WINM Forums :: The Films of Keanu Reeves :: 47 Ronin

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47 Ronin
Anakin McFly
2014-01-13 11:46

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while it's clear that disobeying the Emperor holds severe consequences for the Ronin - a fact they understood and accepted - that Lord Asano accepts the injustice heaped upon him without any resistance does not compute with me

It's a cultural thing. East Asian culture is much more community-focused (vs the individualism of the West), where people are often willing to sacrifice their lives and their rights for the sake of something larger than themselves - be that family/friends/country, or in this case the order, tradition, and honour of their society. The law is held in very high regard and viewed with a lot of respect.

Such that even though Asano was tricked into breaking the law, he did still break the law (and might have gone all the way to murder if he hadn't been intercepted), and to protest against the resultant punishment would have been seen as shameful for him. At the same time, the ronin were honoured in the end because they knowingly sacrificed their lives for the greater good of bringing justice to their master, and this was seen as greatly admirable.

Anakin McFly
2014-01-14 00:39

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As an update, we currently have 67 ticket stubs collected, from all over the world. :) Many thanks to the Keanu Russian Club, who provided the bulk of those. LucaM suggested we wait a while longer for the movie to be released in other countries. Lots of the current tickets are multiples (34 sets so far), so ideally there would be enough for just one of each.
SisowathK
2014-01-14 07:22


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Yes, for me it will be April 2 (of France)
ARYA
2014-01-14 09:14


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if anyone was interested in telling Universal something here is a place to say it.

http://www.universalstudios.com/contact_form.php

http://www.universalstudios.com/contact_form.php

LucaM
2014-01-14 19:01


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kai_(name)
ARYA
2014-01-15 00:36


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http://www.mangauk.com/post.php?p=the-magnificent-forty-seven

http://www.mangauk.com/post.php?p=the-magnificent-forty-seven

Turnbull weighs in.


Keanu Reeves has been most unfairly criticised. None of the reviewers seem to have grasped that he is playing an outcast who is kept firmly in his place, so grand gestures and dialogue would not have been appropriate. He plays this downtrodden role perfectly, and as for the comments about him not looking Japanese, I actually feel that Universal should have taken a gamble and cast Keanu in the role of Oishi, as a full-blood Japanese. I am sure that they would have got away with it and that he would have impressed everyone.
ARYA
2014-01-15 00:36


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interesting Wiki LucaM. Often a dog's name? hehehe
MmeRenard
2014-01-15 00:47


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Remember that cute interview in People (of all places) with Sandra "I wanna be your dog!"? Well now.
Anakin McFly
2014-01-15 12:19

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Keanu Reeves has been most unfairly criticised. None of the reviewers seem to have grasped that he is playing an outcast who is kept firmly in his place, so grand gestures and dialogue would not have been appropriate. He plays this downtrodden role perfectly

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

I actually feel that Universal should have taken a gamble and cast Keanu in the role of Oishi, as a full-blood Japanese. I am sure that they would have got away with it and that he would have impressed everyone.

wtf. NO. >_>

*reads the rest of the review*

...this is a really racist review. :/ Like, it's not even subtle. It actually makes me want to post this on tumblr just so the SJW can tear him apart, which is not a reaction I often have.

"Second, the 47 Ronin story, as it has been presented in Japan over three centuries, is itself a fantasy based on a rather dull and unsavoury historical event."

...is he trolling.

ARYA
2014-01-15 13:00


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Well then he is a racist that knows everything about the real 47 Ronin.
Anakin McFly
2014-01-15 13:10

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He seems to know the facts, but - unless he was being sarcastic - he seems woefully ignorant of context. Given the gigantic outcry as it is over how Keanu's character was added to the story, with him playing a new character written primarily to give the Western audience someone to relate to, how could he at all imagine that people would be at all okay - let alone 'impressed' - if they had gotten Keanu to play Oishi, who actually existed as a real, Japanese person? Or was he completely oblivious to all the anger over this movie's casting?

As for the 'dull and unsavory' comment - a large appeal of the story to the Japanese was in the way the 47 ronin sacrificed themselves for the greater cause of bringing justice to their master, and did so with honour. People died. Real people. He's calling that 'dull', and it's grossly insensitive to their memories if nothing else - that's like saying that 911 was a dull and unsavory event in US history. Or anything else involving the loss of human life. A bunch of people died in a plane crash? oh, how dull.

His comment about the Hello Kitty thing also showed an ignorance of fandom culture, particularly in Japan. Fandom is not disrespectful; everyone here at WINM can attest to that. People have their different ways of celebrating history.

Anakin McFly
2014-01-15 13:17

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Also - his joke about Japanese filmmakers committing seppuku was in really bad taste.

I'm glad he gave a fair - and positive - account of Keanu's acting, I really do. It's so rare to see that, as well as positive takes on this movie which hasn't been deserving half the flak it gets. But I wish that people could do so without resorting to racism.

LucaM
2014-01-15 20:35


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British sarcasm, Ani.

Of the kind that the movie itself employs at one point: each time I hear 'Kira' telling Mika their children will be of one blood, I can't help snorting. Because, well... look up Tadanobu Asano's bio. ;)


MmeRenard
2014-01-15 21:45


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Maybe it's just me (not) but it is storytelling, hello - a fantasy based on historical fact. If there was a "half-breed" in a noble Japanese household of this period, would that person have been treated as an equal? Don't think so. Does it work as interesting storytelling, even spectacle in a good and proper way? Absolutely.

