Anyone who watches a lot of Japanese monster movies knows how the story goes. We are introduced to a giant monstrous threat to humanity, people panic, and some force arrives to save the day. The two clash and sometimes the opponent dies, and that begs the question (and also the title of the movie), What to Do with a Dead Kaiju? (大怪獣のあとしまつ)
The answer we get is similar to what we saw in Shin Godzilla (while he’s alive). We have to address the ramifcations of sending out special forces, decide when to make a stand, and consider the cost of rebuilding–especially after all the missiles are fired. The mess that the Japanese special forces have to deal with afterwards is never shown, and as for other monster movies prior, we never know about the damage control that has to take place between films.
And it’s tough to tell if Satoshi Miki‘s film is trying to be serious. This movie was the last thing I saw at Fantasia Film Festival because of my love for this genre. Plus, the trailer made the film look good. Maybe next time, I should consider looking at Japanese reviews. But I have no regrets over my decision.
In What to Do with a Dead Kaiju?, Prime minister Kan Nishiotachime (Toshiyuki Nishida) is having a rough go at deciding on what to do. He’s getting opposing points of view. One side wants to turn this body into a side-show attraction, and the other says dispose of it. During all this debate, what it becomes and can infect is not blue edible mushrooms! Also, we also give this kaiju a very strange name. I was asking, “Why call it HERO when all it’s done was destroy the outskirts of Tokyo?”
Arata Obinata (Ryosuke Yamada) of the Japan Special Forces has other theories. When considering he has a past with Yukino Amane (Tao Tsuchiya), who now works as a secretary to the environment minister Sayuri Renbutsu (Eri Fuse), getting things done will not be easy. She is married to Masahiko-kun (Gaku Hamada), and he is working for the Prime Minister. Lastly, demolition expert Ryo ‘Blues’ Aoshima (Joe Odagiri) simply says blow it up!
While audiences are hoping to see lots of explosions tearing this monster up, we get more expositions instead. Soon, we learn its decomposition is setting off noxious fumes. As a result, the environment is changing. Unlike those kaiju films of long ago which were an allegory to man’s destructive tendencies, this movie suggests that we should let nature run its course. I didn’t know what to expect because the trailer made this work look good. Thus, I found the humour very underrated, and the decision over What to Do with a Dead Kaiju was dragged out because nobody realised the clock is counting down to something. Nobody knew that was the case! Also, I suspect some of the comedy is lost in the translation.
As far as the plot is concerned, whoever can move the body, so the city can rebuild would get the prize. We just have to figure out who can do the job. One detail that wasn’t made clear is in who created that fleshy gash on the HERO’s chest? It seems like a bomb exploded inside its chest. Instead of dying mid-stride, maybe it was a purposeful kill. If that’s the case, then humanity has a lot to cheer for, since all anyone has to do is to defeat a giant monster is to get it to swallow a bomb. Case closed. And as for whether all kaijus go to heaven, that’s tough to say.
3 Roars out of 5