TOTAL MASSACRE – 13 Assassins

3 06 2015

13 Assassins (Toho Co. Ltd. - 2010)

Back in 2010/2011, I kept on spotting posters for a Japanese film being shown at cinemas in the UK. I hardly knew anything about it, but I was interested enough to keep it in mind. I did not get to see it though until late June 2012. It was on Sky Movies Premiere on a late night showing, so I recorded it and watched it later that week. I saw clips of it here and there before watching it fully; then I saw it. I was amazed at what the film was and became hooked from that first viewing. Every time it was and has been on TV since, I have just dropped watching, whatever it was I was watching at the time and immediately turned over to watch the film again, no matter where it was. It is one of the films I have watched and mentioned more than any other in the last few years and is one that remains high on my Top 10 (Non-Godzilla) film list.

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Released in 2010 and co-produced and distributed by Toho, 13 Assassins is a Japanese Epic Samurai film directed by Horror Master Takashi Miike. Miike is possibly best known for his highly controversial horror movie output and has directed more than 95 films to date including the films Audition, Ichi the Killer and Three… Extremes. 13 Assassins is actually a remake of Eiichi Kudô‘s film; The Thirteen Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku), which I have not seen.

Jûsan-nin no shikaku (1963)

In 1840’s Japan, during the Tokugawa Shogunate, the young, sadistic half-brother of the shogun; Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu (Gorô Inagaki) of Akashi, is responsible for a wave of horrible atrocities including murder, rape and torture which he commits at will. After Zusho Mamiya (Seiyô Uchino) commits Seppuku in protest of Naritsugu’s activities, Sir Doi Toshitsura (Mikijirô Hira) decides to take action fearing more atrocities will follow after Naritsugu achieves a higher level in power. Sir Doi seeks out older and respected Samurai; Shimada Shinzaemon (Kôji Yakusho) and provides evidence of crimes performed by Naritsugu including the Murder of Yukie Makino’s son Unume (Takumi Saitô) and the mutilation of a peasant leader’s daughter (Sakurako Moteki). Sir Doi requests that Shinzaemon carry out the assassination of Naritsugu before he can gain any more power. Shinzaemon agrees, but a fellow former student of his, and one of Naritsugu’s loyal retainers; Hanbei (Masachika Ichimura) keeps an eye on him.

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Shinzaemon begins hiring other samurai to help out in the assassination plot including skilled Samurai Hirayama Kujūrō (Tsuyoshi Ihara), and Shinzaemon’s second in command Kuranaga Saheita (Hiroki Matsukata). Kuranaga brings others from his dojo too including Assistant Chief Inspector Mitsuhashi Gunjirō (Ikki Sawamura), Kuranaga’s subordinates; Hioki Yasokichi (Sôsuke Takaoka), and Ōtake Mosuke (Seiji Rokkaku), as well as Mitsuhashi’s men Horii Yahachi (Kôen Kondô) and Higuchi Gennai (Yûma Ishigaki). Hanbei continues to keep an eye on Shinzaemon, but his assistant Judayu Asakawa (Ken Mitsuishi) unwittingly sends men to attack Shinzaemon, who are then quickly slain by Hirayama. While out gambling one evening, Shinzaemon’s nephew Shimada Shinrokurō (Takayuki Yamada) runs into his uncle who talks to him about his big plan. Shinrokuro decides to join in with his Uncle’s assassination plot as it sounds promising, leaving home and his girl Tsuya (Kazue Fukiishi) who doesn’t want him to go. The following morning, Hirayama’s only student; Ogura Shōujirō (Masataka Kubota) joins up, despite Shinzaemon thinking he is too young to join such a fight. Along with him is Sahara Heizō (Arata Furuta), an elderly samurai who prefers to fight with his spear instead of a sword but requests money in exchange for his service (then finally Ishizuka Rihei (Kazuki Namioka) joins in along with Sahara too, but not on-screen). Now 12 warriors in total, Shinzaemon sets them to work. Hirayama trains them all in fighting techniques, while Higuchi and Horii train in explosives. The night before Naritsugu is due to depart Edo (now Tokyo) however, Shinzaemon still has no plan of attack and gets a visit from Hanbei who tries to warn him off.

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Many days pass by until Shinzaemon finally comes up with a plan to turn the village of Ochiai – a destination on Naritsugu’s route – into a spot for an ambush and kill Naritsugu there. He enlists the help of Yukie Makino (Kôshirô Matsumoto) to block Naritsugu from going through his land in an effort to stall him. Kuranaga and Ishizuka go on ahead to Kiso to get the help of Makino, while Mitsuhashi heads to Ochiai to acquire the town from the villagers. The rest of the group set out, but after engaging in a small fight from some hired swordsman, decide to cut across country. The samurai get lost in a forest however and ask the help of Kiga Koyata (Yûsuke Iseya); a hunter who was left abandoned there after trying to have it off with his bosses daughter. With his help, he manages to get the Samurai back onto the road to Ochiai which is now in full preparation for the coming attack. At Kiso, Naritsugu and Hanbei have difficulty trying to go through the land owned by Makino who won’t let them pass. Naritsugu tells Hanbei to take the foolish path as he thinks it sounds more fun. Over the course of a few days, the Samurai prepare Ochiai for the attack, but days pass with no sign of their prey. A few days later Naritsugu reappears on the route, but with 200 men accompanying him instead of his original entourage. Shinzaemon decides to continue with the attack and has Koyata join his group making them a 13 strong force.

Naritsugu and his men walk into the village and  are quickly caught in the trap with some being picked off with ease. Shinzaemon and his Samurai reveal themselves and attack using a barrage of arrow fire quickly reducing the 200 men down to about 130. They then engage in close combat in a lengthy battle (lasting about 45 to 50 minutes). Slowly but surely, the 130 men are reduced down to a much smaller force thanks to the use of traps and techniques built by the samurai, but they too all begin to fall. Naritsugu and Hanbei, along with what’s left of their forces find a way of escaping the town, but are confronted by the only two remaining Samurai: Shinzaemon, and Shinrokuro. Hanbei fights Shinzaemon in a brutal fight, which Shinzaemon wins. Naritsugu then attacks Shinzaemon, stabbing him in the stomach, which Shinzaemon then does to Naritsugu, who succumbs to his injuries and dies. Shinzaemon then lies dying on the floor, talking to Shinrokurō before also succumbing to his wounds. Shinrokuro walks through what’s left of Ochiai, now mostly a burning wreck, but runs into Koyata who appears to have recovered from a fatal wound given to him earlier. Koyata says he will go back home to sweep Upashi – the bosses daughter off her feet – while Shinrokuro decides to stop being a Samurai, instead considering becoming a bandit and possibly jumping ship to America. They depart ways and Shinrokuro walks through the burning town. In the Epilogue it is stated that Naritsugu’s real death was covered up, saying that he died of illness and that 23 years later the Tokugawa Shogunate ends with the Meiji Restoration.

