Review by Michael Jacobson
Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani
Director: Hideo Nakata
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: Bonus Trailers
Length: 96 Minutes
Release Date: March 4, 2003
is going to be a very different kind of review for us at DMC…my primary
purpose in writing it is to compare the original to the remake.
Since a lot of people have discovered The Ring, many have
expressed curiosity about the original Japanese film it was based on, Ringu.
Storywise, they are extremely similar, so if you’re wondering about
the plot of Ringu, you can check out our review of The Ring.
As they say in the business, only the names have changed.
those of you who haven’t seen either The Ring or Ringu, skip the
remainder of this review, because there’s no way to avoid spoilers when
comparing and contrasting. This
piece is primarily for those who HAVE seen The Ring and want to know if
it’s worth seeking out Ringu.
starters, a major difference is the absence of “the ring” in Ringu!
For me, one of the best parts of The Ring was the revelation
of what it finally was. It doesn’t happen in the Japanese version.
mentioned, the two films cover the same story with mostly only cosmetic
differences. One interesting aspect
of the Japanese version is that the ex-husband is more the go-getter and the
brains behind the investigative outfit. That
may be owing more to Japanese culture…it’s probably more “American” to
have a strong, formidable female lead. As
for the kid, he’s not nearly as important in the original version, except that
he, too, watches the dread video. Gone
is the shocking final punch of The Ring:
“You didn’t help her out, did you?”
of the video, there are plenty of similarities there, too.
Gore Verbinski re-created a lot of the original footage for The Ring, but
added more to it. The flaming tree,
the barn loft with the ladder, and the drowning horses were his additions to the
story (Ringu has a similar shot of the horse’s eye, but no back story
for it). Overall, Verbinski’s
imagery was just far creepier.
aspect Ringu has in its favor is a more cohesive back story for the girl.
This marks the only major narrative difference between the two films.
In Ringu, she was the daughter of a psychic, but had far greater
mental powers including the ability to kill with her mind (like a scanner, I
suppose). A vague suggestion that
her father wasn’t human is the only other clue to her strange power.
There are no psychiatric sessions here.
Baker’s makeup in The Ring is a definite plus. The white pancake powder dusting used in Ringu just
doesn’t shock the same way. It
was especially a terrific exclamation point to the opening sequence of The
Ring. Ringu is similar, but
missing a lot of the impact. Comparing
just these sequences offers plenty of revelation:
Verbinski proves himself the better director by his ability to toy with
us; we expect it, we expect it, we expect it, and then we get it when we’re
not so sure it’s coming.
Ringu may gel a little better, but it’s not as scary, nor will it stay
with you as long.
is a solid anamorphic offering from Dreamworks, but again, comparison is
merited. The Ring had a very
distinctive look with its rainy day feel and cool color schemes.
Ringu misses that. As
such, it still works, but the cinematography doesn’t support the narrative as
much. Colors are well rendered, with images that are medium to
strong in sharpness, but no bleeding or compression evident.
5.1 remix is a commendable effort, but Ringu just doesn’t have the same
command of atmospheric sound as its American counterpart.
The rear stage opens from time to time, but it sometimes seems more
forced than natural. Dialogue seems
well rendered (though that’s not so important unless you speak Japanese), and
the overall mix is serviceable, but not as intense or expressive.
disc contains a few trailers, including The Ring, Catch Me if You Can and