I just watched the new Criterion DVD uncut 3 hour version of Kagemusha. I am overwhelmed with it. The color, the main character, the humanitarian quality that Kurosawa always seems to get in. It is a good story as is every film of his I have ever seen. (He is such a good story teller.)
The aftermath of the final battle scene is something that will live with me forever. (I will not spoil it for you by telling more.)
Stephen Prince does a great job with his 3 hour commentary. All about Japanese history, the production of the movie, and especially about what's going on in the film.
The same actor plays the lead in this (a double role here) as he does later in Ran. I think Ran is superb. Maybe better than Kagemusha. But both are great films.
This film is long. But it was worth it to me to soak in another Kurosawa film. The battle scenes are not up close as in Seven Samurai or Ran. The are really seen reflected in the face of the main character and then in images.
I did not know this, but Stephen Prince suggests that Kurosawa really started slow motion camera work even in Seven Samurai (as he does in Kagemusha.)
There is a second disc which has lots of supplemental material on it which I hope to receive from Netflix tomorrow.
Please see this Criterion version.