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13 Assassins is technically a remake for an older film, but in turn is more than that. It’s not just some crummy excuse to produce an old classic style of film produced by classic directors like Akira Kurosawa; it’s actually made to be its own independent film. I find 13 Assassins though to be something of a weird film in some of its characters. Now while it would take a while to talk about all the samurai, they are all enjoyable to watch and have their own little moments and scenes that provide this enjoy-ability. These moments though come from moments in the big fight at the end where they pretty much die but provide enough of an onscreen presence to create a coherent and important part. Then you get the higher ranking samurai to the films cast with characters like Sahara who unlike the other samurai uses a spear to a sword. He has a great presence and is one of the bunch that you like to keep your eyes on, just for being that bit different in the first place, but you still try to figure why he’s in the situation in the first place. Then you get characters like Ogura and Mitsuhashi. Ogura who joins on the behest from Hirayama to both him and Shinzaemon, but you wonder why he wants to join in battle at such a young age when he could possibly die. He does not look all that enthusiastic and a deep level of regret and shock fills him when he makes his first kill. It’s like he’s there simply because of the appreciation his master has for him. Then you have Mitsuhashi who seems to be someone relatively quiet throughout, but you feel like he should be saying more as he has something of an experienced leader in him. But weirdest of all is Shinrokuro.

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Shinrokuro is something of a mystery to me as well as a patch of irony . He is presented as a secondary protagonist, but you don’t know why as he is not on-screen all that much except when he is in battle or with his uncle or Koyata. Characters like Hirayama or Kuranaga have more air time and appeal than Shinrokuro, but why is it that Shinrokuro gets this secondary casting. From what I understand though is that he is an ironic character. He regards his life as a Samurai as something of a burden and only really uses it to get girls and money; in other words the materialization of life. He is something of a waste of his skill and feels like it was a stupid idea to go down the path in the first place, despite the fact that he is actually a great warrior. As him being the only one that survives, he gains this irony, in that out of all the warriors, it’s the one who doesn’t want to be one anymore that survives. All the others are committed in what they do, but they all pass away. Shinrokuro though does change as the fight ends, even playing with his sword and maybe seeing the attraction of it all in the first place. I don’t know really, for the most part, he is just very mysterious, and I begin to wonder why on earth he is in the film at all. Despite saying that though, he is a rather enjoyable character to watch, if not understand completely.

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Next to him there is Koyata. I see Koyata as something like the role of Toshirô Mifune‘s character in Seven Samurai. He is the group’s outcast and not actually a Samurai. He is a peek into the opposite life and enjoys what he has. He finds the other warriors to be rather ignorant and continuously challenges them on the way they behave and act. While Mifune in Seven Samurai was a Samurai from the life that Koyata has now, Koyata does not dream of being one of them, but has a desire for inclusion and respect from the others and represents the need for companionship. He is a good fighter and like Sahara, uses other means of fighting than just to use the standard issue, and even tries to confront Naritsugu………………..with Fatal consequences. It could be though that Koyata is more than human, instead possibly being something of a spirit guide to the group and a reminder to them of who exactly they are fighting for. After that there is Kuranaga and Hirayama, both of whom are similar to characters from Seven Samurai. Hirayama for instance is like Kyuzo, the most skilled fighter in the group, a man who can seemingly kill most men with one slice. He is a terrific trainer and is favorable in the eyes of Shinzaemon. There is the feeling though that he is hiding something. He is committed to what he does, but he does not talk about himself all that much and you begin to wonder what is going on. His skills as a fighter are second to none though and provides to defend those in the group and even causes a mass slaughter in his own unique trap area during the battle. Then you have Kuranaga, who I think of a lot like Gorobei. He is a rather jolly Samurai who doesn’t completely have a stern expression and tries to remain jolly in most situations. He is exceedingly loyal to Shinzaemon and remains by his side during the big battle. He also has a lot of faith and trust in his men as well as a level of appreciation and care for them too.

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On the other side of the conflict is the trio of Hanbei, Naritsugu and Asakawa. Asakawa does get a considerable amount of time on-screen despite not saying much. He is a loyal and tough fighter and is rather enjoyable as a supporting character, despite having something of a limited vocabulary. Naritsugu is a nicely and well-designed character. To begin with you don’t see him but you hear about him a lot. You get the idea that he is a truly bad man from what he has done and how people talk about him, but when you see him properly for the first time, a different perspective comes to light. Given to how he looks particularly in his age, he is something more of an ignorant and spoilt child. Because of who he is, and who he is related too, you get the knowledge that he gets whatever he wants. He is a man with a lack of Morales and is served and waited upon by others, No wonder then, that if he looks at something and wants it, he gets it, even if that means committing an act of atrocity. For the most part he is quiet, and only speaks when he wants something or to voice his ever important opinion. He is though a very good villain as you really do despise him for what he has done, but also the way he acts. There is no sense of emotion or care or sympathy for him, making his death, all be it a very dramatic one, all the more satisfying.

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Hanbei though isn’t necessarily a villain, but I think he is more the main protagonist than Naritsugu. Hanbei does have morals and understanding, that can be seen and he also has a sense of regret and disappointment as to what his master does. But on the other hand though, he is a committed and dedicated servant and so even if he has any regret for his master and himself, because he believes that a samurai’s job is to obey his master, he won’t try to stop it. Hanbei though has a much better physical onscreen presence than Naritsugu and because he is more vocal, he is a better antagonist than a supporting character. His devotion also brings him to blows constantly with Shinzaemon and is a great balance to him. While Shinzaemon is this easy-going like character, Hanbei is more frustrated, angry, and a much stricter person and is a great character to contemplate both of them.

