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Review: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Pallid documentary on Japan's insect obsession
By GERALD PEARY  |  June 1, 2010
1.5 1.5 Stars

The cheeky title conjures up belovedly tacky 1950s Japanese sci-fi films, but Jessica Oreck’s actual effort is a pallid, thinly poetic documentary essay about Japan’s obsession with insects.

Little children collect them, paying top yen for exotic beetles. Adults purchase crickets for their singing. Poets turn to insects for haiku inspiration, being moved by the brevity of their lives. The close-ups here of butterflies and caterpillars have been seen in countless nature documentaries, and the bridge passages between bugs are imagery patches that are random and pointless.

What’s the big deal? Sure, it’s a bit eccentric that the Japanese take to insects, but that’s tame stuff next to Ninja Turtles and pet rocks.

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