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PACIFIC RIM

Pacific Rim: in 2013 the earth starts getting periodically attacked by huge monsters (Kauji – a term for Japanese monster movies), so humanity pulls together and builds equally massive robots (Jaegers) to fight back. This is a big, loud blockbuster in every sense: characters, sets, costumes, fights, monsters, robots, and plot are all turned up to 11 for the full +2 hours. Unfortunately, because the fights are so big and mostly at sea / underwater or at night, it’s pretty hard to know what one big thing is doing to the other big thing. As a lazy comparison, think Real Steel Vs Godzilla as a 3D computer game. Other than the dizzying fight-scenes, everything else looks fantastic, and there’s enough strands running alongside the generic monster-movie plot to keep you occupied. Not a bad film, but it definitely aims more at the eyes than the brain: a monster/mech movie made by a monster/mech fanboy.

Score: 6/10

JAPANORAMA - Metal Lord BANNER JAPAN-O-RAMA.jpgBig Man Japan 01 Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ua, Ryūnosuke Kamiki, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Daisuke Miyagawa, Shion Machida, Daisuke NagakuraBig Man Japan (大日本人 Dai Nipponjin): every time a monster appears and threatens the nation, ‘Big Man Japan’ is called upon to fight it off. A mockumentary superhero movie like no other, this is part monster-fighting CGI and part humdrum, everyday issues of an off-duty superhero – wage concerns, pension problems, the effects on your family – all quite quirky and different. There’s a few really gutsy / interesting lines, one in particular about Japanese people not being “anti-American”, but being brought up ‘a little bit like that’ – very interesting, and something that’s very rarely addressed in other movies. There’s a streak of very bizarre – absurd – humour that runs through the movie. There’s not a lot of laugh out loud moments, (mostly very, very low-key, mumbly, superdry dialogue) but when they pop up, they are really funny. The films looks like it’s heading towards a classic showdown, when it – for no apparent reason – changes into an Ultraman / Power Rangers type TV show spoof; which doesn’t really match the rest of the movie and feels like a stupid way to end it. The premise is completely brilliant, but instead of doing it justice, the film feels like it’s concentrating more on it’s genre-ending message that Japan doesn’t really want to tolerate any more monster movies.

Score: 6/10

Big Man Japan 02 Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ua, Ryūnosuke Kamiki, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Daisuke Miyagawa, Shion Machida, Daisuke Nagakura