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Last Samurai - the Movie Review

Essay by   •  April 10, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  942 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,911 Views

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The movie "The Last Samurai" was set in Japan during the late 19th century. An American general (Nathan Algren or Captain Algren) who was famous for his many victorious battles against the Native Americans was called to Japan for a special task. The Japanese government was looking to make their civilization as western as possible. They adopted Western dress and began to shy away from the old warrior ways. New technologies such as firearms, cannons, trains, and photography were being instituted into their culture. The only thing holding the government back from being totally westernized was a group of rebels (The Samurai's) that wanted Japan to stay as it was and not to forget its long and treasured history.

For a nation to survive the emperor or leader of a nation must westernize or risk being captured by other nations, that's why Emperor Meiji wants to westernize Japan. Omura quotes "We must resist the Western powers by becoming powerful ourselves. Our army and our economy must be strong." This shows the need to westernize. Throughout the movie Japan began to westernize for example: the towns become more advanced, firearms (like guns and cannons), and railroads all these things lead to an end to the Samurai. The Samurai were simple but powerful ancient warriors who fought with swords and bows and arrows. The Samurai stands for power and honor which is why they don't want to modernize because they would then lose their honor.

At the beginning of the movie Captain Algren trains the Japanese military to fight and brings them to war with the Samurai. Because Japan just began to Imperialize the soldiers were not ready to fight so they went to war prematurely so they lost and were mostly all killed. But when Algren was about to be defeated but Katsumoto (leader of the Samurai), being an honorable man looks at Algren defend himself and see him fight and see's that he has a strong heart so he takes him back to the Samurai's village as "a prisoner" with the hope that he will change and see the good in the Samurai. As Algren begins to live with the samurai he learns there ways. Algren learns that the Samurai are not salvages but people defending their land. After living with the Samurai for a year he decides to fight alongside with them. In America a similar event happened with the Native Americans. Because of America's need to advance and the need for more land, Americans began killing Native Americans just like Japan against the Samurai. The Native Americans had no chance against the Americans because the Americans had guns and cannons and Native Americans had bow and arrows just like the Samurai. Katsumoto mentions before the "Big Battle" General Custard, he does this because General Custard led his army of men to a battle they couldn't win. He brought his men to a fight against many Native Americans which normally wouldn't be such a big deal but Custard



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