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The Admiral

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The Admiral

This was an exciting action movie about one of the most important admirals in naval history, Yi Sun-sin. Admiral Yi is a towering figure in Korean history. He lead Korea’s navy during the Japanese invasion in the late 1590s. One of his signature technological achievements is known as turtle boats. These were early iron clad wooden naval vessels, which were effective in repealing the Japanese tactic of boarding ships and fighting hand to hand combat.
Admiral Yi was falsely accused of treason by his rivals in the Joseon royal court and tortured. The movie begins after his release and the restoration of the rank as admiral. Despite his travails he fought bravely to defend Korea against a massive Japanese onslaught. The movie chronicles his naval victory over an overwhelming large Japanese force in the battle of Myeongnyang. He fleet was outnumber 25 to 1 and his victory is considered a turning point in the war as the Japanese were unable to sufficiently provision their ground troops fighting on the Korean peninsula.
This movie is appropriate for classroom use at the secondary level. It is unrated, but would probably merit a PG or PG 13 rating due to the action scenes. Though the fighting sequences are exciting and action filled, they portray less blood and gore than a student would see on prime time American TV. The film is engaging and would likely be a hit with students. If I were teaching 7th grade I would definite include the movie in a unit on Japan or Korea, as it highlights an important period of history for both nations. The movie would be especially appropriate as a closing activity for the unit, because the teacher must present lessons to provide background information in order for the students to understand the events portrayed. Though the historical events in the movie are not covered in the 10th grade standards, I think it would still be appropriate in a world history course, because it shows that some of the animosity that Koreans and Chinese have towards the Japanese predate World War II.
The boxed DVD includes both subtitled and dubbed version of the movie. I chose to the watch the subtitled version because I found the dubbed version laughable. A middle school class might not be so discerning, so I would probably show them the dubbed version. They would likely tune out if they had to read subtitles. I would probably show the subtitle version in a high school class.