Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sadako 3D/The Ring 3: Sadako Movie Review

Sadako 3D or promoted here in the Philippines under the name, "The Ring 3: Sadako" is the latest incarnation of Japan's iconic ghost, Sadako and this time around, her curse finally goes online as a man named Seiji Kashiwada was obsessed on reviving the famed psychic ghost that later led to his death. His death was streamed online and caused the deaths of other people who watched the video.

Before I watched the film yesterday, I was expecting something that the film will be amazing as the original Japanese company that distributed the film had the balls to go extreme in terms of promotion. From having Sadako throw in the first pitch, have a swarm of Sadakos roam around in one area and my personal favorite, Sadako posing aside with Kamen Rider Fourze, Go-Busters, Naruto and The Avengers. It can only mean two things, the movie is so good that they want people to watch it or the movie is made in a hurry that is why they spent a lot of time promoting it to hide the fact that the movie is poorly made. So was the movie good or bad? I find the movie mediocre.

You see for starters, the idea of putting Sadako online is one neat idea, heck; putting the Sadako curse online is one neat idea! By Sadako curse, I mean the "you will die in seven days" kind of thing, not the "you see the 404 message on your screen, wait for a few seconds so that Sadako can kill you" kind of thing. Though for nerds and geeks, the 404 message means that the site they are trying to look does not exist, I don't see why use that element in a horror movie franchise that established its fame by a chick crawling out from a well, telephone ringing and death on the seventh day. If the movie isn't called "Sadako 3D", then I might welcome this 404 idea with open arms.

Though I hate the idea of the new Sadako curse based on the 404 message, I just love the idea that the video suddenly "vanished" online with no one deleting it and it will just suddenly appear once you click some 404 link. That factor substituted the odd video tape thing from the earlier movies as those people who searched the cursed video need to check online message boards just to find the said video. Since Sadako's ghost was calmed down almost a decade ago, who is responsible in bringing the ghost back to the digital age? The one responsible is Seiji Kashiwada, a freelance artist who was accused of plagiarism by his critics that drove him mad in some point that caused him to be obsessed on trying to revive Sadako into our time.

Seiji is one interesting villain as I saw some parallels with the guy from Sadako's mother. To those who are not aware, Sadako's mom was accused as a fraud psychic by journalist that caused the young Sadako to kill some people. In the case of Seiji, he was accused of plagiarism by some people online and he took it quite seriously. Guess the man doesn't know the term, “online trolling". I am not sure what's running on the guy's mind that he decided to do an extensive research on trying to revive Sadako, which he was able to do. So why is the guy interesting even if he sounds like a victim of some online trolls? Simple, how the actor, Yusuke Yamamoto played the part of the villain perfectly.

Prior to Sadako 3D, I know Yusuke Yamamoto for his role in Kamen Rider Kabuto as Tsurugi Kamishiro aka Kamen Rider Sasword, in Ouran High Host Club as Tamaki Suou and in Great Teacher Onizuka as Saejima. All three roles are comic characters and at the same time, badasses in their own right. Seeing Yusuke Yamamoto playing a character that isn't a comic character and he's really good at it is something that surprised me. He seriously got the frustrated artist-slash-evil mastermind part perfectly that I can't imagine a different actor doing that part.

Now that we are clear on some of the basics about the movie, it's time to talk about the reason why I watched this movie in the first place, the plot. The pacing of the story was good at first, everything seems perfectly fine and it continues to make me want for more since it has three elements The Ring franchise is known for, the police investigations of the deaths that's caused by some unknown force, the female protagonist who is the key point in this entire mystery and the long haired girl crawling out from your TV screen, in this case from your Android phone, iPhone, PC or Mac.

