Posts Tagged ‘Disaster’

Aftershock (2010)

This is the story of the devastating Tangshan earthquake in 1976 which killed 240,000 people and how it rips apart a family of four. A mother of two children loses her husband in the quake and has to make a decision no parent should ever go through – which one of her children should survive as both are trapped under a slab of concrete. One has to be sacrificed say the rescue workers. She chooses her son unaware that her daughter survives. She’s adopted by a couple and given a new identity. The story follows the lives of the siblings over a period of 30 years until fate brings both of them together once more after another quake.

This isn’t your typical disaster movie. It’s more about people trying to move on with their lives. The director displays a careful attention to the characters and their relationships, and creates people that the viewer can not only identify, but also empathise with in their joys and sorrows, trials and tribulations, hopes and anxieties. When the siblings are finally reunited in a tearful reunion, only the hardest of hearts will not be moved. All of the performances from the cast are top notch. There are all kinds of wonderful and heartbreaking scenarios touching on the nature and loyalties of family.

Overall, Aftershock is a grand epic Chinese drama that will tug at your heartstrings and is a must see.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dragon Head (2003)

Teru Aoki and his classmates are on their way back from a schooltrip in Kyoto on a bullet train when all of a sudden there is a blinding flash of light. When he wakes up, his world is in darkness, the train carriage he was in is a wreck and even worse his classmates are dead, strewn all over like carcasses. What could have happened? In shock, he somehow manages to stumble out of the carriage to find that the train he was travelling in trapped in a collapsed tunnel with both exits hidden under heavy rubble. Along with a female classmate Aki, both make it to the surface where a shocking view awaits them. The world they once knew is gone, replaced by total devastation. The landscape resembles a waste land in every direction they look and the sky is raining heavy ash. The only option left is for both of them to try and make their way back home to Tokyo hoping that they find somebody on the way.

Even though this movie drags on a bit I think it’s still an awesome disaster movie. I love movies with post-apocalyptic scenarios in them. They could have cut at least 30 mins from the movie as the pace is really slow – I can see that making a lot of viewers switch off. The highlight has to be the amazing special effects which rival Hollywood’s efforts. It really is visually a stunning movie to watch. Saying that the movie doesn’t really focus on the destruction as such but on the 2 leads as they rely on each other in the face of adversity. You are never told what led to the devastation and it’s a bit frustrating not knowing. Was it a nuclear disaster, 2 nations blowing each other up or a massive meteorite from space – you just don’t know. It’s up to you to wonder and think what could have made this disaster happen. If you can manage to stay awake for the first 40 mins then I think you’ll find this movie ultimately rewarding and enjoyable. It could have been a hell of a lot better if somebody had given a little bit more thought into the plot. A missed opportunity. Give it a chance anyway.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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A massive earthquake deep under Japan destroys a major city. A scientist Toshio Onedero caught up in the quake emerges from his wrecked and overturned car to find the city in flames and a young girl Misako walking between the ruins. Both are┬ásaved by a young female Japanese Hyper Rescue Unit member called Reiko. Due to frequent earthquakes, the Americans predict that Japan will sink during the next 40 years but this prediction is way off when a geo-scientist called Tadokoro who is using a deep sea submersible sees unusual activity in the ocean. By using a simulation on his computer he predicts that Japan will sink in not 40 years, not even in 10 years but in less than a year’s time – 338 days.

As the worst case scenario begins in earnest, long dormant volcanoes on Hokkaido start to erupt and the region is devastated by a huge earthquake. Even the Prime Minister of Japan is killed in his plane during a volcanic eruption. All over Japan, quakes are happening and volanoes erupt, tsunamis devastate coastal towns and cities. A geo-scientist however comes up with a solution that could save the day – as once Mount Fuji blows her top a massive crack will rip the Japanese islands in half. He insists that hundreds of N2 explosives which are dropped in drilled holes on the ocean floor and simultaneously detonated will stop the sinking of Japan. The first attempt at this ends in failure and a young pilot called Yuki loses his life. It seems that there is no hope but Onedero steps up to the plate insisting to Tadokoro that by using an old submersible that’s been mothballed the job can be achieved. However, this will be a one-shot deal. Onedero will be going on a suicide mission in which he cannot return back alive. Will his mission be a success? Can he stop all of Japan from sinking?

This is the updated remake of the 1973 disaster film. Spectacular is what I thought after watching this film. A really well made production shifting between scenes of devastation, science bits and human drama. The special effects are amazing, rivalling Hollywood standards as satellite images from space show the whole Japan archipelago in flames. The disaster sequences are short and I would have liked to see them for longer onscreen but what you’ve got in the film is effective enough to show the horror and havoc of the situation. A panoramic shot of Shibuya and the nearby area falling is breathtaking. You could say the special effects is the real star of the film and if you like them then you’ll enjoy The Sinking Of Japan. The plot is great but I thought that the suicide mission by Onedero was copied a bit too much from Armageddon for my liking but apart from that I really loved this film. The science bits made it that much more interesting, explaining why and how the present dilemma has happened.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Haeundae (2009)

Haeundae is a beach resort in the Korean city of Busan. When similar activity to that in the Indian Ocean which triggered the massive tsunami in 2004 happens in the Sea Of Japan, nobody believes geologist Kim Hwi. His superiors tell him that nothing will happen and Korea is safe. Soon afterwards however, a mega tsunami is formed and races across the ocean towards Korea and Haeundae at 500 miles per hour. There’s no time to evacuate the city with only 10 mins until the wave strikes. Who will survive the devastating tsunami in Haeundae?

This, the first ever Korean disaster movie starts out real slow, introducing us to all the characters going through their various problems in the first 75 mins which involves a lot of shouting, screaming and crying with a little bit of light relief peppered throughout. It just takes far too long for the tsunami to strike the rich Buson beach resort of Haeundae that many of you may have fallen asleep. When the inevitable happens, that’s when the movie really kicked in for me. The disaster sequences and aftermath are pretty well done and very exciting even though some of the CGI looks a bit dodgy. The human drama aspect after the tsunami is also very well done and not too overdramatic. There’s another twist to the tale near the end which I didn’t expect to happen. Overall I liked it but it’s a shame the first half dragged on way too long.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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A freak hailstorm shower is the prelude to a massive tsunami which hits the Shinagawa area of Tokyo. People rush into the subway stations but there’s no escape from the devastating giant wave. Many people are killed but the survivors which include a father and his blind young daughter who are now trapped underground band together and wait for the rescuers to get to them. But there’s a problem – a large typhoon is heading for Tokyo!!

252 is the signal used by rescue workers to say that there are people alive under rubble. This movie is a tad over dramatic and sentimental for me. It started out so good but after the tsunami it got rather boring full of the cliched close calls you expect in disaster movies. The disaster scenes are OK (rather short scenes) but I expected them to be a bit better. Where does all the water go after the tsunami hits? It just disappears! Saying that the sets are magnificent showing great devastation to the area affected by the giant wave. As for the cast they were fine but the little girl that plays the blind girl Shiori was just so adorable. It’s an interesting movie to watch but don’t expect too much from it. I think this was a missed opportunity to create something spectacular and it dragged on for way too long.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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