Under it's original English-language title, The Banquet, Feng Xiaogang's loose, Chinese-language adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet played various film festivals (Venice, Toronto, AFI Fest, Palm Springs, Portland, Seattle, New York Asian) and garnered a fair amount of praise. Featuring many stately speeches, beautiful costumes, and stars Ziyi Zhang and Daniel Wu, The Banquet struck me as too inert for its own good, but I respected what the filmmakers accomplished.

The Banquet is a classy and distinguished moniker, somewhat anonymous, but reflective of the affairs of state depicted therein. The film's home video rights were finally sold to DVD distributor Dragon Dynasty. In their infinite wisdom, they decided to rename it as -- drum roll, please -- The Legend of the Black Scorpion. In the words of more than one message board commenter across the globe: "What the f***?"

This title is just as anonymous as the original but bespeaks a poverty of imagination, as though every Asian movie set in the past needs to be prefixed with "Legend." Dragon Dynasty's parent, The Weinstein Co., has done this for years, in fact, starting off by changing Drunken Master II (starring Jackie Chan) to The Legend of Drunken Master, and then retitling Fong Sai Yuk and Fong Sai Yuk 2 (both starring Jet Li) to the more English-friendly The Legend and The Legend 2, and changing Swordsman II (also with Jet Li) to The Legend of the Swordsman.
categories Features, DVDs, Cinematical