Ring Ø:The Birthday January 14, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
‘Ring 0′ リング0 バースデイ is in many ways the most unlike Ring film in the series. It hits scare points of ‘Ring’ and ‘Ring 2′ but it’s less terror and more tragedy. Here Sadako isn’t yet the monster we know from the previous films. Here she is a super sweet, cute girl that has a smile that could evaporate the ocean. Where was i… yes, the monster aspect is there somewhere but Ring 0 plays Sadako as more like Frankenstein’s Creature from the first Universal Frankenstein movie in 1931. Seeing the good Sadako being beaten to death by an angry acting troupe is like watching Frankenstein’s creation trapped in the Windmill being burnt down by an angry Mob who see him as nothing more than a monster.
It’s this innocent, misunderstood Sadako that makes this different to anything we’ve seen before. Even in the books she’s not this nice and has a seductive personality along with a few other “things” that make her very different to the Sadako here. Screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi does a good job of creating a new back story for Sadako that ties in with the supernatural side of Sadako he created with Ring and Ring 2. Yet he also incorporates the story ‘LemonHeart’ from Suzuki Koji’s novel ‘The Birthday’. Norio Tsuruta does an excellent job of putting it all together onscreen and it’s quite a visual feast of a film that is haunting in a dramatic way. Interesting to note that Norio Tsuruta was suggested by Hiroshi Takahashi as a possible director for Ring.
Why we have two Sadako’s isn’t really explained in the film. We do see some documents in professor Ikuma’s Home relating to it but nothing more is said. It seems to be some kind of Mitosis. The actual explanation is given in a prequel Manga released around the same time as the movie called “The curse of Yamamura Sadako”. In it, little Sadako’s stress over her mothers insanity causes her to split in two, one normal Sadako and one that looks like her father…
Nakama Yukie gives a fantastic performance as Sadako. Butter would not melt in her mouth, folks. Today she can often be seen on varity shows, dramas and TV commericals (sometimes wearing that White Sadako dress)
The best way to enjoy the film is to go into it fresh without any preconceived expectations of getting the same “it’s behind you” feeling that ‘Ring‘ and ‘Ring 2′ gave you. By the end of the film you are definitely on the side of Sadako and ready to be one of her shamblers.
Favorite Quote: “If I could be reborn, even though it violates the will of God himself, I would want to be at your side, with you. If it were all a dream when I awoke, if only you were there.
But the light of morning shows me as I really am.
Still, I want to say..
I love you. ” - Sadako Yamamura
The Hobbit: An Unexpeted Journey IMAX 3D 48fps December 20, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Fantasy, Book to Film , add a comment
That was certainly different. I’ll come right out and say that I believe 48fps isn’t a suitable way to watch movies and I don’t believe it will catch on. Here’s why.
Your eyes need to adjust to it.
From the opening scenes it looks like a daytime Chinese historical TV drama. Or those high definition TVs you see in shops where everything is moving too fast and looks as if it’s been sped up. Peter Jackson has said that it will take time for our eyes to adjust at the beginning and I grant that it did. But if this is the way of Movies in the future does that mean that my eyes must adjust to the new 48 frames per second before I can fully immerse myself in a movie? This is my biggest problem. It was less obvious later on but when you start to think for a second you begin to notice the sped up frames again. Day time scenes are the biggest problem while scenes in darker areas or during evening and night are not so much of a problem.
I’m sure there was a collective WTF moment among the cinema audience during the first 20 minutes at least. It’s very jarring. In my opinion a movie should look like a movie. I can live with 24 frames per second if it means that the movie will “Look” like a movie. I believe that is the most important thing to everyone isn’t it? Movie’s distinguish themselves from Television by having their own film quality. In fact many TV shows AIM for that movie look. Take for example the TV series Red Dwarf which removed frames to get that “film look” during series 7.
It could be that 48fps is taking the clarity of image appreciation too far and I feel like I want to watch ‘The Hobbit’ a second time in 24fps to get a real feel for the film. There might be an argument that we haven’t grown up with it so we aren’t used to it but I believe after 100+ years of cinema 24fps is the way to go. 48fps looks unnatural and if reports of people getting motion sickness from this are true it’s another reason not to go with it in future.
