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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore Region info - this isn't coded and plays on Region 2
The recent UK 2 disc edition (which isn't listed here yet despite the fact I've seen it in the shops) is an insult to our inteligence by being the dubbed version.
This US version in Japanesse with subs is a far superior edition and I'd urge all fans of the film in the UK to go for this instead.
Theres no region listed on the box and I've tried it in 3 players...
Published on 3 Nov 2004 by A LISTER

versus
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Bad, Lazy Transfer
This import Studio Canal is no better than an upscaled DVD. Detail is lost, or non-existent. I had hopes for this transfer since Criterion lost the rights to remaster and this appears, no, shows, that the DVD master was transfered directly to Bluray.

Don't waste your money if you have the DVD. Criterion is one of the few who values quality. Hopefully, Criterion...
Published on 2 Oct 2009 by Walter C. Dent


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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore Region info - this isn't coded and plays on Region 2, 3 Nov 2004
By 
A LISTER (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
The recent UK 2 disc edition (which isn't listed here yet despite the fact I've seen it in the shops) is an insult to our inteligence by being the dubbed version.
This US version in Japanesse with subs is a far superior edition and I'd urge all fans of the film in the UK to go for this instead.
Theres no region listed on the box and I've tried it in 3 players and it worked in all of them. I'm therefore pretty certain that this is an ALL REGION disc.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of cinema's all time greatest films, 2 Jun 2007
By 
JDB11 (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ran [DVD] (DVD)
Akira Kurasawa is a monolithic figure in world cinema and this film is in my view his very best work. The story, as is well known, is simply a reworking of Shakespeare's King Lear. The Great Lord decides to abdicate and divide his empire between his three sons, one of whom says this is madness as greed will destroy the family and is promptly exiled. Kurasawa brilliantly captures the melodrama at the centre of Shakespeare's play and lays it on thick. There is no subtly to the acting or the plot, as this is not faithful to the material, but the spirit is well realised.

It is the quite simply breathtaking cinematography that really makes this stand out. From shots of mounted samurai on the green and otherworldly slopes of mount Fuji to the beautiful castle interiors Kurasawa paints a wonderful picture. The colours are vibrant and the shot composition is extremely clever. I am personally most impressed by the first lavish battle scene which conveys the horror of war and its brutality so vividly with blood running from the castle walls and storms of arrows. This however, is no simple battle as you would find in a hollywood film. Eerie music plays over the top and troops are portrayed running backwards and forwards in such a way as to give the impression of the noise and activity of the battle without actually showing it.

Ran is also a wonderful advert for the extreme folly of war. King Lear is quite bleak, but Kurasawa's imagining of this element is heart wrenching. The way that the film reaches its conclusion and each character is killed off is deeply moving, and perhaps the final shot of the one character who survives is the worst of all.

If you are looking for a clever innovative plot then this is not the sort of film to look out for. However if you wish to see a master film maker at the very peak of his powers, with full mastery of his actors, his shots and his colour palette then check out Ran. It is a must see film as a vision of how cinema can be at its very best. Suffer thorough the subtitles if you don't normally like them and enjoy a true work of genius.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Bad, Lazy Transfer, 2 Oct 2009
By 
Walter C. Dent (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This import Studio Canal is no better than an upscaled DVD. Detail is lost, or non-existent. I had hopes for this transfer since Criterion lost the rights to remaster and this appears, no, shows, that the DVD master was transfered directly to Bluray.

Don't waste your money if you have the DVD. Criterion is one of the few who values quality. Hopefully, Criterion will have rights to remaster this great work properly. The film's opening credits are fuzzy yet the English subtitles are sharp. I believe Studio Canal used the original DVD master and only upgraded the subtitles for this release. I suspected that this would be the situation when I haven't seen any feedback about this release. I will think twice before I pre-order again.

