Alright, I have a confession to make. Yes, you guessed it, I liked The Ring remake. In fact, watching the original now only made me realized how much more I liked it than the Japanese counterpart... in some aspects.
I mean, I get why people loved this and considered it to be superior over the "shallow" (whatever that means) and flashier American counterpart. It's a quiet and subtle horror film that builds atmosphere, so it looks like a more intelligent film than the louder and gorier American one, right?
Look, it's a cursed videotape that kills you after a week. I can't begin to tell you how cheesy that concept already is, so taking it so seriously like it's some kind of Sundance artsy fartsy flick is just ridiculous. What if you fly to another country? Is it still seven days or do I have to adjust the timezone? What if the television is too small for Sadako to crawl out of? Would her torso be stuck on our end of the reality while her tushy is hanging out in that Bizarro World? It's just so easy to make fun of the movie that I don't see why everyone's flipping their hands in the air like it's some groundbreaking Hitchcock masterpiece. And let's be completely honest, most of the people defending the original work did so out of nostalgia. Original isn't always better. Subtle and "atmospheric" aren't always smarter... or even intelligent for god's sake. It's a horror movie about a cursed videotape!
Now that I've got that off my chest, however, I do have to give credit where it's due. In spite of my sarcasm regarding the cursed videotape concept, this is a great movie. The characters are well-written enough for me to care about them, the relationship between them is relatable, and the existence of said relationship is an important and yet uncommon ingredient among American horror films, as those cared more about T&A while injecting as many jump-scares as possible. "Less is more" does work here to present a different kind of horror where the audience is kept guessing (it's a 20 year old movie, so yes, we already know what the twist is, but it was still a surprising twist at the time).
That being said, there were a number of things I just liked more in the remake. For starters, that expression. Yes, the one in the original was more realistic (and made more sense in the context of the film due to how Sadako's powers worked), but the one in the remake was horrifying! The way her whole face got mangled and twisted like that was the stuff of nightmares. I find it easier to imagine going insane if I find my friend in such a state (and the friend of the first victim did indeed go insane in both versions).
Then there was the pacing. Ironically, I didn't find the original to be too slow-paced. If anything, I found it to be way too rushed, not building up on the initial suspicion anyone with any shred of common sense would've had when they hear about a stupid cursed videotape. Yes, the ex is some kind of paranormal esper so it makes sense he wasn't skeptical, but the point is, where is the character that connects to members of the audience that are finding the cursed videotape concept too stupid to be taken seriously? Where is that character to represent the more cynical of us as the audience? You need someone like that so we can connect with the movie as he slowly believes in the curse (as we will) when all the signs and evidence start showing up. That's Noah Clay in the remake, ladies and gentlemen, the character that I could relate to.
After that, there's the footage in the video. Way more gruesome and revolting in the remake. I wouldn't necessarily dismiss the remake's more disturbing footage as merely cheap shock more than they were ominous images, but I'll let this pass since it's incredibly subjective, so let's move on.
The characters are also done better in the remake. Besides the aforementioned Noah, I couldn't connect with most of the characters in the original, particularly that little boy, Yoichi. Reiko is fine, but I don't understand the point of Yoichi's character aside from being a plot-device. Aidan in the remake, on the other hand, had a more personal role, including that very important scene at the end where he told Rachel that Sadako is evil, and that she shouldn't have saved her. I know a lot of pretentious people like to think that withholding information somehow makes a film "smarter", but storytelling requires certain exposition to happen so that we could get a better grasp of the characters' feelings and perspectives. This is the positive kind of exposition that should be encouraged.
Another great example of character improvements is the scene at the beginning where Rachel's sister actually talked to her, expressing the pain of losing her daughter in such a horrific manner. In the original, Rachel's sister was too shocked to speak properly. Why are you so shocked? Your daughter only looked like she had a heart attack, not have her entire face decomposed and mutilated like in the remake!
Finally, we need to talk about Sadako's entrance. Let's look at how the remake handles Sadako:
Granted, the CGI does look pretty cheesy. But I love how Samara just BAMS right at your face all of the sudden. It shocked the hell outta me when I first watched it, and I still love it today. When I saw Sadako in the original, however, all I was thinking was, "Dude, just get up and run! She's like walking at 1 mile per hour! lololol" And the way he deliberately twists his body so that he would make eye-contact with Sadako, what the hell was that all about? It was so cheesy and stupid. If it was me, I would've made for the door and run for the nearest police station, or something.
In conclusion, while Ringu had some very well-written characters, its many flaws just make the experience jarring when I've seen how much improvement the more polished remake has done.
Dream: Will post a little later what the next voted anime will be that I will watch and review.
Jan 18, 2020 19:48:38 GMT
Dream: Next anime up to cover will be Dance in the Vampire Bund. Suppose a short anime will do for now following Chobits.
Jan 18, 2020 21:32:36 GMT
Dream: Concluding things at episode 2 with Vampire Bund for the night. Hoping to get back to Basquatch tomorrow, as long as I'm not swamped with anything.
Jan 19, 2020 3:00:33 GMT
Dream: Geez, it's really quiet. No activity in the forums since I posted my review from yesterday.
Jan 19, 2020 15:57:41 GMT
Taka: I'll email the receipts. The best anime and manga of 2019 will be extended to Wed. I don't get time off for Mon because of community service. Please vote if you haven't yet. Thank you!
Jan 19, 2020 20:44:07 GMT
Dream: Hmmmm... looks like the version of Vampire Bund I'm seeing on Funi's YouTube channel's an edited version. A couple minutes of episode 2 were clearly removed with Mina in nothing but underwear battling human assassins. Then again, recall there was a good...
Jan 19, 2020 22:49:15 GMT
Dream: ...deal of controversy with the series a decade earlier thanks to the seemingly underaged nudity of Mina while in her younger form.
Jan 19, 2020 22:50:13 GMT
Dream: Not sure if I should be donning the nostalgia goggles or not giving a damn. Looks like the original Digimon Adventure series is getting a reboot airing starting in the Spring season.
Jan 21, 2020 3:21:13 GMT
Taka: I'll watch it if there's nothing catching my eye in Spring. winter 2020 was a weak anime season for me.
Jan 22, 2020 18:29:46 GMT
Dream: Wouldn't say it's all bad for me. Have a few titles holding my interest. Just it typically doesn't have as many major titles of note that would hold me over.
Jan 22, 2020 23:54:44 GMT
Dream: Done with Vampire Bund. Will be working on a review of it before I hop into the next Funi series. Hoping to get it up either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how lengthy my thoughts get.
Jan 24, 2020 1:44:49 GMT