Hey folks, Harry here… Vern wants Daddy (me) to start talking with Mommy (Moriarty), but he’s has got to stop telling me he has a headache and turning that oh so soft shoulder to chilly ice. Daddy needs some loving, and Mommy has been oh so cruel. Sadness, for sure. Anyways… Here’s another look at the Dreamworks RING remake from a bloke that is very very familiar with the originals! Here ya go…
First of all, you gotta start talking to each other again. I don’t like it when mommy and daddy fight.
Second of all, I know you already have an assload of THE RING (american remake) reviews. But I think you need to use mine also, as a sign of gratitude toward me, the man who first told you about the japanese RINGU series and the impending remake back in July of 2000. So look at this as the highly anticipated sequel to the article “Vern Steals A Look At THE RING Part I and II!!” CLICK HERE
Of course, I got one thing wrong back then. I said it was New Line Cinema doing the remake, turned out to be Dreamworks. I think the rights might’ve been passed around though, I remember Moriarty told me at the time that he talked to somebody at New Line and they swore they were gonna re-release it and not remake it.
Anyway I was real skeptical about the remake and I wrote an open letter to New Line that started like this:
“Now listen up you sons of bitches. I hope you have sat down and thought this through, and not just at a meeting with a bunch of marketing freakos who know alot less about what people want than they think they do. If you’re gonna remake this picture DO NOT FUCK IT UP. You BETTER know what you’re doing. These movies don’t work only because they are about this curse where you watch a video and the phone rings and a week later you die. They work because of the whole creepy tone — the way the actors talk, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the quiet pauses and subtle but eerie cine-mato-graphicry. This is some SOLID fucking direction so you can’t just go hire some music video fuckwad and tell him to run with it. ”
Well I don’t want to take too much credit, but. Well, obviously, CLEARLY, the director Mr. Gore Verbinski read my letter. If not literally sat down and read it, then he must’ve soaked it up subconsciously, through his interactions with people who interacted with people who read the letter. (people at New Line, I guess.) Or better yet, maybe he’s just a good guy, and he knew that maybe he should, like, not fuck this one up. So what’s really so great about this movie, again, is the restraint and subtlety and what not. The tone. They didn’t american it up any more than changing the setting. The feel is all RINGU and no SCREAM or BLAIR WITCH or ATTACK OF CHUCKY or any other trendy american horror.
It makes you want to have faith in hollywood when you see something like this. Sure, it’s still the old american imperialism, buying up the movie and remaking it instead of releasing it. I don’t understand why they want to do that type of shit. But for that type of shit, THE RING (american remake) is pretty great, very faithful to the spirit of the original (which to me means the movie by Hideo Nakata, even though it was based on a book and came after a mini-series).
Like the original, this is a serious horror movie. Only one or two small jokes. No wackiness. No references to horror movies, not even Bride of Frankenstein. No modern cultural references or songs to date the movie. No rock music at all! They even gave the girls in the opening private school uniforms, like the japanese girls in the original. They didn’t turn them into “goths” or anything.
It’s a little more gruesome than the japanese version, but not in a way that ruins anything. It’s very quiet and atmospheric and the photographicry is beautiful. The cursed video itself is more show offy, with some real music video images. But there are also some creepy additions to it (a pile of maggots that becomes something else), and some of the old classics straight off the Nakata shelf.
They even avoided two of my biggest movie peeves. Somehow, Verbinski kept Hans Zimmer on a leash! Most american filmatists these days, hell, most filmatists period, they think they gotta hammer you in the balls with the music. Like in that movie WINDTALKERS, poor old John Woo let Jerry Goldsmith take a huge shit all over the war scenes.
Oh that’s right, talkbackers love grammar. what I mean to say is WINDTALKERS, that movie in which John Woo allowed the shatting upon by Jerry Goldsmith…. no, that’s not right. On which a huge crap was taken upon by Jerry Goldsmith aided by John Woo, or I mean with John Woo acting as bathroom attendant, and he didn’t even tip. He meaning Jerry, not John… Oh, fuck you guys anyway. I’m writing for the other fellas.
