Monday, November 18, 2013

47 Ronin is going to be everything that Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures wanted to be.

47 Ronin is the movie that brings everything in this book to life on the screen.
As all of you know, I'm a total nerd. I've been looking forward to the Desolation of Smaug just like every other guy in the world. But the more and more I see of 47 Ronin, the more I'm convinced that this is probably going to be the best fantasy movie of the year. And that's a tall order when the other fantasy movie is one that has a magical talking dragon and a plethora of wizards, elves, and dwarves.

This Christmas' 47 Ronin is what is called in Japan, a chūshingura. It's got the same story of 47 leaderless samurai and their quest for revenge after their master is murdered, but it is set in a fantastical world that has ki-rin, wizards, dragons, trolls, and even tengu.
Pirate Island. Click to Embiggen
It is often said of great projects that "the devil is in the details." 47 Ronin honors this by making every single detail count, and that's why I think it's going to be a mind-blowing motion picture. In the Lord of the Rings boxed set, I remember watching several of the dvd extras and sitting flabbergasted at the production values. For example, they made miles and miles of chain mail, crafted high-quality unique weapons, and spent hours fussing over costumes and language. The same can be said of 47 Ronin.
Click to Embiggen
According to those who have seen clips of this film, everything is stunning. When the lord of the samurai dies, there are so many cherry blossoms that every single gust of wind floats a flower across the screen. The main star of the film, Keanu Reeves, actually learned Japanese so that he could be more convincing in the role. Everyone gets costumes down to the guy that stands in the background with no speaking part. Even dogs that aren't important to the film have costumes! Pastoral shots contain supernatural tidbits: giant statues are carved into the country's horizons, a character doesn't live in a castle but in a fortress on the top of a snowy mountain, and the pirate ship island is an entire island of pirate ships all strung together to make a floating city on the ocean. Nothing is understated and even the tiniest of details matters. There's a scene with handmaidens wearing a cream kimono with an important tree on the back. If they all stand together, they are actually a Japanese screen with the tree spanning complete through each and every one. In other words, each of the girls has a piece of the tree.

In the clip below, a witch draws a man's hatred out of his body and turns it into a living spider. It's really interesting and gives you a sense of how strange and magical this movie is going to be. I think 47 Ronin is going to be everything that Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures wanted to be.

21 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

47 Ronin's trailer looks amazing. I remember when I first saw it and was blown away. I hope that it is the blockbuster hit it deserves to be. Movie goers can be finicky and I've seen quite a couple great movies just not making the big bucks they deserve or enough to get a sequel. Now I'm going to go see the video in your post.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The trailer is amazing. Reeves is the only iffy part though. Probably a good thing he learned to speak Japanese. Wish I remembered more than just a handful of words - I used to speak it better than English.

Brinda said...

I want to see this! Although I wait and watch most movies at home, it looks like one for the big screen.

Jay Noel said...

You KNOW this movie is right up my alley. I just love Japanese (Asian) mythology.

We all make fun of Keanu Reeves, but the guy is underrated as an actor. Glad to see he's plunging deep into the Asian/Action genre. His "Man of Tai Chi" looks really good too, and he directed it!

Pat Dilloway said...

I don't think I can buy Ted "Theodore" Logan as a samurai.

Adam said...

cool movie

Andrew Leon said...

I saw the posters when I was at Thor. It's definitely a movie to look into.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm so super excited for 47 Ronin. And i knowe we give Keanu a rough time (which, really, we shouldn't because he's proven time and again that he's actually a really awesome person IRL) I think he'll be able to pull this role off successfully

Elise Fallson said...

Looks like it has the ingredients for a good movie... or at the very least, a feast for the eyes.

David P. King said...

I'm quite stoked for this movie. Ever since Airbender (show), I've been looking high and low for Eastern influenced fantasy. :)

Morgan said...

You are *so* not a nerd! I think you're beyond cool, Michael. And I want to see that cherry blossom scene... I bet it's visually stunning!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@DPK: I didn't care much for Airbender. I thought it was really cheesy.

@Morgan. Oh you are so wonderful.

@Elise: You should watch Sleepy Hollow. It's the next Supernatural.

@Sarah: I can't wait to see it! We need to compare notes on Arrow. Do you think they will bring in Batman if they're bringing in Nightwing?

@Sheena Kay: I AGREE!!! I'm so excited. I mean the trailer has a frickin "luck dragon" in it.

And to anyone that doesn't know what a luck dragon is, go and watch "The Neverending Story" and rediscover your childhood.

Robyn Campbell said...

Wow that trailer is bodaciously rad, pal. And may I say that you're most definitely NOT nerdy. You are the meaning of cool! I'll go and see this for sure. :-)

M Pax said...

What an interesting snippet to share. It definitely catches my interest. Thanks for sharing.

mooderino said...

I'm looking forward to this movie. I saw Man of Tai Chi, which was so-so, but Keanu seems to be at least trying some interesting stuff so hats off to him.

Stephen Hayes said...

It certainly is a captivating movie clip.

mshatch said...

Hey, it isn't just guys who are dying to see The Desolation of Smaug! And 47 Ronin looks spectacular :)

Liz A. said...

Why 47 Ronin? Why not 48? (I only ask because I keep seeing 47 in fiction. Is it deliberate? Or a coincidence?)

Helena said...

A movie that has a tengu? I must see it!

Okay, I have no idea what a tengu is, but I've seen the trailer and this movie really does look dream-like and amazing. If it's anything like Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, I'll enjoy it.

And I love the notion of a person's hatred being turned into a spider.

Rusty Webb said...

Reeves wouldn't be my first choice for any role. But I did see the trailer and am at least interested.

Mina Lobo said...

I'm totally stoked for 47 Ronin - it'll be a fab, just-a-few-days-late birthday gift for a gal who's followed Reeves' flicks for some years, now (though regrettably, I wasn't able to catch MOTC in local theaters - but the DVD's out in December as well, W00T!).