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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul, 2009 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reclaiming the Blade-my review         Reply with quote

Just got Reclaiming the Blade today!!!

Having just watched it and I have a few thoughts on it.

Firstly, if you are interested in having a video to show to friends and say "See, European Martial arts do exist" then you should buy this film. However if you are buying it to learn something yourself (and if you've belonged to this forum for any amount of time) you probably won't learn much, even though I have never practiced any of these arts I learned almost nothing from this movie.

This isn't to say its a bad documentary, it is great for dispelling the general malaise of 20lb club blades weilded by retarded europeans that so many people believe is the culmination of medieval combat.

It spends most of the beginning (in my opinion too much) discussing the swords' role in literature and film, and discusses fight choreography. But on the other hand, for those who haven't been indoctrinated into the modern cult of the sword, it makes perfect sense as it gets to them through the only way that they are familiar with them. Even my grandmother by the end of the film understood and believed that European martial arts did exist, were skillful, and were being resurrected.


I say, 4/5 .

Regards.

E Pluribus Unum
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul, 2009 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds good Michael. I think that based on what you've described it's a great primer to further study, or at least a long overdue return of fire against the Pathfinders and Deadliest Warriors who have ruled public opinion for too long.
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Reclaiming the Blade-my review         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
Firstly, if you are interested in having a video to show to friends and say "See, European Martial arts do exist" then you should buy this film. However if you are buying it to learn something yourself (and if you've belonged to this forum for any amount of time) you probably won't learn much, even though I have never practiced any of these arts I learned almost nothing from this movie.

I agree completely with this characterization. I didn't learn anything, but it's a great "gateway drug" if you know anyone who is teetering on the edge of getting into this stuff. I thought a lot of the CGI was a bit goofy and I personally would rather have seen something deeper and more educational that really got in-depth on the types and development of swords, metallurgy involved and schools of fence, but that's what we have books for.

However, I could have done with a little less SCA and Hollywood (though they did have their place) and done without the New York Jedi altogether. I'm not one to denigrate another person's spiritual path, but a bunch of people doing lightsaber kata in a dark room isn't something that I'm going to show to people as an example of intellectually sound hoplology. If they had to do lightsabers, Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 would have been a much better choice.

Razz

Still, I enjoyed it and bought an extra copy for a friend's birthday. I'll run with 4/5 stars.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Firstly, Ryan vs. Dorkman is a wonderful piece of lightsaber choreography and is better than may of the movie scenes.


Secondly, I was hoping it was gong to spend a lot more time discussing why and how european martial arts are being resurrected, and spend some more time on interviewing the members of various organizations, maybe a discussion on the various big groups like schola gladitorria (misspelled), arma, etc.


Thirdy, exactly how bad is pathfinder (on a scale of braveheart to "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!)? I heard it was pretty bad. (And thats from fans of 300 [which I must say, I also like]).

E Pluribus Unum
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I would love to be able to see it...

Any idea when the movie will be available in Europe? (even the itunes store is restricted to the USA).

Cheers,

J


Last edited by Julien M on Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the deluxe edition with an extra CD with various sword masters showing their training on it. I'm actually on that CD too. ;-)

For me, that CD has value for the experienced sword person. Unfortunately the last school scene got cut before it got started...but minor quibble for me (probably not for that school though).
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
I have the deluxe edition with an extra CD with various sword masters showing their training on it. I'm actually on that CD too. ;-)

For me, that CD has value for the experienced sword person. Unfortunately the last school scene got cut before it got started...but minor quibble for me (probably not for that school though).


There seemed to be a couple of scenes that got cut. I was most bummed about the bit at the Higgins museum with Dr. Forgeng showing antiques getting cut off.

Overall, I was pleased with the main documentary. Yes, it had its flaws, but I think it painted this hobby in a very good light. I liked the way they handled sport fencing and SCA combat. It showed how they are different from actual historical European martial arts, but they did so in a respectful way that didn't downplay them (which so often happens when people compare them).

