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26 October 2012 @ 01:37 pm
SILENT HILL REVELATIONS (aka why do i do these things to myself)  
 So, I went to a midnight premiere of That New Silent Hill Film.

Having seen the first one a month or so ago, I knew going in that it would be already divorced from canon, given that it was a sequel to a movie that already had some pretty large and obnoxious breaks from canon. Bizarrely enough, this movie felt like it was trying harder to get back to the games than the previous, which just made it more awkward and uneven in terms of tone and content.

I think one pervasive problem was the use of music. For all that it was kinda weird that the previous movie just haphazardly used songs from all four of the original games, it was a good mix and kept things atmospheric. Revelations uses a smaller number of songs, repeating certain ones way too often, and does not use nearly as many iconic or even memorable pieces.

The mythology of the town and the cult remains and confused and bungled as it was previously. Claudia's role is greatly reduced, and she's been unfortunately shuffled around to being the mother of Vincent, rather than around the same age as him and a fellow member of the cult. Vincent's been changed to a winsome teen who is sent to bring Heather back to Silent Hill but ~realizes she's not a bad person~ and falls in love with her. This is by far the creepiest aspect of the movie. I know what Vincent's really like. He doesn't bathe and uses the cult to make money and spends all his time annoying the hell out of Heather for the fun of it. Valtiel only appears as a statue, evidently the cult's object of worship, and sits passively by as two monsters who were not in Silent Hill 3 duke it out in the finale. Douglas gets killed half an hour into the film and never mentioned again, serving only to infodump at Heather and get her suspected for murder. There is a cameo by the still-living(!!!) Dahlia for reasons (infodumping).

And... Harry doesn't die. This is... well, he wasn't given the role of protagonist in the previous movie, and never actually saw the nature of Silent Hill. He wasn't even originally named Harry Mason in canon- the movie explains the name change as a cover for his identity after killing the Order member who came for Heather a few years back (which is actually something from the game, good job on that movie). Instead of the catalyst that makes Heather go to the town being his brutal murder, it instead becomes his kidnapping. And in the end, she rescues him, only to have him decide to stay in Silent Hill to look for his missing wife, the protagonist of the previous movie. This... really bothers me, and not just because he's played by Sean Bean. So much of Silent Hill 3's heart was Heather's journey of revenge and how she grew as a person from that. How she found a sort of secondary father figure in Douglas, getting over her initial distrust. How she was warned against going into the town and going after Claudia, but did it anyway because she was so goddamn angry. How the finale saw her coming to grips with the fact that her revenge did nothing to bring her dad back. And.... none of that happened in this movie, because instead it was about Heather (who is so tough and brave) going to rescue her dad, with Douglas reduced to a little more than a cameo.

My other Big Gripe is that the movie disregards the aesthetic and symbols that the game used to such great effect. None of the monsters from the game appear, save for Leonard Wolf, and his design is changed considerably. Only a few scenes make use of the "meat floss everywhere" look that characterized SH3's Otherworld, and there's a weird overemphasis on dolls and mannequins (which don't have a presence in the game or a significance to Heather or her arc). The game and especially the monsters in it are strongly focused on pregnancy and rape symbolism, both as a facet of a young woman's fears and as connected to Heather's role as the rebirth of Alessa and the incubator of the Order's new god. Instead of being lured back to the town in order to bring this god into existence, Heather is supposedly there to ~free the Order~ from the grasp of the town and Alessa's nightmare, with only a passing reference to her original purpose thrown in at the finale, despite not having been built up to by the rest of the film. Pyramid Head drags his thematically-inappropriate eldritch geometry into the picture once more, referred to as Alessa's "guardian", there is an appearance of, by all things, a boss from Homecoming (which is of course so very relevant to Heather's arc), as mentioned, Leonard Wolf appears in a toned-down form, and Claudia's true form is apparently a female version of Voldo from Soul Calibur. You know, things that weren't at all in the damn game. The Memory of Alessa has awkward-looking makeup and a scene that completely fails to capture the power and iconic nature of the original. The closest that you get to Scrapers are the all-too-human devout cultists and Claudia's "true form". You don't get to see Numb Bodies or Insane Cancers, Pendulums or Slurpers, Double Heads or Closers. The nurses aren't the ones that appear in SH3, but more cookie-cutter sexually moaning SH2 nurses. As said before, Valtiel is a statue.

In the end, for all this movie tries to adapt a wonderful game, only fragments of what made it good in the first place are still there. Heather Mason still feels like Heather Mason, rough edges and anger and teenage attitude in spades. Her relationship with Harry is genuinely touching, as the movie spends more time building it up (since Harry didn't get an entire movie prior dedicated to how much he cares about her). Leonard Wolf, even though his monstrous form is kind of ruined, gets a pretty decent scene and is acted well enough. Douglas, for the brief time on-screen he gets, is basically perfect. I unabashedly loved the little cameo by Travis at the end and the stinger hinting at Murphy, and that there were lines dedicated to hinting at "Silent Hill has a lot of different forms and even w/o Alessa people are gonna stumble into here and face some serious bullshit". I realize since they've already overused the nurses and Pyramid Head in stories they don't belong in, they're PROBABLY not going to adapt 2 and ruin it for everyone who has ever loved the game, but a guy can dream, right?

Basically: if seeing materials related to this movie makes you miss Heather Mason, and if you're ever tempted to watch Silent Hill Revelations, don't. Just play Silent Hill 3 or watch an LP of it. You will be better off for this choice.