Now the film! The Hobbit! Well I almost wonder if I could have read half the book faster than the time it took for the film to portray it. It does seem a little stretch out and there’s a big epic gap missing in the film since Sauron and the Ring are not the main focus of the quest.That is because I the Hobbit is very much a proto-story to the LOTR Books. As one or two films I think the Hobbit could work better but since the reports of the third film being made came pretty late I would imagine Part 1 was completed by then. So does that mean the passing is supposed to be like that? A shorter running time might have helped. Sometimes I got the feeling that scenes were stretched out unnecessarily to gain the long running time. Scenes have added action that they didn’t necessarily have to begin with. I think Drew McWeeny of Hitflix put it best in his review “if Tom Bombadil came from “The Hobbit” and not “Lord Of The Rings,” fans would be listening to Tom sing every word of ever song and watching him prance about in vivid 48FPS 3D this Christmas.”
The film could do with being a little more humorous like the novel too because the next two films obviously will get darker (and hopefully better).
Yet, there is so much to like about the film, it’s loving made and highly detailed though animals don’t talk in this like they did in the book nor does Gandalf say “Great Elephants!”. Peter, i’m waiting… We also have Ian Humphreys, the 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Lee. Wonderful cast.
Favorite moments: There is a scene where Gandalf and Radagast are talking and at the moment when Radagast says he has something on the tip of his tongue Martin Freeman as Bilbo looks around at no one in particular in a confused way. A nice homage to the office. If Bilbo had looked directly at the camera I would have died laughing.
Having read the Hobbit two years ago I had hoped seeing the book come to life would be a more magical experience like the original LOTR films were 11 years ago. But it feels a little too padded for my full liking. It is by no means bad though. I want to see the film again in 2D in 24fps for it would obviously match the feel of the LOTRs Trilogy more. Will they release a extended version of this? I can’t imagine so since the movie itself feels extended!
Favorite Quote: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” - Gandalf
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets September 14, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Books, Fantasy, Book to Film , add a comment
As with the movie I found the second book to diddle around a bit too much without moving the story of Harry Potter himself forward. It’s fantasy magic mystery, as colourful and inventive as it’s predecessor yet it doesn’t really present anything new. There’s a feeling that we’ve done this before.
There is some nice History tidbits on Hogwarts but nothing as of yet mind blowing in book two. The scenes featuring characters being petrified or ghosts who were previously students and killed is a bit heavy for the younger reader and there’s a definite morbidity even though it keeps the tone light mostly.
The most interesting part that I was looking forward to was Tom Riddle’s diary, reading his diary in the book is a lot more fun than the exposition of it onscreen. The mystery is pretty much straight forward as in most children’s adventure stories but there are some nice twists in it, particularly with Ginny.
The book plays around with the theme of identity. Are we who we are because of where we came from or are we our own person. What defines a person’s life. Harry still being a child has to face this question and worries over it greatly as he starts to feel and hear a connection to something evil that he learns he is related to. More interesting is that at this early stage (even earlier than the movies I think) we discover that Voldermort transferred some of his own powers to Harry on the night he gave him that scar. In the end it’s what Harry and Voldermort do that defines them and it’s interesting to see that Harry having slytherin heritage does not mean he has to embrace it and Voldermort too having a Human mother does not make him sympathetic to muggles but more racist and hypocritical as all racists are. Harry’s worry is always about becoming what he fears but in reality they are two people going in opposite directions.
Favorite Quote: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore
The Bourne Legacy August 21, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Book to Film , add a comment
Some dude kidnaps a Doctor and takes her half way across the world to score some drugs.
Legacy is the aftermath of the previous Bourne Trilogy. I like that for once we have a main character that smiles and is a bit lighter in humor. Jeremy Renner does a perfectly good job and i’m glad that they didn’t try to do another character similar to Matt Damon’s.
