the original same-named novel; however, Chen Kaige the director did a suffering job to make a boring movie.
The difficulty of adapting the novel to a movie is that there are lots of stories clued by the leading hero, scoping the lives in China before Sino-Japan war in 1930's, but one movie just can not hold the so many stories. The failure of movie lies in it: the director/writer failed to tell a good story. Instead, he tried to tell three stories but failed to tell each one of them well. So the attractiveness of the movie derives from the big cast.
Improved visual effect can not cover its slacking plots, and Mr Chen still be unable to tell an acceptable story to the audience.