The Best Things In Life are Free - and Weird

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How funny that the last entry I made five years ago was also about the Japanese Film Festival. Nice to know I still enjoy doing the same things with the same people :) 

Anyway, we caught the Eiga Sai 2015 about a week ago. It was free and that meant a long line of students and film buffs fighting to get in. Luckily, we managed to get our collective butts into good seats. 

They even played the new Star Wars trailer before the feature presentation which was a pleasant surprise. As for the movie itself, Parasyte was a thoroughly entertaining twist on the body invasion genre. 

There was enough original material and a dash of good-old Japanese WTF-ness to keep me watching until the end. The plot centers on high school boy Shinichi whose hand is taken over by an alien symbiote after failing to take over his brain (fortunately he had his headphones at the time). 

Of course, he’s not the only one, but the other not-so-lucky humans are completely taken over by their extraterrestrial parasites. As a result, they’re turned into killing machines who have no problems feeding on human flesh to sustain their hosts’s bodies. 

parasyte movie

Since Shinichi’s human concept of morality is still intact, this puts him - and his strange bedfellow - at odds with the other parasites. 


This basic conflict fuels the story - and the expository dialogue that poses a lot of interesting questions about the implications of an invasion scenario. 

Like any good sci-fi, viewers should be left to wonder about the “big picture”, and this film did that without hammering people over the head or getting too preachy about it. 

What I liked most about the film though, was how well it was translated from the manga it was based on. 

After watching the movie, I read the source material (currently halfway through the series) and the film adaptation wisely departed from the books in a good way. 

eiga sai 2015

They dropped some sub-plots altogether and changed some key elements to make it work as a two-hour movie - all without sacrificing the quality. 

In particular, certain sequences of events and the dialogue in general were optimized to give the movie a more grounded feel. It’s easy for comic-based movies to jump the shark, and I’m guessing the filmmakers didn’t want this one to cross that line. 

After re-watching Parasyte at home, I was able to better appreciate its differences from the manga. More importantly, I saw how well the movie and books worked in their respective mediums because of those differences. 

I also learned that the sequel was released this year in Japan, so I’ll be reading the rest of the manga while waiting for it to creep into local theaters :)