The point is that in WINDTALKERS you have no chance to get involved in the realism of the scene because DAH DAHDAH DUUUUUHHHHHHMMMMMM… that fucker keeps telling you how triumphant everything is. I see this all the time now, they gotta tell you which parts are scary and which parts are sad and especially which parts are funny or delightful. This is real dangerous in horror movies, because they substitute loud violins for scary scenes. In THE RING (american remake) Mr. Zimmer knows how to wait his god damn turn. He throws in some music here and there but he’s mostly doing the ol’ ambient sounds, and even keeps his fuckin mouth shut long enough for there to be long scenes with no music at all, just rain pouring on the roof. ‘Cause it takes place in Seattle.
Oh yeah, and my second pet peeve which this movie triumphantly avoids. This is the only movie I can think of off the top of my head where the characters use computers realistically. Somehow, every movie director in hollywood thinks that the viewing audience has never used a computer before. They expect us not to be distracted to see a character type “cursed videotape” into the computer, and it fills up the screen with giant letters, and then it goes BLIP BLIP BLOOP and a fancy 3-D animation hurtles us through a literal information superhighway as a voice says “searching internet for cursed videotape information” and then it gives us another animation of a videotape spinning around and gives a perfect scan of a newspaper article explaining the whole history of the tape. (extreme examples: THE NET, HACKERS, COPYCAT.) In THE RING (american remake) Naomi Watts uses a search engine, and a mouse, and she clicks on underlined text, and she has to click more than once, and there are no beeps. It’s beautiful! It’s like seeing a toilet in a movie for the first time in PSYCHO.
The story is fairly close to the original. But there are plenty of changes here and there – the tape gets an origin, the backstory to the curse is a little different. It’s kind of like somebody saw the movie a while back and tried to re-write it from memory. There are some real good bits that they added. One takes place on a ferry, another involves choking. Usually I like to give things away, like the guy from Felicity is the killer in SCREAM PART 3. But these are too good to ruin. When you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These are very inspired, surreal bits good enough to have been in the original.
I still like the whole Nancy Drew mystery angle. Our heroine, this time a reporter for the Seattle PI (a real newspaper!) hears about the tape, watches it, and then spends the whole movie researching everything she can about it, following leads until she either dies or finds out What Exactly The Deal Is Here. (Note: Most modern reporters would just accept the police press release version of what happened, and wouldn’t ever find out about the tape. If she was a shitty reporter, she wouldn’t’ve had all this trouble.)
The structure is a little different and I think this throws the pacing off a little. I didn’t get the same death march feeling as it counted down the days until she’s supposed to die. It seemed to me like the first days passed by a little too fast, so you didn’t get the same drawn out sense of dread. On the other hand, the last day is handled real nice, and managed to surprise me even though I knew pretty much everything that was coming.
I liked it better in the japanese version that you heard just scratching over the phone. It made it more ambiguous whether it was really a curse, and made it more satisfying what she found later in that, you know, in that one place. But oh well.
Note to Seattle natives. This movie takes place in the area and you might get a few mild chuckles out of it. There is one scene where two monorails pass her, one after another. Not possible – yet! There are references to a Kirkland University. And it seems that the residents of some non-existent San Juanish island have that generic rural accent that all the country folk have in movies. Otherwise, nothing is too distracting, and they show a monorail, a bus, and a ferry – hooray for public transportation!
Anyway boys, I was real impressed with this movie, and glad that my gut feelings two years ago were wrong. If I had a scariness measuring machine, I think I would find that it was a little less scary than the original, but only by about two or three scariness measuring units. I can’t really be sure, because scariness measuring machines haven’t been invented yet, and even when they are I bet it will take a while for the prices to go down to a consumer level. Point is it’s a good picture. Now if the fuckers would just let somebody release the original on an NTSC dvd region code 1 (or better yet, 0) we can all be happy.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/13472
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Oct. 4, 2002, 11:50 a.m. CST
Well thats all very interesting….
First ever post, first post, you just got to love it…..
