Sunday, October 22, 2006

[1980] KAGEMUSHA: Lucas should've offered to edit too when he was offering Kurosawa Star Wars bucks to finish this thing, because I think it went on a bit too long. I dunno--I haven't seen that much Kurosawa, but I had the distinct impression he was trying to do a Leone movie here. It's probably just the combination of the huge running time and the trumpet fanfares on the soundtrack that gave me that sense. (Well--that and the dream sequence, which seemed like the musings of the railroad baron in Once Upon A Time In The West when he was staring into picture of the ocean. Except Leone did that in a couple of lingering closeups and some ocean noise on the soundtrack; Kurosawa had to break open the whole box of crayons.) Yeah, there's color, and pageantry, and young men being sacrificed on the altar of color and pageantry, and a wandering thief who ends up being the only one who believes in all the color and pageantry. I just--I feel like I've seen this rags-to riches-to rags story done better (as recently as Melvin & Howard!) As long as Kagemusha himself was front and center this film was golden, but the frequent and lengthy interludes in enemy camps and internal politics is taking this down a notch for me.

The guy who played Shingen's brother was great too. The guys doing peasant-stock comic relief were fun too (one of the many stylistic quirks Lucas stole from Kurosawa.) Hey--I didn't hate it, but I'm not praising it to the moon either.

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