One problem about the Bourne Legacy though; the new beginning/continuation doesn’t up the ante of the previous movies. It stays consistent and even borders on cliche with the whole super agent made by drugs thing. It has everything you expect from a Bourne movie and i’m not sure if it’s good enough to know what I’m paying for when I go in. The first Jason Bourne movie took the spy genre to a realistic gritty level with a serious character, impressive action and a story of a man that stretched out over 3 movies. It’s because of these films that other Spy Movie franchises like James Bond had to up their game and come back with an equally gritty movie. The Bourne films continued to push the envelope with Director Paul Greengrass adding the Documentary style feel with shaky came and bringing the character’s journey full circle.
But it’s everything you expect from a Bourne movie so admittedly I did enjoy it quite a bit and was impressed with pretty much everything. The shoot out in the lab was terrifying, the action scenes were brutal to the point where during the bike chase scene I threw my hands in the air and winced. There was a scene that made me groan disapprovingly though because I don’t believe it’s something we’d see in other Bourne movies and just tells me that this movie is setting itself as something atypical. The scene that sums that up is when we see the words “no More” written on a mirror. It’s a smelly ‘I’ve seen it before’ moment.
If they bring back Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne for the sequel and have these two guys pair up ala Avengers then my gods… That would be one hell of a sequel and exactly what this franchise needs to step up. I can’t think of any other movie where the two main spy heroes of their respective films join up. Bring it!
Something a bit unrelated. Rachel Weisz. I didn’t know she was in the movie. I was looking at the character Dr. Marta thinking how she looked like Rachel Weisz except she looks younger and less pretty. Then I see the credits and Sh*t it was her the entire time! She’s quite unrecognizable and …plain! What’s going on there…
Favorite Quote: “Five? The Number five? You know how many times we’ve met? Thirteen. Thirteen exams over the last four years and that’s what I get. A number? Number five.” - Aaron Cross
Sadako 3D June 22, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , 12 comments
I heart Sadako big time so being me I was very excited to see Sadako 3D. The 3D platform just seems perfectly suited to that famous TV scene at the end of Ring. Unfortunately this part might be the only reason to recommend Sadako 3D. It uses the 3D effect for cheap thrills as things jump out at the screen at you. It’s a film that is made better by 3D, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good.
The story centers around Akane a High School Teacher whose student dies after watching a viral internet video that kills whomever watches it. The only one who has the power to stop this Sadako is Akane whom possesses some kind of psychic powers. Unfortunately Akane is exactly what Sadako is searching for as she tries to return to the living world.
The film no longer bothers with the slow burning psychological horror of it’s predecessors and remakes and goes straight for the “BOO!” type of scares that make you jump but in no way scare you. Any asshole can jump out from behind something and do that to you. This sequel (if I can even call it that) is a cheap ploy to use 3D and it’s pretty obvious that more thought went into the promotion of this film than the making of it.
The film, while a little scary in parts got more laughs than screams, due to the pretty silly plot and idiotic characters. Why are all the police officers in these Ring movies complete idiots?
I went to the Midnight showing of ‘Sadako 3D’ and the atmosphere was electric in anticipation. But scenes in the film that were played for dramatic effect caused the audience to laugh more than anything else. For example when the main character Akane’s screaming causing CGI glass to shatter and fly out of the screen in slow motion. Another was a police officer under the control of Sadako so much so that he grew Sadako like hair down over his face. Which probably got the biggest laugh since the audience didn’t realize the character was actually serious and not joking. Weird. Near the end of the film the main character Akane is suddenly some kind of Kendo expert who runs away from the Sadakos chasing her yet is able to easily take them out in the most ridiculous, laughable manner possible with sticks and poles lying around.
The most memorable aspect of lead Heroin Akane played by Satomi Ishihara is that she looked pretty and I couldn’t stop thinking what nice lips she had. That might show how bad the film was when my main concern was how kissable her lips were anytime she was onscreen. Anyway, what’s the deal with her boyfriend Takanori? Is this the same Takanori from Rasen? (the clone) Why does he live together with Akane as her boyfriend yet they treat each other more as brother and sister. Or either this is a relationship of convenience and they’re both secretly gay. It screams cheap TV drama relationship and the makers of this must think the viewing audience would be too young to understand anything beyond platonic. Yeah, platonic and living together. Give me a break.
