Still Looking For It
Sent on a mission to accompany two priests to china with the goal of converting Kublai Khan (Brian Dennehy) and his court to Christianity, Marco Polo (Ian Somerhalder) finds himself left to carry on alone when the priests turn back. But Polo pushes on till he reaches the court of Kublai Khan where along with his servant, Pedro (BD Wong) he is accepted and lives for many years despite clear danger. After two decades Polo returns to the West with a chronicle of his experiences.
Let me explain what "Marco Polo", the 2007 TV Movie is, it is a historic biopic but made for a Western audience who are more interested in the look and how easy it is to watch rather than historic accuracy. As such we not only have everyone speaking English so that it is easy to understand but we have recognizable actors dubiously cast in Eastern roles which explains the casting of Brian Dennehy in heavy makeup as Kublai Khan. And on top of this we have a lavish production for a TV movie, big sets, CGI back drops and great looking costumes. Visually "Marco Polo" is quite impressive and you can see that quite a bit of money was lavished on the production.
The trouble is that not only does "Marco Polo" struggle for authenticity due to it playing for a Western audience but you already need to have read up on the life of Marco Polo to follow the movie. Now this seems to me to be ridiculous because those who already know the life of Marco Polo are going to watch expecting authenticity whilst those who will enjoy the appealing look of the movie will struggle to not only follow the story but stay interested especially as this extends to 165 minutes.
What this all boils down to is that "Marco Polo" is undoubtedly a pretty looking TV movie and clearly had money lavished on its look. But from wrong casting to requiring knowledge of Marco Polo's life to watch the movie it just doesn't work and to me doesn't seem to have an audience.