Quint takes a stab at the new FRIDAY THE 13TH! Plus a look at the INGLORIOUS BASTERDS trailer!
Published at: Feb. 10, 2009, 7:29 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Like many of the reviewers about to start writing about this movie I grew up on Jason movies. I vividly remember going over to a friend’s house for sleepovers as a child. It was always about Jason here, a group of us gathered together and watching it on TBS or whatever station would play them. Even edited it’d do the trick. Implied gore is all you need as a kid.
And I didn’t grow up in a household where horror was verboten. R-rated movies were okay for me to see starting around age 6 or 7… all except for a tape that had both Aliens and The Fly, recorded off of HBO, on it. I don’t know why those two in particular were hidden away, but no matter.
I was always a Freddy kid, but the Jason movies hold a very special place in my heart. Even the shitty ones from the ‘80s (I’m looking at you Part V: A New Beginning). The only one I don’t fully enjoy is Jason Goes To Hell, which I think had a great premise… Bounty hunter chasing down Jason… the FBI trying to capture him after all the murders… Good stuff, but the whole body jumping thing just pissed me off. I wanted to see Jason, not random heart-eating people walking around like Frankenstein with their eyes open real wide.
While I hope I don’t sound like a broken record it’s worth reiterating something I’ve mentioned once or twice in remake articles, specifically about this movie. I’m concerned about Brad Fuller and Andrew Form’s Platinum Dunes attempts at remaking things like ROSEMARY’S BABY (which I think has been dropped) and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Those are movies that I don’t see them topping, products of their time that can’t be copied with success or re-tooled to be made better, only more current.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, on the other hand, I have no trouble seeing “re-imagined.” I guess since the driving force behind that series has always been fun kills, jump scares and ample nudity that I can see a new, modernized Jason movie work just as well as in the good old ‘80s, especially since it defined the genre for so long that it’s almost it’s own sub-genre of slasher film. There’s regular slashers like MY BLOODY VALENTINE and SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE and then there’s Jason movies.
First off, the screening was digital, so I thought I’d be fucked out of getting any of the badass trailers supposedly attached to the movie this weekend, like the new TRANSFORMERS 2 trailer. But I was wrong… a green band popped up, without a rating so I knew it must be an early trailer, and then I saw a line up of men being called to attention by Eli Roth…
I was absolutely psyched. I know nothing about INGLORIOUS BASTERDS outside of some pictures I’ve seen online of Brad Pitt. Like everybody else in the world I have access to the script, but I decided not to read it and experience this movie for the first time in the theater. I read KILL BILL before seeing it and it took a couple viewings to shake the movie I already had in my head and accept the actual films for what they were.
I have to say… I was underwhelmed by the trailer. I’m not going to knock the whole movie, but the look of the film disappoints me. It’s very possible there’s still a lot of color timing to be done, but it looked like every other WW2 movie… drained of color, giving it a kind of colorized black and white look. And more than that the cinematography looked flat.
The action and performances looked stellar. The whole trailer is built up around a long speech given by Brad Pitt, informing his group what their task is (to kill Nazis in the most brutal ways possible... the goal to make the Nazis fear them as much as the rest of the world fears the Third Reich) and how they will go about that task. There are flashes of action against this speech and it all culminates in a shot of a pissed off Hitler (notice there’s hardly ever a calm Hitler) screaming “Nein! Nein! Nein!” while pounding a table and then Pitt telling his group that every man is expected to deliver no less than 100 Nazi scalps.
The structure of the trailer was great, Pitt was chewing scenery, but not going so far over the top that he was ridiculous. The tone looked crazy and fun, I just worry that Tarantino had to skimp on his usually outstanding visual style in order to knock this movie out as quickly as possible.
I think the trailer is premiering on Entertainment Tonight this very evening (Tuesday), so give it a watch and let me know if I’m crazy or not.
Then FRIDAY THE 13TH starts with the familiar Jason ki-ki-ki ma-ma-ma theme over the Platinum Dunes logo and boom… we’re in… 1980?
Yep. Over the opening credits we get a re-imagining of the end of the first movie with Mrs. Voorhees attacking a poor counselor, ending with… you guessed it, decapitation. After the terrified girl runs away, we see the legs of a child cross the frame as young Jason picks up his dead mother’s locket and the huge mother-fuckin’ machete (henceforth known as HMFM) that was used to kill his mother.
