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Ran - Criterion Collection (1985)

4.4 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 192.05
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû, Mieko Harada
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Hisao Kurosawa, Katsumi Furukawa, Masato Hara
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • Release Date: Nov. 22 2005
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000BB14YY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,607 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

As critic Roger Ebert observed in his original review of Ran, this epic tragedy might have been attempted by a younger director, but only the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, who made the film at age 75, could bring the requisite experience and maturity to this stunning interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear. It's a film for the ages--one of the few genuine screen masterpieces--and arguably serves as an artistic summation of the great director's career. In this version of the Shakespeare tragedy, the king is a 16th-century warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai as Lord Hidetora) who decides to retire and divide his kingdom evenly among his three sons. When one son defiantly objects out of loyalty to his father and warns of inevitable sibling rivalry, he is banished and the kingdom is awarded to his compliant siblings. The loyal son's fears are valid: a duplicitous power struggle ensues and the aging warlord witnesses a maelstrom of horrifying death and destruction. Although the film is slow to establish its story, it's clear that Kurosawa, who planned and painstakingly designed the production for 10 years before filming began, was charting a meticulous and tightly formalized dramatic strategy. As familial tensions rise and betrayal sends Lord Hidetora into the throes of escalating madness, Ran (the title is the Japanese character for "chaos" or "rebellion") reaches a fever pitch through epic battles and a fortress assault that is simply one of the most amazing sequences on film. Although this awesome epic is best viewed on a big theatrical screen, the DVD presents the widescreen film with a higher quality of image and sound than was ever previously available in any home-video format. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Features

Akira Kurosawa's 1985 masterpiece was remastered for its Masterworks release, a clear improvement over the notoriously disappointing Fox Lorber DVD. The transfer is now vividly colorful and crisply detailed, presented in anamorphic widescreen with optional yellow subtitles that are easier to read (though the earlier release probably wasn't as bad as the "old" image used in the restoration demo). The 5.1-channel sound option allows deeper immersion in Kurosawa's painstakingly crafted soundtrack, and film historian Stephen Price's superlative, feature-length commentary track provides engaging and scholarly perspective on Kurosawa's development of theme through composition, camera placement, editing, and highly stylized direction of actors. Another comparatively sparse commentary track by Japanese cultural expert Peter Grilli is worthwhile for its insider's view of Kurosawa's personality and methods. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I'm not going to talk about how great the film is - in short, it's one of my all-time favourite movies; movie - 5/5. I'm going to instead talk about Studio Canal's blu ray transfer quality. The video is quite good - significantly sharper than Criterion's DVD release, by nature of it being a blu ray. Faces look much sharper and easier to make out, and detail is seen quite thoroughly in closeups. Colour consistency is also quite good, but the colour never really "pops" as much as it could have if it had gotten a better restoration. Blacks are a bit muddy at times. If Criterion had been able to release Ran on blu ray, I'm sure that the image would have looked noticeably better, given how sharp, colourful, and consistent Kagemusha looks on the Criterion blu ray release. That being said, the image is still quite good - I'd give the video about a 3.7/5.
What is weaker about the transfer, however, is the audio. Studio's canal's 5.1 (Japanese) audio track sounds quite clear overall. Again, in comparing Criterion's Kagemusha, this audio is decent at best. Studio Canal's Ran has audio which never "pops" as it should during the battle scenes, with clear, loud sound effects for the gunshots, and neither is the music projected as loudly and clearly as it should. The audio on the Criterion DVD of Ran may in fact be stronger than it is on this blu ray. Audio - 3/5

Studio Canal's Ran is still a must-buy for those who love the film. Because it's a blu ray, it's a step above the Ran Criterion transfer. It's a great shame that Criterion lost the rights to releasing Ran on blu ray just a month before they were going to release it, but Studio Canal's version isn't a bad compromise either for those who want to own Ran on blu ray.
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Format: DVD
This film was the last of Kurosawa's great epics. It is loosely based on King Lear but with Kurosawa's own plot twists and injections of Japanese culture including Noh influences. The story basically revolves around the treachery of 2 of the Great Lord's sons after they are bequeathed his power and the rejection and final redemption of the son the Great Lord initially banishes. Although, the film is 2 and half hours long, it does not get boring. The acting is phenomenal, the battle scenes are spectacular, and the cinematography is breathtaking. The kind of filmmaking that Ran represents is virtually extinct. Movies no longer use thousands of extras and hundreds of real horses and can no longer convey the realism of movies like Ran. Fortunately for us, Ran is beautifully restored as you can see in the Restoration Demo under the special features. The commentary by Stephen Prince without a doubt establishes the 5-star rating for this DVD. He analyzes the film constantly from beginning to end pointing out salient features of Kurosawa's style and making sure we understand everything relevant to Kurosawa's direction of Ran. The second commentary by Peter Grilli is not quite as interesting unfortunately.
Despite the absence of the incredible Toshiro Mifune, I highly recommend this DVD.
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By A Customer on Aug. 20 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am reviewing the Masterworks Edition of Akira Kurosawa's "Ran". First, "Ran" is obviously an epic masterpiece and it is a must own item for any serious collector of world cinema. As a collector, I don't mind paying top prices for an excellent transfer or restoration of a classic film. However, I do mind paying a premium price and receiving a DVD that has the aspect ratio incorrect. The Masterworks Edition costs about the same as many Criterion Collection releases, yet they have delivered a butchered version of the film. In the opening credits, most of the cast and crew's last names have 3 or 4 letters chopped right off the end. In other words, the entire 160 minute movie is presented to the viewer with sections on both sides of the screen sliced off. It is a crying shame to see a film as historically important an "Ran" given such amateur treatment. However, the colour transfer is a vast improvement over the cheaper Fox Lorber DVD of "Ran". But, at least Fox Lorber got the aspect ration correct! So you have two inferior choices of this classic film to currently select from: (1) the cheaper Fox Lorber with the poor colour transfer but correct widescreen presentation or the (2) the more expensive Masterworks edition with excellent colour tranfer but incorrect widescreen presentation. I wish Criterion would get the rights to "Ran" and release a 2 disc edition with proper restoration of the film and plenty of additonal features - "Ran" deserves to be treated with respect and Criterion wouldn't mess the job up like Fox Lorber or Masterworks.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"Director Akira Kurosawa,"Ran" the movie that people are calling a masterpiece of work,
for world cinema and beyond,this is the sort of movie that would make you go,okay hold on now
this is actually true,never give people power that can't be handle in the most appropriate manner,
most of the time it usually doesn't work,
I will give you the players of this fine movie,
"Lord. Hidetora Ichimonji [Tatsuya Nakadai]
"Taro. Takatora Ichimonji [Akria Terao]
"Jiro. Masatora Ichimonji [Jinpachi Nezu]
"Saburo. Naotora Ichimonji [Daisuke Ryu]
"Lady Sué. [Yoshiko Miyazaki]
Shuri Kurogane. [Hisashi Igawa]
Set in 16th century Japan "Ran" relates to the tale of an aging old ruler, Lord Hidetora who announces
his intention to step down from power and divide his land to his three sons, who in turn gives him
nothing but grieve,that eventually sent him stirring mad,
even though the fake blood was really really bad in the movie I still enjoyed it,
as perplex as I was about the the one scene in the movie, when Lord Hidetora went to one of his sons
castle he had to bow to his wife, now I'm not a bigamist, but I though in 16th Century Japan women were
just second class to men, just asking I really don't know,
now picture quality is good, but the Aspect Ratio seem very weird and not right.
Great Movie To Listen To The Words.Not Like Someone Here. Who Only Want Action.
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