HTF REVIEW: "The Ring" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Ring

    Studio: DreamWorks
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 115 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

    Before you die, you see the ring


    You gotta hand it to the marketing team at DreamWorks...
    they invested a crapload of money into early marketing
    aimed to sucker people into believing that The
    was the scariest film since The Exorcist.
    What is actually very scary is that it worked! By
    the time the film was released, people flocked in
    droves to see the film and The Ring managed to
    become the studio's biggest moneymaker of 2002, as it
    rang up a box-office total of about $125.3 million.

    Based on a years-old Japanese film, Ringu,
    The Ring
    explores an urban legend surrounding a
    mysterious and unlabeled video tape. Watch it and
    you’ll die seven days later.


    Rachel (Naomi Watts)is an investigative newspaper
    reporter whose teenage niece, Katie (Amber Tamblyn),
    and several of her friends recently died under some
    very odd circumstances. Seems they were all shacked
    up at a remote cabin where they watched a video tape
    together. When Rachel gets a hold of the videotape
    she watches the quick images flash before her, the
    phone rings, and a disembodied female voice says
    "7 days."


    From that point on, the movie begins counting down
    each day. Rachel shows the tape to her ex-boyfriend
    Noah (Martin Henderson) hoping for his advice. He
    watches, and receives the same phone call warning.
    But when her son Aidan (David Dorfman) accidently
    watches the video, Rachel suddenly finds herself
    in a race against time to investigate who or what
    is behind the mysterious deaths. Realizing that
    the fragmented images on the tape are actually a
    message, Rachel and Noah follow the clues to a
    horse farm and a dead girl named Samara (Daveigh

    Does Box-Office success mean that a film is good?
    In the eyes of this reviewer that answer is a stern
    NO. There is nothing overly scary about
    The Ring, but I'll readily admit that I was
    kept glued to the screen for the film's entire length
    in hopes that there was a plausible explanation for
    all the events that were happening. Please don't
    make the same mistake I did. When you make it to
    the end of the movie you are left only with the
    unsatisfactory feeling that everything you just
    watched is one big incoherent mess.

    How is the transfer?

    Hope you like the color green, because the entire
    film seems to be colored in an off-greenish tone.
    I'll admit that this stylish coloring did add a
    certain amount of gloomish mood to the film. In
    fact, the film is purposely made to look dark, but
    fortunately, this transfer keeps its overly darkened
    material well detailed. The visual polish evident
    through the entire film serves as a quiet seduction
    into the film's carefully orchestrated tricks. The
    print looks absolutely pristine with excellent
    color rendering and absolutely no background grain
    or noise. In all, this is a fantastic effort.


    The DVD offers a DTS track that delivers a nice
    amount of dynamic range with lots of LFE punch that
    underline the heightened (I am careful not to say
    "scary") moments of the film. Center channel dialogue
    is very clear and detailed. The rears do an admirable
    job of delivering ambient effects, but I was a bit
    disappointed that this DTS mix didn't have better
    sound direction nor manage to envelope the entire
    listening area.

    Special Features


    When was the last time you saw a collection of
    supplements that were simply labeled Don’t Watch
    and Watch This?

    I'm still scratchin' my noggin' over Don’t Watch
    , a never-before-seen short created by
    director Gore Verbinski for this DVD release. It's
    basically a 15-minute montage of what seems to be
    randomly deleted scenes intertwined with that goofy
    videotape footage. Oh the pain....the pain!

    Look Here contains trailers for Ringu,
    the film that inspired The Ring, as well as
    additional trailers for Catch me if you Can
    and 8 Mile. about including the film's theatrical

    The only clever thing about this entire DVD is what
    DreamWorks did with their opening FBI WARNING and
    studio logo. Check that out and forget the rest!

    Final Thoughts


    Judging by the amount of teens I saw in line
    today at Circuit City with a copy of The Ring
    in their hand, I already realize that this film
    is going to sell very well on DVD. Perhaps I am
    just getting too old and cynical in my attitude
    towards today's horror movies that certainly don't
    scare the way they used to.

    Rent it if you must, but don't buy it blindly.

    Release Date: NOW

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Cinematographer

    Nov 26, 2002
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  3. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

    Mar 10, 2002
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    Hello Ron

    I don't want to take you to task for your review (so please don't take this the wrong way). Like all reviews, it's an opinion, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. So here is my opposing opinion:

    In real life, do we know everything about every situation be encounter? True, we may want to know everything, but that's an impossible demand. I see no reason why, when reading a book or watching a film we should expect the narrative to conform to our 'perfect world'.

    As I enjoyed The Ring greatly. I already had pre-expectations having watched all of the original Japanese trilogy before viewing the American 'reimagaing' (I refuse to call this a remake). Were my expectations met? On the whole yes. I expected the story to be more cohesive and was pleasantly surprised at how ambiguous some of it was.

    When watching one of the Pokemon film's with the commentary on I was intrigued by one of the producers comments. Basically extra scenes had to be animated for the Western audience as - generally - while Japanese audiences tend to accept events of a story without questioning, Western audiences want to be shown more. I remember thinking at the time that this was wrong. Were they basically saying the Western audience is less willing to use their imagination? I don't know, I hope it was nothing quite as insulting - but it's something I've kept in mind when watching other Japanese originated films since.

    For me - and I suspect others - more than half of the appeal and fun is concocting our own versions of events, and our own explanations of what we see. Are we right or wrong? Who knows, and to me that's the appeal.

    I suspect the people who will get the most out of The Ring already know who they are.

