THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, a remake of the very fine Korean film THE QUIET FAMILY, finds Miike making the kind of inventive, flagrantly bizarre comedy only the Japanese seem capable of executing in such a guileless and matter-of-fact manner. I usually don't have time for movies w/ a message, but this is a message movie I can get behind. Don't be a drag, it says. Life ought to be a joy, misfortune its spice.
An inventive bizarre musical from Takashi Miike that despite its off kilter song soundtrack and committed performances eventually runs out of steam. One can't fault the cast or visual panache but this remake/remodel of 'The Quiet Family' just isn't consistent throughout.
I watched this and 'The Quiet Family' simultaneously, because I couldn't remember which was which. I didn't like this version as much. While the original was funny, this is just silly. It just goes too far over the top.
It is easy to focus only on the outrageously unique style (bizarroland horror-comedy! with stop-motion!). But the characters and narrative is really something out of an Ozu wholesale catalog, all of them brilliantly conceived. It only helps that they happen to sing and dance and bury dead people.
Hmm... Well, this is probably my favorite movie I've seen this year so far. It's so unique and funny! It parodies so many genres, subcultures, and film styles, and it does so PERFECTLY. It's a musical, a family drama, a horror, a murder-mystery, and so much more. It's a true feast for the senses and still has an underlying commentary on happiness and life in general. It's a beautiful film. Highly recommended!