Worth a look
B. Endo | Honolulu, HI USA | 07/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Clocking in at just under an hour, Raise the Castle is an entertaining romp set in a small village in Masurao, in modern Japan. Professor Oiwate is consumed with the idea that a Japanese Castle from Japan's Tokugawa Period once existed in this town despite evidence to the contrary. Local legend says that if three wanderers should enter Masuao's cave, they will be possessed by the spirit of three samurai warriors who await for their castle to be rebuilt. Sure enough, two vagrants enter the cave and are joined by a third, a man named Ishizaki. Ishizaki is possessed by the samurai leader, Onadaiji and the game is now afoot. The townfolk easily take to this modern day samurai, a little too easily, I felt. But everyone is caught up with the idea of this"festival" that will bring fame to the small town, that they take it upon themselves to build the castle themselves -- out of cardboard. Despite the few flaws in the film, the lighting could be better and the characters more developed, this is a straightforward romp with wonderful performances,particularly Onadaiji's Kabuki-like performance, right down to this Kabuki Odori. This is an actor who must have come from a strong theatrical background, or at least could fake it perfectly. The other actors have strong, Monty Python-esque performances, particularly in their voices. It reminded me of a live action anime comedy. Had this film been expanded, we could have seen more of Onadaiji's "fish out of water" scenes where he comes to terms with Japan's modern society. He is Don Quixote and Professor Oiwate his Sancho Panza. And their quest to restore the beauty of Japan's history is what draws the viewer. Another noteworthy performance is Yuko Nishizawa who plays Ishikawa's girlfriend. Her modern day geisha is priceless."