    I agree that the supplements are poor. While I can respect that there may be a desire to keep the mystery of the film (after all, that is it's main selling point) I would have liked to see something comparing the Japanese original to the American version.
  4. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

    Jul 25, 2002
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    I have to say that I enjoyed this film when I saw it on Halloween night with a full theater of all adults. I am 19 years old. The reaction to big scares was just extreme quiet and that made it better. When I saw the movie a second time with some friends, the theater was packed with 13-17 year olds and absolutely hated the film. Everytime the film tried to make the audience jump, the theater exploded in ear-piercing laughter, screaming, jumping up and down etc. in addition to several people on dates making fun of the film for their boyfriend/girlfriend. It was just terrible.

    I saw the film for the third time with my younger brother who had not seen it yet and though he enjoyed it I had the same experience. The theater crowd was atrocious. I had been looking forward to the dvd for a while though and being able to turn it up loud with quiet in my room was great fun.

    Though there obviously were several loopholes and at times the film seemed to be a bit of a mess, I loved the score and the overall feel to the film. I picked up Ringu as well today at Best Buy to compare the two though and am expecting the original to be leaps and bounds over the remake.

    I really can't explain what I enjoy about this film.....I guess I really just enjoy the jump scare bits. That being said, I'd like to see a return to true horror films...but I did find this movie to be enjoyable.
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    It's okay, but I'd recommend it as a rental.
  6. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

    Nov 2, 1998
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    Folks, Ron has his opinion and he has every right to it. Besides, he's correct. This movie sucked [​IMG]
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    I can see this thread is going to be a real joyride.

    To be lynched or not to be lynched - THAT is the
    question. [​IMG]
  8. Todd_B

    Todd_B Second Unit

    Jul 16, 2000
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    I'm in tears over that [​IMG]

    Great review Ron. I caught this one in theaters, but I happened to see it w/a butt-load of pre-pubescent teens that wouln't keep their mouths shut for more than a 30 second span [​IMG].

    That aside, I did have a good time and will give this a spin.

    Todd B
  9. Shawn_Sek

    Shawn_Sek Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 2, 2003
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    excellent review. the ring is the most overhyped letdown of a film in recent years, right beside the blair witch project. i wanted to love it but couldnt. it was extremely poorly done, and surprisingly i think naomi watts was a weak link as well. i loved her in Mulholland Drive but not in this. bad movie.
  10. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

    Oct 16, 2000
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    I respect your opinion Ron. I also didn't find it scary, but I thought that it was great in how suspense was built up without any sort of stalker-like madperson on the loose or some cliche like that (and it appears, from your review, you were also into the suspense and tension).

    I respect what you said, but I disagree. I loved this movie. Either way, it is more of a rental, so we both agree on that.
  11. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
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    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    if you can read shawn's will die in 7 days.

    oh well, when i wrote that shawn's post was emptyu.
  12. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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    I thought The Ring was a decent film, but compared to American horror films in the past ten years; it is (sadly) one of the best. While the film is a direct rehash of the Japanese film Ring; it is at least is a big budget rehash improving on a few of the things the original film missed out on (mostly just visual and make-up effects). If you didn't like The Ring, I don't know if you should check out Ring. While running twenty minutes shorter and having tighter pacing, it still has it's share of plot holes (but not as many as The Ring) and signs of low budget filmmaking (which might make a few prefer the remake, but I have no problem with it).

    Now by all means, the original Ring is a much superior film. While being done on a "low budget," it still maintains the scares the original film had. It also includes a much darker ending which The Ring missed out on. Any fan of The Ring should at least rent it.
  13. ColeKR

    ColeKR Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 15, 2003
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    All i need is seven days. Anyway while I enjoyed this movie i didn't love the movie. I still enjoy the original and bought it today. What really does upset me is that those 13-17 actually believe that The Ring is more scary then The Exorcist. I get sick when I hear that stuff.
  14. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

    Oct 27, 2001
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    Is the Japanese Ring DVD supposed to have an insert? Because mine doesn't have one...
  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

    Feb 4, 2002
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  16. James_Koch

    James_Koch Agent

    Jan 15, 2003
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    Ron, While I do agree with your statements about the film not being scary, I did think it was a great and well made movie.

    Also, not that it matters much to me, but the film is rated PG-13 instead of R. [​IMG]
  17. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

    Jul 25, 2000
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  18. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

    Dec 29, 2001
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  19. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

    Dec 25, 2001
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    Count me as one who thoroughly enjoyed the film. But I'm not going to harp on Ron for his respected opinion.

    I'm just posting to chime in that it was my impression that the 15m short film attempted to explain the imagery of the videotape's footage. IE: showing an event then cutting to a few seconds of echoing footage from the videotape. I enjoyed this but didn't find it necessary. I thought the imagry of the videotape is explained pretty well in the film. I did, however, like the incorporating of outtake footage. A more entertaining way of viewing it instead of just selecting clips from a menu.

    Absolutely. There was a news story which made point of the fact that most Americans can't read above a fifth grade reading level. This is atrocious, but in a way not suprising. I take a mental inventory of my friends and co-workers and I'd reckon maybe three or four at most ever read a book for pleasure. No use of the imagination whatsoever.

  20. Vern Sharp

    Vern Sharp Extra

    Jan 4, 1999
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    Ron, did we watch the same movie? I really enjoyed this film and want to see the original. I guess you have to be in the right mood when viewing? I liked how in the opening sequence you think this is just going to be another teen hack em up flick, but abruptly changes after that and becomes suspenseful. Those that still have vivid imaginations should really enjoy it I did. It is sad that we Americans don't read more. Lead by example, read to your kids and have them read to you!


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