Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo


Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12

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Critic Reviews

  1. The Japanese love affair with insects takes many forms, but most of them are, by Western standards, exotic. To Oreck's credit, she doesn't attempt to play down the exoticism by pretending to go native.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Eschewing character arcs and talking heads in favor of a more poetic approach, this lyrical exercise in avant-garde entomology is the work of an intuitive filmmaker with an often hypnotic sense of composition.
  3. A delightfully weird, if occasionally too arty, documentary as darting in its structure as a dragonfly's flight.
  4. By movie’s end, you see flocks of umbrella-adorned commuters in a different light; and what’s often viewed as Japanese humility becomes a doorway to something huge and eternal. Bring the kids.
  5. 80
    There's enough wisdom in this appropriately compact film to suggest avenues of further, though likely not as wondrous, inquiry.
  6. 75
    More essay than documentary—and by no means a monster movie--Jessica Oreck’s Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo takes a closer look at the Japanese obsession with insect-collecting, and considers it as a partial explanation of the country’s national character.
  7. A documentary that is often told in adages, riddles and poetry.
  8. I’m not wholly clear on the link between a jellied green thing wriggling along a tree branch and the oneness of life, but Shinto Buddhist ruminations sound good in almost any context, and the film is entrancing.
  9. There's no shortage of fascinating segments.
  10. 70
    The diverting Beetle Queen, like “Lost in Translation” or Takashi Murakami’s art, says less about Japan than it does about America’s continuing fascination with modern Japanese culture.
  11. An entomologist's delight, Jessica Oreck's movie about Japan's insect mania is worth watching even if you're repulsed by creepy-crawlers.
  12. A meditative piece that is by turns hypnotically beautiful and painfully slow. It's the kind of film perhaps best appreciated in smaller doses, in the same way bench rest can help sustain a tiring museum visit.

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