Friday, October 17, 2008

When Output Exceeds Input, or, I could've made this stuff better myself.

It's been quite the week for visual input. Although whether or not it was ~good~ input, that remains open to debate for those that rank such things. Like whether someone "won" a debate. I think if you don't die on stage - literally, not figuratively- you pretty much win. Then again, to say that is to assume death is losing... there's a lot of work to be done in ridding the mind of all these dichotomies!
Tangent in sentence and a half. That, I think, is a new record.
Visual input. Right. Yes. SO... many moons ago Bob and I endured a crowded movie theater full of teenagers who joined us in watching the live-action Death Note movie, complete with dubbing. It was... interesting. I did enjoy seeing someone else's take on the story, but as usual there were a few things in Japanese that didn't translate well in to English. Cultural things, mostly. My one bone to pick was the fact that the story involved so much of the written Japanese language but had so few times where it was actually translated for the American audience. Then again, the entire premise is based on writing names down and words in general, so going in to it really I had no right to be surprised. My handle on kana and kanji is shaky at best. I can do days of the week, months, age, people, and a few other things. So sitting there staring at wanted posters on the screen irked me. I knew some small details were probably couched in those shots that we were going to miss.
Because we are both sticklers for completion of a series, even if it proves itself to be boggling in its execution (a la Frank Herbert's Dune. What. The. Hell. We have that play already. It's called Hamlet.) we were both excited to hear that they were bringing out the second half of the movie in a special Fathom event. Death Note II: the Last Name is the entire story from the time Misa gets the notebook to the time everybody carks it... at least in the live action movie. It already became obvious they were taking liberties with the story line from the first one, so I was interested to see what they would do this time.
Well, for the most part it remains somewhat serialized and cheesy. The special affects were obviously special. For some reason they introduced the shinigami (which my spell check is trying to tell me should be "bigamasts, lawl) as actual interact-able characters with the WHOLE cast. To my knowledge that doesn't really happen anywhere else.Also, Rem was constructed oddly and had an obviously male voice. It really threw me, as it didn't "feel" right for the animation. And it made me wonder if they did something similar with the Japanese voice.
My one major huge gripe... the movie is advertised as "the last name" The entire time it is about getting Ryouzaki's last freepin' name. When they wrote names down in Ryuuk's book, they showed the name.
Guess what? When Ryouzaki held up the death note at the end of the movie... 1.5 second shot of his actual written name, in Kanji and kana. No translation. NO TRANSLATION.
I had to go out and GOOGLE it. And after that, it turned out I already knew it. So there was frustration, and then it turned out I got frustrated for no reason.
But we saw it, it's done, and Japan needs to work on its uncanny valley. I probably won't watch it again, even if I see it's on cable late one evening.
Now, the other film... this one's a cult classic. I finally set my eyes upon the Big Lebowski.
Two hours of my life I will never recover. The only redeeming thing about it was that I now have a general understanding of what people might like about it. I will also get the references and be able to point it out as one of the Coen brothers' earlier works at a cocktail party I'll never be invited to. But as reconnaissance, it was actually worth it.
I'll just never, never watch it again. ^_^
As an aside, the theater where we went to see the Death Note movie had tickets for a midnight showing of Saw V.... hell yes, we were all over that like white on rice. I look forward to it.

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