I enjoyed Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and generally enjoy his darkly tinted views on life. Corpse Bride was quite good, and very funny. Hilarious is the scene when the dead come back to visit their living relatives. The story was pretty simple and not as intriguing as “Nightmare” was–what if Holloween ran Christmas? Still I do recommend it to anyone. Just be ready to see skeletons dance the night away.
Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress was a fascinating movie. As one who has grown up on Star Wars, I always thought Lucas was a genious with a brilliant original concept for a story. It was interesting to see just what he borrowed when coming up with the story of Star Wars. Two bumbling peasants (C-3PO and R2 D2) try to make their way through a war torn country (Empire vs Rebels) back home. Along the way, they get mixed up with a princess (Leia) and a general (Obi Wan Kenobi). There is even a hidden fortress (“that’s no moon, it’s a space station!”) though in Kurosawa’s movie, the fortress belongs to the princess. In the end the princess gives a piece of gold to the peasants for their help (temple ceremony where Leia gives Luke and Han their medals).
Where Lucas shifted dramatically (and what really brought him the dough) was in mixing in a battle of good vs evil in the story. The Hidden Fortress doesn’t really take sides in a dramatic battle of good vs evil. The movie does show the action from the point of view of the princess and her attempt to escape, but it doesn’t necessarily paint the antagonists as evil. All are simply caught in a war and do what they need to do. Lucas grabbed on to the American ideology of fighting evil with good. That, and one heck of an ending, is what has made Star Wars the American culture icon it is.