An Intergalactic Epic
Director Takashi Miike brings us an intergalactic epic in which a team of space explorers find themselves up against a horde of oversized anthropomorphic cockroaches. (Yes, you read that correctly).
In the mid-21st century, humankind has been forced to look to colonizing other planets as a means of combating overcrowding on Earth and their first stop, Mars has a population of cockroaches. They were introduced on Mars some 500 years prior to help prepare the way for human colonization. A manned mission sets out to the red planet with the aim of clearing away the bugs. Upon arrival, however, they discover that the roaches have evolved to huge, vicious creatures capable of wielding weapons. The film on the popular Manga series of the same name and is an action-packed space adventure brought to life by one of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary filmmakers.
However, the high concept sci-fi adventure quickly descends into a repetitive series of violent scuffles and bizarre mutations as a ragtag team of outcasts head to Mars to battle an army of giant anthropomorphic cockroaches. Set in 2599, Earth is facing a serious overpopulation crisis. Fronted by the mysterious Dr Honda (Oguri Shun), a crew of convicts, outcasts and reprobates are hired to participate in a dangerous exploratory mission to Mars. However, two years ago the six members of the BUGS 1 mission all died shortly after arrival.
Now the expendable crew of BUGS 2 has been sent to investigate, only to discover the cockroaches have mutated into hulking 7-foot beasts with a penchant for decapitation. The crew learn they have each been injected with an experimental serum that temporarily mutates them into different insects, giving them use of their various defense and attacking characteristics. However, the sheer size and number of the cockroach “Terra Formars” means the battle is far from won.
Once the high-concept premise has been put in place, there is little plot to “Terra Formars” beyond scientific infomercials into the various insect characteristics adopted by each character. and occasional flashbacks or expository monologues detailing how each character got to be on this apparent suicide mission.
Ito Hideaki and Takei Emi play Shokichi and Nanao, siblings both accused of murder, only for Nanao to become the first victim of the alien bugs, infusing Shokichi with a vengeful determination. Other crew members include a pair of yakuza, a serial killer, the head of a child prostitution ring, and a hapless kickboxer. Kikuchi Rinko cameos as a corrupt ex-cop along for the ride while Kane Kosugi also appears as a former terrorist. Needless to say, the nefarious powers-that-be back home ensure not all is as it seems and by the end, characters have been double crossed, romantic yearnings declared and newfound friendships formed.
Even though the film is lacking in substance, individual action sequences or imaginative mutations work on their own. I also had a great time watching it.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
High-Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA options
Newly-translated English subtitles
The Making of Terra Formars – feature-length documentary on the film s production featuring a host of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
Extended cast interviews
Footage from the 2016 Japanese premiere
Theatrical and teaser trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector s booklet with new writing on the film by Tom Mes