Author Comment
VidVicious
Sadako slave
(10/21/02 6:31:48 pm)
Reply
Themes in The Ring (SPOILERS)
Firstly, I'd like to add that The Ring kicks MAJOR bootay and is definitely worthy of a viewing or three. I give it 3.5/4 stars!

Sure, Katie's rotting corpse (just horrible) and the "Here's Johnny!...uh, I mean Samara!" moment, you know the one, will have you jumpin like a disco, but what elevates the movie to Oscar contender status (Kidding!) are the societal issues it raises in a powerful tale of fright.

The harmful effects of media

Katie and Becca complain about the content on TV (they're watching a commercial) and how the radiation is destroying brain cells.

On the videotape from the psychiatric facility, there is a subtly visible bluish flicker that runs through Samara's form as she sits in her chair. Freaky. Kinda foreshadows her ultimate appearance when she emerges from the TV. She looked like she might have been made up of radiation. How corporeal a form does she take? How did Katie end up in the closet and Noah in his chair. Also, the figure that appears before Noah is taller and longer of limb and looks more mature. Samara, the little girl, might have perished, but the demon-spirit(?) that dwelled within the child's body lived on and grew big and strong. Must be the milk...

The media, particularly reporters and journalists, are compared to a virus by Papa Morgan.

The responsibility of parents and guardians

The movie seems to suggest that banishing your child to the loft of a barn with only a television set to comfort her is the height of parental irresponsibility, even if your child is the ultimate Bad Seed. Shades of latchkey kids everywhere.

This comes out in the scene between Rachel and the doctor played by Jane Alexander. Being a parent can be more difficult than you can imagine and some people can handle the stress of being a parent better than others (i.e. Mama Morgan). Will you respond to a child's misbehavior with (a) the requisite amount of understanding and patience or (b) try to asphyxiate her and dump her into the nearest well?

What lengths will you go to in order to protect your offspring? Rachel gradually goes from being a career-oriented, emotionally detached parent at the beginning (Why does Aidan call her Rachel instead of "mom"?) to someone who cares more about the welfare of her child than that of herself by the time Day 7 comes. (Is that a sentence?) Who will she show the copy of the tape to? In Ringu, the reporter character, Asakawa, is prepared to show it to her own father in order to save her son.

Noah isn't around for Aidan because his dad wasn't around for him. Near the end, the movie hints that he's prepared to take a more active role but fate intervenes.

The Superior Sex

Even more than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Ring is a thoroughly feminist story. The prime movers are female: Rachel, Anna, Samara. The males, Noah and Richard, are the helpless victims to the power of women. Is it just me or is the well, with its long dark tunnel and slippery walls, some sort of Freudian imagery? Samara's comin'. Comin' to getcha!

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong...

DiddleySquat
Sadako slave
(10/21/02 6:38:37 pm)
Reply
hehehe
That was a pretty neat review-ish thingy. I really enjoyed reading that. and YAY! You noticed Samara was the only thing in that tape that seemed to be acting funny. I told my father about this, and he didn't notice...but I did find it quite odd. Makes you wonder if SHE cut that infamous line out of the movie...bwah.

TourneurJr
shambler
(10/21/02 11:26:44 pm)
Reply
I absolutely agree.
What makes THE RING more than a horror film is its themes about tragedy and parents and their children. Rachel and Noah, two very childish, irresponsible, and neglectful parents, grow and mature throughout the events. By the seventh day, their quest is mainly to save the life of Aidan, as you could tell in the incredible scene with Rachel and Noah in Cabin 12, as Rachel's death at dawn comes closer and she tells Noah that he has to save Aidan himself.

The film also centers around past tragedy. Rachel gets some very poignant criticism from Mr, Morgan about journalists and their insensitive habit of taking someone else's personal tragedy and spreading it for all the world to see.

And your point about the femenist overtone in the film is a very good theme I did not notice.

xHxKxIxSxAx
Sadako slave
(10/21/02 11:32:46 pm)
Reply
yeah
me and my friend discusses point # 2

so that's completely believable..not saying you should be discredited, because all of it makes sense, just saying that (and sorta #1 ) was something i have discussed before


another movie in which a child calls his/her mother by her first name: The Crow

remember?

because she's never around for the daughter...

