Saturday, August 8, 2020
Director: Kazuki Ōmori
I know I always say this, but this movie is straight nonsense.
In particular, the flavor of nonsense in this movie is an alarming disregard for logic tied to time travel. Also, cuts and colors of suit.
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Viewing: First (all the way through)
Director: Jun Fukuda
Between you, me and the wall, I have been kind of dreading getting to these Godzilla films. I'm not necessarily a fan of Minilla, but I understand his place. Some of my first exposure to Godzilla was via the 1970's cartoon series which included "Godzooky", a character intended to appeal to the youths who was a doofus time sink taking away minutes from Godzilla fights.
We're only 13 years away from the amazing work of the original Gojira by this point, but as happens when kids glom onto a character, all the edges were knocked off (see: Mickey Mouse or Batman by 1940). Godzilla is a big goof who people are afraid like maybe you'd fear a giant cow, and the introduction of "Baby Godzilla" in this context is mostly about giving kids an avatar to project what it'd be like to hang out with Godzilla and learn how to use your own atomic breath.
I've never really been one for this line of thinking - I never wanted to be Robin if I could be Batman. I suspect I at least kinda liked Godzooky as a kid. A funny Godzilla was probably pushing the right buttons for me. But there is nothing cute or particularly funny about Minilla. In fact, he's kind of grotesque.
|he looks like shirtless, toothless, old, fat man who can't find his slippers|
Our story is that several scientists have come to a remote, supposedly empty island to work on a weather control experiment that will somehow assist with resolving world hunger. This island is a popular napping spot for Godzilla. It also contains mantises the size of a human. The experiment goes kooky and radiates the island and the mantii grow to Godzilla sizes. Minilla hatches from an egg and in his original form looks like a tadpole mated with a cow patty. Its revolting and you kinda root for the mantises to make short work of the abomination.
But Godzilla shows up and saves him.
There's also a giant spider on the island (who is a dick). And a fetching island girl who is the sole survivor of an archaeological expedition that went on way too long.
This is also one the doofiest designs for Big G. And I don't even know what they were thinking.
|what if an alligator and avocado fell in love?|
Anyway - this is the era I've been bracing for as its "Godzilla, Friend to the Children" time, and I soon need to watch stuff like All Monsters Attack, which I have never successfully navigated.
Friday, July 3, 2020
Viewing: First (somehow)
Director: Takao Okawara
Do you like pointless Indiana Jones rip-offs? Confusing plot twists that come out of nowhere? Psychics? and our friends, the Twins/ Fairies/ Cosmos? Sad Japanese people talking about how we're all boned anyway, because we're destroying our own environment? Disappearing mullets? Plot threads that begin, are very important, and left unresolved? Most of all - do you like MOTHRA?
Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) is here to deliver the goods.
Friday, June 19, 2020
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: 4th? - for whatever reason, I've seen this a few times
Director: Ishiro Honda
This one I've seen a few times and very much remember watching it as a kid on some local UHF channel. However, I think watching it with Japanese language subtitled to English may have changed a few details. I swear I thought this whole movie took place on Mars.
It does not.
Friday, June 12, 2020
Viewing: second or third
Director: Ishirō Honda
This movie is straight up nonsense and is, therefore, ideal.
January in Tokyo sees 82 degrees temperatures and an encephalitis epidemic. People are all about UFO's. A Princess is seeking asylum from her small country in Japan because (a) there is an assassination plot afoot before she can be coronated and (b) everyone is wearing Elizabethan collars and it is a fashion nightmare. The Faeries are touring Japan and appearing on gameshows?
Anyway - we get way, way into the movie before there's even a hint of kaiju. Instead, there's a plot about the princess jumping out of her plane before it explodes and then appearing in Tokyo possessed by a Venusian and predicting calamity (see: Ghidorah). A reporter and her brother are stepping on each other's toes. There's a hit squad of 4 very hep cats after the princess.
Friday, June 5, 2020
Directors: Masaaki Tezuka, Ishirô Honda
In general, I like dragon flies. They remind me of lazy summer days and hanging out by the pool. Sometimes they even land on you when you're on a float, and that's kind of fun.