Sadako. Why oh why did they have to mess with Sadako so much. We get 3 different versions of Sadako. The Sadako we all know and love that comes out of a screen to kill you. Then we got these weird Sadakos from the Well that look like a cross between Samara at the end of The Ring TwO and the Xenomorph from Alien. These so called Spidakos are nothing but monsters providing some gore and more cheap/hilariously embarrassing thrills. The third type of Sadako is some frickin kid with a bang hair style (the in style obviously…) that attacks with her hair. So Sadako has also become something of a hair type monster in this too. Ghostly hair attacking you was cool 10 years ago ala the Korean Horror ‘The Phone’, today it’s just cliche. Give me something new or stick with what’s already established.
So what the hell is this? Possibly a reboot since no character has any prior knowledge of Sadako and there is no mention of her actions in any of the previous films. The Well is not located in Hakone at a holiday resort Inn but instead at some abandoned building, could be a hospital, or a school but it’s never clear. It is Sadako’s well though because it has a chip missing from it. One of the characters mentions that everything in this world is artificial meaning that it’s very possible we are inside “the Loop Project”, meaning we’re getting pretty deep into the whole Ring mythos here. There is a Ring novel called ‘Loop’ in which it is discovered that the world of Sadako Yamamura, the Ring World, is an artificially created computer program. Think ‘The Matrix’. ‘Sadako 3D’ is based on ‘S’ the most recent Ring Novel by Suzuki Koji which is set in this computer generated Ring world. However, from what I’ve read it doesn’t follow the story of the novel much. So why even mention this is an artificial world? Most cinema goers with knowledge of only the movies will have no idea what the hell that line means and the line is thrown out there twice with no real explanation or follow up making it rather pointless except to remind viewers that it’s not real.
Unfortunately the movie is real though…
It seems the chance to revive this series has been crushed by Sadako 3D. It’s of the quality of a made for TV movie of the week that is embarrassing to watch. It is most likely the final nail in the Well cover for Sads and anything that was once remotely creative and ingenuitive about this franchise is now dead thanks to this film. The future now rests with the American remake sequel ‘The Ring 3D’. Lets hope that fairs better, but with the focus being on the 3D once more I somehow doubt it. Then again nothing, NOT-THING could be worse than what they attempted here.
Favorite Quote: “Everything in this world is artifical.” - some creepy woman
The Ring Virus June 20, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
A more interesting attempt at a remake of Ring that combines elements of the original Japanese movie and the novel it was based on with some incest thrown in for good measure!
The film starts off “well” with a young girl doing some stretching on her bed. But after she dies in the first 5 minutes the rest of the film gets less interesting (except for the incest thing). The problem is that it’s just without any momentum and starts to drag it’s feet from early on.
I didn’t really feel these characters actually thought they were going to die within seven days. They handle their investigation pretty calmly only smashing a glass vase in a moment of anger. There is little onscreen chemistry. The male character Choi Yeol, based on Ryuji is closer to the novels and is pretty much a prick who sees the whole thing as a game. I felt the character lacked sympathy and didn’t have anything to lose which made him pointless. Closer to the novel is good, but the novel’s character is so much more of a prick that he is an interesting one. This guy in the film is just a jerk asking a woman when was the last time she got laid. Less intelligent and more morbid.
The Sadako character Eun-Suh is a bit of a babe. However it’s not advised to spy on her in the shower because this character is closer to the Novel version of Sadako, the reason being that she is a hermaphrodite, meaning she has male and female genitalia.The beginning of the film alludes to this with the discussion of Zeus cutting people in half making them male and female when they had once been both. Eun-Suh represents perfection as Choi Yeol puts it near the end of the film and this plot point is a crucial key to the origin of the Virus.
The only thing that is unique to this story is the incest where Eun-Suh’s half brother attacks her and throws her down the Well. Unfortunately this new twist isn’t really explored and I question the necessity of making her killer her half brother.