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In my opinion though, the best character by far is Shinzaemon. Since watching this film, I consider Koji Yakusho one of my all-time favorite actors. I just got into his character and acting so much from this film.. Shinzaemon is not ruthless, mad, angry, frustrated or anything that could be seen as bad. He is actually very respectful. His faith, trust and respect for those around him is admirable and  second to no-one else in the film. He has great admiration and appreciation for those around him and believes in them enough to trust that they will do their jobs well. He doesn’t look like the kind of man who is struggling from anything except his choice of path and want of a noble death, but while he has a calm exterior, this desire takes hold very early as he jumps at what he believes is the right opportunity to end it all. For his part though, he is just generally a nice person and someone you would want on your side. He is also a strong and knowledgeable tactician, coming up with the plan of attack and a great teacher and friend too. Just from the first second he appears to his last few moments, he was just this extremely enjoyable character, and the most stand out cast member of the entire film (in my opinion).

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The film makes great use of a combination of superb editing (from Kenji Yamashita) and minor moments of special effects to produce rather interesting scenes. One of the most stand out of these pieces is an interesting blend of both of these plus some terrific cinematography. Basically, Yukie Makino is about to commit Seppuku and the shot is done well enough that you see the swipe of the sword go past and through his neck, giving that interpretation, but then it is edited as to quickly change scene so as not to see his head come off. It’s a really amazing scene and well worth looking out for. The film has some other terrific moments of effects too like the burning charging cows and the explosion rain of blood onto a building near Shinrokuro. The fight and battle sequences are terrific, and great care has been taken to make them look authentic, but also carry little touches of humor here and there. The battle at the end – lasting close to an hour – is the film’s major climax. I have seen it many times before, but am not bored once. Even after seeing the film more than 10 times over, I begin to discover moments I had not really spotted before or saw previously, and it continues to get more exciting. Seriously, a battle that long, and that small in terms of scale and size, I still do not get bored of it. While some people may consider it to be a bit long, I think it’s better for being that long in the first place instead of just a quick 5 – 10 minute duel.

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13 Assassins soundtrack (composed by Kôji Endô) is really enjoyable. It’s in a parallel style and look to the period its set in and feels similar to the themes and soundtrack of other classic samurai films. Some points give a serious note, while others are more moments of reflection. Scenes such as the construction of Ochiai into a trap, Naritsugu’s Entourage, preparing for the attack on Ochiai and the Samurai preparing to leave offer varying forms of music for different perspectives in those kinds of situation. Even the end credits continue to deliver a serious note but also provide a great score for the film to end on. All be it though, silence in certain scenes such as during the battle at the end off another perspective, therefore allowing the severity of the situation to come to light more.

Some pieces in the soundtrack I feel are a bit samey as each other, but the soundtrack really becomes its own thing when it wants too. It’s as if the soundtrack comes to life and demands attention to both the scene and itself when it wants that attention. No other piece in the soundtrack does this better than Juu. Juu is used in several occasions of high-octane action. The Samurai leaving for Ochiai, the beginning of the battle and Hirayama’s battlefield. It is by far the piece I have enjoyed the most and even listen to it when not watching the film. It really hypes up the speed, tension and is a great way to start those scenes but does no end abruptly instead continuing down it’s path until it is not needed anymore. It’s also quite dark in mood and helps to deliver the scene in the right way.

I absolutely love this film, no doubt about it. 13 Assassins tells a great story of people stepping out of the fold to deal with a terrible issue that if unresolved could mean complete and total chaos for their nation. It’s a story of unsung heroes and the monstrosities that humans can so easily become. It has great, brilliant and enjoyable characters. It features one of a kind scenes from start to finish encompassing action and drama as well as the odd moment of sheer shock horror. It boasters amazing special effects and a terrific soundtrack, all wrapped up together in a beautifully tied bundle by one of the most prolific directors to date. While there are points of weirdness in the cast, without them, it just wouldn’t be the same. Yes it’s a remake, but it’s better than most. Actually, No! It’s based/adapted/inspired from a previous piece of work, but it stands completely on and by its own merit. 13 Assassins could have just been another imported DVD film for a spot in the World Cinema section of most DVD shops, but it wasn’t. It was released outside its home nation for everyone to enjoy. Yes, not everyone will like this film. It is violent and has some truly shocking, possibly more horrible, atrocious scenes that could make some people cautious, but I stick my neck out for this film. I really do, it is a terrific film that I continue to recommend to this day. One of my favorite films to date, and will probably remain to be on my top 10 for a long time to come. I can’t stress how amazing enough this film is. 13 Assassins, at least to me, is absolutely Fantastic.

GENEPOOL

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The Legacy Of Cobweb Castle – Throne Of Blood

31 12 2014

Throne Of Blood (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1957)

I’ll admit it; I don’t like the works of Shakespeare. I was spoon fed them at school a lot with plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On one occasion we had to dress up as a certain character from A Midsummer Nights Dream (either Puck or Bottom for boys) and act out one of their scenes. I chose bottom and had donkey ears attached to my glasses at the time. I remember watching a film version of Twelfth Night (which I enjoyed to a point) and couldn’t find reason in what certain characters say; like a woman pretending to be a man and saying something like “If I were a woman, I’d marry you”; or another case of a bloke agreeing to marry someone he’s only just met after washing ashore on the island. In recent history, particularly at University I did some of Romeo and Juliet. Once in Foundation, and more recently in second year when we looked up different adaptations of the story; including the Baz Luhrmann Film (which on occasion has inspired me) and an excellent Dire Straits song. So while I do have the odd moment where I like the adaptations of Shakespeare, I just don’t like the original works. So I can be glad then that Throne of Blood is an adaptation.

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Released in 1957 and Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Throne of Blood is an adaptation of Macbeth. Now this is not the first time that I have watched one of Kurosawa’s adaptations of a Shakespeare play. Back in late 2012 I watched (and reviewed) the rather brilliant film RAN which is based on King Lear. Since watching Seven Samurai in 2012 I have been collecting films by Kurosawa every now and again. One of the films I most wanted to see was Throne of Blood. So last week, while everyone else was out watching the 97th Lord of the Rings film, I decided to use the opportunity to watch Throne of Blood.

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A chorus of singers sing about Cobweb Castle, a fort that once in a now desolate land; all that now remains is a stone plinth used as a memorial. Fog covers the land and the Castle appears. Lord Tsuzuki (Takamaru Sasaki) rules there and his outer forts come under siege from a traitor. His armies fight back however. In Cobweb forest, Commanders Washizu (Toshiro Mifune) and Miki (Minoru Chiaki) are on their way to see Tsuzuki. While in the forest however they hear loud shouting before encountering a spirit (Chieko Naniwa) in a little hut. The spirit tells Washizu that today he will become head of North Mansion, and then head of Cobweb Castle. Miki meanwhile, today will become head of Fort One (Washizu’s former post), and that his son will eventually become head of Cobweb Castle. Initially they don’t believe her and on their way to the castle they stop for a break. When reaching the castle they are rewarded like the spirit told them they would be. With Washizu now in charge at North Mansion, he looks forward to a life of peace and is currently happy with his due. His wife Lady Asaji (Isuzu Yamada) meanwhile likes what the spirit has said and begins to manipulate Washizu. When Tsuzuki visits North Mansion, Asaji drugs the guards protecting Tsuzuki while he sleeps, and Washizu murders him. Upon returning in shock at what he has done, Asaji places the spear in one of the guard’s hands and calls Murder. Washizu then kills the guard.

