Fantasia Film Festival: What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? (大怪獣のあとしまつ) Review

What to Do With the Dead Kaiju?

Satoshi Miki’s latest film asks something most kaiju genre fans don’t think about: What happens to the giant kaiju corpse after we defeat it? What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? is a film that concerns itself with that very scenario. While the world should celebrate the victory over our colossal foe, the film focuses on the aftermath of figuring out how to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, what serves as a setup for something potentially unique and compelling, What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? gets lost in a disjointed sea of slapstick humor, political satire, and serious drama.

The premise of the kaiju’s corpse becoming a ticking time bomb as it bloats and causes further destruction while every government official tries to seize whatever opportunity they can find to further their political career is pretty ingenious and can lead to some very fascinating moments. As you might expect, Miki’s film is in the same vein as Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, as the idiotic nature of politicians is on full display.

At first, it’s hilarious to see the government repeatedly fumble around, but that quickly disappears. Unfortunately, Miki doesn’t seem to grasp how to leverage comedy with drama. Thus, the type of juvenile humor Miki implements doesn’t match the dramatic tone he’s going for in other parts of the film. In a way, it’s similar to the contrasting approach in Everything Everywhere All At Once. There are gags about dildos and butt plugs, but it doesn’t take away from the dramatic moments in the film. Sadly, the humor in Dead Kaiju does. 


What serves as a setup for something potentially unique and compelling, What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? gets lost in a disjointed sea of slapstick humor, political satire, and serious drama.


That’s not to say that all the jokes are bad. There are hilarious gags that are laugh-out-loud funny. However, some jokes go on too long too often—as a skit pushed beyond its hilariousness. Situations like these make it hard to grasp the kind of film it wants to be. As Japan’s Cabinet figures out how to turn this situation to their political advantage, it falls on the soldiers and grunts to do the dirty work. Yet, their storyline doesn’t develop either. Every time the film explores the Japanese Special Forces’ storyline, it falls flat, and the film’s momentum comes to a halt. 

Overall, What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? is a film where the filmmakers didn’t know what to do with its ingenious premise. Like the Prime Minister in the movie, Miki can’t figure out what to do with it. So like the Japanese Cabinet, the different tones try to fight for attention. It’s a tonal excess that, like life imitating art, no one wanted to deal with.

Rating: 2/5 atoms

For additional Fantasia Film Festival coverage, click here.

Facebook Comments