The wilds of outer Mongolia

I finally got around to watching Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan. Since I was pretty sure my wife didn't want to see it, I had to wait a bit longer than I might have, otherwise.

One thing occurred to me around the beginning of the movie that made things feel a little bit weird. Mongols were originally caucasians (indistinguishable from Russians, I would guess, which might, now that I think about it, go some distance towards explaining the Russian director and crew). It wasn't until Genghis Khan's time, when they conquered the Hans and heavily interbred with them, that they developed the mongoloid eyes (irony there, I know) and other asian characteristics.

But the movie would definitely feel even weirder (and, who knows, maybe offensive to today's Mongols) if it was a bunch of white people running around speaking Mongol. It might well feel to them similar to how Japanese probably feel upon seeing Mickey Rooney's performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

As far as the movie itself, it was an interesting attempt to re-envision Genghis Khan as a deeply feeling person. While I'm not without some skepticism, this is the sort of thing I love to watch or read. Kind of a redemption of a person widely perceived as evil.

This is the reason why Mists of Avalon is my favorite telling of the Arthurian cycle. (And searching for that link was the first time I'd run across the movie version. Have to think about seeing that.)

In fact, this movie ends up painting Temudjin as someone worthy of a great deal of respect, rather than fear. It rather contradicts basically everything I'd heard of Genghis Khan, as far as his values (particularly his way of treating subjugated peoples), but I've no idea where the truth in that lies.

It also leaves mostly unanswered how he built power after several times being reduced to just himself, with no followers. Regardless of the truth, it makes for a very compelling story, told around some absolutely gorgeous scenery. Whoever did the location scouting (forgot to search the credits for who it was) did a fantastic job.

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