The animated film “Samouraï Academy” is released this Wednesday in our theaters. Co-directed by Rob Minkoff to whom we owe “The Lion King”, the film is to be seen from 6 years old.
RECOMMENDED FROM 6 YEARS
• Once upon a time : Hank is a playful dog who dreams of being a samurai in a world where this privilege is reserved… only for cats! Mocked, refused by all the samurai schools, he meets a big grumpy tomcat, a master warrior who ends up agreeing to teach him the ancestral techniques of the samurai. The apprenticeship will be tough for the restless and dissipated young dog: you have to learn to handle the sword, become agile like a cat, master the martial arts, and Hank is not very gifted. But to become a samurai, Hank gives himself… a lot of trouble! When the Shogun’s army of cats sweeps over the city, the samurai apprentice’s courage and cunning will finally come in handy: “cat’s going to barter, he’s going to beat them up”!
• What they will love: Filled with gags and puns, Samurai Academy will entertain children and parents alike. Skillfully mixing the codes of western and chanbara, the feature film is directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little and The Forbidden Kingdomt), Mark Koetsier and Chris Bailey.
Directors and animators at Disney for many years Rob Minkoff & Mark Koetsier brought their expertise. The animation is fluid and the artistic teams have marked a real difference between the small town of Kakamucho which is emblematic of the towns of dusty westerns, and the bright colors of the palace of Ika Chu.
For the music of the film, the composer Bear McCreary was also inspired by the soundtracks ofEnnio Morricone, Akira Ifukube and Lalo Schifrin.
A mix of genres that gives a stunning result. What’s more, children will enjoy seeing Samurai cats, Ninjas and even a Sumo cat.
• What may worry them:
- Like all samurai films, the feature film has many action scenes and feline fights that could worry the little ones. But nothing too bad.
- The naughty chef Ika Chu does not hesitate to “get rid” of the cats that encumber him.
- The naive dog Hank is rejected by the cats who laugh at him and don’t want to give him a chance because he is a dog.
- In a flashback, Hank recounts an assault he suffered when he was still a puppy.
• What they will keep inside : In the film, Hank is a somewhat naive dog who fled his country in order to realize his dream. But when he arrives in Cat Country, he is rejected for what he is: a dog. Only Jumbo, a big grumpy cat will agree to help him.
A film that celebrates diversity
Samurai Academy has a real anti-racism subtext. By transposing the subject of immigration to this animated story, the child understands all that Hank had to endure to arrive in this country of which he has dreamed so much but in which he is seen as an outcast.
In the film’s press kit, Mark Koetsier explains that he was inspired comedy The Sheriff is in jail of Mel Brooks.
Released in 1974, the film is a parody western in which 2 notables appoint a black sheriff in a western town reputed to be racist in order to appropriate the land. A social satire against racism.
The director explains:We are not content to pay homage to the film by Mel Brooks. Samurai Academy features characters whose prejudices refer to our current society. However, the film is resolutely tender and optimistic.”
Indeed, in the end, the cats accept the dogs and understand that we can live together despite our differences. The film celebrates diversity and opens up discussion with children.
And for movie-loving parents, know that the director Mel Brooks lends his voice to the Shogun in the original version of the feature film. A way to pay homage to the master of comedy.