Gamera: The invincible

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Time to go old school. To go back to the movie which first introduced the world to the fire breathing giant turtle known as Gamera. Is it as good an origin film as King Kong or Gojira?

Deep in the artist, a Cold War fighter carrying an atomic bomb is shot down. The explosion gives rise to an ancient creature known as Gamera: The giant monster. As he explores the world he is spotted by a turtle loving boy named Toshio and saved him from falling causing Toshio to insist Gamera is good. Despite his pleas humanity attacks Gamera in an effort to destroy him but there efforts seem futile. The Earth`s only hope is the operation called Z Plan.  Will it save the world?

One of the most notable aspects of this film is Gamera`s appearance. He shows up much earlier than Godzilla or King Kong but even he doesn’t know what is going on half of the time. Yes, he rampages but he is attacked before even his initial destruction. For the most part Gamera is just trying to get more fossil fuels and fire for nourishment. Frankly, the humans should have come up with a better plan involving luring him somewhere but sadly the more go to plan was to try to blow him up.

GMG02Speaking of the humans, they are less than intelligent in this movie. They simply wish to blow up Gamera because they are  focused on the fact Gamera is emitting an aura which dampens radars. This power would be dropped in later installments but this is the major reason they seem to be attacking Gamera as he is for the most part is more curious and exploring than he is being deadly. Also, Toshio is one of the few characters with any real development and even then he gets a bit annoying. Yes, he’s the only one who has Gamera’s back but Gamera is still doing damage and needs to be dealt with. Luckily, they are able to defeat him in a very interesting twist on how to beat a monster.

This film is infamous for being shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of the more hilarious episodes and the jokes they make about Toshio (Kenny in the English dub) kept obsessing over Gamera. The movie is one to watch with or without the commentary of the Satellite of Love but not nearly as essential as Gamera`s trilogy from the 90s.

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Sadly, the film is not very good as the study really didn’t know how to present Gamera in a way which distinguished him from being a Godzilla knock off. I`ll be getting around to reviewing the rest of the more comical Showa Era films eventually but for the most part this year I’ll be more focused on finishing the Godzilla franchise. Gamera will get his day thought sooner or later.

RATING: C+

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Poll: The next theme month

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With my first theme month completed I need to figure out which theme month I should get ready for next. I’m going my Crew figure out which one should I prepare for deployment.

  • Monkey Madness: A month of giant monkey movies
  • Goofy Gamera: A month of all the more comical Showa Era Gamera films
  • Bigger than Big: A month looking at all the different versions of Gigantor (Tetsujin 28)
  • Transformers: A month of Tranformers series to help get through the extended list of different Transformer series

Cast your votes below crew and help me figure out what you want me to review for this blog.

The top 10 Women of Kaiju

Ladies, I feel for you. After Fay Wray`s performance in the original King Kong, women were stereotyped  with the nickname of “Scream Queens” whose only purpose in the film is to be eye candy for the audience and scream in horror as the giant monster appears. Not the best role to have.

Luckily there are women who broke this stereotype and did it with style. These are the top 10 women of Kaiju. The fabulous ladies who can kick a lot of butt and easily hang with the big boys.

10. Konomi Amagi (Ultraman Mebius)
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Im particul to this character since she comes from my personal favorite Ultra series, which is why I’m leaving her closer to the bottom. While the rest of the members of GUYS joined with innate special gifts that were immediately were evident of how they could contribute to the team. Konomi was different though, she was a school teacher with a kind heart. One would think this would have no place on team for fighting giant monster but this was were she was able to shine. Her kind nature made her able to connect with the capsule monsters, a feat no one else was able to accomplish. Her bond with monsters such as Miclas made it possible for Ultraman Mebius to save the world.

9. Ann Darrow (King Kong (2005))

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Of all the different ladies that have formed a bond with the 8th wonder of the world, its Naomi Watt’s Ann Darrow that seems the strongest. Ann truly loves Kong. She sees him as a gentle giant that is misplaced and alone, not only in our world but in his own. He just wants something to bond with and Ann is there to be his shining star in a chaotic world. I already expressed my love for this movie last week and how I am willing to defend the ice skating scene despite the criticism of others.

