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THE GREAT YOKAI WAR DVD Mini Review

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THE GREAT YOKAI WAR DVD Mini Review

Old 02-27-06, 09:47 PM
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THE GREAT YOKAI WAR DVD Mini Review

2-Disk Version:


Single-Disk Version:



I made a huge mistake - I bought the single disk version of Takashi Miike's THE GREAT YOKAI WAR, thinking that I don't care about extras and wasn't sure if the DVD was going to be anamorphic (not exactly stated on the back of the DVD cover, it just says widescreen). I don't usually care for extras in a film unless the film is extremely interesting. I'm almost tempted to give this single disk version away, only for one reason - I should have bought the 2-disk DVD version of this fantasy masterpiece! Wow, wow, wow! THE GREAT YOKAI WAR is a genius, 100 percent eye candy, fairytale nightmarish fantasy film. They say that this is a Japanese family film? That's nuts. Those Japanese kids are tuff, because this movie is freaking scary for a kid's movie. This movie is so unique, amazing, and I just learned about this film a couple days ago. I haven't had such a cinematic surprise since watching MIND GAME and NIGHT WATCH. I really don't want to give too much away about this film, but here's how I would break down THE GREAT YOKAI WAR:

1. A live-action Hayao Miyazaki film
2. Japanese mythical folklore
3. Terry Gilliam's and Guillermo del Toro's nightmares
4. A Mathew Barney CREMASTER movie made for everyone
5. A G-rated JACOB'S LADDER for kids
6. GAMERA
7. Industrial sci-fi
8. Good monsters/characters a la STAR WARS Mos Eisley Cantina
9. Bad monster robots from a TWISTED METAL video game buggin' out
10. sexiness a la LABYRINTH and LEGEND
11. Gogo from Kill Bill dressed all in white kicking ass with a whip
12. An R-Rated WIZARD OF OZ and NEVERENDING STORY
13. The best parts (robots/industrial machinery coming alive) of the DEAD OR ALIVE trilogy
14. A Japanese EVIL DEAD film
15. Jim Henson studios on a combination of crack, speed, heroine, and extacy

I have never really liked Takashi Miike. I saw ICHI THE KILLER, DEAD OR ALIVEs, AUDITION, THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, and THE CITY OF LOST SOULS. I wasn't crazy about any of them. These movies had some interesting and creative filmed scenes, but did not add up well to a whole. All I saw was a talented director without direction or balance. I think that THE GREAT YOKAI WAR is his first real masterpiece. This movie is a perfect balance of Takashi Miike's brain - horror, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, nightmarish imagery, elegant pretty imagery, memorable characters, excellent CGI and wacky trippiness. The movie is a masterpiece for its genre and Takashi Miike is a genius. I love this movie and I'm dying to watch it again.

The HK UNIVERSE DVD NTSC REGION 3 is of very good quality. The Back Cover only states that the DVD is WIDESCREEN, but in fact it's ANAMORPHIC video. The Video quality is very nice looking, not perfect but pretty solid. The audio is of reference quality - giving off all the sound effects one would expect from a horror, action, fantasy genre movie. It's totally involving. The audio options are Japanese DD 5.1 EX, Japanese DTS-ES, dubbed Cantonese DD 5.1 EX. The English subtitles are pretty good with some letters missing from words here and there, but it's translated very well. If you want the plentiful Extras (Another Story of Yokai, 2005 Yokai Conference, Short Drama of Yokai, Making of Yokai Movie, Interview with Main Casts, Visual Records of Promotion, Documentary of Ryunosuke Kamiki, The Introduction of Yokai), buy the 2-disk DVD version, which I should have done. For one, I'm dying to see the background of all the creative costumes/character make-up they made for this movie. Trust me, these aren't Mighty Morphin Power Rangers costumes/characters - these are characters that are out of the original STAR WARS movies.


I think THE GREAT YOKAI WAR is the director's best film, but I'm sure people will disagree with that, but it's certainly a totally entertaining work of art fantasy film, with not one boring scene in the film.


FILM: 10
DVD VIDEO: 8.5
DVD AUDIO: 9
EXTRAS: - (I didn't get the 2-disk version with the plentiful extras)

Last edited by toddly6666; 02-28-06 at 09:23 AM.
Old 02-27-06, 11:04 PM
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Thanks for the review, toddly!!!

I'm waiting for my 2-disc copy (along with Shinobi & Cromartie R2s) fm YesAsia.

