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Review: Shin Godzilla

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I finally saw Shin Godzilla, the new Japanese Godzilla film from Toho Studios. What follows is a review with minor spoilers.

This really is a very different Godzilla film! One could argue that there are many Godzilla films which are different from one another and you would have a valid point. In the case of Shin Godzilla you would have an even greater point for this movie is unlike any that have followed before it. To begin to understand this movie one needs to comprehend that this truly is a Japanese movie made for a Japanese audience to provide both commentary and satire unique to the Japanese culture. Having said that, it doesn’t mean these elements of the film are not beyond the reach of a non-Japanese audience.

If you have heard or read the rumor that this movie has many scenes where people are in government conferences as they debate and discuss what to do when this giant morphing creature threatens Japan. These rumors are true and therein lies the heart of this story which is commentary and satire focused at the government of Japan. If you think Godzilla is the central focus of this movie then you will miss that point and may not walk away with understanding this film. Although commentary and satire toward the Japanese government is the focus that doesn’t mean this movie lacks the proper elements that we Godzilla fans and fans of Kaiju movies.

Therefore, the simple plot of this movie is, after an unexplained creature attacks boats in Tokyo Bay the top government officials focus on military strategy and civilian safety, while Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi is put in charge of a task force to research the creature. Due to high radiation readings, the creature is theorized to be energized through nuclear fission. The US sends a special envoy, Kayoko Ann Patterson, who reveals that a disgraced zoology professor, Goro Maki, had been studying mutations due to radioactive contamination and theorized the appearance of the creature but the US covered it up. As the creature, The creature, now named Godzilla, reappears, now twice its original size, and makes landfall near Kamakura en route for Tokyo. The Japanese Self Defense Forces are mobilized, but their attacks have no effect on Godzilla and they suffer major casualties. Yaguchi’s team discovers that Godzilla’s fins and blood work as a cooling system, allowing them to theorize that through the use of a coagulating agent, they could trigger a reaction and cause Godzilla to freeze. 

Generally in my reviews I offer both the Pros and Cons of a film. For every film whether I enjoyed it or not will have varying degrees of Pros and Cons. In the case of this film, which I thoroughly enjoyed, the Con are not outweighed by the Pros in the first place.

Pro: Great Monster destruction. Isn’t this what most Godzilla and Kaiju fans come to see? Gone are the model miniature sets..which is sad…but in its place is a real world setting and real world destruction with great CGI. Godzilla’s atomic breath just has to be seen and the amount of power and destruction it delivers is the best of the entire franchise in my opinion.

Godzilla’s three forms. I really enjoy the many different designs of Godzilla. While this Godzilla isn’t actually a traditional design it really works for this movie. This is the largest Godzilla ever seen!

Great depiction of scale and Size of Godzilla. Although I have always loved the man-in-the suit approach coupled with model building one never really did get a sense of size and scale in a Godzilla movie…until now. With Godzilla 2014 and Pacific Rim (Godzilla 1998 to some extent) those movie were able to really demonstrate the massive scale and size of the creatures within the movie. Shin Godzilla finally achieves that sense  massive scale and size and to me it is awesome!!

An interesting story. Once you understand what the movie is trying to say, it really becomes interesting to watch these government officials stumble and bumble their way through the bureaucracy until they reach  a point of action.

Con: An uninteresting story. I will contradict myself. Yes, I do like the story and I understand the commentary on the ineptitude of bureaucracy, however, there are times that it is too much and goes on a little too long.

Lumbering Godzilla…or shall I say… Zombie Godzilla? While I do like this design and despite the epic destruction this Godzilla brings, there are times when all he does is walk… very…very …slowly.

While Shin Godzilla will not go down as my very favorite it is up there in my top 10. Once the DVD/Blu-Ray comes out this film will have many viewings in my home. The destruction scenes alone are worth the price of admission. A very different and still enjoyable Godzilla film!

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Comic-Con 2014: Review.

Ah, Comic-Con, that one time of year when nerdlings such as my self, climb wearily out of our Mom’s basement, adjust our eyes to natural light and actually attempt to engage fellow human beings in social contact.* I was not there in Sand Diego, but I do want to post on some of the news that came out from this past weekend’s convention. I certainly will not be able to cover everything that went on, I will focus on those things that interest me and hopefully they will interest you.

