Yoshimitsu Morita’s remake of Sanjuro opened in Japan yesterday, and Daily Yomiuri online has already posted a review. As the title of the review (“Kurosawa remake avoids worst scenario”) suggests, the verdict is slightly positive, but also one that questions the actual need for the remake.
In fact, it seems that Tsubaki Sanjuro is pretty much what we had expected. The review confirms it to be an almost “line to line, cut to cut and angle to angle” copy of the original. This, of course, with the exception that Yuji Oda, like the trailers already suggested, does not command the same screen presence as did Toshiro Mifune, thus completely undermining his character’s role in the movie.
The review also makes an interesting point — although the remake uses the same script as the original, it is almost half an hour longer! Whether this is because of modern films’ generally lengthier opening and closing titles, or because the remake doesn’t have Kurosawa’s almost perfect pacing, it doesn’t say.
2 December 2007
30mins longer is a bit surprising, I would of guessed it would be shorter, but that really depends on where you consider the movie starting, and as Vili said modern credits do consume a large chunk of time. Everything else mentioned is as predicted, I would still really like to see this film.
Getting slightly off subject
I do think if this film does well, we will start to see a increase of remakes in Japan, the trend is just starting up slowly within the coming months with a few lesser known 70’s Japanese remakes.
I do know, as even mention in the book “Kurosawa” by Yoshimoto that film in Japan isnt really considered a legit form of art today, or even all that popular. The times I have been there and the few movie industry people I talked to there. It does become quite obvious film just hasnt been taken seriously anymore for sometime.
The respect for films is far less in Japan then America, although that hasnt prevented America from making among the worst films in the world, then marketing them to Japan, thus only highlighting the questionable status of film as a art, since America still holds the gold standard for what supposedly the people want to see.
What America is doing at least from my viewpoint, is trying to rehash the glory days of movies, when they where in the peaks around 1950-1970, so what better way they assume then rehashing the films that made these time periods great.
Japan has recently caught on to this trend, and as much need to get people back into theaters as America, they find attracting them with remakes of well know films the answer. However the problem in Japan, will be as mentioned in this review very few Japanese have seen any older films of Japan. So they will use the movies that have spread into modern culture, mainly old “samurai” films whose likeness is obvious in the very popular Japanese comics(manga) and anime.
I think depending on this film and a few others that are releasing soon, we will see a large increase of Japanese made, Japanese remakes of older films starting production around 2009, more the likely a large amount of famous Kurosawa’s.