As for the fantasy element, I can't help thinking that it was an after-thought, which came about as a way of reminding us of Keanu’s fantasy ties via The Matrix and we all loved The Matrix right...well the first one – so we’d all definitely come see him in this. It is a total shame, in the case of 47 Ronin, as it could have been a really good film, but for a number of things that the producers should have made their minds up about, during the first re-write of the script.
"As for the fantasy element, I can't help thinking that it was an after-thought..."
One, either go all fantasy or don't at all. The film with some minor tweaks could have worked much better without it. But from beginning to end I didn't see the point of the supernatural element.
Two, once a particular plot point has been spelt out you don't have to continually ring that bell throughout the whole movie; honour, half-breed...we get it!
Three, The feudal era was not a soft period, if you want to make a PG film that shows seppuku and the harshness of that era find more inventive ways than having your actors pull constipated, grimacing faces at the moment of blade stabbing flesh.
Four, A 15 certificate would have been a much better rating for this movie. If a script doesn't allow actors to give subtle nuances in their performance, then hell - you just need to show what happens. If you want to see this type of film done right, watch Ninja Scroll.
Good points, the sword fights, the special effects, but ultimately the film is unfulfilling and half conceived.
director has been copied but never surpassed...