Monthly Archives: August 2012

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster) 1974

After the very child friendly Godzilla vs Megalon, Toho returned to a more serious tone for the next movie. This movie introduced a new character to the Godzilla franchise…Mechagodzilla! Mechagodzilla, a giant metallic robot version of Godzilla. He would become one of Godzilla’s better loved characters and would appear in many more movies to the delight of many fans. Jun Fukuda returned once again to direct this movie. Now onto the plot.

This film is another one that appeals to the mysticism within the rich Japanese culture. Mythical dragons and monsters are a part of that mythos and I personally really enjoy when Godzilla movies feature that aspect of their culture. The movie begins in Okinawa where Masahiko and his brother Keisuke find a strange metal in a cave that doesn’t seem like it is from earth. They also find a statue of a lion-like creature. At the same time a prophetess has a vision that monsters will be overrunning and destroying the world very soon.

Masahiko and Keisuke travel via an airplane to have the metal analyzed when they see a dark cloud hanging in the sky shaped like a mountain, which was also part of the vision by the prophetess, about the coming destruction and the appearance of King Ceasar. While at a university the brothers discover that the metal is a substance called space titanium. Okay, I couldn’t type that name with a straight face. Suddenly an earthquakes shatters the quiet countryside and Godzilla appears. Angurius, his old pal from Monster Island, shows up to greet him. Instead of a friendly hug or a high five amongst friends, Godzilla begins attacking Angurius. Hmmm, something is not right! While the two giants fight one another Angurius tears a small piece of flesh off of Godzilla revealing shinny metal underneath. Suddenly, another Godzilla shows up and begins fighting the first Godzilla that appeared. With a blast of his atomic halitosis Godzilla melts the skin off of the imposter Godzilla (That must have been some gnarly garlic breath) to reveal Mechagodzilla!

The Prophetess then says the earth has only one hope, King Caesar, but his statue is missing. It has been stolen from an alien race of humanoid monkey like creatures (think Planet of the Apes * cough ripoff cough*) called the Simeons. No they are not from the Planet of the Apes, they are from the third planet from the black hole. Sure, whatever. With the help of Interpol agents the statue is returned and the Prophetess sings her song and awakens King Caesar who bursts forth from the mountainside. Godzilla and Merchagodzilla fight and Godzilla is wounded badly and retreats to the sea. Even though this movie is rated “G” the scenes of Godzilla being wounded are quite shocking. Godzilla is supposed to be an almost indestructible beast and Mechgodzilla inflicts some severe trauma on him and we get to see blood comes shooting and spurting out his neck.

After the may-lay Mechagodzilla returns to Monster Island for repairs. Once fixed by the Simeons Mechagodzilla returns to destroy the planet. Soon he is joined by Godzilla who has been healed of his wounds by bolts of lightning (wait, wasn’t Godzilla hurt by electricity?). Anyway, Godzilla and King Ceasar attack Mechagodzilla and Godzilla ends up ripping his head off as the rest of the robot explodes. I didn’t delve too much on the human aspect of the story because mostly it involves uncovering who the aliens are. But with the Simeons defeated by the humans and Mechagodzilla destroyed, the world is saved!!

Now for my review. I am a bit mixed on this movie. I think it was better than the previous two efforts but still not up to the quality of the classic movies of the early to mid 60s. I have only returned to my love of Godzilla movies in the last few years. As a kid I never cared for this movie. When it came out I just thought the idea of a giant robotic Godzilla was just plain silly. It took me a while to warm up to the concept. After watching other movies in the franchise with Mechagodzilla in it I have really come to appreciate the character. The reveal of Mechagodzilla in this movie is one of its bright spots.

I called the Simeons, a very uncreative name, as a ripoff of Planet of the Apes, and while that may be true, the were certainly very popular at this point in the 70s, I really don’t mind them at all. I think the make up and how they were revealed in the movie is actually well done. I also liked the mystical aspect of the movie with the prophetess. What I didn’t care for was King Ceasar. He is a giant half god-like monster with a lion like head a body with scales, a long tail with fluffy fur on the end and giant fluffy ears. I think this is one of the most terrible designs for a Toho monster. Never cared for him and don’t think I will change my mind. I like the idea of this monster, just don’t care for how he was designed.

Godzilla can be done in many different ways. The character is amendable to a story that is funny and sweet with silliness and camp. The character can also take on an ominous and darkly serious tone. These later Showa series movies are in the silly and campy method of telling a story. As I have gotten older and mellowed out a bit I have come to just sit back and let go and enjoy the fun of it all. So this movie has it all. Giant monster robots, mythical creatures, space aliens and giant monster battles. Who needs more?

