Funrahi Movie Reviews

Emperor

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes (98 minutes)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, brief strong language and smoking (historical).

Genres: Drama, Historical, War

Thin

On

Drama,

High

On

Actors

Performance

3.5 out of 5

Emperor Review

What's Good:
Tommy Lee Jones performance, some historical scenes.
What's Bad:
Poorly written historical script, flashbacks and romantic subplot.
Verdict:
Emperor does little with its fascinating historical palate, but is very much watchable!
Watch or Not:
Watch it if you have the time, and love historical movies.

Audience Ratings for Emperor

42.0%
26 Ratings
1 2 3 4 5
hate it don't like it it's ok it's good it's great

Plot Summary

A gripping tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, EMPEROR tells the story, inspired by true events, of the bold and secret moves that won the peace in the shadows of post-war Japan. Starring Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, and newcomer Eriko Hatsune, EMPEROR brings to life the American occupation of Japan in the perilous and unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito's World War II surrender. As General Douglas MacArthur (Jones) suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture, General Bonner Fellers (Fox), to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved?

Critics Reviews for Emperor

23 Critics like this movie.
Reviews Counted: 22 | Positive Review: 5 | Negative Review: 17 | Average Rating: 2.6/5

Just a dull procedural, with the bland Matthew Fox driving around in a jeep and asking questions and not having them answered.
Critic Score: 1.5/4

March 8, 2013 Full Review
Stephen Whitty
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger

The epigrams fly, but the movie never really takes off.
Critic Score: 2/4

March 8, 2013 Full Review
Steven Rea
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

Director Webber and the screenwriters, David Klass and Vera Blasi ... largely [waste] Jones and some very nice period details.
Critic Score: 2/4

March 8, 2013 Full Review
Lou Lumenick
Lou Lumenick
New York Post

The subject is intrinsically compelling, yet the central story is padded with an uninvolving love story that functions mostly as obvious symbolism about compassion for the enemy.
Critic Score: 2.5/4

March 8, 2013 Full Review
Claudia Puig
Claudia Puig
USA Today

Wrapping a history lesson in a romantic melodrama can make for a lively movie, but only if the love story is juicier than the educational narrative.
Critic Score: 2.5/4

March 8, 2013 Full Review
Mark Jenkins
Washington Post

Regrettably, "Emperor" does not match MacArthur's vigor, or mine his legacy. Instead, the movie is Fellers' tale and dryly told.
Critic Score: 2/5

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times

In the end, probably the best way to watch "Emperor" is to pretend that the Supreme Command of Allied Forces in Japan after World War II was Tommy Lee Jones.
Critic Score: 3/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Mick LaSalle
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

Despite the promising setup, the filmmakers' execution muddles what's inherently dramatic material.

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Joel Arnold
NPR

Mr. Jones's performance is the only spark within this otherwise dull, well-mannered exercise.
Critic Score: 2/5

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Stephen Holden
New York Times

The effort to put a personal face on the major issue of occupation is as timely as Iraq and Afghanistan, but the execution is clumsy and cliche-ridden.
Critic Score: 2.5/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Peter Travers
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

"Emperor" starts slowly and peters out from there.
Critic Score: 1.5/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Colin Covert
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune

This potentially interesting dilemma becomes thoroughly dull in the hands of director Peter Webber, who stages endless conversations about political fine points without giving us much to look at.
Critic Score: 1.5/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Rafer Guzman
Rafer Guzman
Newsday

[Fox is] so deadly serious, you long for a little fun. And that's what Jones supplies.
Critic Score: 3/5

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Bill Goodykoontz
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic

A methodical but dull fact-based drama set just after World War II.
Critic Score: 2/5

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Joe Neumaier
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News

When it stops preaching, the film is on surer footing, even if for a drama in which peace hangs in the balance, the stakes never seem very high.

March 7, 2013 Full Review
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter

This fascinating historical tale is badly crowded by a bland love story, told mainly in flashbacks.

March 7, 2013 Full Review
J. R. Jones
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

It's a rich and significant subject for scholars, but not exactly filmic.
Critic Score: 2/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Mark Feeney
Boston Globe

Shot in New Zealand, the picture's images of a devastated postwar Tokyo are often impressive, blending old-fashioned production design and effects work with digital flourishes. But Fox's role, central though it may be, never comes to life.
Critic Score: 2/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Michael Phillips
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune

The cliches are relatively few and spaced apart, and the tearjerking and profound moments are authentic and well-earned.
Critic Score: 3/4

March 7, 2013 Full Review
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times

Call it old-fashioned filmmaking, but you learn a lot and come away feeling an impact all too rare in movies today.

March 6, 2013 Full Review
Rex Reed
New York Observer

A rather thin dramatic experience.
Critic Score: B-

March 6, 2013 Full Review
Owen Gleiberman
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

Given its true-life basis, the story is already devoid of suspense regarding Hirohito's ultimate fate, and Fellers's inquiry is made more sluggish by dramatically inert conversations ...

March 5, 2013 Full Review
Nick Schager
Village Voice

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