Oct. 4, 2002, 11:59 a.m. CST
I saw it last night…
…and really liked it a lot. I think it was even an improvement on the original Japanese version. Feel free to torch me for that. It looks like DreamWorks has a pretty cool idea for a grass roots marketing campaign for this too. At the end of the screening, they handed all of us unlabeled VHS tapes. I didn’t bother watching it, I just passed it on to an unsuspecting co-worker today with no explaination:)
Oct. 4, 2002, 12:01 p.m. CST
Somebody forgot to water the PLANT!
by You Are Banned
Just kidding, vern.
Oct. 4, 2002, 12:40 p.m. CST
great review man, I agree completely (told y’all it was good)
Naomi Watts is the next big thing, but I hope she doesn’t get so big that she stops playing film-noir lesbians…..all to a sinuous Badalamenti core….yes…yes…
that is good…
Oct. 4, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST
best RING review so far.
Finally, someone who’s seen the original, and can tell you WHY they didn’t fuck it up. He even described what he liked about the movie. You know, like an actual review.
Oct. 4, 2002, 12:59 p.m. CST
by Blast Doh
I guess he’s talking about James Horner. Just replace the review’s Jerry Goldsmiths with James Horner and all we be fine in the world of men.
Also, John Woo’s movies have always been about over-done music combined with over-done visuals. That’s John Woo.
By the way, I haven’t seen Windtalkers.
Oct. 4, 2002, 1:14 p.m. CST
by Grand Digital
I hope you and Moriarty get back together again. I can’t bear to see you fighting.
Oct. 4, 2002, 1:21 p.m. CST
Can someone please help me out?
I come to this site a lot. I read a lot of the articles. . . not all of them. . . just a lot of them. I have completely missed the whole “Harry and Mori are mad at each other” thing. What’s the deal with that. And what’s the deal with the petition where Harry is supposedly quoted as saying he might quit the site? What’s going on? I guess I’ve head my head in a bodily orifice, or something. Can anybody help a brother out?
Oct. 4, 2002, 1:36 p.m. CST
Ted Ferguson: in the article “Harry goes to Sitges” Harry said that he might quit (but I think he was just jerkin our chain). And there have been various other articles since The Great Superman Script Disagreement of 2002 implying that he was no longer speaking with or that he was having “issues” with Moriarty. When readers see these occasional implications, really there is no other choice than to start a petition. Logical, uh, thing to do, I guess. Everybody else: thanks for nobody telling me to shove this review up my ass, etc. Sorry about the Jerry Goldsmith business – I really fuckin blew it there. I KNEW I shoulda double checked who the asshole was who did that. Sorry Jerry Goldsmith. All charges have been dropped. You are a free man.
Oct. 4, 2002, 1:39 p.m. CST
i liked this movie
When it was a TV show called Millenium
Oct. 4, 2002, 2:12 p.m. CST
I miss those early Horner scores….
by Charles Grady
Remember when a Horner score meant WOLFEN, 48 HRS, COMMANDO, STAR TREK II, GORKY PARK, ALIENS, and RED HEAT? Remember?? Those scores were hardcore, full of eerie screechy strings, dirty sax, and that percussion that sounded like you were getting whacked over the head with a baseball bat. I miss that Horner, and can’t even see how the current Oscar bait composer can be the same man. Listen to 48 HRS, then TITANIC, and tell me there’s ANY similarity. Zimmer tends to get a raw deal from movie geeks for one too many gung ho Bruckheimer-ish solemn/overwrought Russian Army-type scores with slight synth overtones, but his work for Thin Red Line, Rain Man, The Pledge, and too many others to count is too good to discount. Goldsmith is AWESOME, Goldenthal is strangely MIA, and Kamen never matched his DIE HARD score. Goldsmith is awesome, and Barry is still the king. A John Barry score can make even the most pedestrain vehicle — SOMEWHERE IN TIME, THE SPECIALIST, KING KONG, INDECENT PROPOSAL — sound like a masterpiece.
Oct. 4, 2002, 2:35 p.m. CST
The Ring? Sounds more like The Ringworm.
Its a Lord of the Rings rip-off, I tell ya! A LOTR RIP-OFF!!!!
Oct. 4, 2002, 2:43 p.m. CST
Do I look like the person to go and see a movie about Rings? It sounds like a porno! Well…maybe.
