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Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess / B1 / Japan

28.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess
AKA
Kakushi toride no san akunin (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
2008
Director
Shinji Higuchi
Starring
Jun Matsumoto, Daisuke Miyagawa, Kippei Shîna, Masami Nagasawa, Hiroshi Abe
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Jun Matsumoto, Daisuke Miyagawa, Kippei Shîna, Masami Nagasawa, Hiroshi Abe,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Takehiko Inoue
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40 9/16"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess is director Shinji Higuchi‘s take on Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 original classic The Hidden Fortress. By all accounts Higuchi ups the pace and gore levels significantly. The plot is described thusly:

Makabe Rokurota (Hiroshi Abe), the loyal retainer of Princess Yuki-hime of Akizuki (Masami Nagasawa), is moving the Princess and the prefecture’s ample treasury of gold bars safely to the politically stable Hayakawa area. They disguise themselves as humble firewood peddlers, hiding the gold bars inside the logs they are carrying, so as to pass safely through roadblocks, which are under the control of the local warlord. Along the way, Rokurota comes across Takezo (Jun Matsumoto) and Shimpachi (Daisuke Miyagawa), who have escaped from forced labour in a gold mine. They eventually agree to help out on this foolhardy mission in the hope of escaping Yamana’s oppression and cashing in on the gold reward Rokurota offers them.

The Takezo and Shimpachi characters (called Tahei and Matashichi in the original) were famously to serve as inspiration for George Lucas when he created Star Wars’ R2D2 and C3P0. The three reviews for this film that are on IMDb don’t exactly paint the film in a great light:

‘The two peasants are given more screen time and fleshed out more, but not to any productive effect. In the original they were the model for R2D2 and C3PO. In the updated version, they become Jar Jar Binks with sappy emotions.’

This poster has artwork that is credited to Takehiko Inoue who is a Japanese artist that was born in 1967 in Okuchi, Kagoshima and is best known for his work on manga, with two titles in particular, Slam Dunk and samurai tale Vagabond, that are popular across the globe. His Wikipedia page details a history of his work and also notes that he’s a huge fan of basketball and is a published sports writer. Inoue has also done design work for video games, including Lost Odyssey on the Xbox 360. I can’t find any record of any other film poster work but I can only assume he has done some.

Godzilla 2000 / B1 / Japan

12.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Godzilla 2000
AKA
Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (Japan) | Godzilla 2000: Millennium (alt. longer title)
Year of Film
1999
Director
Takao Okawara
Starring
Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, Shirô Sano
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, Shirô Sano,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1999
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B1 for the release of Godzilla 2000, the twenty-third film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the first release in the third generation of Godzilla films, which is known as the Millennium Series. Studio Toho decided the film would be a reboot meaning it had no continuity with earlier films in the series, except for the 1954 original.

Set in 1999, we learn that Japan has suffered other Godzilla attacks since the 1950s and the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN) was formed in response by scientists who aim to predict his next landfall. In 1999 he appears at the same time as the Crisis Control Intelligence (CCI) find a mysterious rock-like object at the bottom of the Japan Trench which takes off during an operation to salvage it. Godzilla follows and is blasted by the object causing him to retreat, but not before his atomic breath causes the rock to break open revealing an unusual blue alien craft.

The craft flies to Tokyo and begins to download information from the city’s computer network as the aliens try to discover more about Godzilla’s regenerative properties, named by the GPN scientists as Regenerator G1. When Big G arrives and once again attacks the craft, the aliens steal some of his DNA during the battle and use it to attempt to reform themselves as a giant Millennian. Unfortunately Earth’s atmosphere is different to their own and the creature mutates into the hideous gigantic Orga and begins a final battle with Godzilla.

The film featured a new design of for the famous beast with a notably meaner looking face and large scales on his back, replacing the tired costume used for previous films in the series. Godzilla 2000’s relative success at the Japanese box-office saw Columbia Tristar decide to release the film in the US (the last Japanese Godzilla film to get a cinema release was Godzilla 1985). The distributor decided to edit the film for pacing reasons and removed about 8 minutes from its running time, whilst also completely re-editing the sound design and also injecting quite a bit of humour into the dubbed script. Unfortunately, poor box-office receipts meant that future entries in the Millennium series were released straight to DVD in the States.

The trailer for the US release can be viewed on YouTube.