Akira Kurosawa - Overrated?

Tools    





Is it just me or is Akira Kurosawa overrated? He's untouchable when it comes to the critics. I've just recently watched Seven Samurai and Rashomon and I thought the two were highly overrated. Seven Samurai was quite entertaining, but I thought that the directing was quite sub-par and the editing was less than sub-par. Rashomon was relentlessly boring. The acting was terrible - Overdramatic and overacting.

Don't get me wrong. I love foreign films, but for some reason... Akira Kurosawa just doesn't cut it. Can anyone explain to me why Akira Kurosawa is so good? And how about his overly-hyped movies?



I get where you're coming from, Rashomon was good but nothing special for me. I think his main acclaim is more from being innovative at the time, you need to look at his films as artefacts of cinema opposed to entertainment or against films released after him.
__________________




I agree with you on the acting, and that's really the main problem I have with Kurosawa's films. All the performances are very melodramatic and it really bothers me while I'm watching the movie.



I definitely understand what you're saying. Many people regard Seven Samurai as the Citizen Kane in the East. I don't understand the innovation of it. It might've been a moral booster, especially after the war and all, but its much inferior to Citizen Kane.

The acting really does bother me. Especially Toshiro Mifune and his weird laughs, awkward screams/cries, and jumping around like an idiot.



Sit Ubu Sit.... Good Dog
I get where you're coming from, Rashomon was good but nothing special for me. I think his main acclaim is more from being innovative at the time, you need to look at his films as artefacts of cinema opposed to entertainment or against films released after him.
I completely agree.
Up until about a week ago I had only seen one Kurosawa film, but in the past week I have watched Seven Samurai and Yojimbo , they are both old films and don't seem like anything special unless you think about what was available at the time. He was very innovative and again I completely agree that you have to look at them as artifacts of cinema rather then comparing against newer films.



If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission
I completely agree.
Up until about a week ago I had only seen one Kurosawa film, but in the past week I have watched Seven Samurai and Yojimbo , they are both old films and don't seem like anything special unless you think about what was available at the time. He was very innovative and again I completely agree that you have to look at them as artifacts of cinema rather then comparing against newer films.
Yup. Seven Samurai and Yojimbo are worth watching. I respect Kurosawa's status as an innovator, but obviously his films don't stand up to today's current standards. They are simply artificats of cinema, as akatemple put it.



yup. Seven samurai and yojimbo are worth watching. I respect kurosawa's status as an innovator, but obviously his films don't stand up to today's current standards. They are simply artificats of cinema, as akatemple* put it.
*Pyro



A system of cells interlinked
Watch Ran. If you feel the same after that film, he probably isn't for you. Also, Kagemusha.

__________________
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



Since no director is universally loved,
every single one of them can technically be labeled overrated, I guess.
__________________
Right now, all I'm wearing is a mustard-stained wife-beater T-shirt, no pants & a massive sombrero.



No, not really. If you don't like his style, that's your perogative, but regardless of undeniable importance (the history of Japanese cinema should be able to speak for him without me), his films are extremely interesting to many many people rather than simply entertaining, I don't know how any thinking being could find any of his films boring.



A system of cells interlinked
I tend to agree with WT for the most part, but I like to study film techniques, so films go beyond entertainment for me to a certain extent. Although I find Ran more entertaining than Rashomon, I still get a ton out of both films.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I'm not going to debate with anybody because the naysayers only mentioned three films (and they are three of my favorites of his), but the use of the word "artifact" to describe a Kurosawa film in the context of the apparent enlightenment which current filmmakers have seems short-sighted. You make Kurosawa, a filmmaker who had three movies released in the 1990s, sound like an Egyptian mummy. Has anyone in here seen Ikiru, High and Low or Red Beard? If so, how would you describe the acting in those?
__________________
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



I'm not going to debate with anybody because the naysayers only mentioned three films (and they are three of my favorites of his), but the use of the word "artifact" to describe a Kurosawa film in the context of the apparent enlightenment which current filmmakers have seems short-sighted. You make Kurosawa, a filmmaker who had three movies released in the 1990s, sound like an Egyptian mummy. Has anyone in here seen Ikiru, High and Low or Red Beard? If so, how would you describe the acting in those?
Well, the films he cited weren't from the 90s, I referred to the films he cited from before then as artefacts. Although the OP didn't get much from them, I was trying to suggest why people do, 'artefact' wasn't meant as a pejorative term.

Sedai, Kagemusha is now definitely at the top of my 'to-watch' list. Got the DVD about 8 years ago after first watched Ran, from recommendation from someone here and never watched it yet.



A system of cells interlinked
That was me. I have both those DVDs sitting next to one another in my collection. Kagemusha isn't as stark as Ran, but it's still aces.



I'm ordering Ikiru and Ran. Maybe those will rejuvenate my expectations. I'm certainly not comparing any of Kurosawa's films to modern ones, as that would be quite ridiculous. To me personally, the ones I've watched don't age well. Even if I compare his films to films back in that age and time, I can name many films that I believed are better and enjoyed much more (Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Hitchcock films in that time, Bergman's films in that time, and many more).

I just want to understand the extensive reputation of Kurosawa and his movies. Or it might be that I don't understand the cinematic significance towards Japanese movies (I haven't watched many Japanese films) or the influence on Western-filmmakers.

I just want to point out that I do study film, not just merely watching it for entertainment. If I had wanted to watch a film for entertainment, I would've popped in an action-flick. I understand that Kurosawa was quite influential in his creative story-telling technique in Rashomon and his use of camera angles - following the characters and pointing directly at the sun yet those aren't new. Citizen Kane had already invented creative story-telling and camera following the characters, so it isn't new at all.



I am having a nervous breakdance
I've watched quite a few Kurosawa films over the years. I really liked them all but my favorite has to be Ran. The first scene (I think it was) is like nothing else I've ever seen in cinema. I remember the samurai having a sit-down in the grass and that Kurosawa has them sitting in a perfect geometrical symmetry. I also remember the ominous cloudy sky during this really long scene. It had an enormous impact on me.

It's understandable that not everyone is appreciating Kurosawa films today - his most famous films are half a century old. But there is no doubt in my mind that he's one of the true greats in film history and will probably be regarded as such for at least a couple of more decades.

Another gem is the early Stray Dog (1949) with a young Toshirô Mifune. And yet another great japanese film is Harakiri (1962) by Masaki Kobayashi.
__________________
The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, "seeing that his work was good".

--------

They had temporarily escaped the factories, the warehouses, the slaughterhouses, the car washes - they'd be back in captivity the next day but
now they were out - they were wild with freedom. They weren't thinking about the slavery of poverty. Or the slavery of welfare and food stamps. The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.



^^^Kobayashi is a god.

I think someone wouldn't understand Kurosawa if they have little understanding of the human condition, politics, what he references, the allegorical, it could be a number of things. I don't see how his films or themes are dated because people are still being influenced by them today and the themes are still being discussed in classrooms and even by people who have never seen his films.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The funny thing about Kurosawa is that he's considered the most-western of Japanese filmmakers. It's true that many of his films have been remade by the west, but he's the first to admit how influenced he was by western filmmaking and literature. He made many films based on Shakespeare and American novels.