The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress ★★★½

Kurosawa remains a visual maestro, delivering on shot compositions that are creative and a treat to look at (Mifune walking out of the shadows to greet the peasants, the Fire Festival - no, not that one) and action set pieces that defy the limitations allowed by filmmaking at the time. But this is the first movie of his that I felt is a bit underserving in terms of plot and characters, which is understandable since he wanted to make an out-and-out adventure flick to be a hit at the box office to make up for his losses.

A lesser Kurosawa isn’t an insult. It’s a mark of the high bar set by him. 

Oh, and, Star Wars took the initial framing device from this (using two lowly characters to anchor the story), but not much else. I thought it was a more overt case of homage, but it’s pretty minimal.

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