Saturday, 19 February 2011

Opinion in Words - Why I love the Saw Series

Its been a while hasn't it. Oh well, now we can go back to me ranting about something I like for a change. So lets talk about the Saw franchise.

The original Saw movie came out in 2004, an adaptation of a original australian nine and a half minute short from 2003. Since then we have had a grand total of six sequels, being Saw 2 to Saw 6 and Saw 3D or Saw 7. The bottom line of this plot is there is a man refered to as the "Jigsaw Killer", who kidnaps people that he believes have squandered the gift of life through the poor decisions they have made. These people are then put in "traps" that are designed for them to have to sacrifice something of themselves in order to escape. This is normally something physical of themselves such as having to break your own arm to escape a trap, but can also be something like having to cut a key out of someones stomach.

When I saw the first Saw film I was intrigued by the baseline of how far are you willing to go to survive? If you waste your life by knowingly making bad decisions, how much are you willing to sacrifice to save it. The first film centred on just two characters, and we get exposition from flashbacks and from the angle of the police force. We never learn much about the Jigsaw Killer and this works, at least for this installment. The ending is very well done, with one of the trapped people accepting the trap and then a twist ending that really took me off edge. They really play something off, and then it comes back to be really important in the ending.

This is not a history of Saw, so i'll briefly touch apon the sequels. I hate Saw 2. In my opinion it is the worst one of the sequels, trying to put the same atmosphere that your had in the first film where you only had two people in a room, both not being able to trust each other, but in a house where you have seven main characters. This gives you too much to try and care about, and you know that some of these characters are just here to demonstrate the traps. It did set up an apprentice for the Jigsaw Killer though, and that was the only thing that I found interesting about this film. The idea that the title of Jigsaw Killer could be passed around as if it was some sort of holy crusade would keep me interested for now.

*Minor Spoilers* Saw 3 and Saw 4 run alongside each other timewise. Saw 3 focused more on the story of the killer, and just one person going through multiple people's traps in a house that he had the chance to save them from. This centered around a man whose son had been run over and this time the trapped victims were people who could have brought the driver of the car to justice, as well as the driver himself. It is in this film that I believe that the movie series gets into it's stride. It is however the same movie that we lose our Jigsaw Killer, as well as the apprentice that was built up from Saw 2. This was a bold move, and Saw 4 would of course have to do something good to get this series back on track.

Saw 4 on the other hand followed a different route of basically stalling for time and shadowed the timeline of the third movie, but with more exposition and different traps going on at the same time. It follows another man, a cop this time, saving people from traps but this time while trying to catch the Jigsaw Killer. It was in this film that one of my favourite lines was mentioned, "Have you learnt anything?". Throughout the film Jigsaw has been mentioning that he got his partner killed by forcefully entering a room because he thought he was doing the right thing. How does the film end you ask? Well he enters a locked room forcefully because he thinks its the right thing to do and ends up setting off three peoples traps at once. Well done. He gets killed as well, and we are left with another cop that we have been following through the movie finding the house from Saw 3, and having to shoot the man from Saw 3 because he was pointing a gun at the cop. There is a twist at the end of this one, but I won't spoil that. Basically Jigsaw has another apprentice.

Saw 5 is the last one I have seen in the movie series thus far. I own Saw 6 on dvd, but have not gotten around to watching it yet. I was worried that Saw 5 was going to be a rehash of Saw 2, with there being five main characters, but this time the characters were all connected in their "bad deed". The film does seem to only exist to give more exposition on why the original Jigsaw Killer started and what his apprentice is doing now to clear up any loose ends. The major mistep of this film was putting less emphasis on the cunningness and uniqueness of the traps. In most of the films up to this point, the traps have been adapted to each individual's mistakes. In this film, not so much. Jigsaw doesn't even give many of his voice overs that his gives normally. The end of this film is great and shows off that some people are too willing to sacrifice and that some other people just cannot learn to trust.

Right. Down to why I love this series as I do. It is mainly because it can show off the best and worst of humanity. The worst being the people who are being trapped because it can show how they would not even consider changing their lifestyles unless this happened. Very few people escape their traps, but if their will to survive was that strong, they would need to repent a.k.a. make a sacrifice. To me at least it is also an interesting psychological experiment into the human mind. Jigsaw does not truly believe that he is killing people, he is merely testing their will. If they die, its due to them not him. He is not ignorant though in the way that he tests people. He explains to them what they have to do to escape, and shows them why they are being tested in the first place. Sometimes the people who are being tested call out to him for mercy, but they are not going to get it because in a certain way this is a mercy. Jigsaw is giving them a chance to save themselves and maybe they will take this as a life lesson.

Another thing I love this the traps. I have a very technical mind, and I just love seeing the mechanics not only behind the physical aspects of the trap, but the mental as well. In one of the better parts of Saw 2 a woman sees an antidote to the poison they have been given in a glass box hanging from the ceiling. She puts both her arms in the arm holes, and doesn't even think for a second that anything could go wrong. When she has put her arms through there are a circle of razor blades going up in a twisted motion that prevent her arms from coming back out. This really does teach you to look before you leap.

One of the best traps of the series in my opinion was from the opening scene from Saw 4. There are two men. One with mouth sewn shut, the other with eyes sewn shut. The downside to this is we don't get any voice over from Jigsaw, but back to the trap. They are both chained to a device that will pull the chain in until they have both been choked to death. The keys to each of their collars are on the other person's neck. Of course without the ability to communicate, the blind man panics and the mute person decided to kill him before ripping the stitches out. I believe this showed how lack of communication and ability to work together to survive killed that man, not Jigsaw.

There have also been two games for this film series, the first of which I am playing through at the moment. So that can wait for another day, as can its sequel Saw 2: Flesh and Blood.

So thats why I love the Saw series so much. I hope you have enjoyed this little rant on one of my favourite film series, and just so you know I will give a little exposition in footnotes.

Favourite Saw Film: Saw 3

Least Favourite: Saw 2

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

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