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Big Man Japan - Magnet Releasing Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
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Written by Chris Mayo   
Monday, 31 August 2009


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AKA: Dai-Nipponjin, Poly megaloi Giaponezoi
Directed by: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Written by: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Takasu
Produced by: Akihiko Okamoto
Cinematography by: Hideo Yamamoto
Editing by: Soichi Ueno
Music by: Towa Tei
Cast: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ua, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Haruka Unabara, Tomoji Hasegawa
Year: 2007
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Color: Color
Runtime: 108 Minutes

Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 (Japanese)
Distributor: http://www.magpictures.com/
Studio: http://www.magnetreleasing.com/
Official Website: US,
Japan

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Since the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan has enlisted the help of giant warriors to fend off the invasion of massive monster menaces.  Currently, Japan’s protector is Big Man Japan who reluctantly inherited this major responsibility from his father and his father’s father before him.  Move over Gojira for Big Man Japan is in town!


Big Man Japan is an average, everyday down on his luck citizen named Masaru Daisatô (director/writer/star Hitoshi Matsumoto).  He lives alone.  His wife left him.  He’s broke most of the time and he struggles to make ends meet.  He even has to battle with his ex in order to have visitation with his daughter.  However, when duty calls he marches off to a power plant to receive blasts of electroshocks to kick-start his transformation into a giant overweight (albeit muscular) big-haired, behemoth.  In one scene we see Daisatô stand inside a giant pair of purple drawers.  He receives the electroshocks and then grows into the stocky giant, fitting snuggly into his gigantic purple knickers.

Much like Batman, Big Man Japan is a complete outcast.  People refer to him as a laughing stock and the worst protector Japan has had to date.  They even throw bricks through his window.  Being in the modern day reality television age that we are today doesn’t make matters easier either.   With each defense of Japan, Big Man’s efforts are documented on a late night cable reality show.  He also has a manager who forces him to plaster sponsor decals all over his body in order to make ad revenue as this reluctant hero figure.

At the heart of Big Man Japan, is a story about a lost man, struggling to get by, with the weight of Japan on his shoulders.  Seeing him alone in his tiny apartment, dealing with public ridicule as well as from his ex-wife, really makes you feel for Daisatô.  This is not your everyday cheesy Japanese monster flick.  There’s substance deep down.  Don’t get me wrong though; there is still a ton of cool wacky monsters and battles which giant monster movie fans have grown to love.  Instead of giant rubber-suited monsters, however, Big Man Japan’s creatures are all CGI based, and are really well constructed.  It might be hard getting used to the look of the CG creatures at first, but their coolness will win you over.

When each battle ensues, we see a creature intro from the reality show, followed by Big Man Japan’s battle.  Some of the creatures herein are The Strangling Monster, a long-necked slinky monster with the face of a human and a giant comb-over, who rips buildings from the ground.  The Evil Stare Monster has one eyeball for a head and hurls it around like a ball & chain.  Another is The Leaping Monster that has a giant head attached to a leg and foot that hops around stomping everything in its path.  One of the funniest creatures has to be The Stink Monster, which is explained to be equivalent to the smell of 10,000 human shits and looks like an octopus.  Classic!

Big Man Japan is thoroughly enjoyable and a highly refreshing spin on the whole giant monster sub-genre made famous in Japan.  My only gripe was the film’s ending.  The film built up such great characters, particularly Daisatô which the viewer will grow fond of as a sort of underdog character.  Then the final moments roll and it’s almost as if writer/director/star Hitoshi Matsumoto didn’t know how to finalize everything.  Ebert seemed to have no gripe with the finale, as he praised the film, mentioning nothing of the ending.  Perhaps I lost something in translation.  There are far too many good things going for Big Man Japan though, to simply dismiss it due to the ending.  Give it a try and decide for yourself.  You won’t be sorry.

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SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:

- Making of Big Man Japan
- Deleted Scenes

Big Man Japan is brought to North America by way of Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing as part of their 6-Shooter Film Series.  It’s presented 1.85:1 and looks fantastic on DVD.  The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Japanese with English subtitles.  There are a couple nice supplements included on this disc.  Firstly we get a plethora of deleted scenes (16 in total) which runs a whopping 53-minutes in length.  Naturally, some scenes are better than others but this is a great inclusion.  The second and final extra and the highlight of the release is a Making of Big Man Japan.  It’s in Japanese with English subtitles and runs 108-minutes in length.  A strange inclusion is the option of a commentary, but the commentary is in Japanese, so it’s rather useless to us English speaking folks.  Be sure to watch this feature, sans commentary.  It’s great to see all the behind-the-scenes footage including round table pre-production discussions.

Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing have released another top quality addition to their 6-Shooter Film Series roster.

RATING:
VIDEO: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 (Japanese) 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
DVD: Magnet Releasing, Magnolia 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema
MOVIE: "Big Man Japan" 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1/2 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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