John Blackthorne, an English ship pilot, whose vessel wrecked upon the Japanese coast in the early 17th century is forced to deal with the two most powerful men in Japan in these days. He is thrown in the midst of a war between Toranaga and Ishido, who struggle for the title of Shogun which will give ultimate power to the one who possesses it. Written by
Harald Mayr <email@example.com>
I first saw the mini-series on TV when it came out. I was like millions of other viewers who made sure they were home night after night to see this epic. Now that it's out on DVD, how could I resist? Seeing it on a much bigger screen than existed in the early 80's, I immediately was appalled by the bad hair pieces of almost all of the Japanese actors. It took a while to get used to the seams and wrinkled skullcaps and the makeup that didn't really match. The only other "ouch" moment, for me, came in the opening shot of the "Erasmus" being filmed from a helicopter with Orson Welles narration. It was impressive up until the helicopter shadow goes right over the boat and the water!..... I was amazed that wasn't edited out in post. Ah well. When you watch the bonus material, you get an idea of what a monumentally difficult project this was from the language and custom difficulties to the famous TOHO Studios being about 25 years behind the times with their equipment...not to mention the tank where the shipwreck was filmed. I don't know if I agree with the director and producers that if it wasn't for 'Shogun' sushi would not be as popular in the U.S. as it has become, but it certainly sparked an ongoing interest in Japanese history and culture in me. It will always be one of the crowning achievements for television. It's a miracle that it came off as beautifully as it did. Just don't watch the 2-hour mess that is on video.
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