I didn't care that much for the bonus DVD. It felt very thrown together, with different bits having completely different presentations, and many without any explaination. For example, the bit on Alfieri's La Scherma... if you don't already know who Alfieri is, or what his work was, then that makes no sense. And then you watch the video, which was a clip from a class on Alfieri's methods... but the viewer doesn't know that, and has no context to understand. Some of the clips are well put together as a presentation for a DVD, some are advertisements for their own DVD, and some are bits from a class. Any of these could have been just fine if there was at least some explaination to present them.

Now, it may sound like I'm complaining a lot, and I don't mean to. I'm only talking about the extra features... the main documentary (i.e. the most important part) I was pleased with.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just watched this last night, and personally I was rather disappointed. I was not anticipating this as nearly all the reviews I've heard of it have been positive. I won't say that it was poor, or that I didn't like it, but just that it wasn't very well arranged. I might be more forgiving but for the fact that this is a work which was in production for so very long and from which I expected a much tighter and coherent examination of the topic. In fact, I fear that were it not for my inherent interest in the topic and feeling somewhat obligated in some manner to support it, I would think much less of it than I do.

It is certainly a step in the right direction. It does present its material in a positive light and even-handedly - perhaps too much so. Unfortunately I didn't find it to be particularly compelling, exciting, or even interesting in its structure or content. I often felt that someone with no background knowledge in the subject would be mislead as to what was being said and wondered if they knew what they wanted to say themselves. For a film that should have a wealth of visual material from which to draw it recycled a surprising amount of footage and the CG was just simply hokey to me.

I had hoped this would be something to add to my collection, but as it is, I'm glad I borrowed a copy rather than purchasing it outright. If you too have doubts, it is also available through Netflix (and for Instant Viewing as well).

So there, I said it, though it doesn't make me glad to do so.
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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl said:
Quote:
Thirdy, exactly how bad is pathfinder (on a scale of braveheart to "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!)? I heard it was pretty bad. (And thats from fans of 300 [which I must say, I also like]).


Well, milege may vary, depending on what you want out of it. If you want anything historical (The Viking helmets have horns...), or a sophisticated plot for that matter, you will be rather disappointed, to put it lightly. If you just like to watch fight scenes and don't mind watching as they mangle everything else, well you might even enjoy it. I have it on DVD, and I kind of liked it, but only for the aforementioned fight scenes. Haven't bothered to watch it again since I got it though, so they weren't that great...
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally, I would give the movie a 4/5.

I think for someone who knows nothing about WMA or swords it is a great intro. It talks about the role of the sword in film and in fencing, which is probably where most people can relate to it. They finish out the section with a statement from someone saying that fencing and movie swordsmanship isn't the real thing, and then it transitions into more historical information. I thought it was a logical progression.

Some things I didn't like were the inclusion of the SCA, which seemed kind of tangential to the subject (no offense or insult intended to the SCA or its members), and the rock sections of the soundtrack, which I felt detracted from the credibility/seriousness of the film.

I also felt that the brief section about Japanese swordsmanship was off-topic, since the film was geared more towards 'the medieval and Renaissance blade'. There was also a quote from Tom Urso, the featured Japanese swordsmanship expert (I don't really know what to call him to be more specific), in which he stated that Japanese swordsmanship was superior to European swordsmanship, which I felt detracted from the goal of the documentary.

There were a few other quotes I felt were not the best to include, and the CG was a little unnecessary to the topic in my opinion, but that's being nit-picky.

I personally would have liked more discussion from the historical swordsmanship field and less from the movie/sport fencing field, but that's just my preference. I also could have done without some of the CG

I did enjoy the sections with Paul Chamagne, and the historical stage combat part from John and Johnathan Waller as well. The piece about the blade fragment from Bebbanburg Castle was also interesting. I'm not sure why John Clements was only shown in black and white though WTF?!

I think my biggest complaint with the movie is that I feel like it used too much Hollywood fame to back it up (Viggo Mortensen and the several other LOTR people involved), rather than focusing on the historical experts.