The problem with ‘The Ring Virus’ (링 바이러스) is that it’s not sure what it wants to be, straight out horror or science fiction mystery. By not being one or the other it just gets lost within the story and becomes something routine thanks to the added acting skills of the cast. There’s not much going for it. There’s nothing that stands out and takes a punch at the audience as ‘Ring’ did. There is only replication of the simplest form and done in a less frighting way.
Favorite Quote: “Just as light and darkness existed as one before the big bang, man and woman probably co-existed as one. A perfect combination of strength and beauty. But she was the target of ridicule in her life.” - Choi Yeol
Ring June 15, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror, Best Ever , add a comment
Upon it’s release in Japan in the summer of 1998 ‘Ring’ became an instant success, it was followed by two sequels with alternate stories, a prequel and was remade as ‘The Ring’ in the US and ‘The Ring Virus’ in Korea.
In ‘Ring’ (リング) female reporter Asakawa Reiko discovers that her niece and friends have mysteriously died after watching a video tape they found in a log cabin in Hakone. After setting out to investigate she too becomes caught up in events, becoming cursed herself and with a 7 day deadline she has to resolve it’s mystery in the hope of breaking it.
‘Ring’ takes a familiar curse idea: the chain letter. Unless you send the letter on to other people you’ll have bad luck. The video tape is the ultimate chain letter, killing those that don’t copy and send it on after 7 days. The execution of the curse in the film ‘Ring’ is sheer genius. Using the Television as the device through which those cursed are killed by. Every home has a TV set and usually in more than one room. It’s an inescapable reality and once you’ve watched the film ‘Ring’ yourself you can never look at a TV in the same way again. Surely you won’t turn your back on it at least because in your mind you too wonder if you have been cursed after watching the film. Who didn’t secretly count down the 7 days after watching ‘Ring’ and breath a sigh of relief when they passed them without event? I’ve heard stories of people who placed table cloths over their Television sets after watching the movie so as to protect themselves.
The movie is based on the equally excellent Novel “Ring” by Koji Suzuki. The movie follows the Book’s plot very closely except for the change of the main character Asakawa to a female lead, as is the norm with most J-Horror movies. The overall Tone of the film is changed too. You can still feel a “presence” in the background of both the Movie and Novel however the movie introduces a supernatural aspect to the curse where as the Books take a more scientific/realistic approach grounding the Virus (curse in the movie) to the real world. The supernatural quality works unsurprisingly well for the movie and the imagery dreamt up by it’s Director Hideo Nakata is, as I said above, genius.
When they made Ring they also made at the same time a film called ‘Rasen’ (English title ‘Spiral’), also based on the sequel Novel of the same name. The problem with Rasen is that it loses all the tension, all the psychological horror of it’s predecessor, replaces it with gore and becomes a straight forward mystery from then on. In ‘Rasen’ we are introduced to a new character Mitsuo Ando a former friend of Ryuji Takayama. Upon doing an autopsy of his friend he is brought into the events surrounding the cursed tape, with Ryuji’s ex wife and son missing and later found dead it is up to Ando to discover why they died.
That problem with ‘Rasen’/'Spiral’ seems to be a lack of communication. One director decided to be creative, the other did a more straight forward adaptation of the novel. They decided to go their own ways. The tone and atmosphere of each movie is completely different. ‘Ring’ is Horror, ‘Rasen’ at best a mystery and Horror lite. In ‘Ring’ we have the chain letter curse, in ‘Rasen’ it’s the self replicating Virus. ‘Rasen’ also relies on the gore aspect a little bit too much, for example Ryuji’s autopsy at the beginning which was unnecessarily graphic. ‘Ring’ was all about not showing things and letting the audience use it’s imagination. ‘Rasen’ leaves little to the imagination. It isn’t a bad film. But up against it’s predecessor it’s hopeless, it’s not the sequel people would expect after going into see Ring. In ‘Ring’ Sadako is a queer walking pus eyed monster, in Rasen she’s a sexy, hot, perverted ghost who licks your face. Now I’m not complaining about hot Ghost chicks that lick faces, but sexy ain’t scary. However, credit can be given to the fact that the characterization of Sadako matches the novel more so as that of a seducing temptress. When both films were released in Japanese cinemas Audiences went to see ‘Ring’ but skipped ‘Rasen’ which lead to an alternate sequel ‘Ring 2′ being released a year later, the movie would tie in closer with the first film.