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Tsuzuki’s son; Kunimaru (Hiroshi Tachikawa) meanwhile believes that Washizu murdered his father and along with Noriyasu (Takashi Shimura), a loyal commander to Tsuzuki try to warn Miki about Washizu. Miki however does not believe Washizu would do such a thing. Washizu is made Lord of Cobweb Castle plans to allow Miki’s son Yoshiteru (Akira Kubo) to become the next lord at Cobweb Castle, but Asaji is now Pregnant, meaning Washizu will need to eliminate Miki. At a banquet, Washizu gets drunk and begins to have hallucinations when he sees Miki’s ghost. He begins to shout and act out and unknowing reveals his betrayal. Asaji tries to pick up the pieces asking for the guests to leave. A guard then arrives with Miki’s head but says his son escaped. Asaji miscarried her baby, and a distraught Washizu heads into the forest to find the spirit again. The spirit tells him that he will not lose a battle until Cobweb Castle moves. Thinking such a thing is impossible, Washizu is confident that he is invincible.

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Noriyasu’s men begin to approach Cobweb Castle. Washizu spirits the men on by telling him what the spirit told him. They all believe him and share his confidence. During the night, the men at the castle begin hearing strange noises, and then a whole flock of birds suddenly fly into the castle. Everyone thinks it’s a bad omen. Washizu though checks on his wife who has gone catatonic and tries to wash off non-existent blood off her hands.  Washizu then hears soldiers running around and sees his soldiers fleeing from their posts. They say that the forest is moving. Washizu goes to have a look and sees to his horror that the forest is indeed moving. The army of Noriyasu is using the branches as cover. Washizu’s men then turn on him, and begin to shoot their arrows at him. He tries as hard as he can to dodge them, but to no luck and eventually gets shot through the neck and dies. The scene then changes back to the desolate landscape and back to the memorial.

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While it may have been an idea, to look and see how this film compares to Macbeth, I didn’t do any look back/research before writing this. From what I know however, I can see similarities to Macbeth. Washizu is Macbeth, the forest moving and the character of Lady Asaji is Lady Macbeth while Miki is Banquo, (however it was my dad who pointed that out to me). The spirit in the forest is the strange women from Macbeth and the story is basically the same as Macbeth rising to power. The film though as when I look at it, not as in looking for similarities, but as its own standing, is quite interesting.

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The film tells a story of a man, a great soldier and a loyal commander, who is driven to insanity through the manipulation driven by his wife and later the desire to keep hold of his kingdom. The decent of this man continues as those trustworthy around him begin to split from him which eventually leads to his demise. The part of this character is played brilliantly by the great Toshiro Mifune. This is not the first time I have seen Mifune in action, and since watching Seven Samurai have seen him as my Favourite actor. He is easily the best person for the role of Washizu as his commanding and domineering presence on-screen is well done. But he can also get mad and in Throne of Blood though we see how a person descends into madness. First through regret of actions, through to desire, lust and then insanity. To begin with he is a very respectful man, he is the epitome of a protagonist, but by the end he is very much the Antagonist, and while the story to continues to revolve around him as the central character, he is now the villain and gets what’s coming to him.

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In the same league we have the character of Lady Asaji who from the moment you see her, you can tell she is not very nice. Much like Lady Kaede in RAN, she is a schemer. She has begun plans to make sure the spirits visions come true and begins the manipulation required to get Washizu to do what she wants. She wants these things for him as much as her, but likes the idea of being in control and wants her family to remain on the throne. From early on, she is a key figure and remains so until just before and a little bit after she miscarried. From the onset though, you have no sympathy for her.

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In an opposite fashion though there is commander Miki. He is a very likeable person and appears to be a true friend to Washizu and remains loyal to him until the end. While he does not understand the visions of the spirit, he just goes along with it until they become real. Miki from start to finish is a character you do care about as he has a very nice on-screen presence and is in no way ruthless, but it does become predictable what’s going to become of him.

Toshiro Mifune and Minoru Chiaki

I do feel like it is rather surprising though that Takashi Shimura does not get more of a prominent role. In the past particularly if you take films like in Ikiru, Rashomon and Seven Samurai, Shimura has had more prominent leading roles, but while he gets a good amount of screen time, I think it’s rather surprising that he doesn’t get more. While he is noticed at the beginning at the council, and then rides in at the end to bring down Washizu, it just feels like for most of it that he simply disappears. Other characters in the film such as Yoshiteru and Kunimaru don’t really have much of a part to talk about though, for the most part it’s not down to them to save the day, and it rests more on the shoulders of Noriyasu to save the day. On occasion there are other cast members of note, such as the lamp bearers and the guards that stand out, but really it feels like something of a let down from some of the supporting characters in terms of the story anyway. I do like the character of the Spirit. It’s quite an uncomfortable character when she is on-screen, but that’s probably what was meant to be. When she is laughing and cackling in the forest and you can hear that, it’s almost disturbing and scary. But when she is on her own in the hut spinning the wheel you think for a moment that she might be someone else, but then discover more. Alongside that you also have Lord Tsuzuki who for his brief time on-screen is very enjoyable, particularly at his counsel during the first few moments of the film.

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The film has a terrific setting. Filmed on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the desolate landscape allowed the use of fog which is used to great extent as it allows moments of lost and confusion while also giving moments of reveal too. When Washizu and Miki first see the castle and it is slowly revealed in the background while they talk as well as when they are lost in the fog is a great scene. The first moments too allow a reveal of the shrine/memorial to the castle and are used to the effect of showing what remains as well as the chaos caused from the events, even if they haven’t happened yet; add to that the scene of the forest moving shows a real sense of mystic energy as it makes the tree look like they are actual beings and not just men using them. Other uses of weather such as rain and thunderstorms are put to good use when used in Cobweb Forest when people are running around and when the Spirit laughs in the early moments of the film. The area of North Mansion as well as the mansion itself is actually very beautiful and shows an element of peace just in its look. Effects aren’t just limited to weather though. The ending scene with Washizu being shot at with Arrows; the arrows are real. Mifune wanted the use of real arrows (choreographed) to be shot at him to give a real sense of terror in his actions. Now while I am as of yet unsure about the one through his neck, the effect works brilliantly and is one the film’s best moments.

