I bought a pirate DVD copy of Rob Marshall's screen version of Memoirs of a Geisha last January 2006 in Bali for 10,000 rupiahs or approximately 50 pesos. Due to heavy workload, frequent night prowls with Mr. Steady Lang, and the quick turn of events in the political scene i was not able to watch the DVD until last week.
So on friday night i bought me two mc chicken sandwiches and a big bottle of pop cola and loaded the copy of Memoirs of a Geisha in my player. Thirty minutes into the film, i was suddenly reminded of that Lindsey Lohan monster hit in 2004, Mean Girls. Memoirs was a waste of a good material. Yes, it was visually stunning; the Geisha dance left me breathless. However, much of the film focused on the cat fights between Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) and Hatsumomo (Gong Li).
Rob Marshall was not able to recreate into the big screen the magical and mysterious world of the geishas. I don't know if this is the right term but Marshall 'americanized' the film. Although I did not live in the depression-era Japan I am sure that the Japanese during that period did not talk or bahave that way. The cat fights were outrageous. Where was the subtlety and discretion?
Although Gong Li's performance was enchanting her character in the movie was reduced to a bumbling, jealous old fart. In Arthur Golden's book, Hatsumomo is a more savvy and formidable opponent. Zhang and Michelle Yeoh's talents were completely wasted in this film. I wonder why Zhang was even nominated? Dancing in a 12-inch platform shoes dressed in tight-fit kimono perhaps merit a nomination. If that is the case then the Academy should have given the Oscar for Best Actress to Charlize Theron for her ridiculous look in Aeon Flux (hey i liked the cartoon but the movie was beyond awful)!
If you're seriously into the culture of geishas then ignore the movie and grab a copy of Golden's book. However, if you like exotic chinky-eyed girls pawing at each other then go watch Marshall's Memoirs. Good luck. Happy purring.