What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: Friday the 13th (dir. by Marcus Nispel)

Last night, Jeff and I watched the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th.

Why Was I Watching It?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been reviewing the 12 films that make up the Friday the 13th franchise.  This is the last installment so far and, appropriately enough, I’m reviewing it on Friday the 13th.  (No, that’s not just a coincidence.)

What’s It About?

It’s a reboot!  That’s right — forget about every other Friday the 13th film because, apparently, they never happened.  Instead of trying to figure out some new gimmick to try to get audiences to watch Jason Voorhees kill yet more teenagers, producer Michael Bay and director Marcus Nisepl have simply gone back to the beginning and started all over again.  (I think I saw something similar in an episode of Futurama once.)

Basically, this is the first four films all rolled into one.  The film starts with a young Jason Voorhees watching as his murderous mother (Nana Visitor) gets beheaded by a camp counselor.  30 years later, Jason (now played by Derek Mears) is living in the woods around Camp Crystal Lake.  A bunch of obnoxious campers come up to the Lake because they’re looking for a marijuana crop and Jason, being the culture warrior that he is, responds by killing all of them except for Whitney (played by Amanda Righetti), who he just kidnaps.

A month later, Whitney’s brother Clay (Jared Padalecki) arrives at Crystal Lake to search for his sister.  Upon arriving, he runs into yet another group of obnoxious campers who have decided to take a vacation up at Crystal Lake.   Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) agrees to help Clay look for Whitney and while the two of them are off searching, Jason shows up and starts killing everyone else. 

What Worked?

One reason that I’m using the What Lisa Watched Last Night format to review this film is because, to a large extent, it’s pointless to get all nitpicky while reviewing a film like the reboot of Friday the 13th.  This is not a film you watch because you’re looking to see something that’s going to redefine cinema.  This is a film you watch so that you can scream, laugh, and grab your boyfriend.  And, on all those fronts, Friday the 13th succeeds well enough.  Director Marcus Nispel obviously understands the slasher genre and he provides everything that we’ve come to expect from a film like this.

Also, I have to admit, I always scream at the end of the film even though I know what’s going to happen.

The victims are all very disposable and forgettable but Aaron Yoo is funny as the token stoner.

What Did Not Work?

With this film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Conan The Barbarian, Nispel shows that while he may understand how to make a genre film, he also doesn’t seem to be capable of adding anything new to them.  This isn’t a problem if you’re just looking to be entertained but, for true fans of the original films that have been rebooted by Nispel and producer Michael Bay, it’s hard not to wonder just why exactly these franchises needed a reboot as opposed to a sequel.  Watching a film like Friday the 13th reboot, it’s hard not to feel as if the filmmakers simply gave up trying to bring anything new to the equation and instead rather cynically decided to just capitalize on the earlier work of filmmakers who, as opposed to Nispel and Bay, aren’t in the current mainstream of the Hollywood establishment.

The main difference between a reboot like Friday the 13th and the original films in the franchise is that the reboot cost a lot more to make.  It’s a lot slicker (and therefore, you never really buy into the reality of the horror) and, with a few exceptions like Aaron Yoo, it’s full of bland actors who are recognizable from TV and who seem to be going out of their way to “act like characters in a slasher film” as opposed to at least trying to give actual performances.  It almost feels as if Nispel, Bay, and the cast are specifically going out of their way to wink at us and tell us, “We’re so much better than the movie that you just paid money to see.”  It feels incredibly condescending.

The film’s attempt to shoehorn the original first four films of the franchise into one 97 minute movie results in a film that often feels rather rushed.

“OMG!  Just Like Me!” Moments

Oh, a lot.  I would be so dead if I ever wandered into a slasher film.

Lessons Learned

From rewatching the entire Friday the 13th franchise, I learned several lessons: Don’t have premarital sex (or probably not even marital sex for that matter, Jason has got some issues), don’t drink beer, don’t smoke weed, don’t snort cocaine, don’t skinny dip, don’t go commando, don’t go in the wood, don’t go camping, don’t walking into a dark room, don’t say, “Is there anyone here?,” don’t shower, don’t sleep in abandoned cabins, don’t help out strangers, don’t hitchhike, don’t flirt, and … well, don’t do anything and you should be just fine. 

However, what fun would that be?

Well, this concludes my series on the Friday the 13th franchise.  I’ll be posting a few final thoughts on the franchise as a whole later tonight or on Sunday but for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these reviews as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.  Stay supple and don’t go wandering around in the dark.  Happy Friday the 13th!

Supernatural: The Anime Series to be Released on DVD/Blu-Ray

Ever since it was announced in around Fall of 2010 that an anime series was going to be made based on the first two seasons of the popular CW drama series, Supernatural, I knew I had to get the DVD and/or Blu-Ray release of this series.

