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Two sisters travelling to Japan to do interviews about global warming are caught in the midst of a horrendous earthquake, until they discover that it's something quite different.Written by
There are scenes at the start of the film which are obviously filmed in Tokyo (in Shinjuku) but the caption giving the location is clearly not Shinjuku Gyoen as there is no giant wooden torii gate there. See more »
So were down-town Tokyo, we just went through an earthquake magnitude 7.8. The earthquake happened a little north of the city. I don't know, we're just running.
Sarah, what are you doing, we have to get out of here.
We're doing the story.
The story. Sarah I'm sorry, the story is over.
The earthquake is the story, we have to document this.
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No animals were harmed in the production of this screenplay. Ownership of this motion picture is protected by copyright and other applicable laws, and any unauthorized duplication, distribution or execution of this motion picture could result in criminal prosecution as well as civil liability. [And a foot through the ass.] See more »
Sisters Sarah and Erin hop the bigger pond, landing in Tokyo to film a documentary about global warming (though God knows why). In the midst of their interview with the Environmental Minister, havoc strikes. At first, it's assumed to be another earthquake. When military presence intensifies, terrorism is suspected. But all too soon, it's revealed to be...something else. Sounds a bit familiar, no? Just to get it out of the way, whether or not it's an unhappy accident of conflicting release dates, there's no getting around that this is "Cloverfield"-lite, with a few (very few) deviations. This is evident--from the distant explosion that marks the start of the action, to the overall concept, to splattering the camera with blood at least once. The monsters even roar as if they were separated at birth. To be fair, this film does have a few things on Cloverfield. The fish-out-of-water angle, namely placing the protagonists in an unfamiliar culture, was a great idea. It's difficult enough to survive disaster when most everyone speaks your language, but when they don't, the challenge is increased quite a bit. While the presentation of the global warming message is..."crunchy" at best, the not-so-subtle hint that global warming itself awakened the creature is another juicy notion. Honestly, there's no better place on earth to set your disaster than Tokyo, the world's capital of disasters! The biggest thing for me personally would have to be the logic of the beast itself. In this film, it seemed to cut its paths of destruction through heavily populated areas, as I believe an angry beast would, rather than conveniently following four scrawny twenty-somethings around, and even directly snacking on one of them, as New York's monster did.
Now that that's out of the way, even if Cloverfield never existed, this would still be pretty poor. The creature, a giant squid presumably, isn't actually seen doing very much to constitute a threat. Perhaps it could have actually picked up someone or smashed something, but all we're treated to is many angles of large, waving tentacles. One thing it makes you appreciate is how difficult disaster is to write. It seems that it's very easy to get so wrapped up in the turmoil of your story that you forget how people actually talk, particularly in the midst of emergency. Sarah and Erin (their actual first names, by the way; a bright-and-shining sign of non-actors) appear to struggle on the initiative to keep many of David Michael Latt's throw-away lines out of the production, but enough of them sneak in to become distracting. "I feel like we were meant to be here...", "It's so important to document this..." Sure. I realize they would have to invent reasons for our heroines to lug around an industrial-grade camera, but there must have been another way. Call me shallow, but I believe I'd find it difficult to think of what progeny will see someday when flaming debris is exploding all around me, and the street is caving in underneath my feet.
An additional note about the cast--in truth, considering the script, there's really no reason to have anyone American in it. The Japanese actors (and their characters) are FAR better than the American ones; particularly the high-schooler who lives with her half-crazed dad (and dad seems to know something of the angry creature) and the young doctor who just wants to get across town and make sure his son is okay. I wished the film were about THEM, or someone like them. Were I in Erik Estenberg and company's shoes, I'm sure I would have shot the entire thing with an entirely Japanese cast and subtitles. Couldn't the Japanese document their own disasters? They've had lots of practice.
So, maybe it's not so much a ripoff as it is just not good. Of course, consider that trailer for another Asylum treat, "AVH". As in, "Alien Vs. Hunter". As in intergalactic hunters with advanced camouflage fighting slimy aliens with elongated heads and teeth. Can't wait for that one, can ya? What? You've seen it? Of course you have...
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