Suspend your disbelief, draw out your inner romantic and practice some patience for this one
It is said that there is no more room for originality in our postmodern world as everything the human race can conceive has been said, done and documented. Even if some might disagree, the constant regurgitation of remakes done onto our movie screens probably says otherwise. And surprisingly (or maybe not), the latest movie remake to hit our shores is one re-produced, not by Hollywood, but by the people most likely to come up with crazy stuff that no one else in the other corners of the world has probably thought of - the Japanese.
Although there are several tweaks as compared to the Moore and Swayze original, like the role reversal of its couple – the female partner dies in this one and the male is the ceramist, 'Ghost' essentially takes on the same romantic fantasy plot. For those, like me, who were too young to experience the cultural impact of this early nineties movie, watching the remake would probably not help us get any closer to that. If you are wondering just what form of cultural impact took place based on a movie about a girl and her lover from another dimension, do know that it did bag, amongst other accolades, an Oscar Best Picture nomination in 1991. It seems that nothing much has changed and there is still something about the love between a person and a supernatural being that sets people off. Well, at least the ghost lover in this movie does not sparkle; she just glows with heavenly light.
To be fair, some effort has been made in updating the movie according to the tastes of today's audiences. Featuring dreamy retro-tinged scenes of Tokyo's suburbs and a handsome and sensitive Korean character as the male lead, it is obvious that the producers are aiming for a piece of the current East Asian zeitgeist. Looking and feeling very much like a heartwarming Korean drama, fans of the genre might be easily pleased at watching two good-looking people taking their time to fall in love and stay in love despite obstacles.
Song Seung Heon, model and familiar face of K-dramas like 'East of Eden' and 'Autumn Fairy Tale', plays Juno Kim – a Korean ceramist who lives in Tokyo. His girlfriend is Nanami – acted by another well-known East Asian star Nanako Matsushima. Even if you are not a fan of Japanese dramas, you might remember her as the lead in 'The Ring'. Both of them play their parts with a certain tender conservativeness and sensitivity that is probably not unusual for mainstream Asian romantic movies. To be honest, it is no Hollywood romcom, so if you do not enjoy beautiful people staring longingly into each other's eyes for the longest time and having sweet and unassuming interaction, then you would probably be better off watching Natalie Portman's romantic movies.
The saving grace to the slowness of 'Ghost' is Whoopi Goldberg's equivalent – Satsuki Unten the fake psychic. With her stereotypical crazy old psychic expression and jittery demeanor, she adds laughter and a twist of craziness to the already quite absurd situation. As she is contacted by Nanami and proceeds to discover that her fake psychic powers are not so fake anymore, hilarity ensues as she tries to convince the grieving boyfriend that his girlfriend is still around and there is more to her death than is known. The eventual tragic parting after all the unfinished business is completed is guaranteed to draw some tears – only if you can get over the fact that she is a ghost and that dead people can return in movies.
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