Post-Xmas Toy Hangover Blues...

So, you've built a 1,045 piece Batmobile out of Legos. Now, what are you going to do for Christmas?

Luckily for me, I've got an awesome girlfriend like Jen, so if I chose to, I could've watched my new three-disc Criterion Collection version of Kurosawa's Shichinin no samurai (The Seven Samurai to those of us who speak a more barbaric tongue). I already had the original Criterion release of this film from several years before, and had watched it numerous times, so I wrestled originally with even placing this title on my Christmas list. After all, lately I have been an advocate of not repurchasing titles that I already own, no matter what extra bonus features were crammed on the new version. In fact, I have gotten away from watching bonus features at all -- most commentaries are boring affairs for films not really worth commenting on in the first place -- and I have taken to weighing a film's price against the film only to judge whether I wish to own it. The bonus features have become gravy to me, and if I choose to watch them later, that's fine, but I will no longer purchase something just because there are ""4 deleted scenes!" on it. (Don't even get me started on the "alternate ending" crap...) It is the film that matters.

But what happens when a company goes over and above the call of duty and sends out the massive tsunami of info that comes with the 3-disc Samurai set? The original release was practically a bare-bones situation, with a rather dry (though richly informative) commentary by film historian Michael Jeck. Add the original U.S. trailer in, and that's it! The new version still includes that material, but adds a second commentary with a quintet of film scholars, a gallery of production stills and posters, more trailers and teasers, and well over THREE hours of documentary footage on the making of the film, the samurai tradition in Japanese film, and an intimate (and lengthy) conversation with Kurosawa-san himself. Oh, yes... there is also a gorgeous 58-page booklet included in the package with essays by top film historians about the master and his masterpiece, which also includes a piece by Toshiro Mifune, the star of the film.

So, yeah, I really had no choice but to include this on my Christmas list blog entry over a week ago. That Jen actually used the list was sweet, and that she got me one of the movies on my list is even sweeter, but her trip to the Pylon also represents the first time that she has actually read anything on this site. (I told her "You really should. You are the female lead character in it.") And the list also came in handy for my Secret Santa at work, who took the cue and slid a copy of Elf my way at the office party last week. Thanks, Secret Santa. Without this disc, I would feel like a cotton-headed ninny-muggins!

Kurosawa and Will Ferrell... who knew those two were connected?


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