I was in the mind for Japan last night and thought Lost in Translation at the Rialto would be a good idea. Like all good plans of Mish and Men when their clutch-plates are playing up, I ended up at the closer theatre and The Last Samurai.

For those who don't realise, chunks of The Last Samurai were filmed in and around Taranaki, New Zealand. It was kind of strange to see Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) train the new Japanese recruits on the cricket pitch at Pukekura Park. Katsumoto's son's village looked very much like North Taranaki (Urenui, Ureti) and some of the final battle scenes, I believe, were shot here too.

Sorry I got carried away with linkages and forgot about the movie. Tom Cruise has a *lot* of hair in this movie. It's on his face and never growing. Streaming out from his head in slow-motion, long brown feathery locks - its in his eyes all_the_time. Funny that with all the hair on his head and face, he has none on his chest.

The Samurai Armour was wonderful to behold. Beautiful and intricate, I'd like to learn more about it. I viewed a similar suit on display in Te Papa [note: this link goes to a page that was never finished - greeked text instead of information but the pictures might be interesting enough for the meantime. Weirdness.] a few weeks ago.

The movie boiled down to David and myself having a discussion about whether the Samurai's bow skills matched or surpassed those of Legolas. Seems Legolas wins because of the whole sliding-down-the-stairs-on-an-inverted-shield-while-shooting-orcs whereas the Samurai's were as accurate and graceful and fast, but where on hands-free horse-back - no contest, really: according to David.

I loved the fight choreography. The Armoury and the Weaponry. I liked a lot of the cinematography. The Japanese characters were great. Yes, I am listing my likes because I can't put my finger on why I could have easily left the theatre half way through the movie. I guess it came down to, I didn't really care what was going to happen in the movie - I figured it was called "The Last Samurai" because the Samurai weren't going to win. I figured Tom Cruise'd survive - because he always does. If there was a girl, he'd probably get her too. I dunno, it just didn't do much for me - I mostly wished I made the effort to drive into Newmarket to see Lost in Translation.