Oct. 4, 2002, 2:51 p.m. CST
Question for those who have seen both the original THE RING and
1. Which one’s better? Right now, I’m assuming that the original wipes the floor with the remake, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. *** 2) What is the definitive version of the original THE RING on DVD? Which one should I check out/buy?
Oct. 4, 2002, 2:54 p.m. CST
Did George W Bush write this review?
Oct. 4, 2002, 3:08 p.m. CST
King_tut_lives, go easy on Turkey.
The Turkeywood moives are a hell of lot more entertaining than the latest geek movies out of Hollywood. Plus, who isn’t excited about Turkish Star Wars 2 with “CGI?!”
Oct. 4, 2002, 3:10 p.m. CST
moives = hilarity
Oct. 4, 2002, 3:44 p.m. CST
to “I am Legos”
I would say that the original is better, but the remake is about as good as an american remake of a foreign movie gets. It’s hard to say though because I did see the original first. If you saw the remake first who knows you might like it better, even if it wasn’t the originator. I don’t know.
As for the definitive version on dvd. Well I don’t think you’re gonna find a whole lot of versions. There’s no ntsc version but if you can play PAL dvds there is one out there (not sure what region code).
to the millennium guy: I think you are thinking of some other movie. Millennium was about a psychic investigator working for a secret police cult who investigates serial killers loosely connected by an impending millennium. THE RING (american remake) has no psychic, no police, no cult, no serial killers, no millennium. MILLENNIUM has no videotape, no curse, no newspaper reporter. Both take place in Seattle, but that’s about it. Maybe you meant “I liked this movie when it was called RINGU” or “I liked this movie when it was called “RING VIRUS” or “I liked this movie when I read the book and pretended it was a movie, you know, in my head I imagined it and I had Christina Ricci as Sadako.”
Oct. 4, 2002, 3:44 p.m. CST
Glad to hear it wasn’t Goldsmith, his music usually improves
by Son Of Batboy
Like his score for The Shadow or The 13th Warrior. Excellent review Vern!! About time we heard from someone who’s seen the original. That bit about the internet is dead on. I love the perfect scan of a newspaper you always see. Just last week I saw the same thing in that John Doe show. Most of the time movies just use the internet as a souped up microfiche machine. It’s still the same cliche though. Person looking into a series of deaths, maybe they find a scrap of an old torn out newspaper. They visit the library, load up the old reel, scroll slowly across to the correct page and whamo, an old photo of the friendly neighbor next door being acquitted of an axe murder. These days its the same thing. Now they just use the BLIPS and BLOOPS. This remake sounds decent enough. Think I’ll check it out. Aside from the bootlegs theres an R2 and R4 version of the original. I’m pissed they couldn’t release a decent transfer even in those places. Put a little effort into it. Would it friggin’ kill them to add a separate clearly visible subtitle track!? What’s with this burned in shit? They press this in a garage? One thing I’ll say for American films, content might be shitty from time to time but chances are it’ll be 5.1/Anamorphic!!! We realize even crappy movies deserve to look their best.
Oct. 4, 2002, 4:26 p.m. CST
I have the original on NTSC Region 0, don’t we all?
I found this rather easy to find on Ebay. However, it does not have removeable subtitles, and the titles are hard to read because the blend in with the background fairly often. It makes me happy. So does the Pang Brothers’ THE EYE, which I also purchased domestically on Region 0 DVD on Ebay. Ebay rules.
Oct. 4, 2002, 5:13 p.m. CST
Waiting for GodPainArt…
…to come on and say that this film will turn water into wine, bring peace to the middle east, and, oh yeah, kill you seven days later.
Oct. 4, 2002, 5:23 p.m. CST
Oh, and Harry…
…if I wanted to hear some chunky manmeat say “Daddy needs some lovin’,” I’d go to the Ripcord. Where at least they pay.
Oct. 4, 2002, 5:50 p.m. CST
Can you boys just stop hitting each other with your handbags and
by Cash Bailey
Face it, that piece of shit SUPERMAN movie would have gotten made regardless of what either of you said about it. This is just a publicity dance by WB.
Oct. 5, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST
How about the realistic use of television when the little girl c
by Mister Pink
Trust me folks, this movie is a ridiculous pile of shite. I’ve seen it, it sucks.