 I rate this movie: B

New Godzilla Poster?

I am not sure if this is official or not…I have my doubts. But even if it is fan made it is still pretty cool. 

What is in the Hopper?

One movie that is in the development stage that I recently heard of is called How to Catch a Monster which will be the directorial debut for actor Ryan Gosling. The movie is described as “Fantasy Noir” and will star Christina Hendricks who plays a mother of a teenager who must travel into a “dark fantasy underworld while her son discovers a secret road into an underwater town.”

Sounds interesting.

Here is some Godzilla news. From what I have read the status has changed from in development to pre-production and they have hired Seamus McGarvey as the Cinematographer. For this Godzilla fan this is all good news!

Speaking of giant monsters Empire has published new photos from director Guillermo del Toro’s anticipated upcoming film, Pacific Rim, in their latest issue. Pacific Rim comes out on July 12, 2013 and the release stars Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, and Charlie Day.

Favorite Sequels

Favorite sequels

In Hollywood and with the general public sequels get a bad rap. It is often stated that sequels are not as good as the original. I would certainly agree there are times when the original is superior to the sequel but there are times when the sequel surpasses the original. Below is a list of my favorite sequels, movies that I actually enjoy better than the original. Below the list I will make a few comments about some of them.

Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa
Toy Story 2
Superman II
Shrek 2
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Back To The Future Part III
Jurassic Park III
Lethal Weapon 2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Spider-Man II
Clerks II
X-Men 2
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Dark Knight
Batman Forever
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Aliens
Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Godzilla 2000
Rocky Balboa

I didn’t include Back to the Future Part II on the list because, even though it is pretty good and I enjoy it, I don’t think it is as good as either the original or Part III. I included The Dark Knight because it really is a good film even though I do like the original a little better. I also included the last Rocky movie, which was technically Rocky VI. I really like that movie it captured so many things that made the original an Academy Award Winning film. I even included some Godzilla movies. While I think the 1954 original is excellent there are also many other very good movies in the Franchise, so I included just a few. I could have included more!

New on DVD Today…

Battleship

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Liam Neeson

Director: Peter Berg

New on DVD and Blu-ray is the movie Battleship. I LOVE ALIEN INVASION MOVIES!!!! I have not seen this movie yet and I will be buying it within a week or so. This movie didn’t do too well. I guess you could say it bombed…well, sort of. The budget for this movie was $209 million. It took in a miserable $65,233,400 at the domestic box office. However, it took in a total of $237,602,860 in the overseas market for a grand total of $302,836,260 world wide. So it looks like it wasn’t a loss for the studio. It didn’t get great reviews either with a 34% positive reviews of the professional reviewers, but did get 53% positive reviews from the general public. I have liked movies that have received even worse reviews. When I get this DVD look for my review in the coming weeks.

Here is my original post on this movie.

Alien invasion movies is one of my favorite themes within the science-fiction genre. Battleship is the newest type of alien invasion movie to come out of Hollywood. Like the Transformer series, Battleship is also a toy, in this case a board game, made by Hasbro. Although the original game did not include an alien invasion the focus of this movie is a group of sailors try to take down an invading force of aliens after we send a signal into space alerting them of our presence.

In many ways this movie seems more like a remake of independence Day rather than a movie about the game Battleship. However, some of my nerd sources tell me that there are elements of the game inserted into the movie. This is one of my top movies I am looking forward to seeing this summer!

Pictures from the set of the new Thor movie.

In two weeks filming begin on the new Thor movie, titled Thor: The Dark World. Most of the main cast is returning for this movie. Thor was one of the really good Marvel super-hero movies leading up to the Avengers movies. One of the aspects of my love for films, but science fiction fantasy movies specifically, is that I love to see how these movies are made. Uncovering the work that goes on behind the scenes does not take away the magic of the films for me, it actually increases it. I just find it amazing the amount of hard work and detail that goes into making these movies. So here are a couple of pics from the set. These are located in the UK. The Dark World will be in theaters November 2013,  and the director is Alan Taylor who has directed Game of Thrones and the Sopranos. 

Godzilla vs Megalon 1973

Many critics have cited that this is one of the worst Godzilla movies ever created. I would have to agree and for that reason it has become a guilty pleasure. As I have stated before Toho studios began making Godzilla movies for younger audiences throughout the 1960s. Godzilla creator and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka has gone on record as saying he regrets turning Godzilla into a campy figure for children and wished he had remained a serious character. With Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla movies had reached their zenith of child friendly movies or they had reached the depths of trashy silliness depending on ones perspective. I believe I enjoy this movie solely because it exemplifies how juvenile and ridiculously wacky the movies had become. I enjoy the character of Godzilla and this move displays all the campiness that had become associated with the series by the mid 1970s.


