Friday, April 22, 2005

The Ring 2 "Samara"

THE RING 2 : Better & More Original
By Reymundo Salao
Just Another Film Junkie

What I loved about "Samara: The Ring 2" is that it does not allow itself to be reliant anymore to visual eye candy in order to generate a haunting horrific atmosphere. It clearly can create an eerie feeling with just its storyline. It also does not rely on the used concept of "the video tape that kills" and creates a more original source of terror, reminiscent of "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "The Omen". "The Ring 2" is way better than the first (US) movie.

Being a fanatic of the original Japanese horror film "Ring" (or "Ringu"), it took me a while (like more than a year) to fully accept and swallow the existence of the American adaptation of this timeless horror classic. The US version entitled "The Ring" which was directed by Gore Verbinski, and starred Naomi Watts and David Dorfman, was a gigantic success in the US, but what it really was, was just a sad replication of the Japanese original, a bad adaptation even, seemingly attempting to claim the credits of the story's concept (because I felt that the filmmakers and producers lacked in giving regard to the film being an adaptation of the film by Hideo Nakata and the novel written by Koji Suzuki) It is as if they stole something from the Japanese and pretend to own that thing which they stole. But when I found out that they were going to hire the director of the original "Ringu" Hideo Nakata to direct the sequel entitled "Samara: Ring 2", I immediately had high hopes for it sequel.

In my research, I stumbled across interviews of how producer Walter F. Parkes, director Hideo Nakata and actress Naomi Watts tell the synopsis of the movie from their own point of view. Nakata offers, "'The Ring' ends with Rachel making a copy of the videotape to keep her son safe. But that means that she has spread Samara's curse out in the world, so the curse does not end with the first movie. Now it's two years later and Rachel has taken her son and moved to the small, pretty town of Astoria in Oregon. It looks peaceful-very quiet, very calm-but of course, it's not peaceful." Naomi Watts comments, "Clearly Seattle was not the right place for Rachel anymore, so she's moved to a place that feels more remote. She's obviously changed on every level, living with this secret and this enormous guilt. What has she done? How much destruction has she caused? So she's become a very isolated person and also incredibly protective. When it all started, it was easy for people to say she was not the best mother. She was a little self-obsessed and career oriented, but now it's about holding onto her child. The irony of the whole thing is that this bad mother has turned into the kind of mother Samara is in desperate need of."

"In fact, she is overprotective when we first see her with Aidan in this film," adds Parkes. "She knows she is responsible for the evil thing she let out there, and the movie starts with it coming back to her in a terrible way. This time, as opposed to running away from it or pushing it onto someone else, she has to face the horror of Samara head-on herself." Watts agrees, "Of course she knows she is the only one who can handle it, because she knows what has erupted and how it has erupted in a way no one else would understand. She's been going through a private hell, and it's all about to unravel."

"Naomi's performance in this movie is very rich in emotions," Nakata says. "As the heroine, throughout the movie, she needed to express fear and anxiety and at the same time be strong to face this evil character, and I think she did it perfectly. She was extremely focused and was very good at expressing the realistic emotions of a mother who has to face very unreal things to protect her son."

Indeed, Watts' acting in this film is more diverse. In the first movie, her character is monotonously under constant fear and paranoia. But on this sequel, she is stronger, trying hard to fight back the evil trying to consume her child. But the real superstar on this film is David Dorfman who plays Aidan, Rachel's (Naomi Watts) son, which is a role that is indeed perfect for him. He may seem like a creepy kid, kind of like how I would personally imagine John Malkovitch as a child, he's got these expressive eyes that enable him to act in heavy degree of emotions with the slightest effort. I could even say he could outdo that kid from "Sixth Sense" and would have done a more perfect job for that role.

This sequel is obviously not a repeat of the first film. There is a primary difference between the two films. According to the producers "The first 'Ring' was told in images. The tape was not only the scary thing that threatened to kill you, but also held the visual clues for Rachel to unravel the mystery. It gave us a very obvious map and you literally followed those images through the movie. The story here is more grounded in emotion and has deeper character issues. I think it feels connected to the first, but expands on those aspects." The storyline of the "The Ring 2" is more original, apart from the first movie, and apart from the Japanese Ringu movies as well. One issue and underlying theme about Ring 2 is how the protagonist Rachel would stand her ground as a mother. In the storyline, she has to be as protective and as loving as any mother should instinctively do, she also has to explore the issues why Samara has become what she is: a dark vengeful phantom of death, and discover that it also has something to do with Samara's relationship with her mother. If I could just let myself be a bit more bizarre, I would say that this movie is kind of a well-fit, twisted "Mother's Day Special" movie.

In the long run, I was glad that there is a twist in the saga of the Ring. Something refreshing and original, "Ring 2" gives satisfaction to those who hated the first American-version "The Ring" movie. "The Ring 2" is a film worth watching especially for the fans of the original "Ringu"

The screening schedule of THE RING 2 at Robinson's Movieworld is 11:15 AM, 1:15 PM, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 PM

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