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When it comes to the film’s soundtrack, it’s hard to say much about it as I don’t remember many scenes where it is used. The singing at the beginning is apparent, as too is the arrival of Tsuzuki at North Mansion, but the film for me anyway appears to use mostly sounds and not much in the way of actual music. The films theme though is pretty good. While it may not be as grand in its element with other Masaru Sato pieces, particularly later ones like Yojimbo and The Hidden Fortress. The theme however has the mystery/mystic element about it before it eventually feeds into the singing but while it is certainly different, and that is the best way to describe it, it’s also very enjoyable from start to finish, even if you only here the first few seconds.

The film does struggle when it comes to pacing though. The early moment of singing, through to the Lord’s counsel of the attacks and then to the scenes from the forest to the attaining of North Mansion are very enjoyable and stand out as moments I really enjoyed. However I think the story of the film begins to get stagnant from then on. There was a long pause from when Washizu and Miki first meet the spirit, and then things really do slowdown from North Mansion onwards. The film picks up at moments though, with scenes like the horse ride chase, and scenes leading up to the banquet. But then they begin to stagnate again with points of me wondering how long the film had left (or that may have been me getting a little tired) and only picking up again as the film drew closer to finishing. For most of the film, there are some really good points and the pacing remains equal, but some scenes have long pauses and gaps where almost nothing happens for a while and this sets it off. While those moments may want to show elements of peace in the chaos, when they’re too long, you begin to notice it.

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Throne of Blood does have its issues, from certain moments of lack of cast and pacing, but throughout I did enjoy it. While I don’t think it stands out from other Akira Kurosawa productions such as Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress or RAN, I did enjoy this, even if it is based on a piece of work by Shakespeare. It features another great performance from the terrific Toshiro Mifune as well Minoru Chiaki. While it is in fact an adaptation of a play several hundreds of years old, I think it also stands out on its own two feet as something which can be enjoyed by itself (the adaptation point does allow for some clarification if it gets a little confusing). With scenes of action intermixed with scenes of drama and great weather effects; Throne of Blood is definitely worth a watch and while it may appeal more to people who prefer drama over action, there is still something for everyone, even if the title is somewhat off-putting.

GENEPOOL





The Ronin, The Shogun And The Outcast – 47 Ronin

8 01 2014

47 Ronin (2013 - Universal Pictures)

I love Japanese culture as you can probably tell from my extensive knowledge particularly in their film industry as well as Video Games. I love the setting of it all, the beauty in their gardens as well as the historical culture particularly that of the Samurai. But for all this interest, the tale of the 47 Ronin is one I don’t know that much about. The tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin is one of the most famous in the country’s history:

“Described by Japanese historians as a ‘National Legend’, the revenge of the 47 Ronin took place in Japan and is the ultimate expression of the samurai code of honour, Bushido. The story began on April 21st 1701, when Lord Asano Naganori, the Daimyo of the Ako Domain was forced to commit ritual suicide for attacking Kira Yoshinaka in Edo Castle, a rude and arrogant Master of Ceremony under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The loyal 47 Ronin took over a year to planned their raid on Kira’s mansion. On a snowy December night, they strike on Kira’s home, taking everyone by surprise.  After killing Kira, they went to their Master’s Grave, and turned themselves in to the authorities. For committing such a vendetta, the 47 Ronin were requested by the Shogun to commit seppuku, ritual self-disembowelment. During the Meiji era, the rapid modernization of Japan forces people to return to their cultural roots and values, giving tremendous popularity of the 47 Ronin’s tale.” – 47 Ronins.com

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While waiting for the film to come out though, I have heard almost nothing but bad press about it. While there was initial excitement about another film on such a famous and popular story, after other people looked into the new film, their initial thoughts were that of disappointment. I of course did not understand as I had not any full understanding of the original legend.

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The film opens with a small tale of a child being discovered with marks upon his head. A local lord takes pity on him while everyone else in his clan believe him to be a demon. The boy strikes a friendship with the local lord’s daughter Mika (Kō Shibasaki) and waits for the day that he can repay them both. Many years later, after being trained in samurai culture but still living as an outcast, the Halfling (as he is called) boy named Kai (Keanu Reeves) saves the life of one of the villagers by taking down a giant beast that was being hunted. Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) uses the creature as an offering for the Shogun who makes a visit later that evening. When the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) arrives, Kai spots a woman in the crowd he believes to be a witch. He goes to Lord Asano’s head samurai Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) to tell him this, but Oishi does not take interest believing that Kai must be a demon if he can spot a witch.

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The following day a tournament is held in the honour of the shogun. The Shogun’s master of ceremonies, Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) is in attendance and presents his fighter, a giant man all clad in steel to fight Lord Asano’s fighter, who has been bewitched. Kai secretly takes the fighters place until he is discovered. He is forced into taking a beating. That night Lord Kira tells his witch servant Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi) to possess Lord Asano, this works and Lord Asano, blind to his daughter’s distress attacks a defenceless Lord Kira. Kira survives but is forced by the Shogun to commit Seppuku. His now Master less Samurai become Ronin and are forced to depart from the land and Kai is sold into Slavery. Kira is made head of the land and Mika is forced to marry him in one years’ time. Oishi meanwhile is forced into a pit by Kira.

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One year passes and Oishi is finally released from the pit. He heads home and makes plans to get his revenge on Kira. He tells his son Chikara (Jin Akanishi) to go and amass his former warriors and meet him by a river in a few days’ time. Oishi meanwhile travels to a Dutch port to get Kai back. Kai shows great skill in fighting many strange beasts at the pirate port. Oishi enters a fight with him and tells him of what is about to happen. Oishi and Kai manage to escape the port and meet up with the other Ronin. The group split up, Chikara goes to find information from the drunken guards near Kira’s palace. A few others head off to find more men while Oishi and Kai go to get more swords. Their search leads them to going to find the Tengu, a mystical group who hides in the forest, the ones who trained Kai and raised him. Kai and Oishi go in the temple and Oishi’s will is tested as Kai confronts the head of the order and takes his sword. As a reward, his men get the swords they need.