The plot and visual effects play as if it is straight from a Saturday morning live action TV show. The Godzilla suit for this movie is an entirely new suit, however they still made him look like he is a cousin of Kermit the Frog and about as threatening. The plot consists of an ancient race of humans called the Seatopians who dwell beneath the ground. They are angered at the nuclear tests that have been conducted which has affected their civilization and they seek revenge by unleashing their monster/god Megalon upon the earth. Megalon resembles a giant cockroach standing on two legs and has two metal spirals on arms in place of hands. The Seatopians also steal the robot Jet Jaguar in their efforts to destroy the earth. Japan’s Defense Force is able to recapture Jet Jaguar from the Seatopians. Jet Jaguar, who is able to magically grow to equal the size of Godzilla is programed to go to Monster Island and illicit Godzilla’s help in defeating Megalon. However, Megalon himself is teamed with Gigan from the previous movie and the resulting tag team monster fights, which take up a good portion of the later half of the movie, provide much of the laughter and entertainment. The highlight, or low light, of the monster battles is when Godzilla delivers two flying kicks balanced only on his tail to the vanquished Megalon.

Don’t get me wrong this is a bad movie but it is a movie that is laughably bad. If you are the type of person that enjoys movies that are bad purely for the laughs then you might enjoy this. There are better made Godzilla movies out there and I am glad that Toho did see the levels to which Godzilla had sunk and began reversing the trend.

You know, the new DVD for this has just come out and I can’t wait to buy it! 

I rate this movie: C+

Dr. Who

Come on into this post…its bigger on the inside.

Today I want to talk about Dr. Who. Although not a film franchise, it is an iconic TV series that I have only begun to appreciate and like within the last year. I was, of course, familiar with the show but prior to its re-launch I had never seen an episode of the classic run of the series. I am familiar with Tom Baker the 4th incarnation of the doctor.

But I have to ask myself, what took me so long to to jump on the Dr. Who bandwagon!!?? I mean this show has everything!! Time Travel is my favorite story element in science fiction and this has that plus a superhero like Doctor who can fix and solve anything, strange planets, strange creatures and monsters, the mystical and magical TADRIS and then to top it all off some very attractive ladies as his traveling companion! Who could ask for more!!??

I began watching with David Tennant as the 1oth and most popular incarnation of the Doctor. I have to say I do like him best also although Matt Smith as the 11th doctor is really growing on me too. I really adored Billie Piper as the companion Rose, but I have really love Karen Gillian as Amy Pond. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my computer.

I am also a history buff, European history to be specific, and I love when the show combines the two elements. So far my favorite episode of that type of story is from the second series with David Tennant and luscious Sophia Myles as “Reinette” the future Madame de Pompadour mistress to King Louis XV of France. The episode is entitled “The Girl in the Fireplace” and is simple a gem of story telling with great writing, costumes and acting.

There will be a seventh season starting soon with a new companion, Jenna Louise Coleman, who is acute as a bug. So I am really interested in learning about the Dr. Who universe and look forward to more episodes!

Films that celebrate being a Nerd!

Many times over the decades Nerds have been picked on and reviled. Now we seem to be in a golden age of Nerd culture with TV shows and movies that celebrate all things nerdy. With people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates having revolutionized how the entire globe communicates and now with movies Like Avatar, Batman, the Avengers and other science fiction and fantasy films raking in billions of dollars this really is a time when Nerds rule the world!!! Today I wanted to look at 5 movies and one TV show that really celebrates Nerd culture.

The first two movies are from filmmaker Kevin Smith and are part of his View Askewniverse and any of those movies, Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, are great in celebrating nerd culture, but the last two, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II, are my personal favorites.

1. Clerks II

This movie is simply hilarious and one of Kevin Smith’s best films in my opinion. Some of the funnier moments are when Randal (Jeff Anderson) is picking on Elias (Trevor Fehrman) a customer (Kevin Weisman) about The Lord of the Rings. There are other nerdy references strewn throughout the movie but in the center of it all is truly a movie with a heart. I think one needs to have seen the other movies to understand and empathize with the characters, well at least the first Clerks movie, because it really adds to the heart of the movie. So go out first and see Clerks I and then come back and watch the comedic genius that is Clerks II.

2. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

Our two favorite stoners are upset that they are not getting paid for their likenesses from a comic book, The Bluntman and Chronic,are being used and made into a movie. Plus they are upset over all the Nerd-rage and hate toward their characters on the internet. They are then sent off on a quest (road trip) to stop the movie from being made. This movie is funny from stop to finish and appearances by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are very funny and satisfying. As the movie has aged there is even now an gag that is even funnier. Will Farrell plays a Federal Wildlife Marshall named….Willenholly. The name Marshall Willenholly is a parody of the characters from the Saturday morning science fiction kids show “The Land of the Lost” from the 70s. The irony is that a few years later Farrell would go on to play Rick Marshall in the 2009 feature film version of Land of the Lost. Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back also has Matt Demon and Ben Affleck poking fun at a famous scene from their movie “Good Will Hunting.” All-in-all a very funny movie…watch for Chris Rock stealing the show in the few scenes he is in.

3. Paul

Two comic burgeoning book writers and artist from the UK are visiting San Diego’s Comic-Con and then taking a trip along the US’s UFO highway looking at all the related sights when they encounter a foul mouthed alien named Paul who is being chased by his governmental captors. This is another favorite of mine starring the voice of Seth Rogen as Paul and Simon Pegg who is teamed up with his Sean of the Dead co-star, Nick Frost. This movie takes stabs at religion but mostly the nerd references are funny and the plot plays into many familiar pop-culture themes of alien and science fiction genres. Three titties….awesome.

4. Fanboys

Another road trip movies. A group of friends, one is dying of cancer, embark on a road trip to infiltrate George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to watch one of the prequels “Phantom Menace” before it is released. Seth Rogen is also in this movie in several roles and heavily disguised. This movie is a lot of fun! There are a ton of cameos from stars in nerd related movies and shows. Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes who play Jay and Silent Bob in Kevin’s movies also have a cameo, although not as Jay and Silent Bob, but it is still very funny! I won’t give away any of the other cameos if you have not seen the movie so I will not give too much away.

5. The Last Star Fighter

This is the oldest movie on the list coming out in 1984. This is also one of the first movies to use any computer generated images in a film. Sure the effects look dated but then again many special effects from other movies of yesteryear look dated but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. All the other movies on this list are straight out comedies. This one is not a comedy but it is done in a lighthearted manner. The movie depicts Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) as a teen about to graduate from high school and lives in a trailer park. He is also a bit of a nerd and good at video games…well one video game specifically…a game where the player is a star fighter defeating aliens. He is contacted by an alien race in desperate need for fighter pilots who have placed the game to find and train someone worthy of being a star fighter. I like this movie because instead of poking fun at a teen playing video games he is celebrated for his skill by becoming the kid who saves the galaxy and gets the girl. This movie is stellar fun and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I love the fact that this video game champ plays the old style arcade game because the Nintendos and the other games we love had not been invented yet!!

Now for a TV series…

6. The Big Bang Theory.

This movie about three brilliant physicists…and one engineer has helped me get back in touch with my Nerdy side and not only celebrate it but completely embrace it. I don’t think this blog would be around if I had not fallen in love with this show. This movie is full of nerd culture, from video games, to online role playing games, role playing card games, science fiction movies and TV shows and on and on. The movie also celebrates science itself which I am also a big fan of. I have always loved physics and astrophysics. Season 5 DVD comes out next month and I am really looking forward to it!

So if you’re a nerd…or would like to become one…watch these movies and celebrate being a nerd! 

 

Star Trek vs Star Wars

Star Trek vs Star Wars

Tomorrow in my blog I am going to list some movies that celebrate Nerd culture. In one of those movies there is a humorous rivalry between Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans. I got to thinking about this….does a real rivalry between the two franchises exist? I frequent a few message boards related to movies and TV shows and I really do not find the stereotypical rivalry between the two franchises. What I do find are people like me, who tend to favor one franchise over the other but they are still both liked.

I am a much bigger Star Trek fan than I am a Star Wars fan, although I do really like Star Wars and I own all six movies on DVD. I became a Star Trek fan when I was about 13 back in 1975. The original Star Trek series was in syndication in the early 70s and I discovered the show when we first got cable. I was mesmerized and hooked and soon became pretty obsessed with all things Star Trek. I think the reason I like Star Trek more is that I can personally relate to the characters more. As someone who has always felt emotions strongly 

Then in 1977 I went and saw the original Star Wars and I was mesmerized and hooked about that movie too! I loved it. I even like like the prequels and that may be blasphemy to more hard core Star Wars fans!!

I don’t think that the rivalry that is often depicted in movies and the media truly exists. If there are those that love one and hate the other I think they are rare. So, for any of my readers, chime in where you fit on the Star Trek vs Star Wars continuum.