47 Ronin

They fit all the unimportant parts
of the movie onto one poster.
"Seize eternity."

At long last, as promised I will be talking about 47 Ronin today! This film, released on Christmas day, is an extremely fictionalized western take on an already heavily fictionalized series of event that make up one of Japan's most popular stories from the Genroku era, about a group of Ronin (masterless samurai) who seek revenge for the death of their master, who was forced to commit seppuku after attacking an official of the shogunate while in Edo Castle. The ronin planned carefully to slay this official, before then all committing seppuku themselves, as was demanded to satisfy honor. Granted, official records and most versions of the story don't involve witches, dragons, or demons, but the general story is there. This version of the story, like most fan fiction, inserts a totally bad ass OC who is a super fighter who was trained by demons and is all angsty and shit and also has a love story with the daughter of the Ronins' lord. Also this guy is white, because come on HOW COULD HE NOT BE LET'S GET REAL HERE. I'm seriously not kidding though there is a character in this movie that is all of those things and he is played by Keanu Reeves and his name is Kai.

That horse looks so dispirited. 
So a little more background about the story, as it relates to this movie. The principal characters of this movie basically all correspond to real people who there are records of, and who were involved in the 47 Ronin legend. A Daimyo named Asano, who was lord of Ako, did attack a servant of the Shogun named Kira. By all historical records Kira was, in fact, a bag of dicks that everyone disliked. After Asano attacked him (by accounts this was because Kira was corrupt and disrespected him because Asano had not offered him a bribe) he really did commit seppuku, and the commander of his samurai Oishi, really did wait almost two years for Kira to drop his guard, before launching a carefully calculated attack to kill him. The head of Kira was then presented at the tomb of Asano, and then all the Samurai were allowed to commit seppuku instead of being executed as criminals, because their actions were popularly supported, but still went against the decree of the shogun. All of that is at least suggested by historical records (and some of it is backed by documentation, as this happened in the 18th century, so records survive of the events).

Her one weird blue eye freaks me out.
So we've established the general gist, but naturally that story doesn't have enough witches and bitchin fights with demon warriors or something. You need the impression that Kira isn't just an asshole, he is an evil asshole, backed by the power of dark magic. That is what the Hollywood version gives the viewer. Also Keanu Reeves as a super warrior who was raised by Tengu, and so has what essentially are magic powers. When you have an evil witch I guess you also need a magic knight who can fight her, I just don't see why he has to be half-English, and can't just be Japanese, and discriminated against because he's marked by demons, instead of because he is English looking. BUT WHATEVER FINE HOLLYWOOD HAVE IT YOUR WAY. I put off seeing this movie for a long time because the trailer made the movie look absolutely idiotic. I don't know what it is with the guys who put these trailers together, but they try to show all the like... cool parts or something, and it just ends up looking like a highlight reel of dumb bullshit. Here, don't just take my word for it, check this shit out:

That is not a good trailer. It accentuates all the fantastical parts of the movie, which are not really the good parts. It is also not an accurate trailer, because it makes the movie look like it is full to bursting with giant monsters, and also it makes the movie look like it is entirely about Kai, when really his whole love story thing is sort of the incidental Hollywood bullshit tacked on to the ACTUAL story, which is about samurai avenging their fallen master. That being said, the movie was not nearly as shitty or senseless as the trailer made it look, and I enjoyed watching it. I didn't enjoy how the real talent was made to play second fiddle to Keanu Reeves, especially Hiroyuki Sanada who I think is pretty awesome. Also Rinko Kikuchi (you know she was just in Pacific Rim?)is an evil rapey witch who is also a dragon I guess? That was pretty weird.

Look at these red armored badasses.
I saw complaints about the movie being slow, which I find troubling because it suggests that people actually WANTED the movie to be like that shitty thing they suggested would happen in the trailer. I am glad that was not the movie they made, even if I was ultimately still disappointed that the studio felt like the story wasn't compelling enough if we didn't have the white guy samurai to root for. I would have been 1000% on board for this movie without that interjected into a story that is already full of cool stuff, and also full of dudes killing themselves. Like holy hell these guys will commit honorable suicide at the drop of a fucking hat.

That's it for now! Join me again next week, for antics, monsters, and sideboob (I don't know probably not really I'm just trying to lure you in).

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