The release of a new Takashi Miike movie is always cause for celebration among fans of Japanese film, particularly the visually bombastic, indescribably weird kind. Among a national cinema known for some strange output, Miike remains in a class of his own when it comes to filming stuff that makes you go “Huh?”. After delivering maybe one of his most singularly “Miike” films yet with last year’s Yakuza Apocalypse, Miike is now turning his talent toward a pre-existing property: manga and anime sensation Terra Formars. A new, full trailer for Miike’s live action Terra Formars movie has been released, and while it isn’t subtitled, you can get the gist of most of what’s going on by looking into the franchise’ earlier iterations.
The story takes place in the year 2577, after an attempt to terraform Mars for human habitation leaves it inhabited by an evolved species of cockroach that must be eliminated before any human settlers can arrive. To eliminate the so-called “terraformars”, a squad of genetically modified humans are sent to the red planet to wipe them out.
That Miike in particular is directing an adaptation of this property in particular is interesting. Miike is known for slipping satirical and subversive elements into his movies, and if any property is in need of subversion, it’s Terra Formars. The roach-evolved Terraformars, you see, look like this in the manga and anime. Oh, yes. And the protagonist, famed for his ability to kill Terraformars in record numbers….is a blonde haired, blue eyed white guy. Who is the product of centuries of selective breeding. Look, do I really need to point this one out? Really? Seeing what Miike does with something like this, perhaps elevate its inherently problematic elements to the level of satire perhaps, should be interesting. If anything though, the trailer gives the impression that if anything Miike is toning down the racist elements, making the Terraformars more insectoid and the hero (whose name is Gustav by the way, so no, I am absolutely not imagining the problem) of Japanese descent rather than blatantly Aryan.
The big, glaring problems aside, Terra Formars will probably end up being a fun flick with some bonkers visuals and fun fight scenes featuring Pacific Rim‘s Rinko Kikuchi and a whole host of Miike regulars.
Check out the trailer for Miike’s Terra Formars below.