Awesome movies, but way too expensive.
Astartes Prophet | Canada | 03/13/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Awesome movies, but way too expensive for the product itself.
First, I bought it at a reduced priced, since it was left sitting on a shelve collecting dust for a few years in the store. They dropped the price from a initial $200 Can (around $150 U.S.), to $149 Can (around $110 U.S.), and that was the cheapest price I could find it in my city and by far. A few of the stores told me that their cost was around $149 Can, so it was able to buy it at around cost. Considering that, it was a bargain, so I got lucky to start with.
Now the movies, they are awesome, and after watching them all in two days, I felt sad, sad at Hollywood and the current level of movie making, after tasting a piece of history, with movies that are deep, funny, either deals with issues (Seven Samurai and Hidden Fortress) or don't (Yojimbo and Sanjuro), they are all movie gems. But we can also be realistic here, seven Samurai in my opinion is the real champion in this set, it has everything, it's epic, yet personal, it's deep, yet sometime funny, but always powerful and superb.
Now to the quality of the disk, that where it's hard to tell, these are old movies. But something struck me as odd, Seven Samurai (7S), was done around 10 yrs before Yojimbo and Sanjuro but looks and sound better, obviously, they cleaned it out a little before putting it to DVD, but then, if Yojimbo and Sanjuro where made 10 yrs later, someone should expect at least a equal quality, if not better then the 7S, but it's not the case, especially Yojimbo is painful to watch, the sound track has a loud background hiss for at least half of the movie, scratches as big as a straw that last a full min multiple times, the contrast and brightness is out of wack in half the scenes, it's a painful experience, you tell yourself how great the movie is, but is it ever ugly to watch.
So far I would give it 4 stars, why then I give it 2?
It's down to price vs quality and extras. No extras what so ever beside the theater trailer of each movie, and a commentary track for 7S, then nothing. So Criterion in my mind had two choice, drop the price to 1/3 to 1/2 of what it is now, or pick a better original copy to bring on DVD, clean it, and add extras, selling it to the same price it is now, but they did neither. They used for Yojimbo, a terribly copy, add nothing, and charge full Criterion price, BAD !!! So in the end, one fell like being robbed by Ronins. In my case, I wanted to see those movies, and own 7S and this box set was the only way to go about doing this, and in the end, I praise the movie, the acting, the story, the camera work, everything, except Criterion DVD who brought those movies it North America, they dropped the ball on this one.
So 0 stars for Criterion and there DVD product (in this case) and 4 stars for the movie themselves so my end review is 2 stars."
Don't pass it up
Geoffrey R. Balme | raleigh NC | 01/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kurosawa is not just considered a great japanese director - he's considered one of the best the world has known.
Samurai are a passion for me anyway - however, kurosawa brings them to life like no other.
I sometimes wish he were working today with the technology available, but it's not a degradation of what he did at all.
Details he pays attention to are easily missed the first time around and frequent watchings of these films with bring more to your eyes.
Yojimbo's first encounter with the blackgards and braggarts - the wanted men in the town, is ingenius and thrilling. Mifune plays the part so comfortably you can be lead to imagine he lived in his kimono.
His demeanor is so casual and calm that you could fear him just through his confidence.
It's something to take to heart. No real warrior needs to brag, nor does he threaten.
Right out of the Tao te ching.
Awright enough of that!
With the hidden fortress you can really see Luca's inspiration for Star Wars. And also, the female lead for every anime ever created afterward.
but my favorite is the seven samurai later to be remade as the magnificient seven in the west (what is it with the west and their inability to accept foreign films?).
the old samurai who in the opening sequence plays a monk to rescue a trapped woman gives you the personality of a man who puts all at risk for the right. And teaches a motley band of characters to do the same.
Every good fortress needs a weakness. :p
4 Classics in a box set? Priceless!
B. Mraz | Northern CA. | 11/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was thinking about purchasing all four of these movies, but to have them together in a box set is a beautiful thing.
I will not bore you with the reviews of these movies, those who love Akira Kurosawa movies sees the stories closely matching those of Shakespeare, a Clint Eastwood Western, and Star Wars.
For the price and what you get, it's a steal."