Despite my feelings for the first movie, I had to see it all through to the end.
I used to laugh at peoples' overreactions to live-action adaptations. And then I heard they were making a two-part, live-action adaptation to one of my most favourite manga series ever, Parasyte.
And then I saw the trailer.
And then I saw the first movie. And at last I truly understood what people meant. After that, one can understand that perhaps I was a little apprehensive about going to see the second Parasyte movie.
Amazingly enough, however, while the second movie retains many if not most of the same problems of the first, it did not make me want to walk out of the theatre like the first one did. Small praise, I know.
It's really very interesting, my review for the second Parasyte movie is pretty much exactly my review for the first one, except that I didn't hate it as much. Maybe I've built up a resistance, or my expectations were lower than before, or maybe the director learned to make the problems less glaring. I really hope it was the latter.
The problems with the condensed pacing are there, with some events even happening simultaneously instead of in order, but the director has managed to work them out in a way that make the movie seem fast, but not rushed. There's even some character development.
The creative changes from the source material were less jarring and annoying this time. While some were irritating and made me scratch my head in wonder as to why they changed what they did, others worked within the world the movies have established and I had no problem with.
The action scenes were entertaining, and the movie did sprinkle them throughout, making for a decent tempo throughout. However, there were obvious budgetary restraints at play in terms of length and detail which showed in how quickly some played out. Plus they reduced one of the most memorable combat sequences between the strongest parasite, Goto, and the Japanese special forces to a radio report, which was highly disappointing.
One major problem I found that stuck with me was the unrealistic details of what is trying to be a "realistic"movie. For example, in one scene, a character is meeting with a woman he fancies at a café. Before she arrives, he pulls out a breath spray and sprays it in his mouth. He then looks up and the camera turns over to show the woman he is meeting.
First off, I found myself thinking that the "using a breath spray before a date" is so completely cliché, I'm surprised they left it in the script. If you've got a scene where a guy is meeting a girl they like, let the actors act, because that's kind of what they get paid big bucks for. Secondly, when the camera turns to show the woman, she is standing in a position that is clearly in the man's field of vision, which made me beg the question why he bothered with the breath spray he should obviously be able to see she's already there. I could almost hear the Cinema Sins "ding" in my head.
The second Parasyte movie wasn't
an abomination as bad as the first one was. But it also wasn't very good, either. There wasn't as much to actively hate, but there wasn't all that much to love. Despite what it was trying to be, it was just... meh. Overall, it felt like all the essential meat had been taken out, leaving a hollow shell that kind of looks like the original.
I suppose it could be used as a beginner's course -- a sort of "Parasyte for Dummies" -- to what I consider an almost perfect story, but if that's the case, I would suggest the anime, or just reading the manga. At least those don't have limitations to the special effects budget.
The second Parasyte movie is currently out in theatres in Japan. No word on a Western release.