Now we’re into present day as a group of naughty twenty-somethings-as-teenagers are camping/geo-caching for pot fields, which apparently are found on the grounds of the now abandoned Camp Crystal Lake.
Something you’ll learn really quickly about this new Jason: He loves his weed garden and will shove a 5 foot machete (HMFM) up your asshole if you try to take any of it. I thought the weed stuff was going to just be for the opening, these guys trying to find this crop and that’s what kicks things off. But I was very wrong. There’s a character we meet almost halfway through that found it (off screen) and tries to sell some of this weed to Jared Padalecki who is looking for his missing sister (Amanda Righetti, who was with the group of weed-hunting horny campers).
Once the dude is alone guess who comes to reclaim his stash? That’s right. Jason Voorhees. You don’t fuck with Jason’s weed.
Director Marcus Nispel once again brings great cinematographer Daniel Pearl along, making this perhaps the best looking FRIDAY film since… Part 2 looked pretty good, but IV: The Final Chapter is still one of my favorites… Anyway, it’s a good looking film, but Nispel dropped the ball a bit on piecing the film together. Of course, there could be reasons for this… maybe with the producers saying the DVD will have 15 minutes cut from the theatrical release they kind of butchered what comes out on Friday.
There seemed to be scenes that just happen with little or no connecting tissue outside of an obviously ADR’d line from Padalecki “Hey, I saw him go this way…” and suddenly he’s back at Camp Crystal Lake after an excursion to a rich prick’s dope and fuck party at his daddy’s lodge. Why they’d be following Jason at this point when the last scene they were trying to run from him I have no idea, but that’s not the only example of that in this movie.
But who am I kidding. This is a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie. You want tits (check), ass (check), gore (check), inventive kills (check), more tits (check), holy shit, even more tits! (check, check, check) And these have blood on ‘em! (check) and Jason being a badass (check).
So, it meets the criteria of a good Jason flick and can easily be called the best the series has seen since… Jason vs. Carrie? Yeah, Part 7. Although I love 8, but probably not for the right reasons.
My main gripes are the lousy attempts at continuity between scenes, Steve Jablonsky’s all over the place score that only uses Harry Manfredini’s iconic and perfect original theme at a few strategic points and… probably the thing that bugged me the most is the reveal of the mask. Much like a lot of the scenes in the movie it just happens. “Oh, hey. Glad there’s a hockey mask up here… I think I’ll use it!” Big missed opportunity to reintroduce the icon.
But that’s honestly all nit-picky stuff. As I mentioned earlier they got a lot right. MVP of the movie is Derek Mears, the new Jason. He gives Jason a pit-bullish vicious energy that feels right for Jason, but also unlike anything his previous performers have given us. He’s also a good actor to boot… wait until you see how much he get across with just body language and one eyeball.
Runner up would be Aaron Yoo, who brings the best comic relief of the series behind Crispin Glover’s epic turn in The Final Chapter (“Where’s the damn corkscrew?!?”) and perhaps the entire second half of JASON TAKES MANHATTAN… or at least the part where the boxer dude get his head upper-cutted off by Jason and it lands in a trashcan.
Yoo’s chemistry with the other non-caucasian hot off TV actor, Arlen Escarpeta, was good enough that I actually cared when Jason turned his gaze toward them. I wanted them to stick around a little longer… which, you know… helps suspense work.
Third runner up is a two-way tie. I couldn’t decide which I preferred, so I’m nominating both Julianna Guill’s “superb” breasts. Congratulations, girls!
So, end of the day it’s a fun Jason flick and one that pays enough homage to not warrant pitchforks and torches. They essentially cram the first 3 movies into one, but it works for the purposes of this story. I hope they continue to put out Jason movies… I’m getting tired of the SAW movies dominating Halloween. I’d love it if we got a new hack n’ slash action Jason movie every year, something that’s allowed to be stupid, exploitationy and fun… but hopefully the next couple of outings will be allowed to breathe a bit and make a little more sense.
And for God’s sake… give us a real honest to God score, not electronic stingers and the newest hip-hop hit. My vote is for John Ottman. I know it’s the obvious choice, but his Carpenter re-orchestration for H20 is outstanding. I’d love to see him play around with Manfredini’s work. Just a thought…