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At Kira’s palace, Mika is being prepared for her marriage but gets repeatedly tested by Mizuki and Kira. Kira heads off to a temple to pray as the Ronin plan their attack on Kira. They travel to Kira’s encampment and launch a surprise attack. It proves to be a trick though as Kira is Mizuki in disguise. Thinking that the Ronin are now dead, Kira goes ahead with his wedding. The Ronin manage to survive the encounter but with some loses. The Ronin decide to use their deaths as a surprise and plan a new attack on Kira’s castle. At the cover on nightfall, the Ronin secretly enter the castle and are mostly successful in taking out the perimeter guards, until one of them manages to get a stray shot off. The palace falls into battle. Oishi’s men are successful in taking out the Kira’s fighter and Oishi engages Kira. Kai rescues Mika and manages to kill Mizuki. Oishi meanwhile beheads Kira. The Ronin travel back to their home and surrender to The Shogun. The shogun says though that because they did what any Samurai would do despite disobeying him that they may die with honour by committing Seppuku. They begin the ritual but the Shogun allows Chikara to live and become the new lord of the region. Kai meanwhile says that he will wait in the afterlife for Mika.

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While the film may not live up to the original legend, it is my understanding from research that I have done that almost no film on the legend lives up to the original story. What is noticeable though is that the film does follow the original story with elements of fantasy included. The film is therefore adding elements to make the story interesting to other audiences. In my opinion, the only chance of making a thorough adaptation true to the original story, the film would have to be made in Japan. Several have, but in order to please the rest of the world, it would need more of an international release. From a western point of view though, the film is made alongside the original tale but with elements that would appeal to those who request more than just reality, and due to the film’s ancient, mythical setting, there is some allowance at least for the western audience for some elements of mythological beasts.

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In terms of the film itself, so not much look upon the legend itself, I find myself comparing it in some respects to films like 13 Assassins and Zulu. Films on an epic scale such as these, it is easy to see the detail that has been put into those films compared to this where it appears to be almost minimal. The characters for instance in traditional Japanese epic’s such as Seven Samurai and 13 Assassins have a great amount of detail into each and every character in the main troupe. Now while of course it would take forever to do the same with the whole company of the 47 Ronin, but as only a few of them appear to have any character at all, it’s a shame we can’t see more of them, not even from the 12 main men in the company. If you were to take a look at this films detail on par with Zulu you can see that Zulu manages to keep large amounts of detail in its characters, though many but allows room for it.

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Though while it is very minimal on its characters, 47 Ronin’s main characters are a nice mix. But I do think that this film could have been improved greatly if it was a Japanese Language speaking film as it would look more authentic than them all speaking English, which I think is a definite weakness. Keanu reeves character holds a pivotal point but I think his character is only there to justify the western nature of the film. He is not the only one though as I think that the tattooed guy in the Dutch port, who appears in all the posters, only appears very briefly and I was expecting him to suddenly turn up, but he didn’t.

Keanu Reeves and Tattoo Man

The main draw in the film’s cast though are in the form of Lord Kira and Oishi. Oishi is a respectable samurai and a respectable samurai who holds up the codes of the samurai as displayed in the film with great authenticity despite not going that much into detail with it. He is very enjoyable throughout the film and you feel a level of safety around him. in many respects, Oishi is the real main focus of the plot, over Keanu Reeves’s Character. Lord Kira though plays the part of a rotter really well. His part is that of a devious and deceitful villain who wants nothing more than power and he is much of a schemer when he does this. This part is excellently played by Tadanobu Asano. Alongside him you also have the brilliant Rinko Kikuchi as the witch Mizuki. As a character she is as rotten as Kira, but this is not a bad thing as that is their part, they are the kind of character whose end you very much look forward too, as is their part.

Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi

The film’s special effects are well done and work well in tandem bringing the creatures in the film to life. Such other effects are used mostly for the creatures but also for the effects that could not be done by real life. It shows great respect to more recent Japanese film makers, particularly Takeshi Miike who only uses CGI if it is humanly impossible, such as can be seen in 13 Assassins.

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While maybe not holding up to the original legend completely, 47 Ronin is actually a very enjoyable film. While the story is scattered and somewhat quick to go from point A to point G, it is a story that does have a level of detail in showing the ancient culture if only a tiny bit. As a fantasy film though, I think it rivals many others but as it is trying to go in tandem to an original legend, it suffers as a result. If it were its own story it could have been very different, but don’t just write it off as a generic fantasy film as this film does more than those. Though in my opinion if you want to see a film that shows more of a foreign culture, I would highly recommend you see 13 Assassins or Seven Samurai instead.

GENEPOOL





Your Choice 5 (Part 2): Future Classics

20 09 2013

Your Choice 5

Earlier in the week I announced the start of the next and possibly the last (for now) Film Vote, the annual event where my lovely readers get to choose what film I review. As previously announced the theme for this year is Classics and Future Classics. We have seen the classics, it is now time for the Future Classics, film that have been released 2000 onwards to which have great possibility of becoming Classics in their own right in the future. So here is the choice you have:

13 Assassins (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2010)

13 Assassins: Directed by Japanese Horror Master Takashi Miike (One of the Greatest living Directors), 13 Assassins follows a group of warriors led by Kōji Yakusho (My 2nd Favourite Actor) who are attempting to Assassinate an up and coming leader of the nation who plans to end 200 years of peace and bring back the age of war. While technically being a remake of Eiichi Kudo‘s 1963 film, 13 Assassins is one of the best films released this Century. In my opinion, it is the best Period Piece since Seven Samurai. With an epic sense of Drama, Action and possibly the longest battle in movie history at 50 minutes long, 13 Assassins is one film you cannot and will not afford to miss.

District 9 (TriStar Pictures - 2009)

District 9: The first feature film from Neill Blomkamp which went on to be nominated for 4 awards at the 2010 Academy Awards including Best Picture, District 9 is a one of a kind Science Fiction film. Starring Sharlto Copley as the man instructed with removing Aliens from an Area of Johannesburg, he later becomes the number 1 target after gaining knowledge of Alien Technology. The film’s story draws upon and acts as a reminder to events that had occurred in District Six of Cape Town during the Apartheid Regime. With some amazing special effects, action and tension that does not stop growing until the film’s conclusion, this is not just some Science Fiction film, it is more than that.

Ice Age (Blue Sky Studios - 2002)

Ice Age: Produced at a time when the CGI Animation industry was already dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Ice Age arrived out of know where by new Studio Blue Sky Studios and blasted away its competitors. The film follows a group of Mammals as they attempt to get a human baby back to its parents while trying to avoid the perils of the Ice Age. Ice Age would go on to be the first film in a series that would go on to gross almost 3 Billion Dollars worldwide. While studios like Pixar and DreamWorks continue to make films, they have yet to produce something as good if not better in my opinion than Ice Age.

