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That Almost-Forgotten Thing: Honor

I just saw the best movie of the year.

The two Matrix movies were highly enjoyable, but I've never been fond of devastated-earth stories--they make it seem as though humankind can somehow survive without any other life on earth also being alive, which subtly fosters the idea that we can do what we want with our environment and everything will still be hunky-dorey.

And Finding Nemo was a delight--I even own it--but it would not have been nearly as good without Ellen Degeneras's voice acting. Take the character of Dory away as she brought her to life, and it was, yes, the most beautiful animation I have ever seen, and yes, the rest of the characters were fun and the story was good, but without Dory, the movie sinks to a more modest level. (It astounds me that the filmakers themselves show no awareness, in their director's commentary, of how important she was to the success of that movie.)

And yes, I expected to enjoy Harry Potter 3, though it has been delayed, and I definitely expect to enjoy The Return of the King, though the trailers make it look like it was lit by some ghastly neon-grey-green graveyard lighting, which would make it pretty darrn gloomy through most of the movie. (What is it with filmakers who film an entire movie in a limited palette of greys? Couldn't afford the color film, could we?)

And granted, I suspect that Mystic River is another solid, impeccable offering by Clint Eastwood, but it isn't the kind of story I like to watch, so I probably will never see it.

In fact, I thought Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be the best movie of the year. But The Last Samurai just blew that away. I foresee a strong contender for some Oscars here, and I sure hope it doesn't get shorted because someone thinks The Return of the King should win an Oscar for Best Picture because Jackson et al were slighted in previous years. This is just the sort of problem you get when people wait to vote for a movie to be Best Picture because they think something better will come along in the series. Something else even better may come along, and in this case, it just did. If The Last Samurai doesn't get Best Picture, it will only be because The Return of the King got it because it was too late to go back and award it to The Fellowship of the Ring, which definitely did deserve it.

Anyway, it is late and I have things to do, so I will just sign off by saying that this is Tom Cruise's best work, and the other actors, such as Ken Watanabe, are likewise incredibly good. It is about honor and respect and doing the right thing despite the fear. Go see it.


The only problem I have with this movie is the same problem I have with movies like "The Missing".
It almost seems as if they're lauding white supremacy.
In "The Last Samurai" a white person is a better Samurai warrior than actual Samurai warriors. In "The Missing" a white person is a better Native American than actual Native Americans.
I'm not saying it's not a good movie, I thought it was tops! But the main characters don't have to be of a different ethnicity to make the movie unique and marketable.

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