Godzilla News:

Prior to the convention Legendary Pictures already green lit two sequels to this summers big hit. What was announced this weekend was that director Gareth Edwards will be back to helm Godzilla II. Currently Edwards is working on one of the stand-alone Star Wars movies that will be out 2016.

The big news that has my fellow Kaiju fans jumping up and down for joy is that classic Toho monsters, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah will be in the sequels!!!! What is not known is whether or not all three of these monsters will be in Godzilla II or if they will be spread about over other sequels?

My Thoughts: As a Godzilla fan I am very happy with this news. I truly hope they redesign King Ghidorah with arms attached to his wings. Rodan is a favorite Kaiju and I am very happy to see him back. I am very curious to see how these monsters will be designed in CGI. What is unkown is when Godzilla II will hit the theaters. With Edwards busy with Star Wars we may have to wait until 2018 or 2019 to see the next installment.

King Kong news! Legendary pictures is in union with Universal Studios who owns the rights to King Kong. A teaser was shown this weekend of an up coming King Kong prequel titled Skull Island. The release date is November 4, 2016 and it is It is unknown at this time if it will be a prequel to the 1933 film, or the 2005 film.

My thoughts? I love King Kong and I am super excited to see this movie. I just hope the teaser trailer shown at the convention will be shown soon.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A teaser trailer was revealed at Comic-Con to the delight of many. Here is a description:

The trailer opens with Batman standing on a rooftop in the pouring rain. He’s dressed in an armor-type costume (different from the Zack Snyder released photo). The costume is very reminiscent of the armor costume that Batman wears in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Batman’s eyes are glowing bright whitish-blue (different from how his eyes looked in the Batman cowl photo).

There is something else on the roof. It’s revealed to be the Bat Signal. Batman pulls down a lever to light the Bat Signal, and its bright, shining beacon reveals Superman, hovering in the air. Superman is also in the middle of the pouring rain, and his eyes are glowing red.

The footage cuts back to Batman on the rooftop, staring intently at Superman. Batman’s eyes are still glowing a whitish-blue. The trailer ends with the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice logo.

A high resolution shot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was released. I love the look of her costume. A Facebook member noted she and her costume looked like Xena, Warrior Princess and I do agree with that. I happen to like that she reminds me of Xena, Warrior Princess while I think my Facebook friend did not.

My thoughts: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters May 6, 2016 (United States) and this movie I am looking forward to more than any other!!

* I cannot remember where I got that opening line…I think I got it from an episode of Family Guy.

Pacific Rim: My Review

First off, if you have been regularly following this blog you will know I just love giant monster movies. My DVD collection is stocked full with many Kaiju movies from every Godzilla movie, Cloverfield, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, War of the Gargantuas, Rodan, and on and on. I waited with anticipation to see Pacific Rim and I was not disappointed! This is a great Kaiju move and will hopefully be seen as a classic of the genre some day.

When the trailer first appeared I was a bit worried and disappointed. I was expecting a different tone to the film. I thought it was going to be more gritty and serious and at first glance it reminded me too much of the Transformers movies. (I do like the first and third Transformers movies). After the disappointment abated and I accepted the lighthearted touch, my anticipation for the movie grew. My reaction surprised me because I do prefer a lighter touch with many movies. I guess it was more about my expectations than my preferences.

In the end one of the things I liked most about the film was the tone it set. More and more I am seeing how important the tone of a film is. Pacific Rim strikes that perfect balance between seriousness and fun. There is very good drama with the characters and yet the monster attacks and battles are handled lightly with a good deal of fun. To operate these giant robots, called Jeagers, the human pilots are joined together via their minds. When one pilot loses his brother he is given the chance to join the Jeager team once more with a new co-pilot and she also has to over come her past to help defeat the Kaiju. There are also a couple of whacky scientists that are often at odds with one another and they too have to unite to help defeat these giant monsters. Ron Perlman as the Kaiju black marketeer even has to help out one of the scientists in the name of the cause.

The special effects are great and one of the benefits of modern CGI is seeing both the Jeagers and the Kaiju in their massive scale, Often in Godzilla films that was not an aspect they was always shown. This was one of the most impressive aspects of the film. Pacific Rim also does a good job in balancing human action with monster action. At its heart Pacific Rim is a story about teamwork and redemption. With interesting characters, great action and special effects and an interesting story Pacific Rim is a great addition to the Kaju genre. It has already received multiple viewings in my home and there will be many more to come.

Rodan: My review.

I reviewed all of the Godzilla movies, along with War of the Gargantuas, so now it is time to review one of my favorite non-Godzilla Kaiju movies: Rodan. The movie came out in 1956 and was the first Kaiju film released in color. It was directed by Gojira director Ishirō Honda and the music was also provided by Godzilla veteran Akira Ifukube. Akihiko Hirata, who played Dr. Daisuke Serizawa  in the original Godzilla, films stars as Professor Kashiwagi.

The synopsis of the movie is very simple: Mutant pterosaurs and prehistoric insects terrorize humanity. I okay, I will expand on that. In a mining village a mine as flooded and soon these large prehistoric insects, called Meganulon, (we will see these guys again in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus) begin to appear. Shortly thereafter a mysterious UFO is terrorizing the skies. Then after an earthquake a giant egg appears. When that hatched out pops a giant pterosaurs which begins to feed on the thousands of Meganulon. This mutated pterosaurs joins forces with the mysterious UFO which turns out to be another mutated pterosaurs. Soon the Japanese Defense Force and scientists have their hands full trying to defeat these ominous pair of flying monsters. In the end it would be nature itself that provides the victory as the two pterosaurs are painfully engulfed in an erupting volcano.

Pros: This is Rodan’s first and only movie. He is called Radon in Japan but called Rodan here in the States. I greatly prefer the Rodan name. The first handful of Toho’s Kaiju movies are done in a very serious tone. It would take a few more year before we began to see Kaiju movies aimed more at children. While I enjoy more fun and lighthearted Kaiju movies, the serious movies are also enjoyable and Rodan is no exception. Like Gojira in 1954 this movie has a theme that states these monsters are the results of our own doing and it tells its tale with a very ominous and foreboding tone. These scenes of monster destruction are very well done and still hold up well 57 years later. It is also an interesting plot with interesting characters. We have a murder mystery in the beginning that ties into the appearance of the two Rodans.

Cons: I really do not have many negative things to say about the movie. At 82 minutes it is not a long movie and I have come to learn that Kaiju movies needn’t be that long to tell a good story and to be entertaining.  My only minor complaint is that it does seem slow at first and does take a little too long to reveal the monsters. While not a con per se, the ending is very sad an emotional. These movies do have a way of alling the viewer to get emotionally involved with these creatures and the demise of two Rodan at the end of the movie is particularly chilling and sad.

Sometimes I think that this is a lost movie. Rodan became part of the panoply of Kaiju creatures that were incorporated into the Godzilla franchise. He never had his own solo movie again. That is sad. Rodan is one of my favorite Monsters besides Godzilla and even though he only got one solo movie this is a very good, somber and action filled Kaiju movie. If you’re looking to watch a more serious film featuring mutated prehistoric creatures then this is a good one to watch.

Pacific Rim: My Expectations

I am going to start by copying the plot outline from Wikipedia. Forgive my slothfulness.

In the near future, giant monsters identified as “Kaiju” arise from a crevice in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a war which takes millions of lives and quickly consumes humanity’s resources. To combat this new threat, a special type of weapon is designed: massive robots, known as Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. As time passes, even the powerful Jaegers prove almost defenseless in the face of a relentless enemy. On its last stand and on the verge of defeat, the remaining defending forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to pilot a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the early trials of the mechanical titans. Together, they must stand as the human race’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

I just love giant monster movies!! They are one of my all time favorite science-fiction subgenres. However, I must confess I was not always a fan of the giant robot theme in Kaiju films. I was about 11 when I saw Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974) and even at that age I found it to be, well, a bit too corny. Even at that young age I din’t want my monster movies that had a verisimilitude too far beyond the plausibility of real life experiences. In other words, I could accept giant monsters but not robots that looked like giant monsters. That seemed silly. Why create a giant robot that looked like Godzilla? In Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla the giant robot looked like Godzilla, actually was at first covered to look like Godzilla’s skin, was a ploy by aliens to fool people. But it still seemed silly. Well, that was my thoughts as a youth. I have come to have a greater appreciation, love and respect for the giant robot aspect of these films.

