Coldplay and Rihanna finally release the green-screen heavy video for single Princess Of China [which I reviewed here, what seems like an eternity ago]. The teaser released a while back hinted that something a little special, and dare I "iconic" was in the making, but the actual video doesn't quite fulfil that promise. Well not to me anyway.
As expected, Rihanna steals the show from her duet partner Chris Martin. She may even have done a more thorough job in doing so from the rest of the band, rendering them completely invisible, because I sure as hell didn't see them anywhere. A feat in no small part due to her wardrobe- an amalgamation of traditional Chinese dress and her own brand of overt sexuality- which Rihanna herself labelled "gangsta goth geisha". But not content with just being a living mannequin, Rihanna rolls up her sleeves and also gets involved in the performance aspect of the video, doing a pretty good job in the process.
Though the video is a treat for the eyes, even I can see that, it pales in comparison when compared to the magical places the directors -Adria Petty and Alan Bibby- drew their inspiration from. From the Drum Dance of House Of Flying Daggers [see below], to the floating fights of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the scenes recreated are aesthetically pleasing, but totally hollow. Particularly heartbreaking for me was the inclusion of a routine seemingly influenced by the Dance Of A Thousand Hands [see below]- a piece that nearly moved me to tears the first time I saw it.
Honestly, the whole video makes me a little sad. Seeing such beautiful expressions of culture, tradition and history used in such an exploitive, frankly throwaway, fashion is a tad depressing. Hey-ho, it's only a video. And I suppose it is "pretty" after all. *sigh*