On “Everything is a Remix”
A short note.
Whilst watching Everything Is A Remix part two, I think it was, I noticed one thing.
The guy narrating/writing/whatevering mentioned a series of films. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; For A Few Dollars More; Youimbo and Seven Samurai, in reference to how Kill Bill took ideas from both of these films. [I would also like to point out that Tarantino grew up on these films so many of the inclusions of sections of these films, however obvious or heavily hinted, are actually homages to the original films. He’s a major film nerd - I watched a documentary with him in on Ozsploitation in respects to American Grindhouse, he openly said that he paid homage to some of his favourite films by including aspects of them in his body of work. I personally think that if he is paying homage it is fine - a tribute, so to speak. He’s a big nerd, he likes to pay homage. Fair enough.]
If I am not very much mistaken however, the narrator/writer/whatever actually forgot to mention one thing which I would have thought to be very key to the whole “Everything is a Remix” ideal.
Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Seven Samurai were written in the 1940s and are regarded as classics if you are a member of my family - but few seem to have heard of them. However, the plot of Seven Samurai is strikingly similar to that of a certain Leone film. And a Disney film too - oh, and The Magnificent Seven. In fact Western films are often bastardisations of plots of other films - another fact he forgot to mention. Westerns are one of my favourite genres but the plots are never original, they are always taken from other films. Borrowed, so to speak.
Seven Samurai - Takes place during the time of the Warring States in Japan, tells the tale of a town who’s crops/general food are being taken in by a gang of bandits. They hire seven ronin [or Samurai] to protect their town - but the samurai are pretty terrible themselves, taking advantage of the town. Of course they win in the end.
The Magnificent Seven - borrows heavily from Seven Samurai. Of course in the opening credits it admits this - “a fictional tale of a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding Mexican bandits.” Source
A Bug’s Life - A bunch of Grasshoppers steal the ant’s harvest every summer. One ant decides to bring in a bunch of “warriors” unaware that they are really circus performers who don’t know what they are talking about.
It was directly taken from Seven Samurai.
A Fistful of Dollars - The first in the Dollar trilogy [followed by For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly] these films are arguably more well known that Kurosawa’s own works, which is a shame as these films, although very good, directly rip off the works of Kurosawa. In specifics - Yojjimbo.
However, Yojimbo also took many characteristics from other westerns. So although Yojimbo is a very good film both stylistically and thematically even it is unoriginal.