8. Mako Mori (Pacific Rim)

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Their were many mecha fans that left the theaters after seeing Pacific Rim and immediately proclaimed that Mako Mori was their new “Waifu.” Personally, I wasn’t that obsessed with her but still I admire her for the strong character that she is. Wishing to avenge her parents from a Kaiju attack she personally trained her self despite her stepfathers wishes. She knew she had what it took to pilot a Jaegar and make sure that no one experienced the same tragedy she did. Cant wait to see what they do with her in the sequel.

7. Mother of Ultra (Ultra Series)

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The mother of Ultras is just as her name says, she is Ultramans mother. On op of giving birth to one of the greatest heroes of all time, Mother of Ultra has impressive skills of her own. She is gifted with incredible healing power that has allowed her to save many Ultra beings who have been in mortal danger. Shame she never go an episode dedicated to her. I mean there was an episode in Ultraman Mebius dedicated to Father of Ultra, why not one dedicated to her?

6. Miki Saegaesa (Godzilla – Heisei series)

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After Godzilla series was brought back with the heisei series, Miki was introduced as the one character that came in during every movie. She was a woman with psychic abilities who started at a member of an ESP institute, became  Doctor, and even a member of the anti-Godzilla team, G-Force. It was this transformation over the course of the series that made her such an interesting character. Sadly, the Studio could have done a bit more with her character and she came off as cold with that whole “others cant understand me because of my special powers” story line.

5. Time Force Pink (Power Rangers: Time Force)

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Jen is a popular Power Ranger for many reasons. First, she was the first female leader of a Ranger team. She was played by a really strong actress. Her story line was interesting and despite the fact she had a love interest, it wasn’t her defining characteristic. Few rangers have been able to measure up to her level throughout the entire history of the franchise.

4. Akiko Fuji (Ultraman)

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Akiko was on the first support team in an Ultraman series, the Science Space patrol and fought along Ultraman. Consider what this meant. This series took place at the same time as Mad Men, where wmen were designated to having to file paperwork and get the men coffee. Okay, yes there are scenes where this happens but there is also moments of her fighting along side the guys and kicking giant monster butt. Think of all the great female warriors that have fought alongside Ultraman and realize that without Akiko fighting the good fight.

3. Asagi Kusangi (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe)

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I love Asagi. She is a strong young girl trying to find herself while at the same time willing to help those in need. When is given a mysterious jewel, t allows hr to share a connection with Gamera  She deeply loves Gamera and does all she can to be the priestess and bond to humanity throughout the course of the three movies. We can only hope that the new human that bounds with Gamera next has half the characteristics that Asagi brought to the franchise.

2. Kumi Mizuno (Various Kaiju movies)

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I`m cheating a bit on this one. Instead of a character the second spot goes to an actual actress. Kumi Mizuno stared in eight different Kaiju related films. Her time as the space alien from Monster Zero, the island girl from Ebirah the Sea Monster, or the scientist from Frankenstein conquerors the world. Yes, in a few of her roles she was scantily clad at times but her characters were always strong and willing to do all they could to help those around her. She is so exceptional as an actress that she is actually worshiped on an island in pacific.

1. The Shobijin/Cosmos/Elias (Various Kaiju movies)
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Ah the Shobijin. Personally I like to call them the Cosmos after the heisei series as  I hadn’t heard a subtitled version of a film where they referred to as the Shobijin. Still, despite their origins, they are always presented as the  tiny guardians and confidants of Mothra. Their main purpose is to speak with humanity on Mothra`s behalf. Despite the sins of humanity they have yet to give up on humans and instead have fought along side Mothra several times with the ideal that humans can be more than violent, destructive beasts. In our darkest hour, the Shobijin will be there to sing their song of peace to call Mothra to aid humanity and never even rub our noses in fact they were right the whole time. You stay classy Shobojin.

The Host

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Have you ever had a film or show that everyone else was adamant about but you just really couldn’t get behind. The one movie that everyone insists is the greatest thing ever but your just sitting there with your head cocked to the side saying “Really? I’m just not seeing it.” This is my experience with The Host. A film that everyone else seemed to love but I really didn’t enjoy that much.

Park Gang-du is a dim witted individual who works a snack stand with his father near the Han river. Thanks to a chemical dump six years prior, a monster has been created that grows from the river, attacks the city, and captures Park’s Gangdu’s daughter, Hyun-seo. Now, Park must chase down the monster with the help of his father, brother, and sister in an effort to try and save Hyun-seo before the monster consumes her.

