In the aftermath of a major earthquake under Suraga Bay, Misaki (a young girl) and Toshiro (a pilot of a deep sea submarine) are rescued from a ruined city street just as leaking gasoline ignites. Reiko Abe arrives just in time, lowered from a helicopter. Scientists predict that Japan will sink within 40 years, due to subduction of a tectonic plate to the west. However, Dr.Tadokoro, who leads an oceanic scientific team that includes Toshiro, calculates that this will happen far sooner, in only 338.54 days.
Directed by: Shinji Higuchi
. Starring: Tsuyoshi Kusanagi
, Ko Shibasaki
, Etsushi Toyokawa
, Mao Daichi
, Mitsuhiro Oikawa
, Mayuko Fukuda
, Hideko Yoshida
, Akira Emoto
, Jun Kunimura
, Kôji Ishizaka
, Ken'ichi Endô
, Takeshi Katô
, Hideaki Anno
. Music by: Tarô Iwashiro
Promoted as an 'epic blockbuster', I was under no illusions that this was a film that was likely to be something in the mould of a typical US disaster movie, rather than a serious attempt at in depth story telling and character development. However, much like a Roland Emerich film, any attempt to suspend the audiences belief is abandoned in favour of a too unlikely scenario, occasional cheap thrills and shallow, paper thin characterisations and cliché. All of which I could have coped with if the film were at least vaguely entertaining.
Like Armageddon, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow the film takes a huge pinch of salt and throws it at a premise that has some potential basis in fact; in this case, the precarious location of Japan along the Pacific ring of fire, and the likelihood of apocalyptic disaster; (the like of which we have seen in all to great a reality in recent months). It adds an uninspiring dash of flat; clichéd characters; (you know the ones; male and female protagonists who are divorced but forced to reconcile; cute little orphan girl (Awww); chain smoking, maverick scientist and a bunch of old, stubborn politicians)and shoves in the S L O W cooker until every molecule of freshness, vitality and energy has been vaporised; along with your patience, attention span and desire to keep watching.
Before I knew what a disaster this disaster movie would turn out to be, I had prepared for a schlock movie that might numb the brain but would at least delight my senses with elaborate special effects and multiple scenes of mayhem and destruction.... I settled down to watch and within the first few minutes decided that I might end up with just the numb brain. How right I was.
A veritable movie by numbers, it became clear that this was an Asain movie that would abandon the usually carefully constructed plot lines and interesting, 3 dimensional characters that usually inhabit the world of Japanese Cinema, rather it would aim to emulate American cinema in practically every way possible. After a rambling introduction that serves as a geology lesson for infants, we are 'told' that a series of events are underway that would ultimately lead to the entire Japanese archipelago sinking within 40 years... within the next hour or so however these events begin to unravel with unbelievable speed; erupting volcanoes, tidal waves and earthquakes soon begin to plague the good citizens of Japan, with an over used satellite POV showing us the scale of the disaster. And so the movie continues, peppered with some extraneous and totally predictable romantic fluff with the male and female 'leads', and the chain smoking maverick scientist coming up with a plan to save the rapidly ailing country.
All these scenes are nothing more than long episodes of pointless exposition, the scriptwriters and director using their actors to explain each and every event to the audience... because apparently, we are too stupid to work it out for ourselves; (I could have watched the movie without subtitles and told you exactly what was happening). All this is very, very boring and only sparsely interspersed with some pretty impressive set pieces, which at least have the benefit of being more believable than the rest of what is happening. Sadly, the special effects sequences are far too few and far between, and serve only to jolt you from the frequent bouts of approaching slumber that you will doubtless succumb to as the film plods on with a pacing akin to a snail race. Unfortunately, whilst worthy, these effects cannot do anything to save the film, which crumbles pathetically with each erupting volcano and rumbling earthquake.
The ending; when it eventually comes, is woefully inevitable from very early on in the script, rendering the 'plot' (such as it is) redundant for much of the film. With dull characters, predictable and unoriginal script, and a running time of 135 minutes you'll be wishing that the place had sunk in the first 5 minutes of inserting your DVD.
Review by honest-millions from the Internet Movie Database.