Not a big fan of Miike myself though I still loved some of his films but IZO just left a lasting bitter taste for me.
Old 02-28-06, 03:35 AM
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toddly, youre probably going to find yourself in the opposite situation to many miike fans then : if you dont like what most seem to, but you like 'yokai'... i think the DVD is probably one of the best presentations of his films ive seen, right up there with the ICHI dutch 2-disc (except slight subtitle errors in yokai), with a lovely transfer, 3 hours of extras on the second disc (all subtitled in english) and nice thick packaging thats got the poster designs on... i personally thought this was a middling miike film, there are so many i prefere : and like ive said elsewhere, this felt like miike finding himself in the same situation (and with a similar project, and similar outcome) to tuskamotos 'hiruko the goblin'... worth seeing, great value for money, needs more time to sink in, and probably another viewing to catch the miike elements in it : oh, and great humour in it too...
Old 02-28-06, 10:51 AM
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I agree with logboy, from what I've read about this film, I think most Miike fans will hate it. Miike fans do not watch his films for "balance", quite the contrary.

And FYI, this film is a (liberal) remake of Yoshiyuki Kuroda's "Y˘kai Daisens˘" (1968):

http://www.us.imdb.com/title/tt0164402/
Old 02-28-06, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
I agree with logboy, from what I've read about this film, I think most Miike fans will hate it. Miike fans do not watch his films for "balance", quite the contrary.

And FYI, this film is a (liberal) remake of Yoshiyuki Kuroda's "Y˘kai Daisens˘" (1968):

http://www.us.imdb.com/title/tt0164402/
i sense what youre getting at, i think, miike often appears imbalanced (mentally) because there are so many off-kilter elements in his films, but theres more than one sense of balance : just that i feel none of them apply directly or particularly positively to the film.

personally, like 'one missed call', theres lots to be had in the openly commercial movie that will probably sink in over time, so i suspect a rewatch in a few months or a couple of years might bring me around a little, but not much. i dont mind or dislike miike wanting to do this kind of thing, its his life ultimately of course, just really prefer the majority of the other stuff. in the end, all miike movies can at one moment fall rather flat or suddenly come to life... theyre a bit all over the place, and that creates the elements that achieve that effect, polarise the audience etc... worth seeing, but i can easily think of several dozen better films he has made.
Old 02-28-06, 11:01 AM
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I ordered this the other day, I admit I only bought it cause it's Takashi Miike but I'm sure I'll have no problem enjoying a movie like this.
Old 02-28-06, 11:04 AM
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Well, I think I will pick this one up (the 2-discer)...I have to say, I am officially a huge Miike fan and this will just add to my collection.
Old 02-28-06, 11:27 AM
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Does anyone know if the extras on the 2-disk DVD have English subtitles? The product description at yesasia suggests that it does (which would make this an easy purchase for me).
Old 02-28-06, 08:44 PM
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Considering that this is marketed as a children's/family fantasy film, it certainly is a top quality one. So, I don't know why Takashi Miike fans would be too upset with this film since that's what it's going after - it's not supposed to be another ICHI or AUDITION. I didn't see ZEBRAMAN, but I have a feeling from the reviews that it's not even a good children's/family film. From the trailers and clips of ZEBRAMAN, it looked like a MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS movie. THE GREAT YOKAI WAR is at the level of CHRONICLES OF NARNIA....
Old 03-01-06, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Considering that this is marketed as a children's/family fantasy film, it certainly is a top quality one. So, I don't know why Takashi Miike fans would be too upset with this film since that's what it's going after - it's not supposed to be another ICHI or AUDITION. I didn't see ZEBRAMAN, but I have a feeling from the reviews that it's not even a good children's/family film. From the trailers and clips of ZEBRAMAN, it looked like a MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS movie. THE GREAT YOKAI WAR is at the level of CHRONICLES OF NARNIA....
yes, weve all always known its a childrens / family film, miike has done them before (and much more successfully - zebraman is an absolutely superb film...). the fans will be upset not because it isnt completely dripping with blood, but because miikes character is absolutely swamped by the overblown visuals - he simply has too much time and money to mess around with and you dont really get to see his imagination shown up in the same way - he just doesnt appear to have to try... as for it being at the levels of 'narnia', blimey that film was crapola.
Old 03-01-06, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by brainee
Does anyone know if the extras on the 2-disk DVD have English subtitles? The product description at yesasia suggests that it does (which would make this an easy purchase for me).
all the extras on disc 2 have english subtitles, all 3 hours of them.
Old 03-01-06, 05:57 AM
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For what it's worth, looks like CD-WOW might be the cheapest place to pick this up at the moment (although I'm sure the instant I purchase it some American DVD company will snatch up domestic rights and announce it's releasing an even more lavish and affordable R1 edition)....

