Sunday, September 05, 2004

Recently I was reminded about a notion I had of exploring the threads of connected films. Sort of "six degrees of Six Degrees of Separation". It began after watching The Seven Samurai, by master director, Akira Kurosawa. Knowing that the film had inspired The Magnificent Seven, and Western film makers such as Sergio Leone, and Sam Peckinpah I decided to revisit the classic and rented the DVD. While listening to the special features commentary, I was surprised to hear Michael Jeck remark that Kurosawa had been greatly influenced by John Ford's western Stagecoach. Essentially, Seven Samurai was Kurosawa's Japanese take on the American Western genre. It was a Christmas week gorging of videos when I had watched "Samurai", and as a gift I had received A Bug's Life which I proceeded to watch. To my surprise, I watched Bug's Life with newly opened eyes. I was essentially watching "Seven Samurai as Ants". A desparate village, convince a group of seven outsiders to protect them from a marauding gang of thugs. I mean, that's the description of "Seven Samurai", "The Magnificent Seven" and "A Bug's Life" isn't it? One fine point is that in A Bug's Life there are actually nine outsiders, yet "Tuck and Roll" are really one character and "Manny and Gypsy" are the sort of spiritual character divided into a husband and wife magic act. Andrew Stanton of Pixar claims the film began as a take on the old ant and the grasshopper fable. That may be, but the movie certainly ends up being much closer to The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai tale. There also may be a connection to be made between the sequences where the 'Flik' character wanders amazed into the city and the 1941 Fleischer Studios feature Mr. Bug Goes to Town in which a community of bugs are threatened by construction and must leave their home before it's too late, but that's another paper all together.