Isoline
shambler
(10/21/02 11:39:02 pm)
Reply
re: I absolutely agree.
I think one of the things I picked up from the movie is...Regret.
On so many levels the story speaks of Regret.
-Regret for how we treat and even perceive our children.
-Regret for the actions of others
-Regret for not believing the unexplainable.
-Regret for the pain someone or something is causing you.
-Regret for knowing things your not supposed to.
and alot of others.

Lithium
manipulator of the Virus
(10/21/02 11:41:20 pm)
Reply
Re: I absolutely agree.
I don't know about the movie being feminist. Compared to the original, it was. But on the other hand, for all Rachel's bravado and intelligence, Noah ended up the more logical and resourceful one. Also Aiden's character, who takes on much of Ryuji's role (bet no one saw that comming half a year ago... hehe) knows more about what's going on than anyone else, and in some ways is one of the most mature characters (and probably a little fatalistic - he was a little more ready to think about death, and he almost certainly KNEW what was comming for him - and even second-thought his actions when he was copying the tape).

Maybe Morgan's retort on journalism might have been meant to mean something, but I think his attitude might have changed a bit if she'd just fessed up - he knew there was some bad mojo going on, and maybe knew that she was as screwed as a fed at a crack dealer convention, but he did seem to think that she was mostly just prying into painful business and bringing up things that shouldn't be brought up.

Pupazz
Sadako slave
(10/22/02 2:24:35 am)
Reply
hmm....
I don't really agree with the Stronger sex part...

It's really a moot point, because in the novels, the main character was male. :)

Ghost whisper
Sadako slave
(10/22/02 5:43:39 am)
Reply
Re: Themes in The Ring (SPOILERS)
Concerning holes in the ground, gender politics etc. see also a film called Onibaba.

VidVicious
Sadako slave
(10/22/02 7:32:09 am)
Reply
Re: Themes in The Ring (SPOILERS) - followup
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was just trying to work out the thoughts that have been stuck in my head since I saw the movie. Just my interpretations that I realize many others will come to on their own as well. After all, what elevates the story (shared by the original and the remake) to the level of greatness is just how thought-provoking it is and how iconic (the pervasiveness of technology and the natural element of water) and how particularly suited it is for our times (with most of us having moved from the country into the big impersonal urban centres).

Themes of life and death are staples of the horror genre. But in The Ring, human mortality is more than just subtext; it's in the text. In the early exchange between Rachel and Aidan. Not enough time. Does Katie see it coming before sees it coming? Aidan knows something, but how? Flaw? Maybe. In the absence of certainty about Heaven and Hell, our existential inertia compels us, like Sadako/Samara herself, to create and procreate and make films, to express ourselves and try to make ourselves heard, in order to transcend our limited life span that is merely the blink of an eye.

The unknown...Where does evil come from? Well it's always been around. We try to grapple with it and fight against it, but the war is never won. It's within all of us and it's eternal. What the hell is Sadako/Samara anyway? It's even less clear in the remake. Like the innkeeper trying to guess Rachel's card, we'll never know. We aspire to know, try to be psychic, but the unknown will always be our Pandora's Box.

Feminist? I think so. Samara immediately gains a place in the male-dominated pantheon of horror. Regan doesn't count. She was possessed and she is redeemed by the end. Or is it anti-feminist? Rachel, uh...Eve gives Adam the apple...We exit Eden.

I may be wrong, but I prefer to think that these themes do resonate and echo within The Ring. So that the movie and the audience's experience is richer for it.

TourneurJr
shambler
(11/9/02 9:31:57 pm)
Reply
Themes...
After a second viewing of THE RING, I noticed how well-written and effective some of the dialogue is, supporting the themes and subtext mentioned here.

Also, Rachel, after the well scene, tells Noah that children long to be heard, to be payed attention to, to express themselves, their feelings (Rachel even mentions expressing themselves by drawing pictures, which shows her regret of ignoring the drawings Aidan's teacher showed her, Aidan's way to deal with Katie's recent- or is it future?- death). Whether she is pure evil or not, Samara is a child and is expressing her anger through the images she creates and the curse. She even works through Aidan by making him *draw pictures*, ultimately leading Rachel to set her "evil" free from the well. This links well to the most evident theme of parents and their responsibility for their children and the parallel between to pairs of parents, Rachel/Noah & Anna/Richard.

The film also talks about parents and their natural love for their children: the Moesko Island Dr. and her mentally-retarded grandson, Anna Morgan and her hard-to-come-by, image-burning (and arguably pure evil) daughter Samara.

