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The World Sinks Except Japan More at IMDbPro »Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu (original title)

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18 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

7/10 - more enjoyable than Japan sinking

Author: Simon Booth from UK
26 April 2007

Due to rather dubious plate tectonics, every country in the world starts to sink beneath the sea... except Japan. It all happens so quickly that few survive, but the richest and most powerful in each country manage to make it to Japan to escape the watery fate of most of humanity. Politicians and movie stars that were used to being the world's elite find themselves in an entirely different situation in their new homeland, at the mercy of the generosity of their hosts - or failing that, their ability to entertain them.

THE SINKING OF JAPAN was originally a novel, released in 1973, and it spawned a satirical response in the form of a short novel called THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN. When it was announced that the original novel was to be made into a big-budget movie (for the second time) in 2006, the only reasonable thing for Minoru Kawasaki to do was to announce that he would make its satirical brother into a movie too... but on what must doubtless have been a fraction of the budget that could comfortably be rounded down to zero.

Whilst the rest of the world was barely mentioned in passing when Japan sank, here they are foregrounded, and the reaction of the Japanese to having to share their country with an influx of foreigners whom they now have power over is the major focus of the film. Whilst JAPAN SINKS revels in notions of the Japanese spirit excelling and triumphing in the face of adversity, THE WORLD SINKS has a much more realistic view of humanity (not just in Japan) - selfish, vain, petulant, unreliable, untrustworthy and xenophobic.

Whilst WORLD certainly doesn't have the budget for special effects that JAPAN did, it makes up for it by having a smart script and a sense of humour. Characters are mostly ridiculous stereotypes, and the film is cheerfully ridiculous on many occasions. The acting is mostly terrible, but that's not such a bad thing when the film isn't asking us take it seriously and have an emotional response. There are many non-Japanese cast members, and their ability with the language ranges from fluency to barely able to string a sentence together - which fits the situation of their characters.

There are no heroics to be found here, and no heart-warming message about triumph in the face of adversity, which means it's much less nauseating than the film it satirises - and generally more satisfying. It can't be claimed to be a great film because the production values are so bargain basement, but I happily give it... 7.5/10

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21 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A well done film adaption of the parody of the hit novel Nihon Chinbotsu

Author: barkerintokyo from United States
27 January 2007

A hilarious film adaptation by Kawasaki Minoru of a parody of the famous 1970s novel Nihon Chinbotsu. Nihon Chinbotsu is the story of the Japanese people losing their homeland and being dispersed throughout the world. Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu is the opposite: the whole world sinks except Japan. The world's survivors all scramble on the small little archipelago occupied by the xenophobic Japanese. With Team America-like line of characters, all extreme stereotypes of their nation, you can't stop laughing. No one escapes the directors critique, from the traditional Japanese guy (who takes advantage of the situation and eats whale), to the Chinese/Korean leaders who suck up to Japan's Prime Minister, to the American Secretary of Defense who regrets not having started a coup d'etat in Japan, and etcetera.

Of course, the story is just incredible. Of course there are going to be those who are going to criticize this movie saying the science behind the disaster is unrealistic, the economic situation of the foreigners would not happen, and that's fine. People who are going to criticize this movie for reasons like that just don't get that they need to suspend their disbelief when watching comedies like this one who's primary focus is not to tell a believable story but a ridiculously funny one.

Then there may be those who claim this is a nationalistic film, but again, those people are the same people who thought Team America was a nationalistic film. They just didn't get the masochistic humor. This movie is critical of not just its own nationality but even the movie itself ("I don't like Japanese movies, they look so cheap").

Finally, this movie will shock you with a surprisingly funny, yet touching end (well, as touching as a comedy can get). I wouldn't say it's a must watch, but it's a good complement to Nihon Chinbotsu as well as being a good stand alone film as well.

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

misunderstanding a major political statement

Author: simber2 from Canada
13 March 2009

Well well, It seems most reviewers here just don't get it...Having lived in Japan for 3 years, I can tell you that what Minoru Kawasaki is courageously trying to do is what Americans would need in order to get back a vital minimum of self-criticism toward their own issues with nationalism...

This is a major political statement typical from a new generation of Japanese artist who are trying to shake things up a bit.Brilliant stuff if you do have a second degree of understanding things. Otherwise, well, just watch the parodied movie "japan sinks",utter rubbish that came out the same year with about 2000% of the budget and think for yourself, if you can.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

if you're not Japanese, and have lived in Japan, watch this movie

Author: arjuna from Switzerland
29 September 2010

This is the kind of movie I would have liked to have written myself about Japan and the foreigner experience. This is a well-written, original, totally tongue-in-cheek farce. Foreigners living in Japan spend all of their time talking about the strangeness of the experience, but it had yet to be made into good literature. It's hard to be funny (as a comedy or satire) for the full duration of a movie, and also all movies, in general, tend to founder and become clichéd in the second half, after their structural pretexts have been presented. But this one continues to deliver and be trenchantly funny and topical and original all the way through. That is rare for a comic piece. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on it, especially for anyone who has lived as a foreigner in Japan, or any Japanese who have had close relations with foreigners in Japan. People who don't know Japan will not understand the farce, and will not like this movie. People who know Japan will be rolling in the aisles.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious Especially For Students of Japanese Culture.