That brings me to Pacific Rim. Honestly, my expectations are not too different from my expectations for Godzilla 2014. I do expect to see great monster/robot action and destruction. I have heard director Guillermo del Toro say that Pacific Rim will have a different tone than Godzilla 2014. Both movies are being produced and distributed by Legendary Pictures. In light of del Toro’s statement then my expectations are for a more lighthearted action and adventure movie.

I was very excited when I heard about the premise when this movie was in pre-production. When I saw the very first trailer I was slightly disappointed. It had too much of a Transformer vibe too me. I don’t mind Transformers, although I hated the second installment, I was expecting a different tone to the film. However, upon seeing other trailers are other marketing materials for the film my hopes once again were raised.

Both the robots and the giant monsters are designed very well. The tone of the film does seem like a fun action and adventure movie with great special effects. The human aspect of the story, triumph in the face of great adversity, also looks to be very interesting. So I greatly expect that this will be a movie I love and it will have many viewings when it comes out on DVD.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

I think my favorite Godzilla movie is the 1954 original. It has a somber and serious tone. Artistically and creatively it is the best. Right behind that movie is Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (GMK) released in 2001. In some ways it is a more enjoyable movie than the original because there are some lighthearted moments too, along with great action sequences, making it more fun to watch. In all honesty this movie is the Godzilla movie I watch the most!

Like the others in the millennium series this movie ignores all the others that went before it and acts like a direct sequel to the 1954 original movie. Like the original Godzilla this Godzilla is at his most malevolent and destructive behavior.  This movie also features one of the most coolest and slickest designed Godzilla suits.

Godzilla’s eyes in this suit have no pupils and are totally white giving Godzilla an evil menacing look. The dorsal fins on his spine begin lower and appear to be heavier and actually cumbersome to Godzilla as he walks. I have read some com plaints about the suit that it makes Godzilla look fat. Well, he does have a bit of a gut on him and I as I look at other suits from the past, having a Godzilla that is bottom heavy is not without precedence. A minor complaint is that in some scenes it shows Godzilla in different colors. In the majority of the scenes he is his typical charcoal grey. However, in some scenes he is brown and in a few close-ups, like when Baragon is chewing on his arm, he is actually green!

The movie also takes what I think is a very creative path in developing Godzilla’s origins. Since this is a direct sequel to the original Toho could ignore the other continuities and they were free to explain his origins anew. In this movie Godzilla’s origins are shrouded in Japanese mysticism. Godzilla is now the embodiment of the angry souls of those vanquished during World War II. The route they took in using a mystical approach may seem silly and implausible to an American audience steeped in the Western Civilization’s tradition of relying on the scientific method in explaining phenomenon, However, I find it refreshingly creative and it exemplifies the different mindset of the Japanese culture. Although Godzilla  is no longer a force of nature the anger and the rage driving the creature makes him just as unpredictable and destructive.

Going further into Japanese mysticism is the appearance of the old man who is similar to a Wizard like mentor in western cultures that prophesies and warns people of the future. Another aspect of mysticism the old man delivers is the ancient concept of the guardian monsters. These ancient creatures are foretold in legend. Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, who must be awoken to protect Japan should Godzilla return to destroy the country. This idea is also new and creative. GMK was the 25th Godzilla movie and how many different plots and story lines can you create around the theme of a monster attacking a city or battling other monsters? Toho continually tired to create new scenarios on a theme that can easily become clichéd and formulaic. GMK, with its mystical approach and concept of  the guardian monsters, offers something new, exciting and different from previous films.

For this movie all three of the guardian monsters (who have been in Godzilla movies before) were made slightly smaller and weaker in power so Godzilla would appear that much stronger. They each battle Godzilla in a solo exchange. First up is Baragon. I do like this creature yet I am not crazy about monsters on all four legs there is something about that which just doesn’t work for me. His roar and flapping ears are a bit silly. The special effects during these battle scenes are spectacular as the monsters are made to blend in with real world settings, as well as the usage of miniatures, in a seamless and realistic fashion.  In my opinion this movie has some of the best special effects of any Godzilla movie.  His atomic breath has never been better depicted as it is in this film. He creates a very symbolic and destructive mushroom cloud on his first appearance. His plasma breath is powerfully depicted destroying buildings, monsters and military equipment.

