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Big Man Japan (Hitoshi Matsumoto)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
A sublime comedy that focuses upon character and not gigantic monster battle scenes (though there are a few of those). The story's foundation upon reality is never explained and we're baffled by these insane monsters: where do they come from? Why aren't people afraid? And where do they go when they die? But the science and physics isn't the appeal...it's our protogonist and his powerlessness. And it's a nice spoof of a genre that seems rather silly in the first place...fun, but silly.

BIG MAN JAPAN (Hitoshi Matsumoto, 2007, Japan) Daisato attempts to fulfill his grandfather’s grandiose legacy but they’re big shoes to fill…and pants. Daisato is a blue-collar bum who is the last of a dying breed of superhero: a man who is electrically charged into becoming an engorged flabby guardian armed only with an impotent baton, a clumsy giant who must fight absurd creatures amid a dioramic Japan. Director Hitoshi Matsumoto films this parody in a cinema verite style; ridiculing the subjects of Reality TV, the strange fetish for giant monsters (often more popular than the ‘hero”), and the cult of personality that fascinates our modern boorish culture. Matsumoto’s sublime documentary focuses upon the loser image of Daisato, his long hair often obscuring his face, living amid the refuse of a used-up life. Separated from his wife and scorned by his young daughter, his tattered life is reflected by the low television ratings of his battles (more Homer Simpson than Homer): as the ratings sink, his home becomes more cluttered and defaced by vandals. But he struggles ever onward to save his country from insane creatures like the middle-aged comb-over Slinky who pile drives skyscrapers, or the creatures whose genitalia and mating rituals disgust even our giant hero. When he accidentally drops a baby monster that was causing no harm, even his agent can’t sell advertising upon his torso any longer: and Daisato just won’t give up his hips for profane slogans! The story focuses upon the tiny life of our huge protagonist, his human faults and fallacies, and the impossibility of his attempts to live up to his family’s reputation. The monster battles are ludicrous and they’re meant to be, causing a narrative rift that make us question whether he is in reality a superhero…or just an actor playing one on an idiotic TV show. Daisato shows no physical prowess or codified martial arts tradition; he’s just a sloth who stumbles through his shtick: his most popular show is the one where he runs away from a devilish foe! Finally, the film blurs the line between his warped reality and fantasy, deconstructing itself into a typical costumed television show with Daisato and the cast obviously dressed in costumes, arguing amongst themselves about their latest exploit. Everyone loves an underdog and maybe our hero has finally found a home. (B)


message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip sounds like fun, alex! thanks for posting; i have a crazy couple of weeks ahead, but i'll look for it.


message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam Alex thanks so much for posting this ...

I agree with you about the big man himself - that contrast of his down trodden attitude to his physical size was neat

completely agree - silly beyond all reason - but this silly girl loved the whole kit ... massively big pants, unbelievable monsters, the ritual, scathing public and all


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I hope more people find this dvd in their local video store or queue! Thanks Sam:)


message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i was looking for it ysterday at the video store and didn't see it.... but it's on my list, and that's a good start. hopefully i won't have to wait as long as it took me to find [*REC:].


message 6: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
It is goofy...but with a heart.


message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Yes, definately a parody on the cult of Japanese "Giant Monster" movies. Here, we get to see how our "hero" Diasato gets into his huge underwear when he transforms! I always wondered how the Hulk had purple shorts: did Banner always wear stretchable underwear just in case he enlarged? Sorry, bad pun.


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