The first time I watched ‘Ring’ was on UK channel Film Four in 2001. The most recent viewing of the film was on the Tartan DVD box set which has updated the subtitles. While it’s a nice transfer and all the subtitles are a bit too perfect a translation and leave a lot of the “flavour” of the original out. Take this line for example
“Frolic in brine, goblins be thine.”
Which is now
“If you keep doing SHOUMON, BOUKON will come.”
What the Fudge?! How could they mess that up. They screwed a great line.
Ring is what started the J-Horror wave, it changed the Horror film industry and introduced a new element into it that remains until this day. It’s why I see the film as being so significant. It also scared the hell out of me like no other film did and planted Sadako in my mind forever leaving me psychologically scarred. Yay!
Favorite Quote: “This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own.” - Ryuji Takayama
The Lord of The Rings December 21, 2011Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, DVD/Video/T.V., Fantasy, Book to Film , add a comment
The Fellowship of The Ring
It was a cold December morning in Dublin City exactly 10 years ago that I went to see The Lord of The Rings first showing. It was close to Christmas and I had woken up early to a gloomy grey sky and a bitterly cold day to see this film specially. At the time I was not a Lord of the Rings fan, I was going into it blind, not knowing the story, what it was about. What these films were to me though were film history, a trilogy. I knew the story was going to be epic, I knew that this was been bantered about as the Star Wars of today. I wanted to be part of that geekdom history that saw it first. It was either that or Harry Potter and at the time Harry Potter seemed to be a film geared towards kids. Looking at trailers for both, Harry Potter had a leading unknown cast of children, a very British secondary cast filled with famous TV personalities and comedians. Also it just didn’t look that epic, the Lord of the Rings had booming music, Wizards fighting wizards, giant fire breathing monsters and a quest (Being a “Knight-mare” fan I love quests.) The international cast of the Lord of the Rings was also familiar to me. Ian Mckellen I adore, as do I love Christopher Lee, Kate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean etc
From the opening scenes I’m already sold that this is going to be ’something else’. A real genuine big fantasy movie. On every level it just doesn’t look like your typical movie. As Gandalf enters the film for the first time I could see two young women sitting in front of me giddy with excitement. They had obviously read the books and were eating this scene and it’s book references to pieces.
I was really impressed how the main villain of the movie, an eye, could be made to be so fearsome, from the first moment Frodo puts on the Ring the sound and atmosphere blasted my soul and the unblinking burning Eye filled the massive cinema screen. It’s a moment from the film that I will never forget and unfortunately it does lose some of it’s impact watching it on the small screen. Watching this film on the big screen was a life time experience to a movie fan.
The Ring itself is a character here. It’s like an addictive Drug to characters who seem to start suffering withdrawals by just being around it. Here it’s effects are none so apparent as they are to Boromir who is a man who wants to defend his home, a great man who sees the potential of this power as a weapon but it’s clearly more than that to him. It’s power and drugs often make people feel powerful for a time at least.
When the film came to an end I realized only then that the three movies dealt with ONE Ring and not 3 different Rings. An easy mistake for a complete newb to make since it did say the Lord of the RingS .But at that stage it didn’t matter. I was sold and wanted to watch the sequel which was only one year away.
Favorite Quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.” - Gandalf
The Two Towers
“The Two Towers” has an amazing opening, it ups the ante and sets the tone for the whole movie as a big action piece. That opening scene of Gandalf and the Balrog fighting makes every other fantasy movie eat it’s heart out.