What lies at the emotional core of the story's themes is the tragic story of the Morgans. Richard Morgan and Anna Morgan, proud and distinguished horse breeders. Anna, though, wants a child more than anything, but is unable to conceive, going through miscarriage after miscarriage. They have Samara. Richard grows bitter, Anna goes mad, and she kills Samara, throwing herself off the cliff in guilt and grief. It is not until the end, though, when we discover Samara was not at all an ordinary child.

And whats great about THE RING is it supports every one of its issues with some very effective scenes. You know Aidan wants his mother and father to be there, putting on his suit, making his peanut-butter and jelly, and walking him to school. The first ending concludes with his smile as he sees his mother and father hold hands, his surprise in seeing his mother still there in the morning. Noah's transformation is shown by telling Rachel to call him tommorow, they day after, and the day after. Rachel is the emotionally detached reporter ("What is it with you reporters? You take another's tragedy and force the whole word to experience it. You spread it like a sickness") and is gradually changed (her breaking point is in the powerful suicide scene- "...but my son will die!" "Yes... he will"- and after the well scene when Rachel talks about how tragic the Morgan's story is- "She was all she ever wanted...").

But in the center of the story is the lingering and melancholy mood of grief, sorrow, and, as mentioned, regret, that, because of Samara's "evil", her curse, must be experienced again and again (literally and figuratively)

TourneurJr
shambler
(11/9/02 9:42:57 pm)
Reply
Also...
Does anyone else find it frustrating that THE RING is criticized for being an empty, conservative ghost story with plot-holes abound (or even praised for being a mere scary flick) and very few critics (or the public in general) see that the film is much more ambitious than it appears with its script, its characters, and its themes?

Which is what makes the story so compelling and thought-provoking?

Has anyone read Salon.com's review? Of all the reviews I've read, it comes the closest.

TourneurJr
shambler
(11/9/02 9:46:11 pm)
Reply
Also...
Does anyone else find it frustrating that very few critics see that the film has much more to say and is far more ambitious in its script, characters, and themes than it appears?

Has anyone read Salon.com's review? Of all the reviews I've read, it comes the closest.

TourneurJr
shambler
(11/9/02 9:51:12 pm)
Reply
Whoops.
Sorry about the double-post. I thought the first one didn't send, so I rewrote it (it seemed to have been condensed in the process) and sent it in again.

KuraiSoma 
further down the Spiral
(11/9/02 11:57:51 pm)
Reply
Re: Whoops.
few comments, and then I intend to jump into a new topic that I hope will explain the death positions.

first off, your comment was very concise and well written; bravo. I think you've hit the majority head on, however I do have a few gripes. As to the female roles in this movie, its interesting to note that in the original storytelling the lead character was male. Along with the (often) in your face themes of neglect, Id attribute this to the movie's director. As for the remake, Im suspecting that these same themes introduced by the original movie's director were both noticed (important, as many reviewers have obviously missed these 'details' in the remake) and strengthened for the western audience (perhaps dumbed down in a sense, fortunatley the rest wasnt... its horrifying to realize that a large portion of movie watchers didn't even understand what was going on)

Turtle God Kame
moderator
(11/10/02 12:03:47 am)
Reply
mostly correct...
though I disagree with the sex issue. a few good articles have talked about this, that movies such as ring are anti-femminist! they show women as evil creatures, loathing, and vengful. and I really dont think the american ring is any different. though, I do think they played down the male characters a bit in the american one, however I think that's due to the current condition of gender in our country. the feminism to the extreme here has made men look inferior and demunized them.

it's almost as if we are supposed to be ashamed to be men... but that's a whole nother story for a whole nother day...

Go to Kame's House for assorted junk! Last upd8: 10/10/02

KuraiSoma 
further down the Spiral
(11/10/02 12:15:06 am)
Reply
Re: mostly correct...
I for one AM ashamed, Id much prefer to be female ;p

miharu
everyone will suffer
(11/10/02 12:24:04 am)
Reply
Re: mostly correct...
i don't know if i'm supposed to be pleased or creeped out by that, kurai ;p

this really has nothing to do with ring, but i'm going ahead with it anyway..

to me, there's not much of a difference in gender, only in what a society tells a person how they should act, dress, etc. basically, we're all the same at birth, minus specific personality quirks. we're molded by our parents and society, who tell us as little boys to play rough, not cry, and be tough or as little girls to do the opposite. when i read shakespeare as a kid, that's exactly what the line 'all the world's a stage' meant to me. on a side note, i do remember reading that males are born more emotionally sensitive than girls, and that when they're raised to keep their emotions in, it greatly tampers with their understanding of emotion and it's pretty destructive. ^^;
i guess what i'm trying to say is that the only gender gap is the one we create ourselves.