Although Godzilla makes short work of the scrappy Baragon and easily takes care of Mothra it is his battles with King Ghidorah. I have read that many fans complain to what was done to King Ghidorah in this movie. He had always been the villain and in this movie he is smaller than usual and he is one of the good guys. I can understand an empathize with those that are upset. Yet, I also can see that using him as one of the good guys makes perfect sense. In this movie there is no ambiguity about Godzilla being a bad guy. In fact he is depicted as pure malevolence and evil incarnate. So who else could face this unmovable object but the one monster that has been his most formidable foe through the entire franchise? No other monster really had the presence and the history with Godzilla such as his number one rival, King Ghidorah.

The other aspect I enjoy is the human story between Admiral Taizo Tachibana of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and his daughter Yuri, who works for a low-budget science fiction movie company. Yuri is not happy in her work and wants to do more serious work. She is also not happy how women are treated in her line of work. In GMK we get to see how both a civilian and a person inside the military face the attack from Godzilla. We also see the father-daughter relationship grow and change throughout the movie. These are two characters that I did care about and was able to see the attack from Godzilla through their eyes. Great monster action needs to be tempered with a good human story and in GMK we get both of those criteria met. Also, Yuri is pretty easy on the eyes and that sure helped!

I enjoyed the serious tone of the movie and I liked the design of Godzilla and the fact that he was at his most destructive and monstrous best since both the 1954 original and the 1984 reboot. As I mentioned it is a new and unique story with good modern special effects. This is one of the best Godzilla movies Toho has to offer.

I rate this movie: A+

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus 2000

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus was the second film in the Millennium Series of films. It was released in November of 2000. It was directed by Masaaki Tezuka. Like the previous film (Godzilla 2000) this movie uses the same Godzilla suit and design but it is not a direct sequel to that film or any other Godzilla film except the 1994 original.  This would become the halmark of the Millennium Series which, except for two, were stand alone films.

The movie shows that since the 1954 Godzilla attack (shown in black and white footage but with the updated Godzilla design) Godzilla had attacked several other times and was always attacking nuclear power plants forcing the government to close down all nuclera production. In 1996 Godzilla attackes again. Kiriko Tsujimori is in the Japanese Defense force and when attacking Godzilla in Osaka she causes the death of her commanding officer. Tsujimori is then transferred to a scientific unit, the G-Graspers,  which is working on an experimental sattelite called Dimension Tide which is able to create a small balck hole. Durring a test run of Dimension Tide a black whole is created which swallows up an abandoned building. A wormwhole is created as an after effect of the black whole and from the wormwhole an ancient dragon fly flies out and lays an egg which is found by a young boy that is secretly watching the experiment. He takes the egg home but when it starts oozing a liquid he throws it in the sewer. While in the sewer the egg spawns thousands of other eggs which hatch into these large dragon fly creatures called Meganula.

Godzilla makes an apperance one again and is lured to a deserted island so the Dimension Tide can take him out. But before the weapon is launched thousands of the Meganula begin to swarm Godzilla. Although he destroys many of them with his plasma breath ray many  are successful in stinging Godzilla and absorbing his radioactivity. These surviving Meganula return to the city and inject a giant larva with Godzilla’s energy before they die. This new queen dragon fly, called Megaguirus, takes flight. The first actually test of  Dimension Tide on Godzilla fails as he is able to escape the black whole buy burrowing underground. Soon Godzilla heads to the mainland where the territorial minded  Megaguirus and Godzilla do battle. After Godzilla defeats Megaguirus the G-Graspers now want to kill Godzilla. With the Dimension Tide falling out of orbit and unable to lock onto Godzilla Tsujimor takes a fighter jet that Dimension Tide is able to lock onto.  Tsujimor ejects prior to the crash as  Dimension Tide shoots a black whole at Godzilla which swallows him whole making hin disappear forever.

I really do enjoy this film and it has some very good scenes that are well done. The Godzilla franchise is often called a science-fiction instead of a horror franchise and this movie has some of the best science-fiction themes out of all of them. I really like the depcition and concept of the balck whole and I think the special eefcts depicting it are top notch. Somether well filmed scenes involve Godzilla himself. There are some great closeup shots of Godzilla attacking the city that give a great sense of scale and the destruction he brings. I particularly enjoy the senes where Godzilla is being attacked by the swarm of megenula. Great special effects and very well done. I actually feel bad for the big guy and want to hand him some inscet repellant!

