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Last Samurai - words first
some sense later
wrayb
Last Samurai
OK. I was expecting the worst when I first saw tv ads for the new Tom Cruise movie. I mean, what the hell, Tom Cruise playing some out of place American in Japan and being billed as "The Last Samurai"??????? Then when I went to see the Tupac movie they had a trailer for TLS and it included scenes where Cruise was shown learning about Samurai traditions the hard way: being repeatedly whacked with a practice sword. So I was at least glad that the plot wasn't going to be completely absurd.

Saw the movie last night. To my knowledge the Cruise role is totally fictitious but the lead Japanese warrior is based on a man who was a leader among the Samurai who did oppose the extreme efforts at modernization, and who is known for being one of the few who did learn English. Yes, it is hollywood movie with the romantization that usually comes from that source, but I feel that it did reasonably cover the credo of Samurai and is a decent depiction of the time and place.

Some online reviews come down harder on the historical imprecision. The only thing that really bugged me was the total absence of any flavor of Japan in the soundtrack.

In my mind this tune was playing as they rolled credits:

Heisei Ishinn by King Giddra

Another contemporary Japanese tune with traditional elements is Izumi by Uzi

Those are direct links to mp3 files that are about 4mb. a bit big if you are on a slow or dial modem connection.

laters peeps.

wray

Current Mood: optimistic optimistic

4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
zenseer From: zenseer Date: December 9th, 2003 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I saw someone in LiveJournal call it "Dances with Samurai"... heh heh...

There may be a day where such a movie can be done without Hollywood adding a caucasian actor to be the "relate through me" character... but it's going to take a long time, I think.
From: wrayb Date: December 9th, 2003 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)

dancing with the caucasians

yes, i've seen that reference too. i've never seen that Costner film. perhaps that is an advantage. that subject matter is very dear to my heart but fraught with dangers as i live as a total anglo looking guy with traces of native american blood and just lurk cause I'm afraid I'll be chased out of NA chat rooms as a wannabee.

sigh, big period epics can cost lots, so the financiers need to know that they got some sort of box office guarantee. that's one reason i don't get too bothered over the Cruise character.

crap. that's the 3rd lj post i've done today using the word guarantee.

next I'll be raving about imitation cajuns, i guarantee.

cheers.
kumimonster From: kumimonster Date: December 9th, 2003 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
go check out that angryasianman .com linky i posted

:D
From: wrayb Date: December 9th, 2003 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)

love the action figure

that review from paolo that is quoted isn't quite accurate, but i can understand the angst and why he spewing and skewing. kinda an affirmation plot action demand... as for the love subplot between cruise and the widow, except for a hollywood style kiss it wasn't too objectional to me. there is some basis for such things. sheeit. i was fearful that they were going to have a full sexy love scene that just would've been totally impossible and unrealistic.

guess i usually expect the worst from hollywood so i'm easily appeased.

I suddenly recall an African film I saw years ago. Made in Africa, by Africans, for Africans. It was a political and social satire. Some other time I'll try to remember the name/director/etc. One feature of the film, made and set in the late 60s/early 70s, was several regime changes. Each time when the newly self selected crew took charge it was the same 3 white guys (French I think) who would come in and give them a valise full of cash and "advise" them on the business of government. sad, but hilarious. a friend and i who felt like colonialists in New Orleans joked that we wanted to grow up to be those 3 guys. grotesquely I later observed the back lashes against such capitalistic imperialism and feared that co-workers and friends might get Idi Amined. Everyone made it back alive. phew.

god what a world.
4 comments or Leave a comment