-miharu

she never sleeps...

KuraiSoma 
further down the Spiral
(11/10/02 12:27:53 am)
Reply
Re: mostly correct...
going way OT on this one, and it'll be the last (okay, if someone says something that MUST be replyed to then.. forget I said that ;p)

BUT, Men are just damn unattractive.. Im never going to understand people that are into muscles and hairyness, and being that I don't understand wanting those qualities; why should I want to exhibit them? Id rather be pretty, at least I know what I can appreciate and emulate in that aspect ;p

sgriska
Sadako slave
(11/10/02 1:56:20 am)
Reply
Re: mostly correct...
I have to say that I *used* to believe that we're all born a blank slate and it's only society that screws us up into gender-roles, etc. I mean, as a kid, and now as an adult, I've always been rather androgynous, and although many have tried, none have succeeded in making a girlie-girl out of me.

But, I have to say my opinion changed when I watched my partner's daughter grow up into a little individual. Here she was, raised by two rather butch women, and she was from DAY ONE little Suzi Homemaker -- only ever wanted to play with EZ-Bake ovens, Barbie, baby dolls. She'd fuss and carry on something fierce if you ever tried to make her wear pants rather than a dress...

So, I dunno about all that. I think certainly some of the gender stuff is cultural, but a lot of it I think is in the hormones or genes or whatever.

Turtle God Kame
moderator
(11/10/02 2:12:39 am)
Reply
yeah...
I tend to lean that way myself... there's only so much culture can do (and it may be notable to look at why society creates such values, if values or culture is only an extension of our own selves...)

but seeing all types of genders and rolls being portraied, I tend to think most of it is by genetics, hormones, and yet, some seems to depend only on individuals and their goals.

I think using "culture" and "social values" to describe things is only an excuse. like blaming video games for violence and tv for sexual misbehavior. it's the opposite, these things are only manifestations of the society which in itself is the sum of individual conciousness... thus, a game is the result of the society as a result of the sum of individuals. same may be said with all aspects of society and manifestations within.

though, that's all arguable and would be hard to test. would be interesting though!

heh, sorry to vere everyone off topic though!

Go to Kame's House for assorted junk! Last upd8: 10/10/02

inteferon 
out from the well
(11/10/02 2:48:04 am)
Reply | Edit
Re: yeah...
If you're really interested in this subject then Carlos Castaneda's Journey to Ixlan (1972, SBN 671-78706-3) is a must read.

I cite a piece from the introduction:

“…for a sorcerer, the world of every day life is not real, or out there, as we believe it is. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description.
        For the sake of validating this premise don Juan concentrated the best of his efforts into leading me into a genuine conviction that what I held in my mind as the world at hand was merely a description of the world; a description that had been pounded into me from the moment I was born.
        He pointed out that everyone who comes into contact with a child is a teacher who incessantly describes the world to him, until the moment when the child is capable of perceiving the world as it is described. According to don Juan, we have no memory of that portentous moment, simply because none of us could possibly have had any point of reference to compare it to anything else. From that moment on, however, the child is a member. He knows the description of the world; and his membership becomes fully-fledged, I suppose, when he is capable of making all the proper perceptual interpretations which, by conforming to that description, validate it.”

Edited by: inteferon  at: 11/10/02 2:50:10 am
KuraiSoma 
further down the Spiral
(11/10/02 3:21:14 am)
Reply
Re: yeah...
you know, I traded in my membership ID a long time ago..

overall, I have to agree with all of you. IMO it's humanities problem as a whole that we unstoppably MUST label everything we come across. It'd be nice if people could just be themselves, and not whatever slot they fit into (whether its snug or not).

Turtle God Kame
moderator
(11/10/02 3:32:29 am)
Reply
hahaha
social groups... that's the worst! luckily I have my own thing and I'll always do my own thing! hell, half my friends a geeky nerds who look pretty "normal" and the other half are goths! personally, I dont see any difference, people are people to me. and I... well, I'm weird by all accounts that I'm an artist, geek, proabably a goth somewhere deep down, and flux between my days of looking like a hobo and mexican quicki-e-mart robber! (heh, I'm part italian, but when I wear my bandana, I just look like I'm about to pick-pocket you... hehehe, yoink!)

ah well! dare to be yourself!!!

