Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Nihon Chinbotsu" A movie on Japanese Doomsday

"Nihon Chinbotsu" or "The Sinking of Japan" (or know by its other name 'Japan Sinks') is a 2006 remake of a screenplay based from the 1973 book by Sakyo Komatsu.

The film is about the geological catastrophe that will culminate in the nation of Japan to be split up and sink in the ocean. As the imminent disaster progresses, eathquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions occur throughout Japan making it hard for the goverment and the rescue workers to evacuate and save the people.

The main contributing factor in the upcoming disaster is the subduction of the tectonic plate Japan sits in, which in turn pulls the country under with it.

Along for the ride are people from different walks of the social, scientific and political backgrounds trying to get through this ordeal. The story also revolves around the effects on the lives of various key characters within the movie. The passionate geologist Yusuke Tadokoro, his ex-wife, Saori Takamori, who is a trusted colleague of the Prime Minister and Head manager of the crisis team. Submariner Tetsuo Onodera, Hyper Rescue crew Reiko Abe and the little girl they saved from the previous earthquake, Misaki.

Tadakoro devices an ingenious plan to save Japan by tearing the tectonic plate that carries it. The mission was a success due to the sacrifice of Onodera and his friend, Tatsuya. And Takamori was able to announce to the refugees to return and rebuild their nation from a temporary government headquarters on the amphibious carrier 'Shimokita'.

The movie seems like a 'doomsday what if' documentary than a film. The beginning of the film is like a National Geographic segment where they place the events that would indicate and justify the catastrophe that is about to take place.

As the first quarter of the film lacks character or drama, the sudden introduction into the lives of the character feels like being pulled out of a hypnotic trance. You're suddenly changed from a documentary-like mode of reception to a mode where you try to take in the emotion and relations of the characters in play, riding on cliches and stereotypes to make the cast attach themselves to the audience in a very short time, attempting to make a greater impact as the characters are killed off.

And since the screenplay is based on 70's Japanese racial and political outlook, it's take that Japan will be abandoned and sold out by its 'allies' during such a crisis can't all be that true. I think the screen writer underestimates the power of public opinion overseas. This part of the movie only seems to trigger latent fear and in turn, will become racial anger towards others. Well, just look at the global response at the Tohoku Earthquake.

Its not that good of a movie, but it does give you a perspective into 70's political rhetoric, paranoia and opinions.