Submersion of Japan (1973) torrent download

Submersion of Japan

1973

Action / Drama / Sci-Fi

5.5

Synopsis

Racked by earthquakes and volcanos, Japan is slowly sinking into the sea. A race against time and tide begins as Americans and the Japanese work together to salvage some fraction of the disappearing Japan. —Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Director

Shirô Moritani

Cast

Tetsurō Tamba
as Prime Minister Yamamoto
Keiju Kobayashi
as Dr. Tadokoro
Andrew Hughes
as Australian Prime Minister
Hiroshi Fujioka
as Onodera Toshio
Ayumi Ishida
as Abe Reiko
Shôgo Shimada
as Old man Watari

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbborroughs 10 /10

Do Not Confuse the Full Version With the Awful Tidal Wave

In the wake of the disaster cycle of the 1970's Roger Corman imported this film about the destruction of Japan, hacked out about 90 minutes, added Lorne Greene and dumped it on an easily fooled American public. How would Gone with the Wind survive with over three fifths of it cut away?

If you should be lucky enough to see the full Japanese cut of this film you will be treated not only to a spectacular disaster film, the disaster sequences being what Corman primarily pillaged, but one that raises many interesting social questions, if you know a country is ceasing to exist, what do you do with the population? What happens when one of the world's financial powers ceases to exist? How does the world view the Japanese, or any country for that matter? The social questions are shoe horned in to the drama of people not only trying to survive the destruction but also find a place to go.

The full two hour and thirty minute version is one of the best big budget disaster films ever made. Actually its much better than that, its simply one of the best films I've run across. Certainly its infinitely better than the film that runs half its length and is its bastard child.

See the full version and avoid Tidal Wave.

Reviewed by BrianDanaCamp N/A

Not-so-epic disaster film about the sinking of Japan

This will be the first comment here that actually reviews the original 143-minute Japanese film, THE SUBMERSION OF JAPAN (1973) and not the shortened, recut 82-minute U.S. release version, TIDAL WAVE (1975).

THE SUBMERSION OF JAPAN is based on a 1973 novel, "Japan Sinks," by Sakyo Komatsu, that posits a series of geological disturbances, described in great scientific detail, that cause the Japan archipelago to first be broken up and then, ultimately, completely submerged. In the novel, the eventual catastrophe is presaged by a series of quakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, etc. that alert the most forward-thinking members of the scientific community to the fate awaiting Japan. There are a few main characters, but the book never gets very close to any of them, preferring to flit back and forth between developments on a number of fronts, including the reactions of various foreign governments to pleas by Japan to take its refugees. The ostensible hero is Onodera, an expert at underwater exploration, and his love interest is Reiko, a sexy, somewhat impulsive rich girl looking for a husband. He doesn't really have much of a part (at least in the abridged English translation I read), while Reiko only has about two scenes.

I watched an unsubtitled tape of the movie right after reading the book. The movie is incredibly talky. I would estimate that 90 percent of it consists of men sitting in cramped rooms talking. What I found especially frustrating is the lack of urgency. We see none of the smaller disturbances around the country that build up to the big disasters. We get virtually nothing until the 54-minute mark when an earthquake suddenly hits Tokyo and causes massive death and destruction. Within two minutes of its start we see Tokyo in flames and sensational shots of people trapped in burning cars and catching fire and being crushed by falling debris. No build-up. No sense of a chain of cause-and-effect. And then nothing for another 53 minutes. It's right back to the men in suits sitting in rooms, talking, talking, talking.

The movie is also poorly shot, directed and edited. There doesn't seem to be any attention to production design. The visuals are invariably dull or ugly. Nothing looks right. When the Prime Minister has his first big meeting with scientists about the crisis, it takes place in a small conference room of the type you'd find in a public school or local government office. They seem to have shot wherever they could get quick access to an actual interior instead of actually building sets or seeking locations that looked good on film. I don't know whether they thought this would make it look realistic or semi-documentary or something, but it makes the whole enterprise look incredibly cheap. Also, there are very few establishing shots, so we almost never know where anything is taking place. Every time the scene changes, it's a cut from one cramped interior with one group of characters to another cramped interior with another group of characters that could be down the hall or a thousand miles away for all we know.

While watching it, I kept thinking back to Ishiro Honda's films, most notably GODZILLA (1954) and RODAN (1957). Any one of his films looked far better, cinematically, and far more realistic in their depictions of disaster than this film did. Why didn't Toho hire Honda to direct this? He was, after all, the studio's in-house expert on the use of miniature sets in the destruction of Tokyo and would certainly have gotten a lot more mileage out of the miniatures used here than this director, Shiro Moritani, did.

The one major star in the cast, Tetsuro Tanba (YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, MESSAGE FROM SPACE), plays the Prime Minister, who becomes much more of a major character than he was in the book and is seen, uncharacteristically, yelling and carrying on at a high emotional pitch in several scenes. (Why does he yell at the top of his lungs over the phone at a helicopter pilot who is simply trying to report on the Tokyo fire and earthquake? Is that something a Prime Minister would do?) Also in the cast, in the role of Onodera, is Hiroshi Fujioka, better known to U.S. fans of Japanese fantasy as "Kamen Rider," from the TV series of that name. (He was also the star of the U.S.-made Samurai-in-ice thriller, GHOST WARRIOR, 1982.)

I should point out that I've also seen Roger Corman's edited version of this film, TIDAL WAVE (1975), which I remember as being pretty awful. I used to harbor hard feelings toward Corman for the butchery he performed on the original film, but, having finally seen the original, I can't see any way this film could have been released, as is, in the U.S. It's just too long, slow, talky and cheap-looking.

Reviewed by Aylmer 7 /10

Excellent effects and Tetsuro Tamba performance in otherwise slow-going film

Overall one's reaction to this film will rely on how interested they are in geology and plate tectonics. There are several points in this film where it grinds to a halt and we are "treated" to a lecture about how the earth's crust and mantle work and why the destruction of Japan is so imminent. While ostensibly quite boring, this actually perked up my attention as the whole scenario seems quite plausible. Japan is in fact in a precarious geologic position and could indeed one day (albeit over the course of millions of years) fall away into the Japan Trench.

This movie asks you to accept a huge what-if scenario for if continental drift could suddenly accelerate to cataclysmic rates. Fortunately this film also does a pretty good attempt to simulate this, relying heavily on Teruyoshi Nakano's brilliant pyrotechnic effects.

The real show-stopper comes about 40 minutes into the film with the out-of-nowhere 15-minute earthquake that strikes Tokyo and kills over 3 million people. What a bodycount! I think it had to be the largest in any film up to that point. Lots of quality shots of oil refineries exploding, cars crashing, people running around on fire, and even some surprisingly graphic gore when glass shards rain down on civilians. This sequence (along with the film in general) is aided immeasurably by one of Tetsuro Tamba's best performances ever as the stoic, yet prone-to-outburst prime minister.

Unfortunately this mid-movie sequence is the high point of the film. The climax is clumsily structured and not very exciting at all, instead deciding to focus on two married evacuees being separated. Quite disappointing. At least the film maintains a level of earnest seriousness which can draw you in even though there is little or no character development... much like VIRUS did seven years later. Also it asks some good questions such as whether a nation deserves to exist when the land underneath it ceases to be... or what human life (when we're not talking about a few, but 100 MILLION) is really worth.

Overall though, this film is a bit talky and poorly structured, but personally I was quite intrigued and not bored... and the mid-movie destruction and mayhem (as only the Japanese can deliver) was well-worth the price of admission. Also, refreshingly for Toho films of the time, there are no annoying children and no attempts at humor. Zero.

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