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Kaijyu Mono ("Daikaiju Mono")

International Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2016
  • 93 mins
  • DCP
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)

Daikaiju Mono from Festival Fantasia on Vimeo.

What’s going on up at Monster Pass? Scientists are finding plants 350 millions years old! Amateur paranormal investigators are being torn to shreds! The earth itself trembles — and out bursts Mono, a giant prehistoric monstrosity impervious to the military’s weapons! Is there no hope? Wait — Professor Saigo’s daughter Mira and assistant Hideto have found an egg laid by Mono. It provides the disgraced genius with what he needs, not only to regain his reputation as a brilliant scientist but to confront Mono with a worthy adversary. The apprehensive Hideto, injected with the Professor’s special cellular formula, grows into a titanic, muscular wrestler, tall as a skyscraper. Will this be enough to save the world from a catastrophic stomping? And who’s the sexy spy Scorpion, watching from the shadows?

Yes, the greatest of all daikaiju — Japanese for “giant monster” — rears its fearsome head on the big screen again this year, after too long an absence. But Godzilla isn’t the only kaiju frolicking amid the architecture in 2016. KAIJYU MONO comes care of Minoru Kawasaki, beloved of Fantasians since he busted our funnybones with CALAMARI WRESTLER a dozen years ago. A veteran of proper Ultraman productions, Kawasaki’s own films are far more deliberately ridiculous, delightfully so in fact. Recall EXECUTIVE KOALA, RUG COP and the tongue-in-cheek tribute THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN. His latest is as always loaded with irreverent silliness, but there’s no mistaking his genuine affection for the ’60s and ’70s classics of the genre called tokusatsu (“special filming”, meaning effects-heavy sci-fi fun). This one’s supersized fun.

— Rupert Bottenberg