The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress ★★★½

"I've seen people as they are, without pretense. I've seen their beauty and their ugliness... with my own eyes."
Akira Kurosawa's epic film The Hidden Fortress starts out following two bumbling, self-serving peasants, that sort of reminded me of Laurel and Hardy, who are traveling home after attempting and failing to profit from a war being fought near their territory. On the journey home the peasants run into a General and a princess who are hiding out in a hidden fortress, hence the name of the film. The General, played by Toshiro Mifune, uses the two peasants lust for gold to help him and the princess in their attempt to return home. As I sat watching The Hidden Fortress I couldn't help but feel that it was falling short some how. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the cinematography or Kurosawa's grandiose production, but I kept wanting there to be more to the story. There are some truly beautiful sequences in this film... The spear duel, the fire festival... But if I'm comparing The Hidden Fortress to Kurosawa's other films, then I have to be honest and say that the story/script in this one just didn't do it for me. By the end, the slapstick just wasn't cutting it anymore and I was desperate for something to sink my teeth into. Granted, I'm still giving this film pretty high ratings, beacause let's be honest... A mediocre Kurosawa film can be a near masterpiece for many other directors. I would still recommend this film because of the on point cinematography and Kurosawa's ability to make everything seem so extravagant. And of course, Mifune is always fun to watch.
Concept - 7.75/10
Acting - 7.5/10
Script - 7/10
Cinematography - 8.25/10
Personal Score - 7.5/10
Total - 76%