King Arthur (Touchstone Pictures - 2004)

King Arthur: Released at a time when Medieval Fantasy films were taking control of Cinema, King Arthur arrived and focussed on much more than just Giant Battles. Based on the ancient legend, King Arthur and his men are on a mission to protect their nation from the arrival of the Saxons. Starring Clive Owen, Keira Knightley and Stellan Skarsgård, King Arthur is one incredible film.

Sherlock Holmes (Silver Pictures - 2009)

Sherlock Holmes: Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, Sherlock Holmes follows the master detective as he fights supernatural and dark powers to save England from the tyrannical mastermind Lord Blackwood played by Mark Strong. While not being heavy in the special effects front as another film released in 2009, Sherlock Holmes was definitely the best at Drama and Story with a twist of Comedy thrown in that will keep a smile on your face throughout, but does not stop the Action getting as tense as it does. With greatly designed scenes, a soundtrack that you want to tap your feet to, Sherlock Holmes is a film for everyone to enjoy.

Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal Pictures - 2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman: One of two films released in 2012 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the original tale, Kristen Stewart stars as the Fugitive Princess led through a magical world by Chris Hemsworth trying to run away from the tyrannical queen Charlize Theron. With an all-star cast and a level of detail that other films of its genre can only hope to achieve alongside a soundtrack that fits it well and a sense of scale and beauty over long distances, Snow White and the Huntsman is a magical journey like no other. It’s like the majestic beauty of Pan’s Labyrinth meets the size and scale of RAN.

Welcome to the Punch (Momentum Pictures - 2013)

Welcome to the Punch: A script rated as the third greatest un-produced script, finally released just this year with executive producer by Ridley Scott. Starring James McAvoy as a British police detective with his mind on capturing wanted convict Mark Strong who injured him a few years earlier with help from the Amazing Andrea Riseborough. With a cast of some of Britain’s finest actors, Welcome to the Punch is one gritty action packed thriller with essences of Mystery, Thriller and Intrigue. One of very few British crime films around these days, this is definitely one that no one should overlook.

So there are the choices, for you to choose from, so onto voting. The voting process for this vote is the same as the previous post. Here are the details again: Choose which film you would like to see reviewed (or if unsure, you can choose 3) by clicking in the required fields on the poll and then click vote. While the poll does block previous voters, you can always get over that by using another computer, so if you really want to see your choice win, just keep doing that. The poll will be open from now until the stroke of midnight into the new year this coming December 31st. So, take a look at the choices above choose one (or two or three if unsure), and place your vote. Don’t forget to vote in the Classics Vote if you have not done so already, check back soon for updates on the vote as well as in the New Year to see which has won. Thank You.

GENEPOOL





Latest Blog Milestone – Two Hundred And Fifty Posts

20 03 2013

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Yes it’s true, this is my 250th post. It has been a long time since I started doing this blog and I am not going to sugar coat it by saying that it feels just like yesterday when I started, because it doesn’t. Interestingly enough, my blog technically started one year before it officially started with a me writing about the problems of Multiplayer Video Games and printing them off and sharing them around friends. Well one year later, I finally got round to starting this. the blog started off well but eventually the views would go down as  low as 7 views in one month. But then I started doing FIlm Reviews, then eventually post a week and my views began to grow and grow towards the internet sky. Many milestones have been reached and now that I have reached the amazing total of Two Hundred and Fifty Posts, I think it is time for a celebration.

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I have managed to wade through all my previous posts and chosen my personal favourite top 25 posts, and so I will present them to you. The first 20 will just have a brief overview of each but the top 5 will have an in-depth summary of sort with pictures. I will also be presenting the top 5 Highest rated posts as well as the top 5 most viewed. If you would like to read any of the posts that are to be mentioned, just click the link. So let’s get started.

25. Before The War – Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace: This is a film review of Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, this post is the most recent one I have posted.

24. Top 5 Black Sabbath Songs: This past June on the day that was both My Birthday but also the live performance of Black Sabbath at Download I did a post of my Top 5 Personal Favourite songs from my Favourite Band (apologies for the long-winded description).

23. UNSTOPPABLE Review – The Runaway Train came down the hill and Blew Up; Unless Chris Pine and Denzel Washington can Stop it: This one as described by the title is a Film Review of the Tony Scott film Unstoppable. To date this post is the fourth most viewed Film Review I have done.

22. Sam’s Rant – Multiplayer Games: Everyone needs to start somewhere and for me, this was it. this post was published all the way back in November 2009.

21. Film Review: The Count of Monte Cristo: This was as the title suggests a film review of the 2002 film The Count Of Monte Cristo. I was getting views for this review almost every week when I originally posted it.

The Count Of Monte Cristo (Spyglass Entertainment - 2002)

20. Four Blokes From Birmingham – Black Sabbath: This post was a response to something I was reading online which stated that a line from the film Almost Famous is used by Trebuchet Magazine when new writers start, so I decided to do it as a challenge.

19. Raging Bull: This post is about the original Dodge Charger car. A Great and interesting start to The First of 2012 Challenge, It was originally a piece of work I did for University but in the end I did not submit that part, so I decided to turn it into a post.

18. The Railway Company – A History of TOHO (200th Post) : A post that I had been wanting to do for almost a year, this post talks about the history of the Japanese Film Company that made such films as Seven Samurai as well as creating Godzilla. This was also my 200th Post.

17. Maze In The Forest – Pan’s Labyrinth: Pan’s Labyrinth was a film that I was unsure of at first when I originally saw it but it was after doing this review my opinion changed. I even draw inspiration from this film for a story I am writing at the moment.

16. Attack Of The Giant Moth – Mothra vs Godzilla: This was my review of a film that is said to be one of the best films in the Godzilla series, Mothra vs Godzilla.

Mothra vs Godzilla (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1964)

It’s now time for a break in the proceedings as we now turn our heads to my Top 5 Highest rated posts. What does this mean, well at the bottom of each post there is some green stars, each named after a Different Godzilla Monster. Much like any star rating system, 5 stars is best and it goes down from there. So let us turn our gaze, quite literally to the right of the screen to see what the top 5 Highest Rated Posts to date on this FAntastic Blog are.

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5. 5 Years and Still Painful – Part 4: Part 4 of the ongoing saga of how I broke my knee cap.

