Ringu 0 Reviews
I'm not surprised Sadako's so pissed off.
If you don't know the premise of the Ring films, it is about a curse in which the a disturbing video tape causes its viewer to die a week later. This film is set 30 years before the events of Ringu, with the origin of the creator of the curse. Sadako, the antagonist of the first film, is now an innocent and beautiful 19 year-old member of a theater troupe. We get to see her before she became the evil entity we know and love, with her role of a simple girl who loves acting and is falling in love with another member of the troupe. It's interesting to see...for about 10 minutes. Unfortunately this is the first hour of the movie. Stringed throughout are mentions of tapes with odd sounds, the whole troupe being cursed, and the existence of a second Sadako, but none of these elements have enough done with them to have them either make sense or be scary; would have been nice to have one of the two.
The film does pick up in the last half-hour with the part of the story anyone who has seen Ringu already knows. However, while it is good, it's really not in any way necessary, since anyone watching it probably already knows the events that inevitably unfold. While it is interesting to see it from Sadako's point of view, making the story more tragic than it already was, it's still not needed. Unnecessary prequels can work, like in the case of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, if they are entertaining enough, and bring enough new material to the table. Ring 0 fails on this account in that the only new material brought forth isn't very interesting.
I think a better approach to this concept would have been exploring the entirety of Sadako's life, rather than this small chunk, or extending it into how the curse was developed. What we get instead isn't horrible, but it is very disappointing. I like the idea of Sadako's origin story, but the execution misses the mark. It gets points for trying, and for providing a good final 30 minutes, but overall it's not a necessary view.
It's just too bad not a lot of people watched this after hating the second.
The sequel/prequel that's meant to sketch in Sadako's life pre-well is just a ton of wankery to me. I just couldn't care about anything in the film, as I know that no matter what they show me, it still ends with (SPOILERS) her being thrown into a well to become an evil force that kills via a video-tape in the films we've already seen. Plus the idea of ret-conning her as a helpless young girl who is eventually twisted into the villain we know just further complicating something that doesn't NEED it.
Pass, unless you're a completist.
It really makes you sympathize, and in my case, grow to love Sadako's character. If this was Nakata-sama's goal, than he has definitely achieved a great success.
I would most certainly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good plot.
This entry tells the story how Sadako became the vengeful spirit she was in the previous films. Right away the film has definite different look compared to the other entries. Those films go for a sharp, polished look where the filmmakers here decide to go for a grainy, washed out look with some dirty close-ups. I believe this is the way filmmakers tried to make the fill look older compared to Ringu as it takes place 30 some odd years before those events. In any case I like the new look as it gave the franchise something different to look at. The film has our vengeful ghost Sadako pre-death, looking cute as a button and attending some theater college. She of course is very odd and quiet and the other students don't take too kindly to her. One day the lead actress of the play dies suddenly so the director picks Sadako to take her place. A nosy reporter does some investigating and discovers that Sadako has some special ESP powers and her, along with the theater crowd, decide to kill Sadako. Since you've already seen Ringu and Ringu 2 (and god forbid Rasen), then you already know how this film is going to end.
The whole film I got flashes of Carrie going through my head. You have the girl that doesn't fit in, a young boy that falls in love with her despite her awkwardness, and a vengeful psychotic parent. Substitute the prom for a play on opening night and you have the Japanese version of Carrie. Most of the film takes place in a darkly lit theater house so don't expect many interesting locations. The cast for the most part, especially Yukie Nakama as Sadako, are very good and keep that rather humdrum predicable story from becoming boring. Though there is one plot element that tends to bug me. It seems all these Ringu sequels have to have a least one plot element that becomes a thorn in my side. Towards the end of the film they talk about how Sadako has an alter ego that physically splits from her and they become two entities. I found that plot element ridiculous and the story would have benefited better without it. But then again it seems the writers of these films always have to throw in at least one ridiculous story element as if they were trying to drive me mad on purpose!
Fans of the franchise might be disappointed as this really isn't a ghost story and we only see Sadako in her vengeful state for a short period of time at the climax of the film. The plot again is derivative of Carrie and it is extremely predicable, mostly because we know what the outcome is going to be thanks to this being a prequel. Despite this the cast give the film their all filling it with good performances and director Norio Tsuruta does his best to keep the film moving trying to make-up for the derivative plot. Overall I didn't dislike the film and it kept my attention but this film will only be of interest to die hard fanatics of the franchise.
Bonus Rant: I do not understand the subtitle "Birthday." I don't recall anywhere in the film mentioning that it takes place on or around Sadako's birthday. Could the term "Brithday" refer to the birth of the curse? That doesn't really make sense either as characters are already talking about being cursed before Sadako is even murdered. Perhaps this is why Dreamworks Entertainment removed the subtitle from any of the DVD box artwork because most people, me included, wouldn't understand what it meant.