I always thought of the Two Towers as the action piece in between. The Battle of Helms Deep is really well done. Having loved studying History at School and reading about situations such as a sieging of a Fort or Castle I thought Jackson did a fantastic job of fleshing out the siege and battle which is more prominent and to the front of the movie than it was in the book.
Gollum could have been a disaster of a CGI character. I think lots of people feared a Jar Jar Binks situation, but the amount of work Andy Serkis put into the character made him so real and I do think he deserved at the very least an Oscar nomination consider he had to not only stand in for his character on film but he had to film the scenes again by himself for the CGI movements. He is a more loveable character here and has a journey to go through himself.
Favorite Quote: “…there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” - Sam
The Return of the King
It’s hard to eclipse the action of the Two Towers but Jackson really does it and does it differently rather than repeat the standard siege battle.It a far broader battle scene he does with action taking place in different areas giving each character a significant role to play.
Some scenes are built up a little too much. The encounter between Gandalf and the Witch King doesn’t really happen so we never get the sense of who the Witch king is whereas in the books he had pages to be dealt with and is far more chilling a foe on page.
Sam and Frodo’s Journey takes on a very dark tone, more so because Frodo keeps to the center stage and is pretty much manipulated by Gollum to mistrusting Sam. I don’t know how comfortably that sits. It makes the situation all the more deadly. But also the characters are more oblivious to Gollum. The scenes in the Volcano are perfect. It’s a dramtic ending and I don’t have much of a problem with the way it’s slightly changed from the books.
I have little problem with the multiple endings too. But further viewings do show a lot of fades to black, over manipulating the audience. But I can’t really criticize that as there was so so much to squeeze into the last movie.
One part of this movie that I liked that isn’t in the book but does bring a certain maturity to the characters and what they’ve been through is the scene in the pub near the end. The four hobbits sit together drinking and looking around at the alien place they find themselves in that used to be home. They have seen and been through some horrors that the people around them do not understand but they themselves do and the look in each of their eyes show a special understanding that only the fellowship could have. I believe this scene is meant to represent our Hobbits grown up as the scouring of the Shire wasn’t included in the movie.
Favorite Quote: “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.” - Gandalf
Somewhere in Time April 26, 2011Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Book to Film, Time Travel , add a comment
Sitting in a bar with some friends I ask each of them the question “What is your favorite movie?”. Most of them reply with films I have already seen but then someone mentions “Somewhere in Time”. Not being familiar with it I ask them to tell me more about it. They say it’s a time travel movie starring Christopher Reeve. “What?” I said “A time travel movie with Christopher Reeve, Superman?”, i was sold by those two facts. By chance 7 months later I discover the film is being shown at a cinema not far from where I live. A perfect opportunity to see this film in style.
Based on the book “Bid Time Return” Christopher Reeves character Richard is approached by an old lady who gives him a watch and tells him to “come back” to her. Sounds creepy at first but 7 years later he finds himself entranced by a picture of an actress he sees at a hotel he is staying at. He falls in love at first sight and he knows he has seen this woman before. After a series of strange coincidences linked to this lady he does more research on her and begins to believe that he has met this lady (will meet this lady) in the past. Trying to fulfil his destiny by finding a way to return to the past he asks his old Professor about the possibility of being able to time travel through self hypnotic suggestion.
Reading bits and pieces about this movie after viewing it I agree with the view that men like this movie because it’s a romance movie from a man’s perspective who finds a perfect love in something that seems unattainable. I think many people can relate to that. Falling in love with an actress one might see in a movie or on TV or even falling in love with a complete stranger in a dream. There’s something magical and pure about it and that to me is what this film is about. The fulfilment of this dream, this wish, is not that he is able to travel back and meet this woman, but that his feelings are reciprocated. The woman he longs for is someone who has also dreamed of that perfect man and that man literally travels back in time to meet her. Can it be anymore perfect and wonderful than that? What makes this all work is that humble charm that Christopher Reeves embodies. Again there’s something innocent and magical in how he portrays Richard in the same way as he portrayed the innocence of Clark Kent and the goodness of Superman. Jane Seymour looks extraodinarily beautiful in this movie and possesses the characteristics of a woman changing from youthful girl to elegant lady.
