Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he ...
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Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status.Written by
I have loved most of the Spike Lee joints I have seen, but this time I felt much disappointed with the remake of "Ganja & Hess". To start with I still do not fathom the cult following of the original: it is true that for its time it was an innovative approach to cinema dealing with paranormal activity, and quite different from most African-American motion pictures of the 1970s, but at the same time I found its central premise a bit pompous and wordy, and many viewers' reactions a bit exaggerated. The so admired "slickness" of both versions is too ornate for me, and quite distracting: it makes the plot look sillier than it is for all its pretension that we are witnessing an "awesome" psychological drama. I have to admit though that Bill Gunn had more control over his own material than Lee: the remake is amazingly disjointed and even longer than the original, with extensive stretches of "music videos" that could have been cut without affecting the drama. As a matter of fact Lee's film contains good elements that do no blend, as Bruce Hornsby's score and varied songs so omnipresent and badly dosed that the soundtrack becomes annoying, no matter how good the composition or the tune are. Then take the beautiful opening credits sequence or the great church scene featuring Valerie Simpson singing and playing the piano, mix them with the obligatory lesbian scene, the dispensable garden cocktail for white scholars, the unexplained trips to town (Hess must certainly be a hot specialist on the Ashanti culture, but we see little of that), the trivial little procession after the wedding... and you get something very bloody but hardly sweet. Your "cultural background" will not suffer much if you skip this.
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