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On the way home from a school trip, an unexplained earthquake traps Teru Aoki's express train in a collapsed tunnel. The only other survivors of the catastrophe are his classmates, Ako Seto and Nobuo Takahashi. After the claustrophobic Nobus goes mad Te
Something a previous reviewer missed, but which completely explains a big part of the film: This is a manga adaption. Most manga have several stories, one after another, and if you adapt that directly into a movie, you get a movie with several stories happening one after another. That's why the movie seems to be about unconnected events happening after each other; the source material was.
I knew as soon as I saw Nobuo left behind that he was never going to show up again, simply because I guessed that that was the end of his manga story. Likewise, any anime fan will tell you that it's common for something adapted from manga to have a bad ending--simply because it only adapted part of the manga and in the source material, the "ending" wasn't an ending at all.
It's much better if you keep all that in mind and don't expect it to have a continuing plot or an ending.
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For me, this was a wonderful movie that was indeed thought provoking (if you're into that kind of thing or you can just enjoy explosions and violence). After reading one of these reviews, I've got to put in my two cents - hopefully without spoilers! The 2 main characters are Teru and Ako, who are students that survived a train wreck in a tunnel only to find that the world outside the tunnel has been basically destroyed and covered in white ash. If you pay attention to the movie, the reason for the end of the world scenario was not only explained but shown with great effects! The people the protagonists come across seem to have become insane - many reasons were proposed in the movie - and I'm sure we have a brain to contemplate about it too. The movie follows Teru and Ako as they try to get home...it's kind of despairing for the characters yet they gradually understand why they should continue to try to survive. And that it's better to feel fear than nothing at all.
I admit the beginning is a bit slow if only to show how disoriented Teru and Ako are when finding everyone dead. It may not be the movie for you if you've become numb to apocalypse movies with everyone dead and can't even empathize with the feelings of the survivors anymore. But yeah, sure there's violence. And there's really no other reasonable way nor better way to end the movie. I highly recommend this!
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I bought what I thought was a DVD of the Korean film _Natural City_ at a science fiction convention. Several weeks later, I got around to watching it, and discovered that instead of a Korean film about cyborgs, I had a Japanese film about volcanic eruptions destroying civilization and annihilating most of humanity.
I wasn't sure I'd like the movie when I realized, about one minute into it (I can read hangul, but know hardly any kanji) that this wasn't the film I thought I'd bought. For the first 15 minutes or so I watched it with my finger hovering over the "stop" button on the remote, but after that amount of time I decided that I wanted to see the whole film.
The main characters of the film are Teru and Ako, two teenagers who were on a train going to Tokyo from Kyoto when something happened, causing the train to crash in a tunnel, killing almost everyone on it except for the above-mentioned two, and a boy named Nobuo, who has gone insane. For a while I wasn't sure if this was a general catastrophe, or just a train wreck; after a bit, it is revealed that there indeed has been a cataclysm, and not many are left alive.
The main theme of the film is that of the conflict between conforming to authority and individualism: this is shown early in the film when Nobuo screams at his badly-injured schoolteacher
"You're the adult here! You've got to help me!" The suggestion is that Nobuo in part loses his sanity because there's no one there to tell him what to do.
This theme is further developed through the course of the story (no spoilers here!). I'll go so far as to say that the film does not have a happy ending, but that the ending is satisfying (at least to me).
I liked this film better than I expected I would, and will probably watch it again sometime; I therefore recommend it.
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I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic event films. I think it is because Planet of the Apes was the first film I remember having an impact on me in my formative years. I avoid most Hollywood pap, but find my pulse racing when titles like Deep Impact and The Day After Tomorrow appear. So when I went in the video shop and saw the front cover of Dragon Head, with the bullet train nose-cone sticking out of the earth a-la the Statue of Liberty in Apes, I immediately snapped it up.
What a waste of 400 yen. No story, no character development, poor effects, and a male lead who wanders about clueless from start to finish. Most bad films leave you bored or listless; with Dragon Head, I was shouting at the TV screen, it was so mind-numbingly stupid. Some kind of apocalyptic event has taken place while the protagonist was riding the train. What is this event? How did it come about? We are never told. How do the surviving male and female high school pupils come to terms with this event? They don't. How do they grow, mature and change through the film? They don't. They just wander from one bizarre scenario to the next (from a town where the youth have turned on their elders, to a bunker where everyone is eating drugged food) without any causal relationship between the stages of their journey or the events they encounter there. I suppose some kind of Lord of the Flies metaphor is implied by the boy-savage who menaces the leads in the first third, but without connecting this to WHY civilisation has ended and WHY people are reacting the way they are, the message goes nowhere.
A script as poor as this should never, ever have been made. What is going on in the Japanese cinema industry when rubbish like this gets an international DVD release while Swallowtail Butterfly can't be found?Read more ›