The time travel aspects in this is most interesting. It’s a method I don’t recall seeing in other movies before. It’s based on J. B. Priestley’s book “Man and Time” which hypothesizes that we can hypnotize our mind to convince our self we are in the past. Which is not too far fetched if you consider precognitive dreaming possible. However this kind of time travel depends on the person believing they are actually in another time. Also it’s not just dreaming, whatever happens actually happens. Which gives weight to the words “in dreams begin responsibilities”.
The Watch: Is this the same watch over and over again? Is the Watch going through it’s own timeloop? I think that is not the case. Most likely it was a gift chosen to be given because of the similarity to Richards watch. Meaning that seeing that Watch on Richard compels her to give him a watch like that. The watch would be impossibly old if that were the case, as would be Kirk’s glasses in Star Trek II: TWOK.
So how do we define the time travel event? Predestination Paradox. Everything that happens was supposed to happen and will happen again, Richard’s travelling to the past is why Elise goes to him in future and asks him to return to her. It’s also possible that this is an altered timeline, meaning that Richard did travel back in time before without having met Elise in the future and it was this first incursion that caused the paradox. But I am leaning towards the former because of the coincidences that drive Richard to explore more about Elise and ultimately find that he had met her before. Thus we have a paradox. There is no original beginning or end.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the music and that piece Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”. It sends chills down my spine to hear it for listening to it in this movie reminds me of some faded dream or maybe another movie that used to score to great effect as here. Beautiful and somewhat haunting and ultimately uplifting like “Somewhere in time” it sticks with you and brings back all those feelings again every time you hear it.
Favorite Quote: “The man of my dreams has almost faded now. The one I have created in my mind. The sort of man each woman dreams of, in the deepest and most secret reaches of her heart. I can almost see him now before me. What would I say to him if he were really here? “Forgive me. I have never known this feeling. I have lived without it all my life. Is it any wonder, then, I failed to recognise you? You, who brought it to me for the first time. Is there any way that I can tell you how my life has changed? Any way at all to let you know what sweetness you have given me? There is so much to say. I cannot find the words. Except for these: I love you”. Such would I say to him if he were really here.” - Elise
Norwegian Wood Movie December 31, 2010Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Asian Cinema, Book to Film , add a comment
“I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me” is a line from the song Norwegian Wood by The Beatles which this Movie and Novel got it’s name from. The film haunts me in the way the novel does. At best it serves that purpose well and I tend to like what the director has done with this. Having watched all of his previous films I’m rather fond of his style and am always quite affected by them. Music plays a big factor in that and the music here reflects Naoko’s inner turmoil well. Suicide is a background theme of the movie and book. There’s a certain frustration because unlike some other forms of media the movie doesn’t really deal with it. It’s more about the people left behind, We aren’t given answers to why people kill themselves and true to life sometimes that is the case. It might be that thing that is most tormenting.
The film photography is exquisite, very beautiful. Tran has an impressive eye for detail in his films exploring the most encratite things that are often so tiny and unnoticeable in our every day lives. I feel it’s a return to form from his last film “I come with the Rain” where he shied away from that into something a little more mainstream.
Rinko Kikuchi as Naoko was perfect, she resembles the image of Naoko that formed in my mind when reading the book, Midori too is also close to the image I have of the character and both actresses give a great performance. Kenichi Matsuyama as Watanabe I was less thrilled with, the unsure and young Toru doesn’t really come across in Matsuyama’s performance. There is a vulnerability with the character that is missing here, unfortunately casting a more geeky, less manly type of actor won’t cut it for audiences.
This film might have problems finding an audience. To appreciate it I think having read the novel or being familiar with Murakami’s works will be of benefit. However as a fan of the novel you may also dislike the adaptation of the material as is typical with such things. But scripts are far shorter than novels. Before I had imagined a director like Wong Kar Wai making this thinking his style suits Murakami’s world. For me I like both Murakami’s work and also Tran Hung’s work so I felt I got the best of both worlds and was given the Director’s personal interpretation of the material.