China Film Group's The Founding of a Republic
(2009) demonstrated how what is essentially a period political drama could be molded into a movie event and commercial blockbuster. In 2011, the Republic
co-directors Han Sanping and Huang Jianxin employ the formula again to create another sweeping historical epic in Beginning of the Great Revival
, this time as a homage to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. While Republic
dealt with the events leading up to the founding of the People's Republic of China by the Communist Party between 1945-49, Revival
goes further back in time to tell how the Party itself was established in the first place. With bigger production values, the film depicts the tumultuous years in China after the fall of the Qing monarchy in 1911, chronicling the Xinhai Revolution, warlord Yuan Shikai's rise to power, the May Fourth Movement, the birth of the Communist Party in 1921, and other major historical events of the time interspersed with massive-scale set pieces of war and national uprisings.
For many audiences, the biggest draw of Revival lies in its extravagant ensemble cast, which reportedly consists of 178 top actors in starring or cameo roles. The focus of the story is on Liu Ye's young Mao Zedong and other Communist Party founders like Aloys Chen's Zhou Enlai, Feng Yuanzheng's Chen Duxiu, Zhang Jiaze's Li Dazhao, Liao Fan's Zhu De, and Han Geng's Deng Xiaoping. Other prominent historical figures include Chow Yun Fat's Yuan Shikai, Andy Lau's Cai E, Ma Shaohua's Sun Yat Sen, Zhang Hanyu's Song Jiaoren, Wang Xueqi's Cai Yuanpei, Nie Yuan's Chen Qimei, Dong Jie's Soong Ching Ling, Cecilia Han's Soong Mei Ling, and Chang Chen's Chiang Kai Shek. The star-studded roster goes on with Zhou Xun, Fan Bingbing, Zhao Benshan, Fan Wei, Deng Chao, Guo Xiaodong, Bai Bing, Yu Shaoqun, Wang Bo Chieh, Leehom Wang, Daniel Wu, Ray Lui, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung, Alex Fong, Michelle Ye, Angelababy, John Woo, and many more.
2-disc China Version DVD comes with special features like trailer, making-of, and various behind-the-scenes features.