I do not care, however, for the Megaguirus, the giant flying SOB that is the villain of the piece in Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000). Some of the monsters in Godzilla's rogues gallery are jerks - I'm looking at you, Ghidorah - but I straight up want to punch Megaguirus in its toothy face. I can find room in my heart for a space monster that is just doing its thing of domination via rampage, but Megaguirus brings nothing to the table, charm-wise, while also being a real pain.
All the worst things bugs do? Megaguirus is all about those things.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Director: Okihiro Yoneda
So, this movie was insane.
Rebirth of Mothra/ Mothra Returns (1996) arrived with those kind of groovy Godzilla films where they were re-doing the earlier movies in a 90's context, and decided to expand the franchise with some Mothra solo flix. It just happened to be directed by a second unit director who maybe wasn't quite ready for his own picture?
The first half has this weird vibe like an American kids movies of the late 80's - squabbling parents, a bratty younger sister maybe? But then enter the Twins/ The Faeries from prior Mothra appearances. And they HAVE NAMES. (Mona and Lora. Who figured?) They also have a gothed out sister who went evil who rides around on a tiny dragon.
Friday, May 15, 2020
Viewing: second or third
Director: Masaaki Tezuka
This Godzilla film is a direct sequel, sort of, to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. But in the tradition of Godzilla movies, the humans in the foreground are not the same as those in the prior film, minus a cameo and a return of the same Premier of Japan.
This one follows up, basically, with the rebuilding of Kiryu - the Mechagodzilla built by humans to protect Japan - smartly made from the bones and DNA of 1954 Godzilla. The flight team from the prior film is shipped off for additional training and so we get a new flight crew.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: First all the way through
Director: Jun Fukuda
We're in that part of the Showa era of Godzilla where it's kinda for kids and every once in a while there's a bunch of samurai blood shooting out of a kaiju. Godzilla v Gigan (1972) features about 30 minutes of WWE-style monster fighting at the end of the movie, so it's light on plot and eager to deliver what you paid to see.
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: First as an adult
Director: Jun Fukuda
This movie is straight nonsense.
That's not exactly a criticism, but it is remarkable how, in a short couple of decades, Godzilla went from "manifestation of faults and failures of a nation coming back in the form of an unstoppable behemoth" to "giant friend to the children who likes a good bit of wrasslin' with other giant monsters". As I said elsewhere, any time you see one of these movies and it stars a kid in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt, you know you're often getting a particular flavor of Godzilla that is knowingly goofy.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Director: Masaaki Tezuka
This movie kind of kicked ass.
Sure, it's from the Millennium Series which is kind of confusing as the movies don't work in any shared continuity, but since we learn "all you need to know is Gojira from 1954", it's pretty dang easy to play catch-up.
Here's your plot: 1999, a series of monsters have been arriving in/ attacking Japan since Godzilla's first arrival in 1954. A squad has been put together with advanced weaponry to take these monsters on, and has been pretty successful to date. No more rampages like those of '54 (Toho also uses footage from Showa-era films as "documentary" footage).
But, whoops. Here's a Godzilla again, with atomic breath and a terrible attitude about people.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Director: Kensho Yamashita
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) is maybe not the best entry in the series, but it does have a NASA official reviewing footage of the inside of a space craft that has some damage from an exterior source before exploding and says "it must have been a huge monster". Look, science is just different in a world with Mothras and whatnot.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
KAIJU WATCH: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah - Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) AND Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla II
Watched: 04/19/2020/ 04/20/2020
Viewing: First/ Firstish
Decade: 2000's/ 1990's
Director: Shusuke Kaneko/ Takao Okawara
I am unsure what I'd heard about Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) as a particular entry in the G-franchise, but it *seems* to be pretty popular. Godzilla v MechaGodzilla II (1993) may be marginally popular with kaiju fans. Arguably, GMAOA is aimed at an older crowd, and harkens back to the existential threat of Godzilla as first presented in 1954. GvMGII seems aimed at a younger crowd, but still works pretty well.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Watched: 04/01/2020 and 04/03/2020
Viewing: Second? First as an adult
Frankly, on top of and due to Coronavirus happenings, work has been a bear, and - thus - in the evenings I've mostly just been looking for something *fun* when I peel myself out of my office chair and mosey down to the living room. For some time, my Criterion Godzilla set has been calling to me from the bookshelf, so we finally broke into it a while back and started watching some Kaiju Kraziness.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
I had never seen Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), and I remember asking Stuart about it about a year or two ago, and he sort of said "it's the psychedelic one" and sort of gave an amused shrug, so... I didn't really know what to expect.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Well, the poster is an amazing summary of this film, so I'll let it speak for itself.
