If you’ve ever seen the absolutely brilliant movie Tampopo (タンポポ), you’ll probably share my disgust at the idea of The Ramen Girl. If you haven’t seen Tampopo, you really should. It’s old, but maybe you could find a copy at your library if you’re lucky.
Tampopo‘s central story is that of a widowed mother (the movie’s namesake) who wants to become a true ramen chef at the restaurant her husband left her. Guided by a cowboy trucker named Goro, her shop eventually becomes the most popular in her neighborhood. Accompanying the main narrative are a handful of quirky little vignettes, all having to do with food and the way people enjoy or interact with it. While it sounds strange, the movie is, honestly, one of my favorites; it’s entertaining, whimsical, and, most of all, extremely sincere.
Now, sadly, Hollywood is $#@!ing it all up D:
The Ramen Girl is a remake/rip-off of Tampopo centering around an American girl, Abby (Brittany Murphy), stranded in Tokyo after being dumped by her boyfriend. Looking for a fresh start, she “convinces herself that her true path in life is to become a ramen chef” and begins training under “Ramen Master” Maezumi, played, coincidentally, by the same man who was Goro in the original movie (Toshiyuki Nishida).
As it is now, I’m having a hard time believing that this movie will be worth comparing to the original in the end. What possible improvement could you bring to Tampopo short of packaging a plane ticket to Japan in with the DVD? It’s going to be that Kill Bill scene with Sonny Chiba and Uma Thurman all over again—speaking Japanese phonetically, bonding with the old asian man, etc—except this time it won’t be a bearable 10 minutes, it’ll be a migraine-inducing hour and a half!
I’m freaking out here, but… who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised? I mean, I have to see this, despite my doubts about the content. Oh, and sorry to those of you for whom this post is meaningless, having not seen Tampopo in the first place. Like I said, I highly recommend it.