Like most Japanese anime series they rarely got shown in the US unless it was part of a video set. It’s rare to find newly shown episodes in Japan shown in the US at the same time. Lately, a new practice of streaming new episodes on-line through official anime streaming sites has given American anime fans the same access to new episodes as their Japanese counterparts. A fine example of this recent practice was the simultaneous airing of each new episode for the horror-ecchi series, Highschool of the Dead. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for the Supernatural anime series.

So, it was a relief to read the news release earlier this week about the anime series being released in the US through DVD and Blu-Ray sets of Supernatural the Animation season 1.

The DVD and Blu-Ray Season 1 sets will be released by Warner Home Video on July 26, 2011.

If there was ever a series that belongs to be redone in anime fashion it was, and is, Eric Kripke’s Supernatural. As I joked with people about this news once it was confirmed, the Supernatural slashfic community will now have to deal with an equally rabid yaoi community which has already sprouted since Supernatural the Animation premiered on Japanese TV earlier this year.

One thing that should please both subbed and dubbed warring camps is that the DVD and Blu-Ray release should have both original Japanese voice cast (which includes the very Japanese voice actors who dub the Dean and Sam Winchester characters in the live-action showing of the series in Japan) and the stars of the series itself, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki dubbing the anime series in English (though it would seem Padelecki will be voicing all 22-episodes while Ackles only select episodes).

People I know who have seen the series while it aired in Japan have spoken nothing but positive things about the first season. So, far the announcement hasn’t been followed up with the items being put up for pre-orders on Amazon.com or any of the online video retailers. I’m sure that will change once more details about the DVD and Blu-Ray release come down in the coming weeks.

Source: Anime News Network

Supernatural the Animation – Preview Trailer

A couple weeks back I posted an article about Warner Home Video and Madhouse (anime studio) collaborating to adapt the very popular CW supernatural series Supernatural into anime. The series will comprise of 22-episodes and has a tentative release date in Japan around January 2011. More news has since come down the pipeline that the 22-episode season will see a DVD release with English-subtitles a couple months later.

From the preview trailer which has come out since it looks like the anime keeps the core theme of the show with the two Winchester Brothers fighting not just through demons, monsters-of-the-week and other supernatural problems, but also their own familial issues. The animation by Madhouse should appeal to non-anime fans since it skews more towards a realistic style instead of the hyper-kinetic wide-eyed animation style many non-fans think all anime looks like. I like to compare the animation to this series to a classic supernatural action anime which came out during the early 1990’s, Ninja Scroll.

The use of deep blacks to shade the character animations and give some definition to their faces gives the whole animation style quite the fleshy, rounded look instead of the angular, almost mechanical style of current anime. The incorporation of typical anime-style monsters was a nice touch. That was definitely tentacles coming out of that monster/demon. Though I must say that I’d be surprised if this series used said tentacles in other ways other than to be an instrument of destruction and bloodletting. I don’t think Supernatural the Animation will have much hentai qualities in it.

Anime horror usually don’t come out as often and when they do they’re usually of the hentai variety. If the folks at Madhouse even do half a good job in adapting the original tv series then this is one anime series I will have on my must-see list.

….And yes, that is a Japanese band cover of Kansas’ classic rock song, “Carry On Wayward Son, which has become the tv series’ unofficial theme song.

Supernatural the Animation

CW Network’s very popular tv series Supernatural looks to expand into a new media as Warner Home Video plans to release a 22-episode anime adaptation of the tv series. The series will come out in Japan this January of 2011 with acclaimed anime studio Madhouse doing the animation. The series’ first season will encompass the breadth of the original series’ first two season, but will have room for new content which explore and expand of the two Winchester Brothers’ early childhood as Hunters. Some secondary characters from the original show will also get a much more expanded role within the anime series.

I, for one, was quite excited when I first learned of this development. The original show has been a favorite of mine since it first debuted in the Fall of 2005. While for some the idea of an American TV series getting an anime adaptation might seem farfetched, but I think Supernatural‘s aesthetics lends itself well to the hyper-realistic conventions of anime. Madhouse has already shown it could do straight up horror with its very popular zombie anime series Gakuen Mokushiroku (Highschool of the Dead), so creating a series out of a show based on the supernatural and monsters and demons wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the studio.

The Winchester Brothers in the anime will be voiced by the two same actors who dub the original series for airing in Japan: Yuya Uchida and Hiroki Touchi. There’s no word on whether the series will get an American dub version when the dvd/Blu-Ray comes out in the US so fans hoping to hear Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles voicing their anime counterparts may have to temper their hopes.

Time will tell if this anime adaptation will catch on in the US, but with Supernatural having such a huge and vocal fan-base there’s a chance it may just and allow a second season to be made.