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Jack Heinlen
12-15-2004, 11:40 PM
The VHS version of 'The Last Samurai' is basically unreadable. They are small, and they go by in an instant. They fit with the theme. The film is inane. I'm never going to get a film on the basis of a reviewer again, I swear. The reviewers of film are being paid off, if you hadn't scoped that.

Wobble, wiff, learn how to use a Samurai sword, but puke in the end.

If the subtitles were readable I'd give it a closer examination. I'm two thirds through it, and I haven't be able to read more than a word or two of the Japanese.

Stupin anyway. Ridiculous premise, sweet production and lousy actor, Tom Cruise. Why do I give my money?

Keith Wilson
12-16-2004, 09:35 AM
I suspect that the subtitles were sized for the screen in theaters, and they forgot to redo them when they put in on DVD. Silly movie, I agree, although visually impressive.

The actual history of the early Meiji period and the westernization of Japan is fascinating. You might be interesting in reading about Saigo Takamori and the Satsuma rebellion, the fellow on whom Ken Watanabe's character was based. (Watanabe's a very good actor, BTW, much better than Cruise.)

Photo of Saigo Takamori:
http://www.jsf.or.jp/sln/acid_e/acid_mate/003saigo.jpg

One curious point in the film, although it has nothing to do with actual history: the scene at the end where Tom Cruise presents Emperor Meiji the sword, and changes his mind - that could be seen as setting Japan on a disastrous path that ended at Hiroshima. Of course, neither the director nor most of the audience knows enough about history to catch that.

[ 12-16-2004, 10:53 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Victor
12-16-2004, 09:49 AM
I once made a list of all the films I ever saw that I'd like to see again. There were only 33.

[ 12-16-2004, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: Victor ]

Jack Heinlen
12-16-2004, 11:36 AM
The first time I saw 'Seven Samurai' it had almost as bad subs. It was a copy of a copy, and it was very difficult to read. My copy now, remastered, is fine, though I've noted subtle differences in the language.

The martial scene in 'Seven Samurai'(it's replete with them), where the difference between the master and the poseur is demonstrated, is one of the finest martial scenes ever captured. It makes Cruise's scenes, trying to learn Japanese martial rigor, ridiculous. Oh, some of those scenes are visually good, but what a bunch of ignorant violence. That good martial scene is spoken in four minutes of film time, and very little dialogue, and very little blood. The poseur's stagger when he's killed is enough, filmed in half-time by Kurasowa.

All I get from 'The Last Samurai' is the director's and writer's infatuation with an image of Bushido. It's very weak.

Mark Van
12-16-2004, 01:25 PM
Seven Samari is a much more entertaining film. I saw the DVD version, and it was great. The director didn't take himself too seriously, and there are some very funny scenes.

Keith Wilson
12-16-2004, 01:52 PM
That was an amazing scene. Kurosawa was one of the very best. Last Samurai isn't even close to being in the same class.

http://www.grijalvo.com/imagenes/jc_kurosawa_7s_desafio.jpg

[ 12-16-2004, 02:53 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Jack Heinlen
12-16-2004, 03:09 PM
"It's so obvious."

For those not aware, the film is, in part, about recruiting warriors, for a just but not very lucrative cause. And Mark is correct, it has wonderful humor in it. The scene where the rejected recruit brings things together, the townspeople, provincial farmers, is without par.

"It's so obvious." is spoken by the leader of the quasi-mercenaries, trying to find recruits, watching two mis-matched men fencing.

Brilliant, brilliant film.