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The Last Samurai

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Thunder, May 1, 2004.

  1. Thunder

    Thunder
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    Watched my R1 copy for the first time last night, thought the transfer was very clean and sharp but thought the audio varied. cannon fire sounded great but some subtle effects sounded muffled and confused, what did anyone else think? Any chance of a full review THX?
     
  2. FoxyMulder

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    You want my honest opinion ok here it is.

    The film sets out to be an epic tale of one mans redemption much like Dances with Wolves but where that movie succeeded this one failed and i'll tell you why, some major faults which spoiled this film for me and they were as follows.

    The music score, the cinematography and camerawork and the script.

    Lets start with the script, we first see Cruise battle the samurai at the beginning of the film and he somehow manages to fight in hand to hand combat and take out several of them yet just a little time after this when he has recovered from his battle wounds we see him fail miserably time and again against lesser opposition on the training field.

    So what happened while he was recovering ? explain how he could take out so many samurai in hand to hand combat one minute yet become so useless after this, another failing of the script is its sentimental Hollywood approach to the Japanese samurai, it doesn't feel like the scriptwriters really care for these characters it instead feels like they are pulling at the audience strings with their caricatures ( the womans husband was killed by Cruise yet she falls for him because Cruise shows so much honour and dignity and her husband died a fine death, oh yeh i can buy that typical Hollywood b*******) or the leader of the samurai who has managed to lead his army in numerous battles to numerous victories ends up being lectured by Cruise ( somehow i think it would be the other way round )

    The screenwriters have nicked so much material from Dances with Wolves including the ending but they have failed to give these characters a
    3dimensionallity and instead they are all simply Hollywood caricatures of how americans think Japanese culture is like
    ( A kira Kurosawa would be turning in his grave if he saw this film as he truly made great samurai epics)

    Lets also look at the music score, in order for a film to pull the viewer in and to make a lasting impression i truly believe you need a great music score, unfortunately Hans Zimmer who is usually a very reliable film composer was having a bad day and this music score sucks bigtime, too many strings and it doesn't draw you in and make you feel like you are watching something special on the screen, Zimmer's music for g ladiator or Thelma and Louise are great examples of how film music can aid the images onscreen and make your heart pound and your head feel like you are part of a journey, his music for The Last Samurai was poor and didnt engage you with the onscreen images.

    Lastly lets look at the cinematography and camerawork, i felt like i was watching a film which had been composed for 1.78:1 widescreen televisions and not the scope 2.35:1 it seemed to be filmed in, many many scenes were framed in a 1.78:1 ratio and the camerwork felt too static and unengaging, involving camerawork coupled with good cinematography and a fantastic music score can pull you into a film and as long as you at least have those elements you can sometimes gloss over faults within a script, unfortunately this film failed on all counts and indeed Cruise seemed just a little miscast but he pulled it off ok in the end and i have a lot of time for Cruise as an actor but this film was not the epic it should have been.

    In many ways this film reminded me of The Wind And The Lion, now that film had great cinematography and direction and an amazing music score, i would have loved to have seen what John Milius could have done with the Last Samurai and Jerry Goldsmith composing the music

    Dances With Wolves was obviously watched many times by the film's scriptwriters the trouble is Dances had great 2.35:1 cinematography, a damn fine music score and great direction and characters who didn't feel like caricatures, and indeed it was an epic, this film simply failed to live up to my high expectations, i have seen far too many real epic's to be impressed by something like this.

    Ok now having said all that i would still award the film 6 out of 10 points if i was marking it because the battle scene when they charge with their horses towards the enemy was very well done and had some exciting moments and good slow-mo photography ( one of the few instances where the camerawork could be considered great ) this film overall though was a letdown and failed to live up to the hype because of the aforementioned problems.

    I thought the picture was very good but the audio lacked some surround sound sparkle, some detail seemed lost which i think DTS would have maybe cured, Warner's don't do DTS so no chance of that, overall though i'd rate the sound very high it just lacked the ultimate finesse the very best soundtracks have.

    I have had to space g ladiator and A kira out as for some reason they are becoming clickable links in my post and will send people to an ad site, any way of stopping this happening ?
     
  3. lazarus

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    last samurai is a very good film but i have to agree - its not as good as dances with wolves.
     
  4. Miyazaki

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    I don't know why all the comparisons are with 'Dances With Wolves'? It is much more similar to the 'Shogun' series, and no-one seems to mention that.

    I personally loved it, although I think I would have prefered it without Mr Cruise.
     
  5. Iain Shields

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    I thought the soundtrack of the R1 The Last Samurai was very good, not top quality but deserves 7/8 out of ten in my view...

    I'll agree with some of what FoxyMulder has to say regarding the cinematography and the music score, not the makers best of days but not terrible either. I'd also mention that I thought alot of the battle and horse camera work drew heavily from Braveheart.

    In regards to the picking apart of the script and story I think your maybe being a little over-annalitical (spelling?!?!), I'm not having a go at you mate as I understand that American films can wander off into their own Hollywood sterotypes all too often but I feel that this didn't happen to a distracting event this time (at least not for me).

    Your point about Cruise doing well in the first battle then failing against lesser opposition later, I viewed this as Cruise being a good soldier who fought well in the battle situation (only killing the last guy because he was over confident and stupidly left himself open) then later having difficulty learning a style of fighting he did not know and applying that in technical one on one encounters.
    I also didn't find Cruise to be lecturing the samurai leader much either, just two warriors learning about eachother's way of life...

    Regards,
    Iain.
     
  6. MrFurious

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    foxy i have to disagree with you on every point,i loved the film,thats cool though because if everyone liked the same stuff the world would be a boring place,for example i hate the harry potter movies.

    but foxy what about the ninjas!!!ohh ninjas are cool.
     
