The Samurai Trilogy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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In short, the story of perhaps the greatest master of Japanese sword skill ever, a historical/almost mythical figure from 1600 feudal Japan.
The 3 movies tell of his evolution from a young hot head with exceptional ability, to a master of both his martial art and of life from a Japanese Shinto perspective.
These films are full of Japanese culture and mentality.
The actors are spell binding.
The fight sceens are believable and of the highest standard. (No, the actors cannot walk up walls!!! and fly through the air!!!).
The story for me, was and is deeply moving.
Do not misunderstand, my insight and identification does not parallel that of the main character, but it is a story which has become part of me.
I do not know if this will appeal to every one.
It is in Japanese with subtitles.
Some parts of the film become slow.
Nonetheless, for me, this is a masterpiece and one of my all time favorites.
It is timeless.
Highly recommended - definitely a big step up from the DVD version.
Regarding the DVD transfer, let me first say that I am a frugal guy who does not think that any DVD, however good the transfer, is ever worth 30 bucks. That said, I don't know what all the fuss is about over the image quality on these disks. The film was not released in widescreen so the full-screen image is correct. The only scenes which are perhaps too dark are in the end of the second film, because it was filmed that way originally! The VHS is even darker as far as I could tell. I have 20/40 vision, yet I had absolutely no problem reading the subtitles ever in any of the three films. The image quality in general is not Jeanne d'Arc but it certainly never came close to impairing my ability to enjoy the films. Finally, there are no special features beyond theatrical trailers on any of the DVDs, but the three-pack is also priced cheaper than any other Criterion issues (less than $20/disc) so why complain!
They put the 2 bluray discs on one spindle which is divided top and bottom and the booklet on the left side on a single bluray case. I have a slight gripe about this set up. First, the films can't be sold separately because 2 movies are on 1 50gb bluray dual layer and the 3rd movie is on the 2nd bluray 25gb single layer. So, wanting a collector's item goes right out the door due to not having individualized packaging just like Yojimbo and Sanjuro.
The films are in it's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio at 1080p HD and amazon's listing at 1.77:1 is incorrect. When viewing on your widescreen TV, you'll see 2 black bars to the sides just like Seven Samurai. The picture quality is definitely leaps and bounds superior to that of the 2004 criterion DVD release. The colors are vibrant and the contrast is maxed out. Almost feels like I'm watching something new entirely. Some might be turned off by the heavy grain quality but keep in mind this film is old. In todays standards with recent films, the grainy quality would be unacceptable. Audio has been improved as well with a noticeable higher Mhz monaural. If you're watching on a 120Hz or 240Hz refresh rate TV, go ahead and turn them off, it gets distracting with the blurriness of movements.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Digital remastering has made these better than I remember them on the big screen.Published 11 days ago by Diane Robinson
You need to buy the Blu-ray collection to get the best of it. Years ago I recorded the Samurai Trilogy from TV. The picture was good back then. Read morePublished 20 days ago by flash gordon
Massive fan. I loved the series - which is why I bought it. It's in Japanese with English subtitles, so be prepared for that.Published 2 months ago by Scot Conway
Great series about an historic figure. Tashiro is great and the views are amazing. Must view for a samurai buff.Published 3 months ago by The Busey
Very good transfer of one of the best films series ever made.
Sub-titles were easy to read. Large improvement over previous releases.
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