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The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa

Part IV: Phantom Menace

The prequels would bring us even more references. Phantom Menace would be especially rife with Seven Samurai images. First, we have Toshiro Mifune's loveable Kikuchiyo, the clown character who was the basis for the not-as-loveable Jar Jar Binks:

 

Battle scenes:

 

 

Kurosawa's Ran would repeat many of these images as well, and Lucas was also very heavily influenced by this film:

 

The rolling hills of Naboo bear a striking resemblance to those of Japan, but specifically the very imagery that Kurosawa dwells upon for the entire first quarter of Ran, imagery which is used for the three-minute opening credit sequence of that film as well:

 

  

In Star Wars, Toshiro Mifune's character from Hidden Fortress became Obi Wan Kenobi; Lucas had speculated at one point about Mifune portraying Obi Wan, though the role eventually went to Alec Guiness. In Phantom Menace, Mifune's character was portrayed by Liam Neeson, and Lucas visually dressed him in more explicit similarities:

 

This is interesting as well:

  

The image of the Gungan army advancing from a shroud of mist is also an iconic image from Throne of Blood:

  

The film ends, of course, in the same manner of Hidden Fortress, much like Star Wars:

 

CONTINUE TO PART V

Star Wars, the Star Wars logo, all names and pictures of Star Wars characters, vehicles and any other Star Wars related items are registered trademarks and/or copyrights of Lucasfilm Ltd., or their respective trademark and copyright holders. All other images are copyrights of Toho studios. They are used here for educational purposes under fair use.

Web site and all contents Copyright Michael Kaminski 2007, All rights reserved.
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