- Every spring, as Jews celebrate the Passover seder, they recall the story of Exodus, and how Moses warned Egypt's Pharaoh of the ten plagues that would be sent by God.
- In Shakespeare's 1599 version of Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to "beware the ides of March."
- In Shakespeare's 1611 tragedy (also known as the Scottish play), everything foretold by the three witches comes true for Macbeth.
- In A Christmas Carol (published in 1843 by Charles Dickens), Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by a serious of ghosts who warn him to change his ways.
- In Richard Wagner's operatic tetralogy, The Ring of the Nibelung, Erda is the Earth Mother figure, the goddess of wisdom who (along with her daughters, the Norns) weaves the rope of destiny.
- Sir Winston Churchill warned that "those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans to beware of the military-industrial complex.
- For years, Al Gore has been trying to warn people about the growing threat of climate change.
- From the casting of the I Ching by the ancient Chinese to the ancient Greeks who sought advice from the Oracle at Delphi, powerful men have always wanted to know if the future would reward their plans.
"In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions.
She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the tragic condition of humankind. While Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy (she warned the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), she was unable to do anything to forestall these tragedies since they did not believe her."
- General Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi) is a ruthless and power hungry Prime Minister who seeks to conquer all the warring factions of China. When his navy has problems with seasickness, his commanders develop a plan to lock his ships together so that they won't pitch and roll. When his army is stricken with typhoid fever, he sends the infectious corpses across the river in one of the earliest known uses of biological warfare.
- Liu Bei (You Yong) is a warlord in the north who, while trying to protect a large population of refugees in the early part of the film, suffers a crushing defeat at the hands of Cao Cao's brutal and massive army. Liu Bei is forced to retreat.
- Sun Quan (Chang Chen) is a warlord in the south, whose territory is high on Cao Cao's list of desired conquests.
- Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is Liu Bei's military strategist. A man of exceptional intelligence who has studied nature, history, and the philosophy of war, Zhuge Liang knows that the only hope for Lui Bei's survival is to form an alliance with his rival warlord, Sun Quan. His use of the ancient tortoise formation as a combat tactic helps to win the decisive battle of Red Cliff.
- Zhou Yu (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) is Sun Quan's Grand Viceroy, a trusted advisor and revered war hero.
- Xiao Qiao (Chi-ling Lin) is Zhou Yu's quiet, obedient, pregnant, and extremely intelligent wife -- a woman who has more than one trick up her sleeve. A long time ago, when she posed for an artist, her beauty captured the heart of Cao Cao (who expects that, after vanquishing Sun Quan, he will inherit Xiao Qiao as a trophy of war).
- Sun Shiangxiang (Wei Zhao) is Zhou Yu's younger sister, who considers herself as strong and warlike as any of Sun Quan's soldiers. After disguising herself, she manages to infiltrate General Cao Cao's army as a spy and send back valuable information via carrier pigeon.
"We have all seen Hollywood’s epic blockbusters. We, as an audience, are deeply moved by the grand imagery and heart-pounding sound achieved through modern technologies. The world’s audiences have also enjoyed the various genres of Chinese cinema, including kung-fu, action, and drama. However, Chinese historical epics are rarely depicted with the scale and technique that is found in Hollywood blockbusters. Chinese cinema contains much of our cultural heritage, including the spirit of the martial arts. Using the medium of cinema, we are able to express our ideals and culture through different layers. These thoughts led me to make a film about the heroes of the Three Kingdoms outside of the martial arts genre. It is a film I had long dreamed of making, ever since I read about the heroes from that glorious time in history.The story of Red Cliff took place 1,800 years ago in China. It was a battle bearing significant historical importance. Through the widely told tales of the battle, we learned of the great intelligence and bravery of the ancient people of China who, though gravely outnumbered, managed to defeat their enemies. I believe, that by working with our talented teams and utilizing recent technological advances, we are able to create this epic tale in a film on the same scale as a Hollywood blockbuster.Through on-location filming and post-production special effects, we recreated the realism of the ancient battlefield. Such visual spectacle has never been seen on the Chinese screen. My goal is for this film to rise above cultural and historical barriers, so that the Western audience feels as if they are watching an Asian Troy while the Eastern audience can discover new perspectives on a familiar story. I also wanted to prove that here in China we are capable of creating an epic film of the same caliber as a Hollywood production."
