Wednesday, January 05, 2005Not Everything The Japanese Do Is Great
I went with a friend to see The Life Aquatic this afternoon; it was pretty good. Maybe not quite The Royal Tenenbaums good -- I saw that one with an ideal audience, one that got all the jokes, which really made it a great cinematic experience -- but pretty damn good. I especially admire the use of a less-than-gorgeous cast... Bill Murray really shouldn't be going shirtless by Hollywood standards, but here he does it anyway, and it's exactly the right thing to do. It's a worthy film, and I highly recommend it.
But I found the trailers particularly interesting this time. I saw a teaser for the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy re-make (if a feature film version a dodgy BBC series can be considered a "re-make"). It didn't give much away, and contained no actual footage from the film; it was more an exercise in tone. It was very slick, all CGI, and it looks pretty high-budget for what is essentially a British production. It was simultaneously exciting and slightly distressing... it's looking very cool, but there was always a Dr Who-ish B-grade quality built into the book, and will that really mesh with a slick presentation? As Mat would say, please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck...
And then there was a trailer for an upcoming horror/suspense film called Dark Water. This, I know, is another re-make of a Japanese film (apparently directed by the same guy who did Ringu), but it smacked for all the world of an old film-school bar bet fulfilled:
Film student 1: I can make a horror flick out of anything.
Film student 2: Oh yeah?
FS 1: Yeah.
FS 2: Wanna bet?
FS 1: Name it.
FS 2: Okay... I bet you $50 you can't make a horror film out of... a dripping faucet!
FS 1: Shit.
Fifteen years later, Dark Water appears on our screens. You have to admit, my theory makes more sense than the idea that someone spontaneously decided that leaky plumbing could be really scary if, you know, the water was black and everything was dark and there was a cute little girl involved.
Don't get me wrong, it's entirely possible that this film could be really cool; I thought Ringu was a little over-hyped, but not bad considering the premise revolved around a possessed video tape. And I'm sure that in Japanese culture water has some meaning that adds to the gravity of an ominously spreading water stain on the ceiling. I'm just saying, this flick smells like dog from here.