16 August 2007 | Jeen
A solid SF/disaster movie
I actually caught an ad for JAPAN SINKS in a Japanese magazine last year, and wondered what the heck it was until I saw the trailer for the film. It was then I remembered that I had seen the English translation of Sakyo Komatsu's novel some years back. I got it, and it was quite good, as well as chillingly realistic. It's enough to make the reader dread hearing any news about earthquakes in Japan.
Now, I've read the book, and seen this 2006 movie version (the first movie came out in 1973). And you know what? I thought the movie was quite good, even if there are major changes from novel to film (but that's understandable). The story is simple--a major tectonic shift will cause Japan to sink within a year. Massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis rock the country as frantic efforts are made to evacuate as many people as possible. One scientist has a plan that could stop the sinking of the country and save what's left of the landmass, but can it be implemented in time? I saw JAPAN SINKS at Otakon 2007, and while there were a couple of problems I had with it--it does run a bit too long, and a couple of the character moments were a little too sappy--I was nonetheless blown away. The sheer concept of an entire nation sinking into the sea was made terrifyingly real, and the effects were some of the best I've ever seen, rivaling anything that Hollywood has done. The film also plays no favorites with the main characters, with some not making it to the closing credits.
Frankly, I've been surprised by some of the negative comments made about this film. Difference of opinions, I guess. Personally, I enjoyed it. And I've read the original book.