Today’s selection: The World Sinks Except Japan (2006, dir. Minoru Kawasaki)
Available from: Synapse
I’ve never been a big fan of Minoru Kawasaki; most of his movies feel like a joke that’s gone on too long. Today’s selection is a parody of Shinji Higuchi’s disaster movie Japan Sinks, released the same year (seldom a hallmark of quality comedy filmmaking, as illustrated by American cinema like Vampires Suck and Scary Movie). The premise is amusing enough, inverting the story so that instead of Japan falling into the ocean following earthquakes, every other country on Earth does instead. But this is where Kawasaki falls back on some of his most grating hallmarks: pastiches of popular celebrities/political figures (dashing the longevity of the movie faster than an SNL rerun), and foreign actors who can’t act (I often wonder if Kawasaki is aware of how bad his actors are, or if he deliberately casts people who can’t act because he thinks it’s funny).
I haven’t had a chance to check out Yasutaka Tsutsui’s novel on which the movie was based (in turn a parody of the original Japan Sinks novel), but I wonder if it might have a bit more depth (Tsutsui wrote The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Paprika, after all). On the other hand, however, Den Ace makes a cameo as a show in the movie version.