In summary, I think this is a great movie to prime the pump, so to speak. However, If you are already fairly well-read on the subject of medieval arms and armor you're probably not going to get much out of it (although it is still fun to watch). I'd buy it again if I didn't already own it. Happy

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Overall I think it succeeds in its intent, which is to show how the sword has influenced modern culture and how many of its related techniques are being rediscovered. It isn't without its faults but given the limited production budget I can forgive most of them. It didn't teach me anything I didn't already know but it would serve as a good primer.
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Gavin Haltree





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jul, 2009 10:44 pm    Post subject: Great DVD!         Reply with quote

Eric Meulemans wrote:
For a film that should have a wealth of visual material from which to draw it recycled a surprising amount of footage and the CG was just simply hokey to me.

I had hoped this would be something to add to my collection,.


Why would you say there is alot of recycled material in the film. I can not think of one single frame in the whole film that stood out as recycled (used more than only once in the film) ... unless for a few rare thematic purposes ...

Why would you say something like this that is just not really true? Now there are multiple shots as I recall after watching the film, shots of the same group fighting or certain types of swords from different angles, etc but as I recall 98% of the film is new original shots, there may be the one or two odd shots that may have been overlooked, but this is hardly "alot of recycled material" regarding keeping the visuals nice, you have fast paced fights, hollywood movies, close ups of antique blades, close up of hollywood blades, close ups of new real blades, close, medium, wide of stage, fencing, historic groups and many other HEMA, ARMA groups, grand vistas, animations, shots of making blades, forging blades, caring blades, wielding blades, spinning blades, holding blades, admiring blades, dueling blades... all set to a hip soundtrack... what exactly were you looking for? I really loved the film.

I personally thought the film was visually stunning as do most reviewers other than those who felt the film should have been a dry educational film only for them and their elite group of friends.

Just FYI I think some (very few thankfully) are missing the point, the film was not really made FOR you, it was made as a tribute TO you, to honor what you and I do, for a WIDE audience to BETTER understand us. If it was the former (that is made just for you) it would have the audience of you and a handful of diehards, so really in the grand scheme of things we are a very very small group of hobbyists and enthusiasts, I know I have been to our clubs and they are small.

That said, the irony of the whole thing is the film was obviously produced to grow our numbers, some of you here on this forum can see that, some of you can not and miss the whole point. The film was not about doing a try historic dissertation on the sword for you so you can get your "Doctorate" degree in Historical European Martial Arts. If this was the case it would have been a very SPECIALTY film for a selectively small SPECIALTY very niche market. Many of these groups including myself constantly complain that we are misunderstood and disenfranchised, and that our numbers are so small and that no one really gets us, but I wonder do some really want to be "understood" or do they like being the outsiders? The point of the whole film was to show OTHERS what we are doing is legitimate, the fact that some simply slag the film and do not share it with others begs the question if some individuals would just prefer to remain studying in isolation. I think some may unfortunately do, some just like being uniquely there own, don't really want outsiders coming in and just typically like to put other things down to show off their "master knowledge base". I liked the film and understood what it was all about... I sincerely believe the filmmakers worked hard to show the WORLD what we are up to, to give us legitimacy a sort of tribute to what we are doing and it gave me shivers down my spine to be vindicated ... but to then slag them for it? it just seems distasteful. Some people are just never happy no matter what they get.

In regards to to glitchy disc:
Bill Grandy wrote:
Bryce Felperin wrote:
I have the deluxe edition with an extra CD with various sword masters showing their training on it. I'm actually on that CD too. ;-)

For me, that CD has value for the experienced sword person. Unfortunately the last school scene got cut before it got started...but minor quibble for me (probably not for that school though).


There seemed to be a couple of scenes that got cut. I was most bummed about the bit at the Higgins museum with Dr. Forgeng showing antiques getting cut off.