(just wait till I learn textiles! I still have plans to make a leather kimono! now that's badass!)

Go to Kame's House for assorted junk! Last upd8: 10/10/02

miharu
everyone will suffer
(11/10/02 3:42:10 am)
Reply
Re: hahaha
use vinyl! it'll be cheaper and easier to make.. not to mention it could look cooler ;p

make a leather/vinyl hakama set! oooh so manly ;p

-miharu

she never sleeps...

angrygn0me
further down the Spiral
(11/10/02 9:07:15 am)
Reply
Re: Themes in The Ring (SPOILERS)
hmmm. guys in leather are yum.

black leather that is. Brown leather (jackets) are for pilots. My dad has a brown leather aviator jacket and its so nerdy. With aviator glasses too... looks like the Unabomber.

I guess all of this has nothing to do with the Ring?
-
insert catchy/intelligent phrase analyzing Sadako in leather instead of a thrift store bridesmaid gown-


he he he :b

dhmasonh6155
shambler
(11/18/02 8:41:05 pm)
Reply
I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negative.
I plowed through a ton of the reviews on the MRQE (approx 170) trying to find one with real insight and was very disappointed. Even Ebert hated it! Most of them just saw a stock ghost story overloaded with cliches. Granted, some of the plot devices were far too convenient (ie, Rachel just happened to have a close friend who was a video expert/tech with a fully equipped facility at his disposal. Also, why would there be an AV room at a newspaper ie the print media?) but after the second viewing I was way past caring about that crap and totally immersed in and obsessed with the story.

miharu
everyone will suffer
(11/18/02 9:20:29 pm)
Reply
Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negative.
why wouldn't a newspaper have an AV room? the one i work at has one ;p

-miharu

she never sleeps...

StarSaucer 
further down the Spiral
(11/19/02 10:39:19 am)
Reply
Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negative.
I don't know what the reviewers mean by "cliches". I think the story and the elements are very original, and I am the first one to sigh and roll my eyes and lament, "That's been DONE a million times!" Reviewers, for the most part, bug the hell out of me anyway.

Ghetto Ring
citizen of the Loopworld
(11/19/02 10:50:05 am)
Reply
Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negative.
We should have our own review for horror movies and such. We'll call it: Samara says (or Sadako says, either one works for me)



=

-One man, one obsession: The Ring!

SadakoIsEve
the chosen infected
(11/19/02 3:21:33 pm)
Reply
Re: Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negat
I second that motion. Everyone in favor say Aye. "Aye!"

miharu
everyone will suffer
(11/19/02 3:26:57 pm)
Reply
Re: Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negat
we'll give it:

two eyes down (waay, waay creepy sadako down? ^^)
two wells up
two tapes watched
two souls claimed
two people infected
two sadakos cloned


etc ;p

-miharu

she never sleeps...

StarSaucer 
further down the Spiral
(11/19/02 5:08:11 pm)
Reply
Re: Re: I agree. Reviews were disappointing and mostly negat
I give it 10 fingernails embedded in the wall!

inteferon
manipulator of the Virus
(11/19/02 5:53:00 pm)
Reply | Edit
My AB review
Thanks, Dick. I think Samara had a cute face and her shamble is hot. I could dance with her. I give her a 9.

InfluxDatum 
manipulator of the Virus
(11/19/02 9:00:34 pm)
Reply
i must be the only old fart in the group
I'm 27 and i don't find samara to be cute and I did I would be a weirdo. I find Naomi to be cute though.

inteferon
manipulator of the Virus
(11/19/02 9:40:26 pm)
Reply | Edit
Re: i must be the only old fart in the group
Matter of fact, Samara's in her late thirties. So you're right, it would be kind of weird (in a sugar momma kind of way).

Rachael? I thought you were hot for Becca?????

Edited by: inteferon at: 11/19/02 9:45:22 pm
TourneurJr
shambler
(11/20/02 12:34:44 am)
Reply
The Reviews!...
They are so frustrating. I agree. I've been reading through reviews trying to find one that lends insight into the symbolism and themes of The Ring, but they mainly focus on how scary it is, or how bad it is.