"For me, the most attractive aspects of Romance of the Three Kingdoms are not the supernatural characters idealized by the novel, but the true heroism the characters show. The world has many kinds of heroes, but I like heroes that are real and human. I see many similarities between my idea of what a hero should be and the characters of Three Kingdoms.I genuinely believe that human emotion is universal and not bound by culture. The same values of virtue, morality, and friendship are praised in the West just as they are in the East. Though these feelings are expressed in different ways, deep inside we all essentially share the same emotions. With this in mind, I disregarded a great deal of the details in the book when I made Red Cliff.I truly wished to make a film that could be enjoyed by audiences all over the world. Inside my heart, film knows no boundary. While audiences in the East love many great movies from the West, Western audiences also appreciate the splendid culture of the East. Therefore, I genuinely hope that when you watch Red Cliff you do not look at it as a Chinese film or a Hollywood film, but as a global film."
"We had to reconstruct these huge historical images and imbue them with a dynamic rhythm to make them come alive. I approached Red Cliff in two different ways. First, I wanted to do things on a huge scale with great atmosphere, similar to classical Chinese painting. Second, I wanted to make everything very detailed and accurate and spent a great deal of time looking at every known artifact from the Warring States period. These details enlivened the design, and many are also symbolic of the period. The Han dynasty is known, on the one hand, for its large scale and imposing manner, but also for its elegant details. We paid special attention to accurately recreating those details.Fengyi Zhang as General Cao CaoWe consulted with many history experts specializing in different fields, including construction, military affairs, the legal system, weapons, clothes, and the lifestyles of the people of the time, including both peasants and aristocrats. I also personally traveled to
to meet with experts there on the Warring States period, where I found additional information on the ways to make armor and ancient weapons, which was extremely helpful." Japan
- Red Cliff was first immortalized in the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Although written over 700 years ago, the novel is still widely read all over Asia and has spawned more than a dozen video games and numerous comic books. When making a movie about the Three Kingdoms, one has to include important military figures, such as generals Zhao Yun, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu (who is worshipped as a god in many Asian countries).
- Although the precise location of Red Cliff’s battlefield has been the subject of both popular and academic debates, it has never been conclusively established.
- The course and length of the
Yangtze Riverhave changed drastically since 208 AD and the names of the key locations have changed throughout the years. In 1998, the city of Puqi in Hubei Province was renamed Chibi City (Red Cliff City), in a direct attempt to tie the location to the historical battlefield. Assuming that was the real location of the Battle of Red Cliff, the amount of river traffic made it impossible for Woo to film there. The local geography was also vastly different from what the filmmaker had imagined for his movie.
- The scene of Zhuge Liang’s “borrowing of the enemy’s arrows with the straw boats” was taken directly from the novel.
- The huge art department for the production of Red Cliff at one point consisted of more than 1,000 designers, carpenters, construction workers, seamstresses, prop men and shipbuilders.
- The battle of San Jiang Kuo required more than 1,000 foot soldiers, 300 horses, 300 horsemen, and more than 700 crew members.
- The planning for the naval battle segment of the film took more than a year and required that 18 full-scale ships be built on location (due to their size, it would have been too difficult to transport them to the reservoir where filming took place). The construction of the ships took eight months (from October 2006 to May 2007) and the largest ship was more than 125 feet long. At the same time, four large floating docks were built on the same site. Many boats were built in a nearby shipyard and transported to the reservoir. The remaining 2,000 ships were created digitally.
- A studio executive in the United States suggested combining several generals on the allies’ side into one person (an idea which, for Western audiences, would have been like combining President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Great Britain's Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, and France's President Charles de Gaulle into one person when making a movie about World War II).
- Woo created two versions of Red Cliff: a two-part, five-hour version for Asian audiences and a single 2-1/2 hour version for Western audiences.
The question then becomes: Is Chris Smith's documentary a film you should see?
- Obviously, it lacks the slick CGI special effects that brought Roland Emmerich's popular disaster movie, 2012 (which had a production budget of $200 million) nearly $242 million in domestic and international box office revenues in its first six days before the public.
- Nor does Collapse have a pounding score designed to drive terror into your heart.
- Instead, it offers audiences a heaping dose of icy cold fear wrapped in a pile of inconvenient truths.