Saturday, October 06, 2007

DVD Review: Seven Samurai (1954) ang Kagemusha (1980)

Forget Tom Cruise's "Last Samurai."

Just got hooked into Akira Kurosawa samurai movies at the moment.. I remember my ex-boss used to bug me to watch "Seven Samurai" before I die, and revealed to me that "The Magnificent Seven" was nothing but a ripoff of the Japanese original. I declined then - because the only AK movie I saw was "Dreams"- and it bored me.

So what the heck, I finally decided to watch it anyway. I haven't seen the Hollywood version, but I'd say "Seven Samurai" would be one of the finest movies I have ever seen - this is of course, bearing in mind that it was done in 1954. Name any aspect of filmmaking, and it's all here, masterfully crafted.. plot, story, characterization, cinematography, visuals.. Never mind that it is 3 hours long, there is never a dull moment here. So I thought, hmm, AK isn't so overrated after all. If you had to choose only one AK movie to watch, this definitely it. (Trivia: the film was released in black and white, and yet AK rejected certain samurai costumes for not having the correct red tint..) Rottentomatoes gave it a.. 100%. Dang..

Getting all excited with his samurai films, I decided to watch another of his later projects, "Kagemusha". It's a story of a "shadow" warrior, a double for a Japanese shogun who had to impersonate the feudal lord three years after his death. Quite nice though, visuals are stunning, but it was a bit dragging. Story is ok, but pales in comparison to "Seven Samurai". "Kagemusha" is the perfect companion while washing and pressing your clothes. Perhaps I shouldve watched this first, before going to the AK main event.

Googling AK films though, a lot of AK fanatics actually rate "Ran" (Japanese for Chaos) as his best work. Will hunt for that as well..

They ran indeed..

And posed for a shot.

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