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Fantasia 2022 Critique: Post-Kaiju Conundrum (2022)

Post-Kaiju Conundrum presents the unique question: what actually happens to a gigantic creature’s remains? While the concept starts strongly, highlighting a desire to delve into post-cataclysm adaptation, it unfortunately dissolves into awkward slapstick and formulaic conclusions as the narrative progresses.

A titanic beast lays lifeless, seemingly extinguished by an enigmatic luminance, leaving the Japanese authorities with the cumbersome task of dealing with its colossal frame. Government officials bicker over jurisdiction while the Japan Special Forces, featuring Arata (Ryosuke Yamada) with his complicated romantic history with Yukino (Tao Tsuchiya), the Environment Minister’s aide, step in to manage the fallout. Arata’s mysterious two-year hiatus, which left Yukino devastated, might just hold the key to navigating the monster debacle.

The film’s initial proposition is indeed intriguing. Post the adrenaline rush of the typical monster-flick finale, the aftermath begs attention. Who’s in charge of cleanup? Can society truly rebound, and if so, how? These compelling questions regrettably remain largely unexplored.

The story’s promising outset is reminiscent of true-life disasters. References to an “exclusion zone” evoke nuclear calamities; soldiers traipsing back from duty allude to conventional warfare; while queries on a return to normalcy mirror pandemic-era concerns. This backdrop sets the stage for a poignant examination of life after widespread trauma, making it exceedingly relevant.

Yet, the storyline falters. What could have been an insightful peek at the repercussions of a kaiju attack, sidesteps into a succession of emergencies originating from the deceased creature’s presence. Instead of exploring the long-term effects on humanity, the narrative refocuses on the monster, albeit deceased, still dictating the plot’s direction.

This redirection narrows the film’s scope significantly. The broader impact of the monster’s existence on society, its cultural and social ripples, never fully materialize on screen. This limits the story to surface-level conflicts, underutilizing its earlier, more thought-provoking setups.

Adding to its shortcomings, the movie is peppered with lackluster humor, often resorting to crass jests that fail to land effectively. This undermines the serious potential of its initial tone and subject matter.

Lastly, the movie’s denouement merits discussion. Without revealing too much, it disappoints, seemingly acknowledging its own contrivance as if to preempt critique. Nevertheless, the film’s terminal twist does little to address or conclude the themes and conflicts introduced, choosing instead to opt for an all-too-convenient resolution.

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