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4.7 out of 5 stars
Seven Samurai [Blu-ray]
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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on January 11, 2002
I bought this DVD with the idea that The Criterion Collection produces very high quality DVDs. Though I understand this is an old film, I was very surprised to find that the quality of the print was inferior to the DVD of the same film published in the UK by the British Film Institute (available on amazon's UK site). The UK release was transferred from a new and seemingly flawless print of the film. Perhaps this Criterion edition was from an older print - at least there were regular artifacts all over the screen, and in most of the brighter shots, for example where a lot of sky is visible, the picture pulsates. This is a familiar sight to anyone who watches old movies, but I was surprised to find it on this DVD, especially considering the perfect picture of the BFI release, which is so good that it looks like the film was shot yesterday. I also found the commentary was a little bit of a let-down. I found there was too much only slightly interesting trivia, and not enough analysis. That being said, the commentary on the UK DVD was completely worthless.
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on March 16, 2001
Very long. They could have cut out about 1.5 hours and the movie would have been just as effective. It is an excellent portrayal of the harshness the Japanese people lived through for centuries. This movie teaches lots of lessons, the most important being how strong a family and village bond can be.
The entire country is in the middle of an economic catastrophe. A small rice-farming village is constantly attacked by bandits who steal all their food and leave them to die. In a final effort to save their village and their lives, they seek out samurai to protect them. When they convince a samurai that their cause is worth fighting for, he assembles a team of warriors to plan a defense for the town against the bandits.
Another DVD that seriously needs English dubbing. Sub-titles give me headaches, especially when they go on for over three hours. Great film though, even if you have to watch it over three sittings.
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on July 22, 2002
For a film with such a hefty price tag, I would expect the english subtitles to at least be accurate...there are instances, such as when the word "become" is confused with "because," that simply make no sense.
Aside from that (again keeping in mind the massive price tag Criterion has assigned to this disc), there are plenty of scratches and weird black spots scattered throughout the print. They cleaned up some of it, but apparently ran out of patience (I don't see how they could have run out of money!).
I give 5 stars to Akira Kurosawa, but loud jeers for the greedy crooks at Criterion.
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on July 23, 2015
Classic Kurosawa film. Pretty good transfer and overall picture quality. My one complaint is the audio track. On the back there is mention of DTS master HD but this release only contains LPCM Mono and Stereo. Also in the disc menu it says dolby surround but there isn't any on the disc. There is a LPCM stereo mix that sounds worse than the original mono mix, and is advertised as a surround mix when it isn't? I honestly can't believe that criterion could screw this up so badly. Next time i am in Japan i will purchase the Toho version and figure out what the hell is going on.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2004
Having read countless 5 star reviews my expectations before watching this film were very high. I was disappointed. Let me say that I enjoyed The Last Samurai so much so that I found this movie by searching for other movies in the genre.
To compare the two is like comparing a 2004 BMW(The Last Samurai) to a 1994 BMW(Seven Samurai), the 1994 was a great car for its time but is no comparison to the newer model. If Seven Samurai is on anyone's top-ten movie list it is only because they have not seen a movie since 1956. At times I felt as though I was watching something out of The Three Stooges and not a serious movie.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2004
As a fan of Japanese videogames, Japanese authors, Japanese animation, Japanese history and the Japanese aesthetic in general, I guess I'm supposed to think this film is the holy grail. Personally, though, I think Kurosawa is overrated; that he's just another reasonably talented director, nothing emblamatic of Japan or modern cinema.
First of all, this movie is really long. Before the seven samurai can actually fight the bandits, the villagers have to spend about an hour tracking them down, then they spend another hour or so preparing the village for the attack, and then you have a series of battles, each one seeming to be the last but in each case disappointing. Second, while many of the characters are interesting (especially the wise samurai and the renegade peasant-samurai), many of them aren't especially well-defined, and those who are don't get much significant development beyond their initial personas, especially considering that it's such a _long movie_.The peasants are even more uninteresting, and it's difficult to care about their plight. Kurosawa's tenative social message, summed up by the renegade samurai - 'Peasants aren't saints...but who made them that way? You samurai!' is interesting, but not so much to justify such an INCREDIBLY LONG FILM. The acting in general, though, is good, as is the cinematography. I don't exactly dislike it, but I really wish people would stop mentioning it whenever I bring up my interest in Japan. For Kurosawa films, 'Yojimbo' is better, and for films in general, Tarantino and Takashi Miike both have it over Kurosawa.
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