Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saw 3D (in 3D!!!!!)

Well, technically I didn't see this in time for my October marathon, but I do see the Saw movies as my "beat," and figured I should cover this here any way.

Evil Detective Hoffman, having escaped the reverse bear trap, sets about to track down and deal with nemesis Jill Tuck once and for all. Meanwhile, a self-help guru who runs a support group for Jigsaw victims finds himself a part of the most elaborate Jigsaw game yet. Meanwhile to that meanwhile, a good guy detective tries to track down Hoffman and stop him before it's too late. And meanwhile to all of that... but you get the gist.

Ostensibly the last film in the series, Saw 3D turns out to be the most genuinely entertaining sequel since Saw IV. Part of this is a subtle shift in tone and style that I think is due to the 3D. The 3D itself looks fine but isn't anything spectacular. The positive side-effect is that in working with the 3D process, director Kevin Greutert has gone for a much brighter, lively color palette, and also tones down much of the confusing, ADHD editing. (Attempting the series's usual dimly lit, designer gloom and rapid cutting in 3D would have likely rendered the movie incoherent). Back when the Feast guys took over writing duties in Saw IV, they slyly interpreted the films as absurd, violent dark comedies with impossibly convoluted stories. The unexpected (but welcome) change in visuals highlights this sense of ridiculousness and makes 3D the most fun of all the sequels.

Which is a good thing, considering the traps in this film. They are elaborate, crazy, vicious and they are also many; if the filmmakers didn't present them with a sense of grotesque fun, the movie would be tedious and depressing. And when I say many, I mean it. This has, by far, the most traps in the entire series, so many that sometimes the movie has to cut away to new, unimportant characters just to introduce a new trap and spectacular death. And one trap even shows up in a dream sequence that has no bearing on the actual story. And as if that wasn't enough violence for you, late in the film Hoffman goes on a rampage where I swear he must stab five hundred cops to death. (Conservative estimate).

The one thing that was disappointing me for a while was, considering that this is supposedly the final film, it didn't seem like it was doing much to wrap up the massive, complex, almost mythological story the series has going on. It introduces a shit ton of characters we've never met and essentially relegates Hoffman and Jill to supporting roles. Plus, Jigsaw's appearance is more or less a cameo. It seemed like the promises of closure were bullshit... until the appropriately nuts twist ending, which in one fell swoop ties up all the important plot threads still dangling in a more than satisfactory manner. The twist itself I suspect many Saw fans will see coming, but I don't think it will disappoint anyone. And there's still enough wiggle room to make another movie, should the makers be so inclined. Pretty neat.

Grade: B


Shenan said...

This is why you do what you do. I would never have been able to make such an intelligent assessment of why I enjoyed Saw 3-D (D-3) <-- as the ticket wrote it

Dan said...

Ha, too bad writing eloquently about the SAW franchise has been be one of the least marketable skills of all time.

Shenan said...

You'll find a way...

Some day you'll write about the SAW franchise for a living and I'll write about poems about beer for a living and we'll both get disgustingly rich off it.

Andy Sandwich said...

Some friends and I watched the first one, the sixth one, then this in theaters, and it's funny to see how tame and goreless the first on is. Also, pulling the key out through the woman's throat was easily the grossest part.

Also, the writer guy who made bank off of lying about being a Jigsaw victim was an idiot. What did he expect to happen when he became such a public figure? Did he really not expect him and his friends and family to be kidnapped and hideously tortured for publicizing a lie that only a mastermind serial killer would see through?

Dan said...

The part I thought was messed up was... why was the guy's wife in one of the traps? It becomes clear that she had no idea that he had lied about his experiences to her, so why is she being tested?

Also, remember in the first film how they tried to claim that Jigsaw never actually killed anyone, he just figured out ways for his victims to kill themselves and/or others? (Which wasn't even true by that film's logic: how would the reverse bear trap counted as the person killing them self?) Well, I'm pretty sure at this point that it doesn't even count towards more than a small minority of the traps.