Classics: Review: The Hidden Fortress

“The Hidden Fortress” was officially released in 1958. (same year The Icee Company was born) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough money at the box office. The Criterion Collection digitally restored The Hidden Fortress on DVD/Blu-Ray labeled as spine number 116. Sucker Punch is working on a sequel to the video game “Ghost of Tsushima.” As I wait patiently, I wanna share my thoughts on this film.

This review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving some of you a chance to see one of Akira Kurosawa’s signature movies.

Honor & Dishonor Aspects

Honor: Akira Kurosawa did an excellent job directing the film. He also wrote the script and the produced the film.

Akira’s frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune did an excellent job for his performance.

Another collaborator Takashi Shimuara has a role as an old general.

Action Sequences are solid. For instance, a stand-off between Makabe & Hyoe dueling with spears.

George Lucas stated The Hidden Fortress and Akira’s works inspired him to make “Star Wars.” For instance, C-3PO & R2-D2 are based on the two peasants. General Makabe’s the inspiration for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Princess Leia & Padme Amidala are based on Princess Yuki. Darth Vader’s based on Hyoe. Another notable trait is Akira’s usage of “wipe effects” also present in Star Wars transitioning from one scene to another. If you own a copy of The Hidden Fortress, George’s given an interview about Akira’s work.

Chemistry between the peasants and their allies serve as the main highlight. Their interactions with one another moves the story forward.

Cinematography captures in-depth imagery. Makes me want to replay Ghost of Tsushima in “Kurosawa Mode.”

Pacing never felt fast or slow. My eyes were glued to the screen.

The Tone is lighter than “Throne of Blood.” A breath of fresh air. Akira wanted to try something different for a change. It worked out pretty well.

Primary Themes are Greed & Survival. Both are used carefully.

Dishonor: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving Akira and his crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

The Hidden Fortress is another Kurosawa masterpiece. Also, my favorite film of 1958. If you’re a loyal Criterion Collector, it’s a must buy. Don’t forget to grab “Rashomon,” “Seven Samauri,” “Throne of Blood” and “Yojimbo.” What movies from The Criterion Collection should I watch and review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.

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