Criterion's excellent release of "In The Realm of the Senses" makes this Studio Canal transfer look worse than Gladiator. I truly regret paying so much for an import that isn't a true highdef product. This total disregard for quality is what makes the average person think that paying extra for high def when this is the result is foolish, and they are correct when this is an example of what is being released.

Avoid at all costs and hope for a Criterion release.

My setup:
47" 1080P LCD
Panasonic BD30 and Momitsu Bluray
Oppo 983H DVD
Onkyo 605 HDMI HD Receiver
Definitive Technology Speakers and Subwoofer's
Sitting 6.5 feet away from the screen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of the best, 21 Dec 2007
This review is from: Ran [DVD] (DVD)
There are few films that deserve the label "visual poetry" (only Don't Look Now, Walkabout and perhaps Bladerunner spring instantly to my mind), a film where the visual imagery is almost more important than the dialogue or even in some cases the plot (think Walkabout). Well, Ran is just such a film.
For his 27th film, the lord of Japanese cinema Akira Kurosawa decided to adapt Shakespeare's King Lear and then transports it to feudal Japan. The result is an epic tale of breathtaking scale, quality and beauty. The story is very simple; the ageing lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadei), after a lifetime of conquest that has seen his empire expand, decides to abdicate his power to his three sons, Saburo (Daisuke Ryu), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu) and the eldest Taro (Akiro Terao) who gets the first castle and all the real power. Only his youngest son Saburo cautions his father about the hastiness of his decision, and his proud stubborn father banishes him from the kingdom. Unfortunately for clan Ichimonji, all of Saburos darkest fears come to pass as the two eldest sons vie for control of the kingdom and Hidetora finds himself banished from his own lands, only his fool and a handful of his soldiers staying loyal to the ageing and now rapidly deteriorating emperor. From here things go from bad to worse as outright war breaks out and the real power behind the throne is revealed.
From this plot Kurosawa has fashioned a film that is both beautiful and tragic at the same time, a epic poem about love, loss, friendship, loyalty, mortality and the fact that in some cases it is easier to fight a war than not to fight a war. Much has been made of the two amazing battle sequences that almost bookend the movie (made all the more amazing by the fact that every person, every horse, every weapon and suit of armour is actually there in front of you, no digital special effects here) where Kurosawa allows the visuals to speak for themselves, turning the art of war almost into a thing of beauty, the only sounds the sound of battle and the haunting score of Toru Takemitsu, but there is so much more to this film.
As Hidetora, Tatsuya Nakadei is superb, as now an outcast in his own empire, he wanders his lands accompanied by his fool, and is brought face to face with some of the things he has done in the past, a journey that brings him to the brink of madness and forces him to re-evaluate his past, and to a certain extent his future. Lady Kaede, played with manic abandon by Mieko Harada, is the juxtaposition of Hidetora, a woman so consumed by hate that she cannot help but destroy everything and everyone around her.
Ultimately a film about the mistakes of war and the need for forgiveness, whether giving or receiving, this is without a shadow of a doubt one of Kurosawas greatest films and a high point in cinema as a whole. Ten years in the making, and in my humble opinion, worth every minute.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I see why my friends love this so much, 16 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Ran [DVD] (DVD)
"Ran" is the first film I've watched by Akira Kurosawa. Now I'm a huge fan of his work thanks to my Amazonian friends who had already seen it. When a legend like Kurosawa, does a King Lear adaptation at the tender age of 75, one would expect a small-scale film concentrating on the human elements of the story. That he produced an epic of such proportions makes a further evaluation of the great man's contribution to cinema necessary.

"Ran" is set in medieval Japan and follows the basic King Lear narrative closely. Lord Hidetora is an aging warlord and, wanting a peaceful retirement, decides to divide his kingdom up amongst his three sons. After banishing the youngest, Saburo, for pouring scorn on the idea, Hidetora finds himself an unwanted obstacle to the older two. After repeated humiliations, pride forces Hidetora into vain wanderings on the open plain, his state of mind declining as rapidly as his entourage.