Now for some negatives. I really had a hard time liking the main charcter, Kiriko Tsujimori. After her commanding officer is killed she comes off as real tough and hard. I just have had too many experiences with tough women that the main character puts me off a bit. The other thinbg I wasn’t two crazy about was Megaguirus. A giant bug like monster wasn’t that interesting to me. I like the monsters that are most like Godzilla himself. However, the battle between Godzilla and Megaguirus is pretty intense and well done. Megaguirus does give Godzilla run for his money.

Despite those minor negatives, and they are minor to me, Godzilla vs Megaguirus is a very entertaining film and a worthy addition to the franchise.

If you watch this movie, make sure you watch through until the end of the credits for a little surprise!

I rate this movie: B+

The Terror of Mechagodzilla. 1975

Terror of Mechagodzilla

This movie was the last of the original run of Godzilla movies. Beginning in 1954 and running until this last movie, released in 1975. The original director of the first director, Ishiro Honda, returned to film his last Godzilla movie. Akira Ifukube also returned to create the music for this movie. Godzilla was dying at the box office due to the last several films under performing. After this film the Godzilla suit would be mothballed. This movie also steps away from the more child friendly fare of the early 70s films. This movie is different from the Japanese release. A 4 minute prologue was added at the beginning to catch viewers up on the history of Godzilla and to describe the events of the previous film which this is a direct sequel to.

The plot is pretty basic. After the remnants of Mechagodzilla fall into the sea a group of scientists go looking for it in a submarine. Instead of finding Mechagodzilla they come across a dinosaur like monster named Titanosaurus (think half fish half T-rex). The Simeons are back, I guess they were not completely defeated in the last movie, and they seek the aid of Dr. Mafune, your typical mad-scientists who is bent on revenge and destruction. I have to quote Dr. Sheldon Cooper from the TV show The Big Bang Theory, “You know, it’s amazing how many super villains have advanced degrees. Graduate schools should do a better job of screening those people out.” Dr. Mafune is also assisted by his beautiful and lovely daughter Katsura. Soon the Dr. and Katsura are investigated by Interpol and Katsura warns them that her father has taken control of Titanosaurus. We also learn via flashback that Katsura died a few years ago and the Simeons created an cyborg body in which her consciousness inhabits. Katura also falls in love with one of the biologists which creates for her a conflict of whether or not to help the scientists in defeating the Simeons or assisting her father.

We also discover that the Simeons were the ones to find the remains of Mechagodzilla and have repaired him. Soon Katsura sends the Titanosaurus to destroy the submarine which is still looking for Mechagodzilla. However, the biologists in the submarine have a sonar sound that makes Titanosaurus flee. Godzilla suddenly arrives and begins to fight Titanosaurus and when Interpol begins to use its sonar weapon against Titanosaurus, Katsura is shot trying to sabotage the sonar device. The Simeons retrieve her body and implant the Mechagodzilla control unit inside her chest (how convenient). Katura then sends Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus out to destroy Tokyo where they have an epic battle against Godzilla. After sending the monsters out on their path of destruction Katsura has a change of heart and overcomes the programing she has in her head and is once again shot. This time she shot in the process of trying to release control of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus, which she succeeds in doing before dying. Once oft of her control Godzilla achives an easy victory.

Katsura

This really isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t as good as the classic movies from the mid 60s either. The previous movie, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, did prove how well received the character was and I am glad to see him back. The footage of the monster battles are very well done. I like the design of Titanosaurus although they have his head bobbing so much at times I wished they would have gave more support for the neck in the design of the suit. I also must say that his roar gets a little annoying at times. Speaking of designs, the spacesuits the Simeons wear are just hilarious. I don’t know if they thought that designed looked cool in the mid 70s but today it is the epitome of the things a person sees mocked and ridiculed in Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I like the angle the movie takes with Kastura. She is not really a likeable character at first. She is a naughty girl. But you know that there is a good girl somewhere in all that wiring and radio tubes so were rooting for her. She is a tragic character who is gthe victim of those that control her. Titanosaurus is also a victim. He appears to be a docile monster and is only bad because he is under the control of the evil villains.

