Film Executive Koala

There comes a point in every Koala’s life when he ventures out into the working world and faces life’s problems. That’s exactly what happens in Executive Koala, a film by Minoru Kawasaki (Ultraman Tiga, The Calamari Wrestler) also known as the “King of Monster Suits”. The film, released in 2005 was originally panned by critics in Japan but how exactly does it fare on our shores overseas? Executive Koala mixes Monster Suits or in this case Animal Suits with a contemporary theme and setting with a twist of comedic style that Kawasaki is known for.

Executive Koala is about a working class Koala named Keiichi Tamura who is working for Kimuchee Company and is working his way up the corporate ladder. Unfortunately for him, his human girlfriend is found murdered and all suspicion is pointed directly at him. What ultimately follows, is a quest for Keiichi to prove himself innocent by finding about his past and what happened to his dear Yukari. However Keiichi is tormented by flashbacks and amnesia from the past. From the opening you’d think that you’d expect a light hearted comedy but once you tear away the shell you start to find a serious plot line and that’s where the issues start. The problem is that what you expect and what you receive is not always the same thing and in this case where you’d expect a comedy all the way through, is broken up with a serious undertone. It’s basically a mixed bag. While the film delivers comedic episodes during a couple of scenes, the majority of the story is a mash up of different styles and genres ranging from thriller and horror from the “Psycho Koala” segments to the new age style of the fight scene near the end. Unfortunately what tries to create a emotional attachment to the audience with the character is ultimately poor with it’s execution. The problem is that some scenes has Keiichi emotionally distraught from his situation and from his love for his missing wife but because visually he’s in a Koala suit which, also limits facial expression and any deep connection to the audience, and in the end, you’ll be confused whether to feel sad or laugh. The ending is just short of abysmal. Basically the most cliche and abrupt ending. What we witness is a lazy conclusion to what could have been more thought out rather than taking the “easy way” out. While the comedic moments are enjoyable, the dream sequence is one that is the most memorable as the setup and delivery was spontaneous.
Visually, there’s really not much to say. While the film is noticeably more updated than the visuals in Monster X, any special effects required are reduced in use. The koala itself is a body suit and looks the part of a salary man. The audio presentation is very light where most of the time the setting is full ambiance to bring more focus to the dialogue. The film obviously isn’t meant to be on a large production scale and hence one shouldn’t have any high expectations of visual presentation.

Executive Koala is hard to judge. There’s alot of inconsistency and cut and paste segments. The ending is also one full of disappointment for a meaningful plot. Overall, it’s only a watch if you are bored and have nothing else to do otherwise there’s many other better Japanese movies out there.

Film: Monster X Strikes Back/ Attack of the G8 Summit!

Monster X Strikes Back/ Attack of the G8 Summit! is the latest in the creations of director Minoru Kawasaki (Everyone But Japan Sinks ,Crab Goalkeeper) and revisits the old film genre of Japanese Monster Movies. As a spirtual sequal to a film from 40 years ago, Kawasaki relights the candle by retaining the same elements that made these films so popular. Known for his insistance of Monster suits and as little CG as possible, the film adapts a story for the modern era and with this adds a cast of characters who act out as the great leaders of the world. But does the film revive the old Monster genre or should they stay back as an oldie?The Story revolves around the world G8 Summit being held in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world gather to debate and come to conclusions on environmental issues effecting the planet. During this conference, a meteor strikes the Earth and unleashes Guilala on to the planet attacking everything in it’s path. From here, the plot splits into two where we follow the leaders putting their conference on hold as they each devise their own strategy to kill the beast and save the world. The other follows a young reporter for the Tokyo Sport Newspaper and her assistant as they try to unravel the mystery of Guilala and find a solution to save the world. The Story never takes itself seriously and that’s a good thing. The leaders each deliver their dialogue with over-the-top and often cheesy lines and really drive the comedic feel of the film. Add to this the stereotyping of their device to kill the beast with America and Warfare, Russia and Poison, Britain and brainwashing, Germany and Gas, etc. It really makes the movie interesting to watch just to see their mannerisms. While the Beginning and Climax of the movie are well paced following the many attempts of the leaders, the problem is with other parts. Kawasaki attempts to make the audience connect with the film adding a more dramatic portion where it tells the story of a village who worships Taka-Majin, another monster who will save everyone from Guilala. The problem is that the pacing in these portions slow down to a crawl and break the flow of the movie where the majority is over-the-top acting and fast paced action sequences. It shows when we witness the story of a kid whose father dies from some accident but the issue with these sequences is that it has next to no impact to the overall film and it only plays out for less than 5 minutes breaking any emotional attachment to these characters from the audience resulting from poor execution of dramatic tension. Another scene is when the reporter gains the villagers sympathy by following in the chant of Taka-Majin but the scene becomes unbearable as trying to place a serious moment in contrast with the absurdity of the chant and it’s poses really makes it painful just to watch her humiliate herself. It just seemed more like an attempt to put a deeper underline to a film which didn’t even need one in the first place. In fact if you took out these bits, you probably won’t notice a thing and enjoy the movie just fine.The presentation is what you’d expect every Japanese Monster movie to be like especially in this case where CG was minimal. Low Budget, off-the-wall monster suits and fake buildings crumbling. There really isnt much to the film besides it’s hillarious situtations and cast. You won’t find anything impressive here but you won’t be disliking anything either.Overall the film is entertaining once you ignore any deeper meanings to the story and take it as it is. The cast of hillariously wacky world leaders will definitely be the main attraction here as well as the Monster suits and it’s actions scenes. It’s definitely not a good film but that’s the main selling point cause it’s not supposed to be and falls into the category of it’s so bad that it’s good. To enjoy this to it’s potential, dive back into your younger self where you watched B-movies for pure entertainment…just skip some of the middle portions.