Saw it yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite its 2-and-a-half hour length.
December 7th, 2003, 09:30 PM
Can you tell us a bit more about it Shezad? I'm DYING to see this movie but as Christmas shopping has rendered me totally broke it will be a while before I go see it.
Namely, do you think that the depiction of samurai is hollywood-ized? Or does it seem pretty accurate? I assume Tom Cruise does a decent acting job--he normally does.
December 8th, 2003, 03:55 AM
Not out here till 4th Jan, Shehzad, though I have seen the trailer.
It looks good but reminds me of James Clavell's Shogun. Would you say that was true? Am looking forward to seeing it though.
December 8th, 2003, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by Miriamele
Namely, do you think that the depiction of samurai is hollywood-ized? Or does it seem pretty accurate?
It's pretty god-awful in terms of accuracy, from what I've read. It isn't out here, though.
You can find threads on www.e-budo.com and www.swordforum.com discussing the various problems with the portrayal of the period in some of their forums. Generally speaking the word is they hired many experts on the period and culture and then more or less ignored the hell out of them.
As with all movies featuring sword-work, the distance tends to be far too close for reality. They squeeze participants together in order to get 'em up close and personal in the frame. This is obvious from the trailer.
In general Tom Cruise is going around saying many many dumb ass things about how 'Bushido has inspired him' and how it is similar to scientology and generally just horrifying people. I hear there is a clip of him on a talk-show trying to teach someone how to use a sword, and it's really a case of the blind leading the blind.
December 8th, 2003, 12:47 PM
The accuracy tends to suffer, for sure. I'm not an expert on the period but I'm sure the real sword-fights were not like that. On the other hand, they are pretty darn exciting as it is. And ninjas: it has ninjas! Gotta love a movie with ninjas!
The battles are grandiose and lavishly produced. Certainly some of the most epic battle scenes this year, though I'm sure RoTK will put paid to THAT title. The story is thin but enough to carry the 2-1/2 hr length.
And yes, there are comparisons to Shogun (which I haven't seen) as well as to Dances With Wolves (which I have, liked this better), but its an entertaining movie in its own right.
Tom Cruise does a decent job, though he's not stretched. Ken Watanbe (who plays the rebel Samurai leader) is magnificent, though, and pretty much steals the movie. The movie revolves around those two, and everybody else has little to do but support the bond.
Any more comments than that would be spoilers, but bottom line: Tom Cruise + Samurai sword + ninjas = entertaining movie.
PS: I'm sure the swordfighting aficionados will have a lot to say about it, and will find faults with it, but that's OK. I can't stand ER either. :)
December 11th, 2003, 06:10 PM
I'm a filmmaker and a martial artist and y'know, despite the pretense, I enjoyed it! (Save for three or four "Hollywood" moments that I hated.)
The choreography is actually harder for film--everything has to be slowed down if you want to see it properly (as film rolls at 24 frames per second and oftentimes the blades move much faster than film can catch) and yes, everything has to move in much closer--which, if using katana and wakazaski at the same time takes a little bit of practice; add multiple opponents, as in the film, and you're talking some serious rehearsal time if you're using even daito (wooden katana).
I can't fault Cruise for his enthusiasm--he had skilled instructors, and working with guys like that intensively for a few months can get even the daftest fool competely charged for it.
Although comparing it to Scientology, well--let's just say the bushido would have a hard time accepting Xenu as anything but bakabanashi gaijinmuke.
December 12th, 2003, 05:48 AM
Originally posted by NeuroMortis
which, if using katana and wakazaski at the same time takes a little bit of practice;
Minor quibble... In japanese swordsmanship the two weapons are amost never used at the same time. One was a primary weapon wielded with two hands, the other was an indoor auxillary weapon. Shots of Cruise wading through battle with a blade in each hand are very Hollywood.
Miyamoto Musashi's school of swordsmanship was regarded as innovative and daring for precisely this reason: they did use 'em at the same time.
December 12th, 2003, 12:09 PM
I think the only time he used both was when he was ambushed in the square by 4 men (or was it five?)--the rest of the time he only wielded one weapon at a time.
Yeah, I know--proficiency in one weapon alone would take years, let alone two against seasoned opponents. But hey, suspension of disbelief and all. (And this was actually one of the Hollywood moments I didn't care for--though the choreography was was nice, they went and showed the entire fight again in slow motion when it was over. I was like, Uh....guys?)
Invoke the name of Musashi, will you? In the same thread as Tom Cruise?!?
Kneels, opening shirt...
December 12th, 2003, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by NeuroMortis
Yeah, I know--proficiency in one weapon alone would take years, let alone two against seasoned opponents. But hey, suspension of disbelief and all.
That's not quite what I was getting at- was trying to say that historically japanese swordsmanship did not make use of both long and short swords at the same time except in unusual cases like Musashi's Niten ryu.
(And this was actually one of the Hollywood moments I didn't care for--though the choreography was was nice, they went and showed the entire fight again in slow motion when it was over. I was like, Uh....guys?)
Sounds like a Van Damme film: 'Let's show the same kick from four different angles in slow motion'. :D
Kneels, opening shirt... [/B]
Yeah! Take it all off, baby!
December 12th, 2003, 02:37 PM
That's not quite what I was getting at..
Oh, nono, I know--I segued with the new paragraph; the dual sword combat springboarded me because I know some people will take issue with the fact that he also learned how to use them both within a period of a season. :eek: