Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sadako: The Ring 3

August 14, 2012

The original "Ring" film is a horror movie classic. Its central character is Sadako, a girl in a white dress with very long black hair who climbed out of a well and into the living rooms of her victims through the TV. The creepy way Sadako's disheveled tresses covered her face and the jerky way she would creep and walk were copied shamelessly in several other Asian horror flicks, even several years afterwards. 

When I first saw the ads of this film, it was pretty exciting. This movie promised to bring Sadako in all her 3D glory, and I could not wait to see her crawl right through the silver screen right at us. However, when I got to the theater earlier, it turned out that locally (it is an SM Cinema Exclusive), it would only be shown in Digital 2D. In fact, it had been re-titled "The Ring 3." Groan.

Anyway, "The Ring 3" is about Akane, a young teacher in a Catholic girls school. One of her students gets obsessed in searching the internet for a certain "cursed suicide video" which rumors say allegedly showed someone committing suicide, and resulted in the viewer in getting killed as well. That cheerful student unexpectedly commits suicide one night by jumping through a glass window and falling to her death. More and more people inexplicably take their lives. When Akane's own boyfriend Takanori gets lassoed into a giant advertising LCD screen, she was hooked into a search for the truth behind this cursed online video and find a way to stop its deadly consequences.

First, the positives. 

Akane is played by a very pretty young actress named Satomi Ishihara. She really pulled off the sympathetic character of the tormented teacher. She is very charming and great to look at amidst the horror, and despite the weird "super power" the writer gave her. There was also a little puppy love flashback episode to show how Akane and Takanori first became friends. That was a nice touch.

There is really something so clean about Japanese cinematography. The contrasts are so stark and simple, they look beautiful. Those scenes where Akane was simply walking under the arches of a lonely corridor, or when she was walking on the rooftop against the bright blue sky. So nice and calm. 

Next, the negatives.

While the first Ring films successfully conveyed dread and fear with the simple and even crude special effects of Sadako creeping towards her prey. This film goes OVERBOARD with its ridiculously unbridled use of excessive fake-looking computer-generated imagery! Despite this supposedly advanced computer graphics, the parts that were supposed to be 3D, like the hand or the hair that "popped" out of the computer or cellphone monitor, looked very bad indeed. 

The most absurd and over-the-top idea of them all is the terrible idea of transforming the iconic scary image of a lone Sadako into a HORDE of monstrous spider-like Sadakos with very long jointed hind legs and vampire-bat-like mouths. The ironic kicker here is that, they apparently can be easily subdued by sweet little Akane, after which they simply dissolve into a swarm of black moths! Senseless and stupid. Certainly, less is more.

Overall, this is a disappointing movie, undeserving of being called a sequel of the original Ring films. I am giving it a couple of extra stars solely because of the beauty and performance of Ms. Satomi Ishihara as Akane. As for the character that gave this movie its name, Sadako sadly lost her edge and practically became a caricature of her original self because of this film's indulgent director.

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