The investigation scenes are not as interesting compared to the ones in the original movies that get you into thinking how the heck they all died. They just added those scenes just to remind the viewer that the police still exist in this movie and that's it. The female protagonist in this movie, Akane is a teacher who got involved into this mess thanks to her student watching the cursed video. She later ended up watching the actual video after the dead student's best friend tried to look for it online and ended up with the original cursed video. As expected, she is also a psychic in her own right as she can do high pitched cries (kinda like Black Canary's Canary Cry) that can break glass and can disintegrate Sadako.

The third key element, Sadako crawling out from your Android phone, iPhone, PC or Mac, it was well made. Unlike the original Sadako curse wherein you can escape the curse by doing a copy of the video and let another person watch the video so that your life will be safe, in the case of this new curse, once you clicked the correct 404 message, there is no escape. In short, once you see Sadako at least once on any of your gadgets that can access the internet, better say your prayers as she will try to kill you by coming out from any screen. If you think a single Sadako crawling out from your TV is scary, seeing an army of Sadakos in a TV display or a giant LCD TV display screen is much scarier! What made those scenes much scarier was the fact that the movie was originally made for 3D viewing, if I can't get out of my seat just watching it on 2D, imagine my horror once I will see this movie on 3D!

Though the plot sounds really great, the time when it starts becoming rather than dumb and a lame excuse to make another "The Ring" movie began when they revealed more details on Senji's plan on reviving Sadako. For Senji to revive her, he needs to look for a strong female body, only to end up throwing a lot of dead girls inside a well before he finally found by the perfect body for Sadako before he got killed. Granted, the plan sounds perfect for reviving a ghost of a dead psychic, it went full retard when the dead bodies used on trying to revive Sadako became zombies for some odd reason. As far as I can remember, the movie is about a single ghost for crying out loud and a bunch of zombies with weird legs and reptilian looking skin!

Their first appearance made me laugh for a second due to how bad the CGI legs looked and once they started crawling out and attacked the cop and mauled his body, it feels like I am watching some Japanese zombie movie. It didn't help that these Sadako zombie rip-offs can run fast with their four limbs like a spider! Since those scenes felt like I am watching a zombie flick, I started to ask myself, am I watching a Sadako movie or some lame excuse on making a zombie movie? Granted, I was scared watching those scenes but this isn't the fear I experienced on watching some old "The Ring" movies or when I read some of the published works based on "The Ring" including the manga. The fear that I experienced while watching those zombie scenes was the same fear I had while watching zombie movies.

The highlight of the movie was the scene wherein Akane met Sadako; the scene reminded me of the scene in every Batman movie that has something to do with the Joker about two freaks meeting for the first time. In Akane's case, she's a freak but because of Takanori, her classmate that later became her boyfriend, she didn't end up like Sadako who experienced a lot of crap in her life that ended up becoming the ghost we know. Their meeting was something fated as you can simply say that Akane is the perfect body for Sadako, hence Sadako tries to claim her body after Akane requested her to free her boyfriend from her clutches.

As for Akane's boyfriend, Takanori, I see him more as a damsel in distress type of character rather than the heroic boyfriend. Prior to the scene where he was abducted by Sadako, he's been a supportive boyfriend for Akane that he even asked if she's alright, heck he even sacrificed his life just to save Akane! Though that scene was a bit heroic, I was disappointed by it since I was expecting that Takanori will help Akane during the duration of the entire movie to look for answers about Sadako. Oh well, at least he was able to make out to it by destroying the iPhone responsible in recording Sadako's first online appearance.

At the end, Takanori was able to save Akane and a mysterious woman appears; she is Senji's land lady. The question is why is she in the site? Final thoughts about the movie, like I said earlier, the movie was mediocre for a lot of reasons, the zombies, the uninteresting investigation scenes and the Sadako curse being too instant for my taste. But even with that mediocrity, the movie managed to impressed me in a lot of ways, first is the visuals since I got scared in some scenes, next would be Akane being one great female protagonist and Senji being one interesting villain created by online butthurt and lastly, this movie's Sadako, her actress did a great job in giving us a cold, evil psychic that most of us know.

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