An incident that keeps managing to repeat itself is that I seem to never read the run times for movies that I set on my schedule. For example, I realized halfway into Ran that the movie was 2 hours and 42 minutes long. This was not a well-received actualization, but I knew that I had to finish the film.
As far as epic-style films go, I have seen several. Most were headed by Westerners, with Western-based production companies. Not many were hybrid efforts between European financing and Asian talent, telling a story with local flair, even if it heavily references a Shakespearean play.
Ran is King Lear in late feudal Japan.
As I mentioned, it is a little long. But the story is truly epic, and the end is definitely worth every minute of watching.
The characters are varied and all very dimensional. To watch them interact with each other, I felt like I was watching some kind of documentary because their reactions and motivations were so real.
Wow. Giant sweeping landscapes punctuated by intimate, frontal moments in character dialogues. The colors were amazingly vibrant, blasting through every single frame. The battle sequences are clearly one of the stars of the show.
The violence is very stylized, with the blood effects being very bright to highlight how poignant certain parts are. The music also plays a key role, sometimes taking over the entire soundtrack of the film.
A true epic. Stands up alongside The Ten Commandments and Lawrence of Arabia as a tower of cinematic greatness.
Definitely worth a watch if you have the time. A must see for Shakespeare fans who are open to adaptations.