Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai

As I said in my previous post, I was going to write about Seven Samurai today. I had to watch this movie in my action movie class. Of course, this movie is three and a half hours longs, so we had to split it into parts to watch. We watched the first hour in the morning class, and then the last part in the evening screening lab. I think that made me appreciate the movie more, because I really wouldn’t be able to sit through this all at once. Okay, here we go!

My overall reaction is that this really isn’t what I would consider to be an action movie. It’s more like a melodrama. Also, I would definitely not watch this on my own free will, and probably will not consider watching it again in the future. Since this movie is over 50 years old, I’m going to spoil stuff.

Point 1: This is kinda irrelevant, but during the opening credits there were subtitles for the director, the producers, and the major actors. That’s only 1/3 of the opening credits. The other 2/3 there were just lists of the other minor actors without subtitles, and I kept thinking, “Yeah, I see how it is. These people just aren’t good enough for you, huh, subtitle/translator person?”

Point 2: For most of the film, they’re planning their defense. It’s not that exciting.

Point 3: It touches on plot points and then glazes over them.
Example a- The farmer’s wife is captured by bandits? But then why the hell does she run back into the fire?
Example b- Kikuchiyo’s past… “This baby is me!” So open ended.

Point 4: As to not be completely negative, there were a few shots that I really loved. The lighting, the camera angle, and the position of the actors were just perfect. My favorite shot was during the funeral after Kikuchiyo runs off to get a musket and his friend dies. It’s a really beautiful shot! Sorry, I don’t have a screenshot of it though. I did, however, find my other favorite shot:

It’s really nice, isn’t it?

Point 5: Being a woman, stupid women annoy me. Even though, she’s only in it for a few scenes… gah. Whiny, whiny, whiny! Also, farmers– my goodness! They really pissed me off.

Point 6: Oddly, my favorite samurai is Katsushiro, who is the love interest for Ms. Whiny. I like his innocence and his sincerity. Also, he makes the scenes with Ms. Whiny somewhat handle-able. He changes the most from the events, and he becomes a lot wiser about some things. It’s strange, but I can really relate to his character. The other samurai are great too, but Katsushiro is still #1! =)

Point 7: Despite the sound system in the classroom being mediocre, and the movie being super old so the sound quality was just bad over all, I really like the music. (You see, John Woo, sometimes it’s better to NOT use random pop ballads!)

Point 8: The ending was good. By this point, I was sitting there thinking, “What time is it? Is it over yet?” Regardless of that, it was a really appropriate ending. Especially since the Japanese had just lost WWII when this film was made. It sent out a good message: that not every battle can be won, that some victories aren’t for yourself, that losing doesn’t make you a bad person. This is what I believe as well.

So, if you’ve seen this movie and loved it, well good for you. If you haven’t seen this movie, I would suggest you see, because it’s a classic and it’s one of the “greatest movies ever” (seriously, it’s ranked that). Although, I might suggest you just watch about the first hour, skip the next hour, and then finish the movie. Ha ha… but I’m sure that fans would consider that cheating, so only watch it if you have time.

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2 comments on “Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai

  1. I must say that I am a little surprised at your assessment of this film. While I agree with you in so far as it is not the greatest thing since sliced bread it does have its merits.

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