Last edited by Gypo66; 03-01-06 at 07:03 AM.
Old 03-01-06, 08:58 AM
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LOGBOY,
The Chronicles of Narnia was awesome!
So ZEBRAMAN is worth picking up? If POWER RANGERS monsters and the CUTIE HONEY live-action movie bugged the hell out of me, do you think that I will enjoy ZEBRAMAN?
Old 03-01-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
LOGBOY,
The Chronicles of Narnia was awesome!
So ZEBRAMAN is worth picking up? If POWER RANGERS monsters and the CUTIE HONEY live-action movie bugged the hell out of me, do you think that I will enjoy ZEBRAMAN?
zebraman is a classy film, its really about a man wanting to be a super hero - not actually being one. great family film, great miike film. surprisingly similar to a film i thinks underrated - miikes 'white collar worker kintaro' - great fun.
Old 03-01-06, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gypo66
For what it's worth, looks like CD-WOW might be the cheapest place to pick this up at the moment (although I'm sure the instant I purchase it some American DVD company will snatch up domestic rights and announce it's releasing an even more lavish and affordable R1 edition)....
For Miike, an eventual R1 (by someone like Tartan) is inevitable. But ... this is $17.95 (including shipping) at CD-WOW with 3 hours of extras, all with English subtitles. What more could you want (or even expect)?!?
Old 03-01-06, 12:17 PM
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Man...

Originally Posted by Gypo66
(although I'm sure the instant I purchase it some American DVD company will snatch up domestic rights and announce it's releasing an even more lavish and affordable R1 edition)....
I would NOT count on that. That set looks sweeter than damn near anything I've seen in the US lately! And lavish for a Miike film? R1? And it's $15.95 if you're really good!

Use this link for an additional $2 off everything:

http://www3.cd-wow.us/index.php?affid=14275&pp_nr=1

Last edited by Linn1; 03-01-06 at 12:19 PM.
Old 03-01-06, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by brainee
For Miike, an eventual R1 (by someone like Tartan) is inevitable. But ... this is $17.95 (including shipping) at CD-WOW with 3 hours of extras, all with English subtitles. What more could you want (or even expect)?!?
drat! - and I just ordered it from DDDHouse.
Old 03-01-06, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by brainee
For Miike, an eventual R1 (by someone like Tartan) is inevitable. But ... this is $17.95 (including shipping) at CD-WOW with 3 hours of extras, all with English subtitles. What more could you want (or even expect)?!?
the yokai license went to media blasters : confirmed. they will release it later this year (not date set, most release dates for the first half of the year are set, more may appear and they can change at any time i suppose)... for now, this DVD is a really nice job, and the films worth seeing now or in the future so you can make your own mind up on if you like it or not...
Old 03-01-06, 02:40 PM
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And the DVD has DTS-ES 6.1!!! I'm not too sure about a Region 1 DVD releasing getting the sweet audio options....
Old 03-01-06, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
And the DVD has DTS-ES 6.1!!! I'm not too sure about a Region 1 DVD releasing getting the sweet audio options....
they never do... (I love being cynical).
Old 03-01-06, 03:22 PM
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Hmmm, looks like I might be wrong. It might not be violent and perverse enough for hardcore Miike fans, but it still looks like a subversive film in it's own right. This is worth reading:

http://www.asiaarts.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=33674

It doesn't stand a chance in America's ultra-conservative children's market though. I remember American parents complaining that Miyazaki's Spirited Away was already too scary for kids; I'd love to see their jaws drop when they see Miike's twisted vision.
The Great Yokai War, which nestles itself (un)comfortably between Miyazaki and Lynch...
Doesn't sound much like Chronicles of Narnia to me.

Anyway, I ordered it so we'll see.
Old 03-01-06, 04:56 PM
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Logboy, which version of Zebraman do you own? Looks like neither japanese versions have english subs. Is there a legit R0 or R3 version out there? I could always order the French R2 but I'd like to know if there are other versions. DVDCompare only compares the 2 japanese and the french.
Old 03-01-06, 08:32 PM
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hey, I just want to clarify that YOKAI WAR is not another CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I was just trying to say that it's at the same quality fantasy film level as a CHRONICLES OF NARNIA...

That was a good article about Yokai and how they made the Miyazaki comparison. If Miyazaki's movies were made live-action, the freaky, scary ones would be SPIRITED AWAY, HOWL'S, MONONOKE, and NAUSICAA (although Nausicaa is more Dune than scary). The not-so-scary/creepy would be KIKI's, PORCO ROSSO, TOTORO, and CASTLE IN THE SKY.

Last edited by toddly6666; 03-01-06 at 08:43 PM.
Old 03-02-06, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Logboy, which version of Zebraman do you own? Looks like neither japanese versions have english subs. Is there a legit R0 or R3 version out there? I could always order the French R2 but I'd like to know if there are other versions. DVDCompare only compares the 2 japanese and the french.
sorry, cant talk about bootlegs.
Old 03-02-06, 09:04 AM
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I don't want to talk about bootlegs, I want to talk about legit versions. But I guess I have my answer.

I'll just order the french R2.

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