Ronin with My Homies
47 Ronin is a Hollywood-sized retelling of a famous Japanese legend. It’s full of mystical CGI beasts and absurd witchcraft. Why? Who the hell really knows, but apparently the executives wanted something in the vein of the Hobbit movies.
Yes, a recurring theme on this pod is that too often the people running the studio let their bad ideas seep into the product. 47 Ronin did not need a monstrous budget to be captivating. The actual history is interesting enough. It’s more an indictment of American audiences to think authentic Japanese history wouldn’t capture their attention.
Anyway, when you spend close to $225 million on what should be a straightforward tale of avenging samurai, it’s a good bet you won’t recoup your costs. It’s also safe to assume that an abundance of fantastical nonsense will distract from the heart of the story.
Both of these ended up being true. The core ronin sadly take a backseat to a silly, nonsensical romance subplot and over-the-top green screen.
Hence, when 47 Ronin committed metaphorical seppuku at the box office, grossing a puny $151.8 million worldwide, they had no one to blame but themselves. Critics were just as unkind. With 90 reviews, it carries a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Is it truly that bad? Not really, there’s some fun to be had; but the strains of it being pulled by the competing visions of the director and the studio are painfully apparent.
So, sit back, pop the top on a Hitachino Nest White Ale, and beware of what lurks in the Tengu Forest! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and Chumpzilla—with katanas in hand—have vowed to avenge our fallen lord.
This Week’s Segments:
- Introduction/Plot Breakdown – There is a legend of 47 warriors who seized eternity. (00:00)
- Lingering Questions – After a word from our brothers in beer at Hop Nation USA, we discuss who was the better samurai, Keanu Reeves or Tom Cruise. (30:49)
- The “Die with Honor” Trivia Challenge – The Double Turn Podcast is thrown into the pit to survive, and then I challenge the field to trivia about the movie. (42:36)
- Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We conclude “Hops and Star Powered Flops” with Death to Smoochy. (52:19)