Wednesday, 5 March 2014
I don't want my kid raised by religious fanatics, I want it raised by homosexuals
There's a certain cultural nuance to the tale of the original Hachiko that is not present in the Americanised remake, but I sadly lack the smarts to explain it adequately and so must muddle through as best I can: basically, up until fairly recently, pets were seen as an indulgence of the well-off classes of Japanese society and cats and dogs were largely community-owned utilitarian animals, and there is a common thread in the dominant Japanese spiritual philosophies that posits the importance of an object or person being true to its purpose and nature, so in the case of Hachiko - a dog who waited loyally for its master to arrive by train each day for the rest of its life after the man suddenly passed away - even though the dog waited in vain and was doomed to never meet its master again, the fact that it waited as it was supposed to is seen as admirable, and helped shape cultural attitudes towards pets as being less an indulgence of the affluent and more an addition to the family unit. In the American version, the dog is basically thick, so it doesn't know any better than to run away when neglected and simply seek out familiar places, and I would argue this loses a lot of the appeal of the original as Hachiko quite clearly understands that its companion is gone but chooses to wait regardless until their reunion in the afterlife, and we know this because there's a watermark scene halfway through where it shifts from being a feelgood movie about a middle-aged man making an unlikely new friend against the social expectations of the day into forty minutes of your feels gland being used as a punching bag after the dog wanders into the room in the house where his master's funeral is being held and starts crying. It is as mad and heartbreaking as it sounds.
The Gere version not so much.