Oh no! There goes Tokyo!
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 06/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following the popularity of eco-disaster flick "The Day After Tomorrow", director Shinji Higuchi, of Studio Gainax fame and inheritor of the "Gamera" series, hauled out the classic Japanese disaster story "Japan Sinks" and gave it a modern renovation, complete with state of the art special effects and a cast of pop-idols. Starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, of the J-pop super-group SMAP, and Kou Shibasaki, best known in the West as the sadistic killer Mitsuko Souma from "Battle Royale", director Higuchi also peppers the films with cameos from his friends in the anime business. Gainax co-founder Hideaki Anno and "Gundam" creator Yoshiyuki Tomino both make appearances.
"Doomsday: the Sinking of Japan" (literal translation of original title "Nihon Chinbotsu" would be "Japan Sinks!") first appeared as a novel in 1973, and got a film adaptation the same year. An American adaptation soon followed in 1975 called "Tidal Wave". Plot-wise it is a by-the-numbers super-event disaster movie. Through a bit of fuzzy science, a massive collision of tectonic plates rocks Japan with earthquakes, slowly breaking apart the country and sending it sinking into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The populace of the country struggles to survive. Rescue workers show their courage time and again. Against the backdrop of despair and destruction, the flower of true love blossoms. And one plucky young scientists comes up with a plan that just might be crazy enough to save them all, provided a few brave stalwarts are willing to sacrifice their lives to pull it off.
And while the plot is all good and well, the true fun of a disaster flick is the disaster, and "Japan Sinks" pulls that off very well. All of the great monuments of Japan, all the achievements and landmarks that have stood the test of time for thousands of years, get a grand send-off. The Great Buddha of Nara and the magnificent Kiyomizu Temple of Kyoto come crashing down with all the pathos and glory one could hope for. Director Higuchi knows how to breathe life into special effects, and he uses all his strengths.
"Doomsday: the Sinking of Japan" is by no means a great movie. It is pure eye-candy, pure adrenaline and gushing tears. Anyone paying too close attention to the plot is going to hate it, especially how the rest of the World just callously sits by and watches while Japan goes under. But if you are in the mood for a big blow up movie, and get a kick out of watching some of the most beautiful and venerated buildings in the world come crashing down in digital splendor, than this is just what you need."
FOR DISASTER MOVIE BUFFS
H. Jackson | Lafayette, Oregon | 02/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film should be enjoyable for people who are fans of the disaster film genre. Obviously,special effects play an important part because, by definition, massive scenes of destruction are at the heart of the visuals. the effects are passable, but not the greatest, once you've seen other films of this type, such as I AM LEGEND,and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.
I enjoyed it just for the pure fun of it. So pop the popcorn, slide the disc in your player and sit back and enjoy an hour or so of vicarious thrills."