Tag: treasure

April 12, 2010 / / Main Slate

By William Benker

The Hidden Fortress – 1958 – dir. Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress stands apart from most of his feudal Japan films, primarily due to the near complete absence of war and swordplay.  While the usual mix of steel, flames and water are still present within the film, Hidden Fortress carefully selects the elements Kurosawa wishes to focus on.  The common element that reveals its importance in scene after scene, portrayed in various forms, is wood.  On a quest to smuggle a princess outside enemy lines, samurai general Makabe (Toshiro Mifune) must drag along two greedy peasants to help carry the bounty meant to rebuild the remains of their fallen country.

December 12, 2008 / / Film Notes

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – 2008 – dir. Steven Spielberg

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, until aliens would show up in an Indiana Jones film.  After countless screenwriters and even more countless drafts, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull finally saw the light of cinemas nearly twenty years after the release of Last Crusade. The actual legend of the crystal skull concerns a series of artifacts discovered in Central and South America in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Explorers purportedly unearthed several carved quartz skulls, and it was claimed that these skulls possessed not only unimaginable powers but that they could not have been crafted by modern means.  A 1996 BBC documentary investigation revealed that several crystal skulls that had been displayed in museums and held by collectors throughout the world were forgeries.  However, there did indeed exist a few specimens whose construction defied conventional explanation.

Speaking of defying convention, Indiana’s fourth outing has been tossed about as one of the weakest (if not THE weakest) of the series.  As an action film, it delivers, and Harrison Ford himself presents a terrific performance.  So what’s the problem with Crystal Skull?