Director – Yasuzo Masumura (The Hot Little Girl, Blind Beast)
Starring – Hiroshi Kawaguchi (Venus Wars, Crusher Joe: The Movie), Hitomi Nozoe (The Age of Marriage, Floating Weeds), and Osamu Abe (Gamera vs. Barugon, Pale Flower)
Release Date – 1958
Rating – 2/5
Blu Release – 4/5
I like to review strange films and movies that people would normally skip over. I love the weird side of cinema and I can blame this fascination on Lloyd Kaufman and John Waters. If I see something unusual and unique I find myself gravitating to it. I got to see if regardless of the genre.
A few weeks ago Arrow Video announced that they would be releasing the Japanese dramedy Giants on Toys on blu. The artwork painted a wild story that I had to see. I reached out to MVD who was handling the U.S. release of the film and they were kind enough to send over a review copy. After watching The Final Countdown for the first time I decided Giants and Toys would be a great follow up. Thank you MVD and Arrow for sending this one over!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a businessman with a candy company who has a plan to turn a space themed candy into the next big hit. He brings on a beautiful young woman with a taste for candy and bad teeth to the be the face of the product. With a spy implanted in a rival company, they set out to release the product while their model comes to terms with her new found popularity. **Spoiler Alert**
I’ve seen a few Korean dramas and comedies but when it comes to Japanese cinema I tend to lean to the horror side of their cinema. With that being said, I was very interested in this one but it made itself quickly clear that it was not as wild as I had hoped. In fact, it was pretty dull and somewhat predictable.
The acting in this one is really fun but the cast is on different wavelengths. Most of the male cast is stern and serious. Their character’s have personalities that are very grounded and down to Earth. They rarely get excited and could be described as stiff for the most part. However, on the other side of the coin we have the female cast who delivers a more light-hearted and energetic performances. The two contrasting performances works well on screen but watching some of the characters bouncing around on screen did make for an exhausting experience.
The story for this one is very interesting and well done but it’s extremely boring and predictable. You know what is going to happen before it happens which takes the impact of the scene out. I could see this being fun for the time but after half a decade of films using the same formula it is a bit dull.
Finally, this is not a blood and gore soaked film if you can’t tell by this point. The film relies heavily on story and character development to get through to the viewer. Sadly, the story was lacking. Overall, Giants and Toys was not for me. I wanted to like it but I found myself struggling to stay awake. With that being said, the video quality of this release is absolutely fantastic. There was several instances where I completely forgot the age of the film. Arrow really did a fantastic job on this one.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar Irene González-López
Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns
In the Realm of the Publicists, a brand new visual essay by Asian cinema scholar Earl Jackson
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella