Friday, 15 August 2014

Seven Samurai (1954)

[Post #16 of the Blaugust Challenge!]

The story in this old film has been reused so many times in various reincarnations that I would be surprised if you've never heard of it before. Basically a bunch of bandits plan on raiding a humble and poor village - luckily for the villagers they overhear the plan (by chance in this movie) and decide to try hire samurai to protect them. Obviously this is a serious issue since they don't really have anything to offer other than rice. Despite that (as the title gives away) they do manage to get a handful to support them.

Seven, actually.

Length wise it is a LONG movie, sitting at 3 hours and 27 minutes, but other than a handful of scenes that I thought could have either been shorter or cut altogether the rest of the time Akira Kurosawa does a masterful job of giving all the samurai and the lead villagers personality, most with little subplots that tie in very well with the main action. The only group you don't really learn much about are the bandits themselves who serve more as a catalyst than anything else.

The film is also in black and white, and as you might guess the special effects budget is pretty low/non-existent but that only goes to show that with good camera work, decent music and a decent story, you don't need explosions everywhere to get the audience invested. The only main negative I have is that for a period movie with samurai, there's not a lot of decent swordplay but that's just a minor nuance. Overall I give it four and a half katanas out of five.

Blaugust Bonus: I think one of Belghast's writing prompts fits in with the grouping theme today, though I don't really have any that involve six other samurai. :P

"What is your favorite grouping experience? Even the most staunch solo artist eventually groups up, what is the best thing that has happened while grouped with other players?" 

Wow, I have so many which is odd being a solo artist. One of my favorites was in Ultima Online. My guild was trying to open a portal to the realm of the Harrower (uber monster in the game) because we hadn't been there yet. Basically what you needed to do was face a champion spawn altar and kill the waves of ever increasing monsters that came out as fast as you could until enough candles lit up to spawn the champion. Killing said champion would open the gate we wanted for a few seconds.

We split into three teams and went to our designated areas to begin the champion spawn (it was faster that way, it took fewer hours) and eventually beat the champion. Only my teammate Juris and myself made it into the Harrower's room before the gate closed. The place was empty except for the creature's spawning altar. After marking a rune there (our main goal) we of course decided to poke it only to be greeted with a message saying "The Harrower has already been spawned," which was a little scary since it meant someone else had already woken it up and it was wandering one of the many dungeons in game.

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