I just saw The Seven Samurai (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa, on the big screen with Jason and Erik, as part of Jason’s ongoing attempt to make me cinematically literate. I didn’t know anything about the movie going in, but I didn’t expect it to be:
(a) three and a half hours long,
(b) so funny, and
(c) so incredibly good.
The storyline: in war-torn sixteenth-century Japan, a village learns that it will soon be the target of a group of bandits. As a last resort, some of the villagers set out to find and hire some samurai to defend them. Eventually they find seven, bring them back to the village, and together the samurai and peasants prepare to do battle. It’s a good story, and it’s told masterfully. The characters are extraordinarily well developed, especially the seven samurai, and the pacing is perfect: we see the story unfold from start to finish in great detail, but without being boring.
It’s one of these beautifully made epic stories along the lines of Lord of the Rings, but what’s easy to forget when watching movies (or reading books, or listening to music, etc.) that were made half a century ago is just how old they are. I mean that if we watch a movie from the 1950s that isn’t particularly good, we’re struck by how goofy and dated it looks. But when you watch a good one like Seven Samurai, so many of its elements have now been adapted by so many subsequent movies that it’s easy to forget what a trailblazer it really must have been.
OH YEAH! And guess who we saw as we walked back home? Lance Bass. Very random. He was with two other people and they were just walking down the sidewalk, in the opposite direction that we were headed.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]