Looking at it from a purely Anglo background, criticism of the film has seemed remarkably racist? "What's up with seppuku? That's just awful!"
Well, yes, I think it's awful too, and I do not understand much of the bushido code of conduct. But it is historically and culturally accurate and for me to criticize it is freaking ignorant, racist and crappy.
It's not exactly like OMG history is reinvented in cinema. History is constantly written and rewritten with any number of biases. To single out a Hollywood film intended as entertainment as "not historical" is idiotic.

We're seeing criticism that 1) it's not purely historical and 2) that it has that nasty ending. Seems kind of contradictory.

Oh yeah. Keanu's portrayal of Kai as a simple, humble man is wonderful. We're not used to seeing a leading man (other than Keanu!) as truly deferential, humble and modest.

ARYA
2014-01-15 22:41


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Good points from Anakin LucaM and MmeRenard! My main thought is that 47 Ronin is a perfect jewel of a movie as it is. And Sanada was brilliant as Oishi. However, Keanu could have played any part in it including Mika, the witch, or even the Oni with a little CGI. But I think we all know it was Kai that he wanted to explore by taking on that role that was offered to him by the producer. There was a real symmetry there.
Anakin McFly
2014-01-15 23:45

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British sarcasm, Ani.

I hope so. :(

and yes, I know about Tadanobu Asano being half-white. I had the same reaction to that line. :|


If there was a "half-breed" in a noble Japanese household of this period, would that person have been treated as an equal? Don't think so.

I agree that the portrayal of how Kai was portrayed was accurate - people have even suggested that it was better than the reality, actually, because feudal Japan was extremely racist.

However, there's the huge issue of context. This is a Hollywood film, produced, funded and written by mostly white men, released in English and targetted mainly at modern-day Westerners, where the racial dynamics are reversed.

Say there's this Japanese person who grew up in America having to deal with racism from white people. And then they watch this movie, and see their own race being portrayed as the racist tormentors of the part-white guy. Historically accurate, yes, but a reversal of what they've actually experienced in their own lives, where their oppressors are suddenly portrayed as the victims.

It would have been completely different if this exact same movie had been produced by Japanese studios and released in Japanese (since they filmed in both languages) to a target audience of Japanese people. Then the criticism of anti-white racism would have been less uncomfortable (I can't speak for Japan, but there's a good amount of Asian-supremacism going on in my country).

Analogy: it's like if a bunch of guys made a documentary about men who get abused by their wives, and screen it to a group of women who have been abused by their husbands. Domestic violence against men is a thing that happens, and should be brought out into the open, but doing so in that context would be insensitive and cause a lot of pain.


Well, yes, I think it's awful too, and I do not understand much of the bushido code of conduct. But it is historically and culturally accurate and for me to criticize it is freaking ignorant, racist and crappy.

I wrote on another forum about the importance of cultural context on judging things like values: they can't be removed from that context and still viewed with accuracy, because one wouldn't get the full picture.

As a broad example, Western values tend to emphasise individual rights and freedoms, such as how everyone should have their basic needs met and have the chance for self fulfillment. Whereas Eastern values tend to emphasise doing what's best for your family/community/country, even at the expense of your own rights and freedom. Such that you get things like Japanese kamikaze suicide bombers at wartime, proud to give up their lives for their country. And another thing about making sacrifices for others is that it's a two-way deal - others would also make sacrifices for you.

So, the concept of seppuku on its own is horrible, yes; but it's part of a much bigger picture, where its existence speaks of underlying values at play: discipline, honour, respect, order, humility, obedience; things which can be abused, but which (especially when adhered to on a large scale) bear much good fruit as well. Which is also why in Asia there's the stereotype of Westerners being rude/lazy/decadent/dirty/uncultured, and people finding that just as horrible - it's due to that different context and incomplete picture. I had to adjust my moral compass when living in the US, because things considered morally right back home were not in the US, and vice versa.

I felt a lot freer in the US. I also felt a lot less safe.


However, Keanu could have played any part in it including Mika, the witch, or even the Oni with a little CGI.

Talent-wise, yeah. But again this goes back to the politics of it, which unfortunately we can't escape from. If we have a hypothetical class of mostly-white American kids deciding to re-enact the story of the 47 Ronin in their school play, it would be great. But in Hollywood... movies become political statements, whether or not they want them to be, and there's a greater responsibility there to be aware of the cultural dynamics at play, especially given how much of an influence movies have in our lives. :/

ARYA
2014-01-16 00:40


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http://anothermoviereview.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/100-words-or-less-movie-review-47-ronin/

http://anothermoviereview.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/100-words-or-less-movie-review-47-ronin/

ARYA
2014-01-16 01:53


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http://vipfanauctions.com/samurai-fashion/

http://vipfanauctions.com/samurai-fashion/

ARYA
2014-01-16 02:00


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WTG feeling freer whilst you were in the US Anakin. Maybe it's the caning that makes things safer in Singapore? What is the deal with that anyways?
LucaM
2014-01-16 02:06


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Dunno, Ani... maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's because I never had to deal with racial prejudice (only chauvinism, with which I deal on a daily basis), but I tend to see this movie as a metaphor for 'do onto others'.
And a story about how different = other = less than human, and how this perception hasn't really changed during the centuries since...
Let's not forget that the Dutch didn't treat Kai any better than the Japanese. On the contrary. So what does that say about the white men ?

Or maybe I'm at the age when I can read between the lines without having everything spelled out...

From the sj point, this movie simply cannot win. Even if it was about a bunch of rowdy ex WWII soldiers who became cops in LA and ended up accepting an American Japanese cop as an equal partner... ooops, wrong movie, and not even that, because De Palma conveniently forgot to include that in the Black Dahlia movie. And the cop was German, not Japanese. But I digress... ;)

While not perfect, it's a story that touches a few sensitive spots... and people will react in their own way ;)


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