Anna and the King

Anna and the King

4.8 12
Director: Andy Tennant

Cast: Andy Tennant, Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat, Bai Ling

     
 

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Andy Tennant's Anna and the King comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that fails to preserve the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. Caleb Deschanel's stunning cinematography is one of the film's highlights, making the lack of a widescreen image a major hindrance. A closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1,See more details below

Overview

Andy Tennant's Anna and the King comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that fails to preserve the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. Caleb Deschanel's stunning cinematography is one of the film's highlights, making the lack of a widescreen image a major hindrance. A closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, while French and Spanish soundtracks have been recorded in Dolby Digital Surround. English and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by the director, a half-dozen deleted scenes, five different featurettes, a trailer, and a music video. Although this disc is fine for what it is, a widescreen edition of the film is available and is far preferable to this full-screen release.The true story of Anna Leonowens' experiences as a governess to the children of an eccentric Asian king has been adapted into a book of memoirs, a biography, a stage play called Anna and the King of Siam -- which was adapted into a 1946 film, a stage musical called The King and I -- made into both the live-action The King and I (1956)) and the animated The King and I (1999) feature films, and a short-lived 1972 TV series. Now the story is brought to the screen yet again, as Jodie Foster stars as Leonowens, hired by the king of Thailand (Chow Yun-Fat) in the 19th century to help care for his children. The king wants the best for his children, but Anna soon discovers that he is a strong-willed but quixotic leader, and her stay in Thailand becomes a struggle for power with romantic overtones, as they decide who will have authority over the royal youngsters. Anna and the King was directed by Andy Tennant, best known for his 1998 variation on the Cinderella story, Ever After.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Anna and the King is the third film to chronicle the adventures of British governess Anna Leonowens in 19th-century Siam, and it is far and away the most picturesque. Gorgeous location photography lends verisimilitude to the dreamily exotic setting and by-now-familiar story. Jodie Foster makes a placidly beautiful yet passionate Anna, who accepts the job of teaching the 58 children sired by Siam's King Mongkut (Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-Fat) and immediately finds herself locked in a battle of wills with the potentate. Director Andy Tennant draws repeated comparisons between Eastern and Western philosophies, and he sharply delineates Mongkut's dilemma: The king knows times are changing and wants his children to be equipped to cope with those changes, yet he remains strangely unwilling to jettison beliefs and traditions that have governed his people's behavior for countless centuries. Neither Anna and the King of Siam (1948) nor The King and I (1956) deal with political intrigue and physical danger as specifically as this adaptation of the tale. But it is those elements, along with the fine performances of Foster and Chow, that make Anna and the King such a rousing success and, in many ways, the best of the three versions.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Nominated for Oscars for its costume design and art direction, this non-musical adaptation of the life of Anna Leonowens is a lavish, solid mix of romance and drama that never quite inflames itself to the level of passion for which it strives. Always accomplished in the role of a stoic, Jodie Foster does a typically proficient job with her role of a stiff-upper-lipped widow whose reserve melts only slightly. Although he'll probably suffer by comparison to the magnetic Yul Brynner, actor Chow Yun-Fat is fine as King Mongkut, playing the royal head of a country with square-shouldered sobriety. But in their scenes together, Foster, Yun-Fat, and director Andy Tennant strive for a kind of standoffish quality meant to imply the characters' mutual mix of antagonism and passion, but which comes off at times like a lack of onscreen chemistry. The story's muddled historical perspective is also something of a burden, but it's doubtful that fans of sweeping romantic melodramas will be much interested in the mishmash that the film makes of real-life events. Regarded as nothing more than a well-mounted movie version of a paperback romance novel, Anna and the King is mostly satisfying within such a realm.
Boston Globe
Anna and the King is nothing but old-fashioned but it's old-fashioned in a glorious way. Jay Carr

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/04/2003
UPC:
0024543037569
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
PG13
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:27:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jodie Foster Anna Leonowens
Chow Yun-Fat King Mongkut
Bai Ling Tuptim
Tom Felton Louis
Syed Alwi The Kralahome
Keith Chin Prince Chulalongkorn
Randall Duk Kim General Alak
Lim Kay-siu Prince Chowfa
Melissa Campbell Princess Fa-Ying
Deanna Yusoff Lady Thiang

Technical Credits
Andy Tennant Director
Eric Angelson Associate Producer
Luciana Arrighi Production Designer
Jenny Beavan Costumes/Costume Designer
Lawrence Bender Producer
Roger Bondelli Editor
G. Mac Brown Co-producer
Rona Brown Consultant/advisor
Terence Chang Executive Producer
Chaiyan (Lek) Chunsuttiwat Art Director
Caleb Deschanel Cinematographer
Ed Elbert Producer
George Fenton Score Composer
Paul Ghiradani Art Director
Jon Jashni Co-producer
Priscilla John Casting
Julie Kirkham Co-producer
Peter Krikes Screenwriter
John A. Larsen Sound Editor
Steve Meerson Screenwriter
Wink Mordaunt Co-producer
Scott Printz Asst. Director
Brian Simmons Sound/Sound Designer
Ian Whittaker Set Decoration/Design

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