4. Film Review – The Muppet Christmas Carol: A film review I did of The Muppet Christmas Carol.

3. Akira Kurosawa’s Masterpiece – Seven Samurai: The film review I did of Seven Samurai.

2. My Week: 09/04/2012 – 15/04/2012: What it says, a sort of review of my week between the two dates.

1. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): A Brief History of Godzilla, read it, it’s Fantastic.

Top Rated

Meanwhile the Top 25 List continues.

15. Top 5 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours: A list of my Top 5 Favourite Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours. One of the most surprising things about this post was how quickly it shot up as one of my most viewed posts and reached the Major milestone of becoming the first post to reach the 1000 views milestone.

14. Film Review – Godzilla vs King Ghidorah: The first Godzilla review I posted, incredibly fun to write and thoroughly enjoyable. I am hoping to publish a re-review of this film in the next few months just so I can update it and put it in the format I am currently using for my Film Reviews.

13. It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do That Defines Me – Batman Begins: My review of Batman Begins, while pretty much being in the original format, it is still a Great post and one I enjoyed writing a lot.

12. Top 5 KISS Songs: My top 5 favourite Kiss Songs. It was a lot of fun trying to work out the order as well as listen to some of the best songs by one of the Greatest Rock Bands.

11. How To Make A Tardis?  This post goes in-depth into the ideas behind the machine that is piloted by Doctor Who, it was a lot of hard work to produce but it was an incredible post to write.

Tardis

10. Top 5 SAXON Songs: As you can see by the title it is my Top 5 Favourite Saxon Songs. While not the first Top 5 List, it was the first one related to music.

9. Virgin VS FirstGroup: The Real Issue: Written back in September, this post looked into what I thought was the real issue in the Virgin/FirstGroup West Coast Main Line Fiasco, the issue being the trains. A train company is not a train company without trains.

8. Space Impression From Space – Godzilla VS SpaceGodzilla: My review of Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla. While the film in some cases was a bit weird, it was very enjoyable and writing this post was enjoyable too.

7. My Top 10 Favourite (NON-GODZILLA) Films: All my favourite films are Godzilla films (if you have not worked it out yet) and so I need two Top 10 Lists for my Favourite films. This one was tricky to write and I even edited part of it the night before it was published. I am hoping to publish my Top 10 Favourite films in the summer.

6. A Nice Film That Will Be Hard To Beat – The Hunger Games: My review of The Hunger Games. Because I enjoyed this film so much I didn’t want to just do a standard review. It was from this film that the current format for my reviews come from with Pictures between paragraphs and the movie trailer as well as going a bit more in-depth with the films. It was also the first time that I used the Black, Italic, Bold Link system. In my own personal opinion, it is one of the Best Reviews I have done to date.

The Hunger Games (Lionsgate - 2012)

Now lets take another quick break as we look at the Top 5 Most viewed posts on my Blog.

5. Godzilla News – Unveiling, Release and Giant Plants: A look into the latest news regarding the upcoming Legendary Pictures Godzilla Film as well as the news of the release of Godzilla vs Biollante on Blu-ray.

4. Dinosaurs Return To Television: A post which I did within a few hours of Planet Dinosaur’s first episode. This post had a link to it on the BBC Website and at one point was the most viewed post on my Blog.

3. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): The highest rated post on my blog is also the third most viewed post on my Blog.

2. The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack: On two occasions this post was the most viewed post on my blog and became the second post to reach the 1000 views milestone.

1. Top 5 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours: While it may not be number 1 to me, it surely is the current title holder of the most viewed post on my blog.

Views

Now we enter the final stretch. before you, you will find My Top 5 Personal Favourite Blog Posts – Enjoy.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2001)

5. The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack: The Best Film in the world, FACT. An incredibly enjoyable post to write. When I usually write a review I watch the film before hand but I wrote this one from memory as well as getting some help from other websites. The post eventually became the most viewed post on my Blog, a title which the post has held on two separate occasions. Please head over and read this Incredible review. If you have not seen the film, I recommend you do because you are missing out. You can buy the film on Amazon (follow the link).

Seven Samurai (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1954)

4. Akira Kurosawa’s Masterpiece – Seven Samurai: My review of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Seven Samurai. After years of wanting to watch this film, I finally got round to it and until just recently felt that it was my best review to date. I was able to write a lot about this film without making it too long. I was able to find pictures from the film itself and even included a trailer for it and one of the best clips from the film. Both an incredible film and an enjoyable experience to write, it even includes links from where you can buy the film.

RAN (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1985)

3. The Final Masterpiece – RAN: My review of the Akira Kurosawa film RAN. When I was writing this I knew that the post was something special. I posted this review in January this year and watched the film itself the day before New Years Eve. Originally I was going to watch the film the same night that my family was going to see The Hobbit, but in the end I decided to watch it sooner and make the film my first review of the year aswell as my first official blog post for this year. To me this is the Best Film Review I have done to date.

Nintendo Wii

2. 5 Years of Nintendo Wii: This post took me almost a day to write. It was published on the 5th anniversary of the Nintendo Wii being released in the UK. While it took me a long time to produce, the nostalgia that came to me when writing it, all the fantastic and happy memories that came to me of one of the Best Video Game Consoles was just so enjoyable. I was able to find fantastic videos on the subject and the simple fact that I could write a post so passionately about a subject i love was just a  Fantastic Experience, an experience i look forward to doing again.

So we have finally arrived at my Personal Favourite Post. While I have enjoyed writing almost every post I have written to date, this post stands out to me as My Best Post.

Godzilla 1954 - Present

1. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): When I was fast approaching my 100th post, I wanted to do something very special for such a magnificent milestone, so I decided that I would do A Brief History of Godzilla. It was the last Tuesday of my time at Teesside University, I woke up at about lunchtime and because I had nothing to do for the rest of the day, I got stuck straight in. I watched videos on the subject from many places on the web as well as using my own personal knowledge on the subject. Over the course of about 5 hours I wrote about 3 pages of work and it was after attending the final Teesside CU of the year I got back into writing. I loaded up pictures into the post of other monsters as well as posters from the series. It is a post that I enjoyed writing every paragraph, sentence and word of. Even after all this time from me posting it to now, it is still my Favourite Post.

So we have finally reached the end of this enjoyable look back through the history of my blog. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and the blog and all those who continue to do so on a regular basis. I both hope and invite you all and anyone new to come back soon for more Fantastic Posts. Thankyou.

GENEPOOL








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