Friday, April 3, 2009

Moon Child

(No screens, because my computer doesn't want to admit this is a disc)

Vampires aren't cool. All they do is sit around moping or being pale, sometimes mustering the energy to go suck someone's blood. They don't even do that in a cool manner half the time, looking more like they're making out with someone's neck. Not especially cool. This hasn't stopped people from convincing themselves that vampires are awesome, so you get things like the recent teen sensation Twilight, and the not at all related Japanese pop star vanity project Moon Child.

It all begins with Japanese Pop Star #1, Hyde, who is a vampire. You notice this because his skin blisters a bit in the sunlight (and, in a later scene, he appears to be farting plumes of smoke), and he also mopes a lot and drinks some blood at key plot moments. A little street boy comes across him and tries to help him, and in turn he helps the little boy steal a bunch of money from some rich guy, also sucking said rich guy's blood. This little boy eventually gets a sex change and grows up to be Japanese pop princess Gackt, and he's best friends with the vampire, and they go out stealing money from drug dealers, just like Omar from the Wire, except more gay. Eventually, however, Gackt finds a woman to love, and there's some really bad family drama.

The great thing about this movie is everyone thinks they're very cool - Gackt wears more leather than a herd of cattle - but they're really, really not. It's directed by Wong Kar-Wai's non-union equivalent, so it's very flashily shot with lots of slow motion and a wash of color, often by a camera man who appears to be missing a leg. The sets are all super fashionable and cool, which is kind of a stretch considering everyone is supposed to be a criminal. But given the often ridiculous fashion sense on display and the ultra awesome lighting, you can't help but think that they're trying to hard. Which they are, of course.

Then there's the acting. Hyde has attended the Keanu Reeves School of Conveying Emotion, able to effectively display brooding, and brooding while drowsy. Gackt, on the other hand, has decided that there needs to be some sort of emotional equivalency on display and has his needle pegged deep in the ham zone. He tries to achieve every emotion in the world in pretty much every scene. The funny thing is, he's still not actually very good at that, so it winds up being mostly silly faces and bad makeup. It's fantastically awful.

The best part of the whole thing is the fight scenes, a strange combination of the Matrix and the Three Stooges. These don't actually make the film worthwhile, but since everything else is played so seriously, when they decide to bring the laughs with murder, it's an amazing yet terrible experience.

I want to say this is an awful movie, so I will. This is an awful movie, of that there is no question. But I have to say I enjoyed it, if not for the reasons the creators intended. There's something strangely amusing about a movie that tries so hard to be hip and cool, and fails completely. I can't read Japanese, so I don't know what they think, but to me it's right in the same sphere as Crossroads, Glitter and Cool as Ice. Pop stars usually have no business being film stars, and Gackt and Hyde are really no exception to this rule.

(By the way, after Tuesday updates are going to get very sporadic, due to moving and a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully I can get in the groove again soon, but that depends entirely on several factors I don't want to go too deep into.)

1 comment:

  1. Great Update! I am right there with you on people trying to take themselves way too seriously in the movies.