Mian"). For instance, this ink rubbing of a Han raised relief from the Wuliang Tomb shrines depicting the legendary Zhuangxu:



    Or for instance, Emperor Guangwu of Han, depicted here in a 7th-century AD Tang painting by Yan Liben:


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