I purchase the film very early on and they had the same problem (the two videos on the special features disc not fully playing) George Silvers and the HIggins Armoury. I spoke to Galatia Films and they said this was an error in the post production process to DVD on the first barch and that it had been fixed on future copies. In the meantime the gentlemen I spoke to told me that you can skip over the blip at those spots by simply pressing the fast foreword button on your remote and then you can see the whole thing. Also they sent me a replacement disc that was fixed. So if you want a replacement disc just ask them.

Finally I know they are working on a follow up called RTB2: A Call To Arms... this film is supposed to be more for the advanced swordsman, the first being and introduction on what we do to the world, the second taking it to the next level.
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was wondering if anyone knew if those on the production team were also practitioners of sword arts? It would seem logical if they are making another DVD targeted towards advanced practitioners Just curious.

~nic
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Great DVD!         Reply with quote

Gavin Haltree wrote:

Why would you say there is alot of recycled material in the film. I can not think of one single frame in the whole film that stood out as recycled (used more than only once in the film) ... unless for a few rare thematic purposes ...


Well Gavin, that was quite an impassioned first post. Welcome to myArmoury!

Not having the DVD on hand at the moment, nor having the desire to quantify my statement regarding recycled footage, I cannot cite specific examples. I am however not alone in this impression nor in my others, and I believe they are or will be more commonly expressed not by those of us who may dwell on forums which give indication to a distinct bias in favour of any work containing swords, but unfortunately by the audience you claim the film seeks to target.

I think it difficult for any of us to dissociate our inherent interest and view a film such as Reclaiming the Blade as one fresh to such information or perhaps even disinterested in it. Does it succeed in "growing our numbers," as you claim is its aim? I do not know, nor do I suspect will we for some time, as it has been largely (if not wholly) preaching to the choir thus far. I have been involved in film-making, and I understand the tremendous undertaking it is, on many levels. I do not criticize such a work to be derisive. Many here and elsewhere have said that they enjoyed the film... "but for..." any number of things, then set this aside as nitpicking. Well, I'm a nitpicker, and I'm unabashed in stating such nitpickings, nor would I be unsurprised if I voiced sentiments of others who preferred to remain more kind out of their own bias, as I myself admitted feeling.

You mistake me if you think I find no value in the work. I recognize it as a valuable document, preserving the words and images of a number of persons, several of whom are sadly no longer with us. I simply don't find it to be a very good film. Should you wish me to unnecessarily explain my opinion further feel free to contact me here.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 11:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:

Thirdy, exactly how bad is pathfinder (on a scale of braveheart to "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!)? I heard it was pretty bad. (And thats from fans of 300 [which I must say, I also like]).


Oh yes. Pathfinder.

It's horrible. It's a stupid, ludicrous, quasi-racist movie.

I am glad that I saw it for free. Well, I take that back, it wasn't free; it stole two hours of my life. I would like those two hours back.

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Randall Pleasant




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jul, 2009 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Reclaiming the Blade-my review         Reply with quote

....

Ran Pleasant
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Tyler Jordan





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2009 2:27 am    Post subject: Re: Great DVD!         Reply with quote

Gavin Haltree wrote:
Eric Meulemans wrote:

There seemed to be a couple of scenes that got cut. I was most bummed about the bit at the Higgins museum with Dr. Forgeng showing antiques getting cut off.


I purchase the film very early on and they had the same problem (the two videos on the special features disc not fully playing) George Silvers and the HIggins Armoury. I spoke to Galatia Films and they said this was an error in the post production process to DVD on the first barch and that it had been fixed on future copies. In the meantime the gentlemen I spoke to told me that you can skip over the blip at those spots by simply pressing the fast foreword button on your remote and then you can see the whole thing. Also they sent me a replacement disc that was fixed. So if you want a replacement disc just ask them.


oh wow I thought it was just abruptly edited!

thanks!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
There seemed to be a couple of scenes that got cut. I was most bummed about the bit at the Higgins museum with Dr. Forgeng showing antiques getting cut off.



Mine did that, too. On my computer, though, I can click the chapters after the first one and see the Renaissance swords and fight manual sections he does.

Happy

ChadA

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