Friday, December 2, 2011

What I Saw

I realize I'm not only showing up late for the party, I'm showing up after the club has been shut down, torn down and condos built over top of the place where a party once happened.



But better late than never, right?



Um, maybe not...

In any event, I've talked about the Saw series several times before on this website. And it's an interesting beast. To be totally upfront, I've seen the first one, the second one and now the sixth one. Does this make me a Saw expert? Heavens no. But as it's one of the most successful horror franchises ever I wanted to bring up a few points about it because of my recent viewing of the sixth installment.

Firstly, why haven't I seen all of them? Well, it was a combination of broke and lazy which I like to call "brazy". The last one I saw in theatres was number 2. And what a number 2 it was. Boring, slow, and only ONE member of NKOTB. Then the rest of them rolled out over the next several Halloweens. And I couldn't really be bothered. But they kept coming and the people who loved it seemed to really love it and after doing some quick wiki searches, it seems like the makers actually tried to make an attempt to infuse the films with purpose, mystery and mythology. Maybe it wasn't always successful but hey, I haven't done any better.

One thing that jumped out to me while watching Saw VI was how good Tobin Bell is. The dialogue isn't great but it's fine. It become blatantly obvious how silly the dialogue can be when it's in the hands of less skilled actors but Bell makes it work. In VI you see his character as a man coming to terms with cancer and those scenes are down right impressive from his end.

As I seriously doubt that this franchise was supposed to run for as long as it did the filmmakers were placed in an interesting trap of their own, they were forced to create a mythology as they went. The characters whom the traps were inflicted on were never the real story, they were a means to an end to tell Jigsaw's story. Now, when you're character dies mid-way through the series, all the filmmakers can do is tell his story, through FLASHBACK! Now I tend to think of flashbacks (like voice overs) as a pretty lazy way to tell stories unless they are integral to the story (i.e. The Usual Suspects). Saw could have moved on to other story arcs but I guess the promise of the Jigsaw returning in new ways was too enticing. We're also now running into the problem of making the villain the hero of the franchise. Which again, is not the worst thing to ever happen to filmmaking, the producers etc just painted themselves into a corner.

What surprised me most, however, is that I didn't hate it. At all. Some of the traps had me hiding my eyes and were really visceral. There are some good actors in the series, and it's nice to see so many Canadian actors employed. Saw VI actually made me curious about the rest of the series more than I was before. Which is more than  I can say for the likes of Jason Takes Manhattan. At least Saw takes itself seriously, even if we don't.

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