This is the original film adaptation to the popular science fiction novel by Komatsu Sakyo, Nihon Chinbotsu. The scale of the disaster and the uniqueness of the implications has never before been matched by any film (except for probably the remake). Here's why: Nihon Chinbotsu is very simply about Japan Sinking in to the ocean. With great eruptions of volcanos and tremendous earthquakes, the homeland of the Japanese will completely disappear along with their factories, landscapes, cherry blossoms, cultural artifacts, and the homes and lives of millions. And none of these things can be rebuilt. The Japanese do not rise out of the ashes with a will to reconstruct their nation, the Japanese do not find hope in the rubble, there is nothing. The homeland is lost forever and the Japanese will have to live amongst people they have no ties with, in a culture foreign and a language unknown, amongst hatred with the label a refugee forever.
You can clearly see that this movie is not the traditional disaster flick. If you just want to see exciting heroics and special effects, this movie will not deliver. It's an old film and from 21st century standards, the visible strings and cheesy explosions cannot satisfy. But the movie makes up for it in substance. The story, the characters, the despair, is all believable. The questions raised like, are the Japanese worth saving once they've lost all their economic power? And because the story takes place in Japan, of course the people also begin to consider dying with their homes.
It's definitely a must watch especially if you've seen the recent remake or don't have time to read the book. If you're Japanese, take the extra moment to think about what you would do in this situation and this movie will leave a lasting impression on your mind.
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