Oct. 5, 2002, 6:35 a.m. CST
What are we seeing here?
Just another indication Harry loves taking it up the ass. Scary thought all things considered.
Oct. 5, 2002, 12:46 p.m. CST
You are such a corporate slut. You’re the cruel sellout who supposrted your friend, then completely turned on him after getting a call from JJ Abrams. You are a frelling tralk and a gigantic piece of dren.
Oct. 5, 2002, 3:43 p.m. CST
Mr. Pink, you son of a bitch
First of all, some people haven’t seen the original, you’re spoiling the biggest scare in two good movies and that makes you a big fuckin asshole. Second of all, you shouldn’t be watching horror movies if the idea of horror in a horror movie is too much for you. That was a great scene (especially in the original) and in the tradition of such classic horror imagery as the hand coming out of the tv in VIDEODROME and the tongue coming out of the phone in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. But the way they build to it is brilliant, the fact that the movie has all this dread towards imagery on a videotape and finally after all this buildup it comes right out. Finally, I would just like to say again that you are a big fuckin asshole. thanks bud, Vern p.s. what is with these fuckwads using secret star trek language (or something) to insult Harry? that’s gotta be a joke, right?
Oct. 6, 2002, 7:56 a.m. CST
I think the sequel should be called “The Ring 2: Curse of the Be
by Half Price Pears
“Reiko you dipstick, how many times have I told you to steer clear of any dodgy gear that Japanese tart Sadako is trying to shift? I tell ya, these Betamax video recorders are bleedin’ cursed. I’m never gonna shift these now you palonka!”
Oct. 7, 2002, 12:41 a.m. CST
by Mister Pink
Hey, I’m sorry. I thought everybody KNEW about the kid climbing out of the tv. What we’re not allowed to talk about endings to movies that are out on video already? How old should a movie be before I talk about the ending? Here’s some more spoilers for ya dude: Rosebud is a sled. Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. Soylent Green is people. Bruce Willis is dead. That chick in THE CRYING GAME has a dick. Old Yeller gets shot at the end.
Also, as to your comments about horror movies, I like horror that seems PLAUSIBLE, that seems as if it might actually be something that could happen. I found the premise of THE RING to be absurd and unbelievable, therefore extremely unscary.
Oct. 8, 2002, 11:27 a.m. CST
Tarsem Singh is Gore Verbinski’s bitch!
Ok, when I see the girls in schoolgirl outfits and I immediately think this is going to be another stupid teenie-bopper goth-chic bullshit horror cliche. Then the video… which has that sort of “normal is creepy” feeling to it… you know, the kind that makes you wonder if Tarsem Singh directed it (he’s the sanctimonious butthole who directed The Cell, and most of the now-cliche Nine Inch Nails “shock value” videos which can probably now be found at the bottom of the “steal-them-we-don’t-care” discount bin at the local music shop.)…
But then I realized two things. Japanese men have a penchant for uniformed schoolgirls and the remake is simply following suit with this cultural fetish… but not too much. No goth makeup, no stupid rock music, no cliche lines… the kind you’d find in that other Ehren Kruger piece of shit Scream 3. The other thing I noticed is that the imagery stopped just this side short of “look ma, a woman bound in wires with some fucked up apparatus stretching her mouth exposing her teeth” its-supposed-to-be-scary vibe.
Kudos to whomever kept the imagery restrained enough to scare the shit out of you… and not make you wonder if Tim Burton and, that third-rate hack of an arrogant nobody, Heather Donohue (a’la screaming alterna-bitch from Blair Witch Project) had a child any time in recent history who became a director. Of course the kid would be too young but that’s another issue… No need for any of you to play Continuity Troll here…
At any rate, definitely one of the creepiest films I’ve seen in a while.
Oct. 8, 2002, 11:44 a.m. CST
Does Gore Verbinski know who Gore Verbinski is?
Oh, one more thing… what the hell is up with that child?
*POSSIBLE SPOILER BELOW*
I mean, the kid is seeing all this stuff… He’s pretty articulate and he is reasonably intelligent for his age… yet the moron manages to overlook one rather critical detail about the nature of the girl and waits until the 11th hour to tell Naomi Watts about it?! Huh?!
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.