Wednesday, February 07, 2007

7 Dollar Popcorn Presents The 7 Dollar Popcorn FILMuary Extravaganza: 28 Days of Movie Mayhem Day 7: The Great Yokai War

So, how many days until I finally get around to doing a Japanese movie? It was day seven of 7 Dollar Popcorn Presents The 7 Dollar Popcorn FILMuary Extravaganza: 28 Days of Movie Mayhem Day. The Movie? Takashi Miike's fantasy file The Great Yokai War.

Yokai are spirits in Japanese folklore. Kind of like minor gods, but not gods. They're the spirits of various things and activities. For example, theres the sprite of rubbing your shins. You also have bean washer spirits. Many of them are pretty mundane, others are more like royalty of their areas, like seasons or places. Hell, there's probably some spirit of shoving toy clowns in strangers vaginas. It's that kind of a thing. And the Japanese are kind of weird...

Tadashi is a young boy. His mom and dad got divorced about six months ago and he and his mom moved in with his grandfather. They live in a small rural town now as opposed to Tokyo. At a local festival, Tadashi is chosen as the Kirin Rider. This means...well, I don't know what the fuck it means. That he gets to be kind of special or something. That's what the other kids tell him.

It turns out that Tadashi has to get some sort of sword, but he's a coward, so he can't but then he meets a sprite and is convinced to try to retrieve the sword. First though, he has to pass some tests. Naturally, he does. Not without a fight though. A fight against himself. This kid is a coward. Like big time.

So, he passes and falls into the river where he's saved by the hot chick, Kawahime, the river princess.

Apparently, all roads lead to her crotch. I mean, why else would Miike keep heading there? Seriously, at this point he's the second little kid to try shoving his hand up her crotch. And, while there's not really anything WRONG with that, it's still kinda pointless.

So, this group of yokai and Tadashi head to meet with Tengu to retrieve this sword. Once there, Tadashi is too chicken shit to draw the sword. Then, Tengu gets attacked by Agi.

Agi is a yokai, too, but more evil. She's helping capture the other yokai. In order to power this kind of yokai of destruction and rage. Or something. I don't know.

Not Christopher Walken

It's a lot of goofy looking monsters fighting each other. Let's be honest though...I'm kinda into movies about goofy looking monsters fighting each other.

Many of your favorite fantasy adventure clich├ęs are here. The kid who has to over come his cowardice and such (and goddamn is this kid a little coward. Every time you turn around he's too scared to do what he needs to do. Fucking pussy. Dude, you're what, 12? Grow a pair). And the most unlikely character being the key to saving the day.

Miike's movies can be kind of hit and miss sometimes. I mean, I loved Ichi the Killer, Audition was alright, Izo was what a massive pile of what the Brits mights refer to as shite. So, the fact that Miike managed to put together a mostly coherent story here is kind of impressive. The real question is, is it a children's fantasy? And you know what, I guess it depends on the parent. Hell, I work with a guy who's three year old daughter LOVES Godzilla movies. There are some parts of this movie that may be a bit much for some kids, but older kids would probably dig it. Myself, well, hell, I'm just a big kid who likes dirty words. So, I dug it. It was fun, even if it was like every other movie in the genre with only a slight touch of Miike's weirdness. It's worth checking out, so 7 and a half sprites who rate movies on an arbitrary scale out of 10.