Author: WILLIAM FLANIGAN from United States
31 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Viewed on DVD. Rarely do Japanese film comedies survive cultural translation. Here is an exception, since the satire is so broad brushed you can't miss at least some of the humor. From ridiculous accents spouted by non-Japanese actors to whale meat dishes to (now superfluous) world leaders and international organizations, there is tongue-in (and out-of) cheek humor directed in all directions including Japanese black humor, stereotypes, and parodies. Cheesy "special effects" add to the fun. Directing, acting (especially Hitomi Takashima), cinematography, and film score are fine. The film seems stretched out though; its satirical impact could have benefited from more judicious pruning. Subtitles are a bit long and often tardy (what actors are saying is translated after (not while) the dialog is delivered). The more you know (or think you know) about modern Japanese culture, the greater should be your amusement! WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A comedy in the vein of Monty Python

Author: apt8609 from Pittsburgh, PA
3 November 2011

I loved this movie. OBVIOUSLY it's a comedy, a great comedy. In the same vein as Monty Python or South Park, it's a movie that's meant to be offensive to pretty much everyone. Yes, it mocks the ignorance of Americans and how they are overly dependent on our military power. It also mocks China and Korea. But mostly it mocks Japan itself and the systemic xenophobia that still pervades the country to some extent. It's a highly random movie that combines the randomness and political commentary of shows like South Park, but adds the additional unique wackiness of Japanese movies. Also, it looks just as low budget as the Gojira movies of the 60s. Whether intentionally cheap-looking for stylistic reasons or due to low budget(I think this is the case), it adds a lot of laughs, especially when the Statute of Liberty sinks. To people who find this offensive, I can only say that you obviously don't understand satire or sarcasm. Maybe you should spend some more time studying Japanese culture or speaking to Japanese people and get a grasp of their humor. My advice, stop being offended at every little thing, relax, and enjoy a great camp movie. If you can't do that, maybe this movie isn't for you.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I have no idea if they were kidding or not, but the film is very amateurish regardless.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
7 July 2011

"The World Sinks Except Japan" is set in the near future. It begins with the United States being destroyed by Earthquakes and floods--and millions of refugees pour into Europe, Australia and Asia. Then, one-by-one, the rest of the nations of the world suffer the same fate...except for Japan. As a result, the country is inundated with immigrants--and the Japanese soon get sick of all these poor freeloaders.

After having seen "The World Sinks Except Japan", I think it was a comedy--a parody of sorts. However, I am not really sure. Does it make fun of the old xenophobic Japan of the WWII era or is it really just a nasty xenophobic flick? I am not sure...and that alone make this a movie that isn't super-satisfying. However, whether it's a joke or not, you really can't help but notice that it's incredibly poorly made. Now part of this could be part of some joke (that I didn't at all understand) but seeing incredibly broad overacting, 'American' actors who can barely speak English at all (you'd think they'd hire more real Americans or actors who could at least approximate the language) and some tacky references (such as making Chinese and Korean leaders lapdogs of the Japanese in the movie--pretty tacky when you think about history and the 1930s) all made me just think the film was bad...and a bit dull to boot.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I prefer the Japanese to be serious

Author: Pacheau Vaughn from Poland
17 September 2010

...because when they start to be funny, it turns out to be boring. Or, as in this case, simply disgusting. The plan was to mock the Japanese nationalism and xenophobia, but I actually had trouble noticing the line between a satire and the real thing in this movie. The general idea is highly attractive, I readily admit, but the script writers didn't make it work at all. The director didn't do the good job either. The non-Japanese actors are simply awful, it looks more amateurish than anything else. Any good points? Racking my head to find any, but the best moments gave me just a faint smile, not a laugh. Anybody lured by a good title, stay away from this movie.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very bad adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui's short novel

Author: ebiros2 from United States
5 June 2011

This movie is based on a short novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui that parodied a much more authoritative novel done by Sakyo Komatsu which depicted the sinking of Japan into the mantle.

Yasutaka Tsutsui is famous for writing novels lampooning real life situations such as Nihon Apachi Zoku (Apaches in Japan). He's also capable of writing much more serious sci-fi such as the famous "Girl who leaped through time" (Toki o kakeru shojo). This movie is based on a short novel that was only about 10 pages long which was a parody of the more famous "Nihon Chinbotsu" (Japan Sinks) by Sakyo Komatsu. It was meant to be a tongue in cheek satire, and even in the original novel, the title "Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu" , words Nihon and Chinbotsu was printed in a large font and "Igai Zenbu" was printed in a tiny font making sure that people understood the authors intent. When this novel first came out, Frank Sinatra was still alive, and at the opening scene he's the one who's singing in a cabaret in Tokyo. The novel itself wasn't meant to be high quality, and it had no artistic value. They've expanded on the story and made it into a movie.

The original novel wasn't any masterpiece, and the movie couldn't save it from its trashy origin. I'm not sure how Tsutsui himself views this movie as I'm sure he wrote the thing in few hours or at most few days just to muse himself.

Best skip this one and not take it too seriously even if you have the opportunity to see it.

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9 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: Daniel Vazquez from United Kingdom
30 March 2008

I read a brief description of this film and thought it sounded like an excellent premise for a hilarious comedy. Unfortunately, the first time I started watching it I gave up after about ten minutes. After I finally watched the film I wondered I why I'd tortured myself.

The films suffers from four major flaws: 1. Production values are non-existent. 2. It has an awful script without a coherent plot where all the characters are underdeveloped. Instead we get cheap gags that rarely raise a laugh because no empathy has been built up. 3. The Japanese actors are OK, but the foreign actors are awful and barely watchable. 4. The 'social commentary' is largely superficial and even where interesting issues are brought they swiftly disappear and get ignored.

It's a shame the film is so poor. With such an interesting premise a brilliant film could have possibly been made. Instead we get a truly bad film.

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