Spoilers are going to need a bigger trash bag.
Yes, this is the last one for this year’s Fantasia. I wanted to pick something that would encourage audience feedback, just to remember this festival as it should be: loud, subversive, funny, silly and preposterous. Those also happen to be spot on words to describe this feature, courtesy of master filmmaker Satoshi Miki. There’s some nitpicky reasons why this movie is not perfect, but there’s also some big ones for it to be a lot of fun specially with the right crowd. Let’s get ready to rumble.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE DEAD KAIJU (2022) is written and directed by Satoshi Miki. The dust has settled and the battle is done. The kaiju, the giant monster that attacked Tokyo, has fallen. All the solutions proposed by the JSF (Japan Special Force) failed. Only a miracle, a deus ex machina, stopped the monster and left behind its carcass. Now the questions begin. Officer Arata (Ryosuke Yamada) of the JSF has been assigned to clean up duty. However political machinations on how better to handle the situations make his job impossible to complete. Should it be thrown away? Should it be turned into an amusement park? What is that smell?
This one is a comedy of titanic proportions. The battle against the giants is over but now the ministers keep passing the ball as to whom the giant disaster should be assigned to, or more likely who to blame when the herculean task of cleaning up becomes a complete mess. Eager to stand down Tokyo from its high alert is the Prime Minister Kan Nishiotachime (Toshiyuki Nishida), who dispatches the Minister for the Environment Sayuri Renbutsu (Eri Fuse), often belittled by the rest of the ministers who fight amongst themselves at kindergarten level. She has a hidden ace as her assistant Yukino Amane (Tao Tsuchiya) was once Arata’s sweetheart before she married politically ambitious Masahiko Ame (Gaku Hamada) and still resentful with Arata since he disappeared mysteriously during the last battle with the kaiju.
This film is a cleverly blunt satire of the political machine. The truth is that only with the audience looking in we can see how inept this body of government gets as they seem to ignore anything that doesn’t fit the narrative that they want to present to the public. Sound familiar? Yeah, the filmmakers are making sure that nobody escapes the ridicule here as it seems it must come down to the people who actually know what they’re doing to break every rule and try to minimize the damage. But of course that means there will be damage. And lots of it.
Highly recommended for fans of kaiju films that don’t take themselves too seriously. Maybe it’s just a simple concept with very stupid characters but it works hilariously, or it did for me that evening. Depending on your mood and humour, your mileage might vary, but I found a perfect option for a Fantasia audience and a good pick for my last film. Worth a watch with the right crowd.
That will do for now.