Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Second Disc: Sadako 3D, First Impressions

Welcome to The Second Disc. This is when I take the time away from the limitations of my own collection for a little while and discuss film further into simple reviews. These side entries will dive into different genres, key moments that interest me in film's history, some of my favorite directors, and of course films I don't personally own... yet, among other things.

Today's episode will cover: Sadako 3D.

Sadako 3D is a Japanese horror film that was released on May 12th of this year. It's the latest installment of the Ring franchise and is based on S by Koji Suzuki, who also wrote the original Ring novels first released in the 90s. This is Suzuki's first Ring novel in over 10 years. Sadly since I live in the United States I've only been able to get a small amount of information at the time. I have a poster, basic plot info, and a trailer but without any subtitles. I am especially upset I have no info on the book it's based on. I certainly don't expect the book to hit the states for a long time. It took years for the original novels to come here but I've concluded that's because of the success of the remake in the early 2000s. So it's going to be a while before I see this movie unless I import it when it comes out on home video internationally. For the time being I do have some comments to make on it based on the little I have.

Point number one: Suzuki's involvement.
When I first heard about this I thought it was an attempt to bring back a popular franchise for the sake of winning a few bucks at the box office. Basically making a similar move when it comes to sequel after sequel or remakes of the many franchises we have here in the States. These sequels and remakes rarely involve the original creators or even someone who's been involved for a long period of time. The perfect example of this is Darren Lynn Bousman who directed and was involved in more Saw films, Saw 2, 3, and 4, than the original creator James Wan. Still Bousman was not involved in the later sequels and it was very present in it's style and execution. The point I'm trying to make is that when the original creator leaves a franchise it tends to nose dive because it may go in a direction the fans don't want it to go or goes in an inappropriate direction for the series. But then I came to find out the original creator is involved with this project! Again, very little information is found on the subject so I don't know how involved he was. His name just may be attached because he wrote a new novel. Wait, he wrote a new novel and that's the source material for the new film?! That's what surprised me the most about the film. Maybe it's because I am far too used to Joe Nobody writing a script made up of all the bad ideas he's had over the years stapled together into a script into a movie that looks and feels close enough to get the idea they're going for. So with the involvement of the man who created the franchise it certainly could be a good film. Not great, but at least pretty good. What tipped me off as a potential in poor quality is....

Point number two: The trailer.
Below I have posted the trailer so you can see what I am talking about.

So at first there feels like there could be potential for this one, for maybe the first 20 seconds or so. You've got a new generation of characters learning about this horror that has plagued many before it. Seeing the hint that the means of Sadako coming over is through a computer, which is a logical decision at this point in tech, reminds me a lot of the Spiral, 13 episode TV series that played in Japan. That was based around the cursed video being on a disc. Also in the first half or so it does give the hint that there may be somewhat of an atmospheric sense to it. I think I'm honestly really letting a lot fly by me at this point and am trying to keep up the potential it'll at least have some redeeming value. I'm a huge fan of this franchise and have been screwed plenty of times before. Not to mention this is the first Ring film from Japan in over 10 years so it's safe to say I'm pretty excited for any sort of addition. What comes next is in the trailer is so poor I wasn't even disappointed since I expected it. I realize using 404 - File Not Found is the computer equivalent to the fuzzy TV noise the first film utilized. It doesn't have the same type of terror to it. A fuzzy TV is a constantly moving image with a nasty noise attached to it which makes it all the more unnerving. Seeing the 404 error makes me feel like I should check my internet connection or restart my computer. It's just sitting there, plain and simple, not doing anything else. Gives off more of an annoyance than anything. Maybe it executes it better in the film, I don't know, I will in time. Then of course comes the hint at the famous 'Sadako coming out of the screen' sequence with the new adaptation of it. No more VCRs and TVs. Sadako is now streaming! Now I realize the Japanese film industry doesn't have to booming bucks we do in Hollywood. I would like to argue that the effect shown in the trailer (and the performance) looked really bad and overblown. Keep in mind that back in 1998 for a fraction of the budget they pulled off the same effect but far better acted and far better pulled off special effects wise, and it was done very indie. To finish off this section I am going to include said video below. Keep in mind this is the climax of the first Ring film so, spoilers...

Point number three: 3D
I should have figured this would be diagnosed with the cancer that has been hitting far too many films recently. The plague of 3D. As you can tell I am not a fan of 3D at all. I've seen a few flicks with the new tech of 3D and I find it to be distracting or not really noticeable enough because I'm immersed enough into the story and everything as is I don't need a gimmick to force me into it. I know many people have made the argument about Avatar (A film I am glad I haven't seen) and it's 3D but not everyone has the tech or the knowledge to create the 3D experience I heard that one put together. It's a gimmick that should not be required for any film for it to be a complete experience. So with that said the idea of taking what I consider to be a pretty intelligent franchise (in some cases) and utilizing 3D as it's way to scare the audience is scary in and of itself. The only aspect of this that I can see working is having Sadako coming out of the TV/monitor. It's very iconic for this franchise to have something related to that. Doesn't mean they have to use it but I digress. And that's the only instance where they could make good use of the 3D and it's entirely a gimmick that would only be effective theatrically. At home it just isn't the same especially on a widescreen, flat panel HDTV with 3D glasses on. Now if it could be done with an old school TV that would be different, yet the blue and red of old school 3D that would be required would kill the effect in a different way. Part of making horror is with subtlety and atmosphere. When you have your key villain literally jumping out at you it takes that subtlety and atmosphere and throws it out the window.

No, sir, I don't like it. The teaser gives off more of a bad vibe than a good one. As a fanatic of this series I have of course examined it over and over, read the books, seen all the other films multiple times, so I would say I have a good detection method on what's best for the franchise. What seems to send the strangest vibe in my direction is the combination of what's seems to be contained within the film and Suzuki's involvement. I still ask the question how involved he was in the film itself. I wonder how close to the source material this one stuck. It just seems so odd that Suzuki, the original writer of the story, would include tropes made famous by the film adaptations that were never in the original books to begin with. I am speaking of the crawling out of the TV scare that everyone seems to know the franchise by. The original stories were pretty smart with a very well thought out, scientific solution and explanation to what's going on in the world you're experiencing. If Suzuki's new novel is well represented on the screen then I may be hesitant to check out his new book whenever it hits stateside. It feels like he's falling from grace. He's good at what he does and his Ring stories are some of my favorites. I can only hope that his book is better than how this new film looks. In the end I am a huge whore for this franchise so I'll be sure to pick this one up when it hits DVD. And yes I'll probably import it even cause who knows when this will come to America. I'm impatient.

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