  7. FoxyMulder

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    I agree the Ninjas scene was great and the end battle scene but i felt the cinematography and music score wasn't upto the usual high standards, i'll probably watch this again in 6 months time and change my opinion :)

    6 out of 10 aint that bad a score either and i deducted 4 points basically because of the poor cinematography and lacklustre music score (( why film 2.35:1 if you are basically going to frame just about every scene 1.78:1 ))
     
  8. APPRIA40WR

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    Terrible, terrible film wrapped up in a bloated mediocre DVD.

    Dances with Samurai is too good for it. I prefer McSamurai

    Better watching a real samurai film, like Kitano Zatoichi

    Nice cheap DTS Region 3 anamorphic DVD available too.
     
  9. Smurfin

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    Really enjoyed it, and thought the cinematography was excellent.
     
  10. Dean

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    I thought that Cruise's acting was better than Costner's and also thought cinematography was great.
     
  11. Miyazaki

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    If you want to watch a samurai movie then there can be only one. 'Seven Samurai' by Akira Kurosawa. An unparalelled film by an unequaled master of direction.
     
  12. coolcat

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    I felt emotionally detached from this film and just didn’t care for the characters for which I blame the director, music and script. Also I found the sound quality to be very dull. Maybe it didn’t help that the last couple of films I’ve watched were Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 and Master and Commander.
     
  13. Iain Shields

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    This one actually got me quite emotional... which dosn't happen often to me.
     
  14. Racquel Darrian

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    This was an amazing film!

    Loved every moment of it! :smashin:
     
  15. ELV

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    I loved the film also, just sat and watched and enjoyed!!!!!!!

    Simple really
     
  16. Gary D

    Gary D
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    i watched it on saturday and it was great really enjoyed it.

    But the one thing that i did note is that finally WB has put together a great 2 disc set - which is great news for those of us looking forward to Troy.



    Gary
     
  17. JAMESTALKALOT

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    I was 100% going to buy this come Friday on R2 but now i'm not so sure:confused:
     
  18. Iain Shields

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    I'd say go for it mate, it's a very good film IMO :smashin:
     
  19. Mr Merrick

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    Speaking of the musical score, many of the preview posters I saw whilst the film was in post-production credited James Horner as the composer (not Hans Zimmer).

    I remember watching 'Glory' (another Ed Zwick film) for the first time back in 1989 and to this day, it's still one of my favourite film scores.

    Zimmer's music is good, but he needs some new material.

    On another note: Is it just me or does the music for nearly every Jerry Bruckheimer production sound the same?? When 'The Rock' came out, it was new and original music, but after that everybody seemed to copy one another.

    Example: 'The Man in the Iron Mask' and 'Enemy of the State'...two completely different films (storywise), yet the main action cues are almost identical!
     
  20. betamac

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    Personaly i think your find many more people who enjoyed the film over than those who didn't, thats what i have found anyway and myself thought it was excellant :)
     
  21. Ikki

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    I enjoyed the film and the extras are good too.

    I watch films for entertainment and I don't think that there is much point in analysing them with a microscope, you will always find inconsistencies and weaknesses and be disappointed.
     
  22. dc007

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    Watched it last night and really enjoyed it.

    A few parts were typical Hollywood silly, people riddled with a hundred bullets but still staggering around, but I guess thats to be expected in this type of production...
     
  23. JAMESTALKALOT

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    OK I'm talked back in to getting it:D :thumbsup:
     
  24. FoxyMulder

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    Rent it and if you like it buy :)
     
  25. tk2001

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    I strongly disagree with you on this.

    When I went to watch this movie in the Cinema with my brother and a friend, everyone inside the auditorium was glued to the screen and I believe the musical score played a huge part in that.

    When the film finished, everyone of us commented on how enjoyable the film was and what a great soundtrack it had.

    Whats wrong with having too many strings in a music score? IMO using alot of string intruments with the right melodies accomplished it's goal in evoking certain emotions which draws you into the film.

    All the dvd reviews of the film I have read on the net has commented on what a great soundtrack it has and I completely agree.

    I personally think Hans Zimmer is a very tallented composer.
     
  26. Wasabi

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    I watched it in the cinema in Hong Kong, and the audience was like glued to the screen, and afterwards I could here everyone saying really good stuff about it. So positive reactions in HK.

    Wasabi
     
  27. JAMESTALKALOT

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    Well I bought the dvd (£15.97 Tesco) I'm going to watch the movie later so i'll post if I liked it or not. One thing though, there was nothing inside the dvd case except the 2 discs? nothing, zip. I hate empty dvd cases, even a wee leaflet with upcoming dvds would have been ok. A quid more than FOX titles and they not only come with a slip cover over the plastic Amaray but they also have nice clear amaray boxses with some nice artwork on the inside of the box.

    Come on WB, it's nice to be without the crappy snapper but you have some cheek charging more for less:devil:
     
  28. MrFurious

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    watched it again today,have to say i like it even more every time i see it,and the score is superb,i have it playing in the car,hell i liked this more than return of the king!
     
  29. JAMESTALKALOT

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    Well I've watched it and I loved it. Glad I bought it because I would 100% like to see it again soon. 8/10 from me.:smashin: :thumbsup:
     
  30. FoxyMulder

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    The music score is not one of Zimmer's best, Gladiator was memorable, Thelma And Louise fantastic, his score for The Lion King was great, this was subpar Zimmer, occasionally there were signs of a good score trying to break out but then mediocrity set in again, but hey that's just my humble opinion and i don't care if i'm the sole voice who airs it, Zimmers done much better and the Cinematography was a letdown, i still said id give the film 6 stars out of ten so i did enjoy parts of it i just expected an epic and was left wanting more.
     

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