Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: December 9, 1987 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Generally favorable reviews based on 22 Critics
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Empire of the Sun is such a grand, successful blend of epic filmmaking and personal drama, it's hard to believe Steven Spielberg made it. [11 Dec 1987, p.G15]
Spielberg's Empire of the Sun dispels with the sugar coating that turned Alice Walker's searing novel about racial and sexual subjugation into "The Color Purple: The Coffee Table Edition." Yet, Spielberg retains a sense of innocence in this ambitious, visionary tale. [10 Dec 1987, p.6]
With an edgy, intelligent script by playwright Tom Stoppard, Mr. Spielberg has made an extraordinary film out of Mr. Ballard's extraordinary war experience. [09 Dec 1987]
Empire of the Sun is an imperfect film, but at its best it's grand and haunting in ways that only a movie can be. [11 Dec 1987]
Spielberg has filmed Empire of the Sun with great care, paying keen attention to every detail of its time and place. If the film ultimately seems flat and superficial, it's because Spielberg just isn't the right filmmaker for this kind of tough historical subject. [9 Dec 1987, p.21]
Although he misses reaching to the heart of Jim's spirit and his relationship to other people, Spielberg has clearly taken an impressive step forward in shaping his new and adult vision for the screen. [11 Dec 1987]
Although Tom Stoppard's script lifts Ballard's spare dialogue directly from the page, the context in which it is placed is kitsch. [11 Dec 1987]
A faithful, technically brilliant, but also dramatically malnourished film of J.G. Ballard's popular World War II novel. [08 Dec 1987]
Empire of the Sun seems to end a half-dozen times -- always a bad sign. Its merits notwithstanding -- and Spielberg probably can't make a bad film -- in its own way this movie is as ego-heavy and ponderous as Ishtar. It's literary, all right. Empire of the Sun is a weighty tome indeed. [11 Dec 1987, p.D1]