The film sets itself the unenviable task of trying to explain the precarious position man holds within the universe. Man is seen to be elevating himself to such a level that he dreams of challenging the very laws of nature. Hidetora has achieved his status through deception, callousness and violence; his notion to wash away the blood he has spilt in happy retirement is scornfully thrown back by the elements. The speed and manner in which he is forced to lie in the bed he has made for himself should serve as a warning to all.

The films large set pieces, particularly two quite stunning battle sequences, are staged magnificently, but 'Ran' is no empty epic. The characters and their motivations are fully explored and the tension built up by the dialogue fully compliments the action. With an ending which offers no redemption 'Ran' paints a bleak picture - the colors and brushstrokes it employs however, turn it into a dazzling masterpiece. The battle scenes are some of the best I have seen. One point - the second main battle reminds me of 'Zulu' with the soldiers lined up on the skyline shouting down. The makeup used on Hidetora to mimick the Noh theatre makes this film that much more dramatic.

Don't expect to be uplifted with a standard samurai flick. This is one of the most historic beautiful films I've ever seen. Before you watch this try placing this on big screen with good color registration and good sound because Kurosawa uses as much of the screen as he can.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD for a low price, 10 May 2008
This review is from: Ran [DVD] (DVD)
I just want to praise the outstanding quality of this Optimum Releasing DVD. There is a comparison on dvdbeaver - this version has better sound and comparable picture quality (or even slightly superior) to the Criterion version!!! Also, Chris Marker's film "A.K.", an excellent feature length documentary about the making of Ran, is included on a second disc (71mins, 1.66:1). OK, the Criterion version has extra bonus material, but this version seems better to me as I'm most interested in the video/audio quality of the main film. Usually low price releases like this have terrible quality (i.e. the Fox Kagemusha - avoid at all costs...), but Optimum Releasing have done an amazing job doing justice to this Kurosawa masterpiece.
I first saw Ran about 12 years ago, it completely redefined my perceptions of what is possible with the medium of film. It is a spectacular, powerful, moving drama with real depth. Kurosawa explores themes of mortality and spirituality with a mature, understated sophistication; He manages to inspire philosophical contemplation while avoiding any pretentiousness. I consider this to be the best film I have ever seen, and I'm glad to finally have a great quality DVD.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Qualty of image, 30 Oct 2009
By 
J. M. Booth (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Sadly the image quality is not noticeably better than the DVD version that I have. The packaging is good and the extras are good but that's not really the point is it? I have older films than Ran on Blu-ray and you can certainly see that the movie company has done all they can to make the film look worthy of Blu-ray release with those films. I look forward to the day when film companies are more honest about the 'product' they release. Please lift your game Studio Canal.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very average Blu-ray for Ran, 23 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Like other reviewers I was disappointed with this Blu-ray. It's never a good sign when you immediately think to check the Blu-ray against the DVD version because you can barely tell the difference. I also suspect some poor digital effects have been added throughout, as some of the details and edges look a bit off in the wider shots. The packaging is nice but doesn't make up for the average picture and audio quality (plus it has the same problem as the Deer Hunter Blu-ray in that it lacks a clasp or closing mechanism). I agree with another reviewer that this kind of release certainly makes you think twice about pre-ordering old remasters on Blu-ray. Still it's a good film and this probably is the best version of it at present. A missed opportunity though, I feel. (Edit: Just compared the Blu-ray to the 2004 Warner/Studio Canal 2-disc DVD upscaled to 1080p. The Blu-ray is only marginally better. There are less compression artefacts around the actors and in land and sky areas, plus slightly more finer detail is visible, e.g. eyes of characters in wider shots. I didn't notice much difference in colour richness however and overall the minimal difference remains disappointing.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not impressive, 15 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The first impression that I got from watching this BD was that the PQ looked just like dvd. And if that's the first impression that a High Definition movie gives you, you're in trouble.

Now, to be fair, I did a little comparison with the Criterion dvd. And, for the first time I noticed that the Criterion dvd is not one of the best picture quality they have released. Which makes me wonder: is there a limitation inherent to the original cinematography that won't allow a decent transfer for Blu Ray standards?