Saturday, September 7, 2019
|be careful. Even under the sea, you can step on a Lego|
Format: Google Fiber Streaming
In all fairness, at least two of you people warned me.
I didn't care much for 2014's Godzilla, the first in the series to relaunch Big-G from an American studio, leaping from Toho Studios to WB/ Legendary. It didn't help that the movie was pitched as a Bryan Cranston vehicle at the height of Breaking Bad's popularity, and then removed him from the story about 1/3rd of the way in leaving us with an uninspired story about two characters who never were much beyond their wardrobe of "soldier" and "nurse". We got Ken Watanabe in practically a walk-on role and Sally Hawkins as his sorta side-kick, but neither was given much to do but stare in awe at screens.
The movie was followed by Kong: Skull Island (2017), which I was in the minority as finding kind of boring and relying too much on Toho's take on prior renditions of King Kong rather than the 1933 original, for which I have a deep love. I didn't find the way it "borrowed" from Apocalypse Now particularly charming or even appropriate. The movie turned Brie Larson into a talking tank top, and if you asked me what happened in the movie to whom, I couldn't tell you. Something something MONARCH. But it also assembled a wild array of A and B list talent including Marvel heroes and villains taking a side-gig. Ditching the notion that Kong would leave Skull Island in this episode, instead we're stuck with "look how many ways soldiers and scientists can die over the span of 90 minutes", which is a formula I mostly find deadly dull.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Viewing: Third/ First
Way back in '86, I rented the American version of this film for my birthday. And when I say "American version", it helps to know a bit about the original Godzilla: King of the Monsters from back in the 1950's.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
I had two failed attempts to see Shin Godzilla (2016) when it was released in October 2016 and then had a quick return to the screen around New Years 2017. The first time something at work came up and I had to cancel. The second time I went to see the movie with PaulT and Jamie and something was wrong with the film. It started and a 1K tone was laid over the soundtrack to the movie. Which was both awful and hilarious. Anyway, they stopped the movie about three minutes in, we had this weirdly informal conversation with the manager about what we should do, and I got a couple passes to come back, but couldn't attend the next screening as it was my first day back to work after the holiday break.
And the more stuff I saw about the movie, the more goggle-eyed I became. I really wanted to see this flick.
In case you don't know what Shin Godzilla is, essentially Toho Studios rebooted the Godzilla franchise from square one (it was also marketed in the US as Godzilla: Resurgence). And if you've never seen Gojira, the 1954 Godzilla that is the Japanese version and lacks Raymond Burr (a) shaaaaaaame on you, and (b) fix that immediately. It's a terrific film. And aside from Godzilla 1985, Gojira is one of the only movies that's just about Godzilla (aka: Gojira) attacking Tokyo by himself and for mysterious reasons and is not fighting, say, Anguirus*. Here, in a re-booted universe that's never heard of Godzilla, our scaly pal returns again for the first time to wreak just horrible, unthinkable havoc upon an unsuspecting Tokyo.
And it is really, really good.
Monday, August 7, 2017
Harou Nakajima, the original Man-in-Suit, has passed.
Watching Godzilla movies will tell you that our gigantic, atomic-fire-breathing-pal had a definite personality. And I think you can chalk a good chunk of that up to Mr. Harou Nakajima.
To get a better idea of what I mean, give those first few Godzilla movies a spin and watch as the big fella becomes more himself. A sort of cranky giant who definitely has opinions.
I recently saw this video interviewing the actor. It is absolutely inspiring and a testament to a certain mindset we could all stand to try on.