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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Movie Review - 47 Ronin

Movie Title
47 Ronin
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, History
I finally got around to watching the movie version of one of my favorite stories (based on the Dark Horse books) - 47 Ronin. The story remains basically the same as my earlier review of the Dark Horse books. In the movie version, there are additional elements that were not in the books - Magic, Demons, strange creatures & Witches.Of course among the new elements is Keanu Reeves' character, Kai, who mysteriously appeared in the beginning of the movie in a flashback as a boy who was raised by the birdlike forest demons, called Tengu*, but finally escaped the Tengu Forest and was found by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) & Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), his chief Samurai. 

* I have included several images of Tengu interpretations above.
Despised by Lord Asano's Samurai and is referred to as a "halfbreed" but somehow, Lord Asano & his daughter Mika (Ko Shibasaki) see beyond his white skin. After Lord Asano's death, they plot their revenge against the evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano). However, that would not be easy as he has a witch, Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi, whom we last saw in Pacific Rim) by his side.Acting
Of course, since Keanu is in the lead role, he's gonna get most of the flak for the movie not being a financial success. but I think it's not so much Keanu's acting but rather the way the various realistic and fantastic elements were put together didn't really jive. Plus the fact that there wasn't really much character development didn't do much for the movie. So all of these factors made the movie into what it is.1 thing I really liked from this movie was the introduction of Ko Shibasaki, well introduced to me at least, as I'd not seen her before. And boy, is she a hottie!Overall
It's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, the movie left you with quite a lot of unanswered questions such as the existence of the mythical creatures, demons, magic and witches. What was her motivation for her evil deeds? If she was so powerful and could cloud men's minds, why was she subservient to Lord Kira? Why were there strange giant beasts running around in the forest and why do normal men think they can hunt these giant beasts with conventional weapons? Why was the armored giant Samurai destroyed so easily?
Having said that, if audiences were to treat this movie as that had intended it to be - ie: a fantasy movie rather than a modern take on a historical legend, then, it would've been more enjoyable. The CGI, altho' not the best I'd seen, but was not too shabby. When the critics say it has bad CGI, I think they actually meant bad character design more than bad CGI. Take for example the Tengu who raised Kai, they looked more like chicken men than birdlike demons.Sure, I'd say go and watch it. You're probably going to enjoy it if you leave logic out of the room. Worth a repeat watch, maybe. I know I would probably watch this again a few years down the road.

Rating: 5.5/10

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