This is a Godzilla movie isn’t it? I have hardly mentioned him! In some ways he is a mcguffin, a plot device. He really doesn’t seem to essential to the story. He is a side character that doesn’t even appear until well into the movie. He just shows up to defeat the two monsters and that is about it. That is one of the reasons I like the American version which gives us the prologue with Godzilla’s history. Without that prologue it makes it less of a Godzilla movie. Katsura is really the central character in the movie. The monster scenes and battles are pretty good for the most part. There is some choppy editing and overall silliness to the fights. For instance Titanosaurus at one point picks up Godzilla by his lips before tossing him. At one point the back of the Godzilla suit catches fire and this brief scene was left in the movie. Overall the battles were well filmed. On the other hand it is sort of sad to see Godzilla just regulated to fight scenes and nothing more. I guess the writers were running out of steam.

This movie ended the original run of Godzilla films. We last see Godzilla at the end of this movie in the ocean heading off into the sunset. It would be nine years before Toho would revive the iconic series and when they did begin anew they started all over again as if the only relevant movie in the franchise was the 1954 original. In this continuity of the franchise this incarnation of Godzilla goes off into the sunset and retirement. I envision him back somewhere on one of the tropical islands from the movie Son of Godzilla, sitting in the shade sipping a giant Piña colada in the shade while Rodan flaps his wings keeping him cool.

 I rate this movie: B

 

Whats in the Hopper?

A new poster for next year’s giant monster movie Pacific Rim has been released. The movie is about giant monsters/aliens attacking earth with humans building giant robots to combat them. It will be directed by Guillermo del Toro and stars Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day &  Ron Perlman. The movie will come out ONE YEAR from Today…July 12, 2013! 

 

These are the suits the humans will wear while operating the giant robots. This sounds like something straight out of Toho studios!

Also, there writers of Pacific Rim, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, have been hired to write the script for a Gods of War movie based off the popular video game. Gods of War has similar elements to the Clash/Wrath of the Titans movie and the recent Immortals film.

Godzilla Raids Again. (Gigantis, the Fire Monster) 1955

In Japan the original Godzilla, or Gojira to be precise, was so successful that a sequel was in the theaters within 6 months! Something like that is unheard of today. For the US release of the film the plan was to cut out all references to Japan and film new scenes surrounding the monsters. That plan was eventually shelved and instead a dubbed version with a new title was released. All references to Godzilla were removed and the monster was renamed “Gigantis.” This movie was first time Godzilla was paired fighting another monster, Anguirus, a giant monster that resembles an Ankylosaurus. Godzilla’s famous roar was also removed and replaced with a roar identical to the roar Anguirus has in the film.

The plot to the movie is a little less serious than the original movie. The story surrounds two friends, Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi, who are pilots for a fishing company in Osaka and when one of their planes goes down on a mysterious island he finds the island occupied with two giant fighting monsters. Soon Godzilla ..or Gigantis and Anguirus take their war to the port city of Osaka where Godzilla kills Anguirus. Tsukioka and Kobayashi are transferred to a tuna plant in Hokkaido and while at company party the two are notified that Godzilla destroyed one of the company fishing boats. Tsukioka along with the Japanese military begin searching for Godzilla. Tsukioka sees Godzilla coming on shore to a small icy island. He notifies the cannery plant in Hokkaido and Kobayashi takes off in his plane to switch shifts with Tsukioka. Kobayashi is killed when he flies towards Godzilla who is trying to leave the small island. Godzilla sends Kobayashi and his plane into the side of a mountain with one blast of his atomic breath. In his grief for his friend Tsukioka realizes that his friends death has given him an idea for defeating Godzilla. The plan is to blast away at the mountain and to bury Godzilla in tons of ice and snow. The first round of bombing buries Godzilla up to his waist and after reloading Tsukioka is given the authority to fly his own jet and he along with the rest of the squadron shoots their missiles at the mountain, burying Godzilla to his neck with Tsukioka delivering the final bomb which completely buries Godzilla in the frozen ice. This movie attempts to show how the defeat of Godzilla did not come through the strong arm of the military…in some ways it did…but through the talents of the average person.

One misstep in the movie are the fight scenes with Anguirus. Generally the scenes with Godzilla are filmed at a high rate of speed and when played back at normal speed the slower motions display a sense of size and weight. But in this movie the action sequences are fast which produces fight scenes which are comical in their appearance. This movie is enjoyable although in some aspects there really isn’t anything too special about it either. It is not groundbreaking as the first one and although it does feature the first monster battle in the franchise the fight scenes are not central to the film like they would become in later movies. Sandwiched in between the serious original and the later campier movies Godzilla Raids Again is often a lost and forgotten movie but well worth a viewing. My rating for this movie is B+