Of course the only way to prove this wrong is if someone else (Criterion?) releases a blu ray of the movie with a more noticeable improvement.

I can say that the Studio Canal Blu Ray release offers more image estability, vivid colors and improve the detail somehow, when compared to the dvd. But the fine detail that distinguishes high definition is completely absent. And that's what most people will resent (myself included). The improvement over the dvd is there, but if it's justified to do the upgrade, will depend on personal judment, and definitely is not an objective fact.

EXTRAS INCLUDED:

"Art of the samurai". Interview with a japanese art of war expert.
Portrait of Akira Kurosawa by japanese cinema expert Catherine Cadou.
"The epic and the intimate". Documentary on the director.
"A.K.". Documentary from director Chris Marker. (Which was also included in the Criterion dvd).
"The samurai" Documentary on Samurai art.
BD- live

NOTE: This release is REGION A + B. Even the EXTRAS will play with no problem on american or region A players.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Dissolution, Lust for Power, Madness, 12 May 2006
By 
The story line is superb ... the scenery is stunning and gorgeous, vast mountains and green valleys, walled castles and fortresses. Hidetora, the aging warlord, holds a conference with his three sons and local chieftains on a mountainside. He announces his decision to relinquish the leadership of his kingdom to the eldest of his three sons. Only one son, the youngest, dares to speak up and state that during his lifetime he has known only war and fighting, he predicts the same after the transfer of power. He believes there will be power struggles between his two older brothers due to jealousy. The youngest brother personally has no desire to be warlord. Hidetora planned to leave one castle to each of his three sons. He has each son hold an arrow and asks them to break it in half, which they easily do. He gives them in succession, three arrows bundled together, representing the unity of the family, none can break the bundle. This is Hidetora's example of how the family will remain strong if they remain unified. He envisions the House of Ichimanji to be powerful and his eldest son to be overlord of the kingdoms attained during Hidetora's own reign of power. In his anger, Hidetora banishes the youngest son accusing him of defying his wishes ... Yet Subarua, the youngest, holds his father in esteem and respect throughout the predicted battles which come to pass.

Hidetora visits Taro's castle after the power transfer and finds his concubines have to bow and kneel to Taro's wife, Sue'. They are forced to move out. Hidetora discovers after the transfer of power, he is no longer respected. Sue' married into the family to consolidate land holdings and property attained as the spoils of war, a war in which her parents were murdered. She harbored revenge in her heart ever since and now urges her husband to fight his brother, Jiro. Hidetora's court jester creates a mocking song about Taro being like a gourd, spinning this way and spinning that way, implying he can not make a sound decision and stick with it. At a family gathering Taro hears the song and is outraged ... In a surprise move, Hidetora and his guards leave to visit Jiro. Hidetora discovers he is not welcome there either, not at all what he expected. He left abruptly ...

The treachery to gain power and control over the lands and castles by the two older brothers consumes them. As predicted by Subaru, the younger brother, war is inevitable. Local chieftains must decide where their loyalties lie, which brother to support. Hidetora goes into hiding. Eventually he goes mad. His only guard and caregiver, the jester, does not leave his side. This film contains very strong battle scenes. The desire for control and power is the true motivator for both older brothers. Loosely based on Shakespeare's King Lear, this Japanese version is astonishing in scope and grandeur. The costumes and scenery are fabulous. In the film, there are tender moments between the jester and Hidetora. There are moving scenes where Jiro's wife escapes to find her brother who was blinded in a past conquest and lives alone in a cottage ... The producers and directors create a phenomenal ending and conclusion. At some point, Hidetora reawakens from his madness long enough to recognize the impact of his decision on his family and the near destruction of the kingdom he once ruled. The ending is climactic and leaves a major impression on the viewer. The film is amazing!
Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray]
Ran (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] by Akira Kurosawa (Blu-ray - 2009)
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