Wednesday, March 15, 2006

mean girls in kimono

I bought a pirate DVD copy of Rob Marshall's screen version of Memoirs of a Geisha last January 2006 in Bali for 10,000 rupiahs or approximately 50 pesos. Due to heavy workload, frequent night prowls with Mr. Steady Lang, and the quick turn of events in the political scene i was not able to watch the DVD until last week.

So on friday night i bought me two mc chicken sandwiches and a big bottle of pop cola and loaded the copy of Memoirs of a Geisha in my player. Thirty minutes into the film, i was suddenly reminded of that Lindsey Lohan monster hit in 2004, Mean Girls. Memoirs was a waste of a good material. Yes, it was visually stunning; the Geisha dance left me breathless. However, much of the film focused on the cat fights between Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) and Hatsumomo (Gong Li).

Rob Marshall was not able to recreate into the big screen the magical and mysterious world of the geishas. I don't know if this is the right term but Marshall 'americanized' the film. Although I did not live in the depression-era Japan I am sure that the Japanese during that period did not talk or bahave that way. The cat fights were outrageous. Where was the subtlety and discretion?

Although Gong Li's performance was enchanting her character in the movie was reduced to a bumbling, jealous old fart. In Arthur Golden's book, Hatsumomo is a more savvy and formidable opponent. Zhang and Michelle Yeoh's talents were completely wasted in this film. I wonder why Zhang was even nominated? Dancing in a 12-inch platform shoes dressed in tight-fit kimono perhaps merit a nomination. If that is the case then the Academy should have given the Oscar for Best Actress to Charlize Theron for her ridiculous look in Aeon Flux (hey i liked the cartoon but the movie was beyond awful)!

If you're seriously into the culture of geishas then ignore the movie and grab a copy of Golden's book. However, if you like exotic chinky-eyed girls pawing at each other then go watch Marshall's Memoirs. Good luck. Happy purring.

12 comments:

Sidney said...

Books are mostly superior to the movie interpretation(s).

Yowee said...

I agree with Sidney. With a few exceptions like Fight Club,Trainspotting and LOTR. I was so looking forward to Memoirs that even if my friends are throwing pirated dvds at me, i waited until it was shown in the cinema. But since i didn't have much time going to the movies these days (the last one being Narnia) so i popped the pirated dvd into the player. First 30 minutes of the movie, i fell asleep. I just love the book so much that I'd rather preserve the visuals I created in my head than let Rob Marshall destroy it for me. I'd probably be happier if it was directed by an obscure Japanese director with obscure Japanese casts. Up until now, haven't had the heart to finish the movie.

gari said...

i agree too that books are more superior and i even read that's the same reason why Paulo Coehlo does not want his books to be adapted at screen because he wanted the reader to make a movie out of the books in their minds.

anyway, i love cat fights. :-D

Homer said...

here's how i would've made the film...

id like Uma Thurman and Sharon Stone to jump out of nowhere and kill every chinky-eyed person in there. Then, when the cast is dead, id like them to wear those kimonos and dance to...

uhm...

COPACOBANA!

(this is my way of telling everyone how much the film sucked)

Abaniko said...

I saw the film, dozed off for a while and left without finishing it. Ugh!

Sedricke said...

actually, i prefer the movie over the book. i hated the writing style of the latter so much, actually, that i never noticed the story. so it goes that i didnt care for the story when i saw the movie and instead adored its wonderful pictures and music.

adi said...

I wonder why Zhang was even nominated? Dancing in a 12-inch platform shoes dressed in tight-fit kimono perhaps merit a nomination. If that is the case then the Academy should have given the Oscar for Best Actress to Charlize Theron for her ridiculous look in Aeon Flux (hey i liked the cartoon but the movie was beyond awful)!

wahehehe.

you have to forgive the director. after all, he's responsible for Pretty Woman also, di ba? (although it was a huge success, i thought Richard Gere wasn't great there. loved the story, though).

i also thought (initially) that casting non-Japanese people to play such was a huge mistake. hindi naman pala.

and the fact na hindi gaanong kagaganda ang mga kimonos na ini-employ (you have forgive the stylist in me)... disappointing nang kaunti. iyun na.

still, it was a delight.

adi said...

I wonder why Zhang was even nominated? Dancing in a 12-inch platform shoes dressed in tight-fit kimono perhaps merit a nomination. If that is the case then the Academy should have given the Oscar for Best Actress to Charlize Theron for her ridiculous look in Aeon Flux (hey i liked the cartoon but the movie was beyond awful)!

wahehehe.

you have to forgive the director. after all, he's responsible for Pretty Woman also, di ba? (although it was a huge success, i thought Richard Gere wasn't great there. loved the story, though).

i also thought (initially) that casting non-Japanese people to play such was a huge mistake. hindi naman pala.

and the fact na hindi gaanong kagaganda ang mga kimonos na ini-employ (you have forgive the stylist in me)... disappointing nang kaunti. iyun na.

still, it was a delight.

twistedman said...

hey erik! musta? naisip ko lang baka mas okay if marshall let his actors speak in niponggo and use english subtitles. baka mas naging maganda ang acting nila.

@sedricke: ei kid. well, good for you. i must admit that some of the visuals are really breath-taking. thanks for the dropping by. :->

@homer: hahahaha. i thought COPACOBANA is banned under the laws of the geneva convention. hahahaha


@yohwee and abaniko: i strongly advise you not to watch the rest of the film. baka mag-amok pa kayo. :->

monmon said...

havent seen the film... but i read the book ages ago... and i wonder if there was a cat fight... hmmm... i must read it again...
anyway, please read my blog http://monmon.wordpress.com/

Kiss My Mike said...

that was so fetch!

twistedman said...

@monmon and mike: thanks for dropping by!