The cast is interesting to say the least. Park is stupid, Hee-bong (the father) is keeping the family together but is kind of a jerk himself, Nam-joo (the sister) is an archer, and Nam-il (his brother) is an alcoholic. Its weird because they are terrible characters individually but as a group you find yourself routing for them as they come together to track down a missing member of the family. There is a real emphasis on the bond of family and trying to survive which no doubt helped to win the viewers over. Personally though I could take or leave Park’s dim witted nature.

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The mixture of comedy and drama is off in this film. Moments that should be tense but have a joke appear seem awkward and forced. One of the best examples comes as the scientist enters the room in a hazmat suit, full of confidence, and one second later slips on the floor and almost falls. What was that? That little joke made everything else that the scientist said afterward have less severity. There are far too many moments like this in the film.

The plot line about monster being able to spread some kind of disease seems unnecessary. Its really just there to force the fact the government will contain, quarantine, and militarize at the drop of a hat. It feels irrelevant when the government has a giant freaking monster to fight with. Its not like Cloverfield where the monster’s influence is causing people to explode from when they get bit. The whole thing just seems forced and making a statement which should have either had more emphasis or be taken out entirely.

thehost_2My obvious lack of attachment to this film is why I disagree with the majority of the critics who seem to favor it. The Host has an insane 92% on rottentomates.com and I really just don’t feel like it deserves it. Its moments seem uneven and not well developed while at the same time containing a cast which I didn’t really care if they lived or died. I have no plans to rewatch this film and I really can’t recommend others watch it as well. This is one monster I wish would have stayed in the water.

RATING: C

Son of Kong

son-of-kong-1Sequels are often stigmatized as not being as good as the original films and series they were based on. This is often a disservice to these films because they still have a lot of entertainment to offer the viewer. Today’s sequel is another example of one that is looked at as being inferior but simply dismissing it as such would in discrediting a pretty decent film on its own.

Taking place right after King Kong, Carl Denham is hounded by the authorities who want him to pay for the destruction and carnage Kong caused. Escaping with Captain Englehorn ,the two dock in a port and meet a girl named Hilda who joins their group. The trio then runs into Nils Helstrom, who gave Denham the map to skull island. Helstrom claims that their is a treasure on the island ready for the taking. Thinking this is great idea, Englehorn, Denham, and Helstrom sets out to Skull Island not knowing that Hilda has decided to stowaway on the ship. On Skull Island they will meet the heir to the Kings throne, the Son of Kong.

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The problem with Son of Kong isn’t that its a terrible picture by any means. It just doesn’t have as high a level of production and story as the original. This is due to the fact the sequel was released within nine months of King Kong`s release. The stop motion was put together in a hurry and it shows. The movie also showcases more comedy then the first movie. The lack of time to truly polish this film to its full potential is probably why some can criticize it so harshly.

The human aspect is one of the better parts of this film. Improving on the cheesy dialogue between the romatic leads in the first film, Denham comes off as a guy who is sorry for what he has done and is looking for redemption. Once he meets Son of Kong he feels bad for getting Jr.’s dad hurt and treats the creatures wounds. He’s a man looking for redemption and really hopes he can obtain it if he can just get the treasure. sok05-jpg

Son of Kong himself does offer some aspects different from his old man. Sporting white fur and being much smaller in size than Kong, the son is also much friendlier than his dad was. Kong Jr. makes a quick connection with Denham and Hilda and is willing to protect them from the horrors of Skull Island. The ending scenes with Denham and Kong Jr. will leave a lasting impression on all who watch this film.

Though not an essential film to watch to be a true film buff, Son of Kong still offers a lot for fans of giant monster movies. If you happen to find it playing late night on AMC or during some Halloween movie marathon then give it the time and attention it deserves. The son may not be as good as the original but it is not a bad movie in the slightest.

RATING: B

Rebirth of Mothra 2

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Time to check back in with the giant laser firing, winged insect who always has a pair of cuties with him. Yes, its time to tackle the second movie in Mothra’s trilogy from the 90s. For all you Mothra fans out there, you may not like what I have to say.

As strange and destructive creatures called Barem spread across the ocean, another mysterious creature named Ghogo appears. Ghogo befriends 3 kids named Shiori, Yoji, and Kohei who wish to help stop the the Cosmos Twins, Moll and Lora o stop the Barem from consuming the world. As they work towards stopping the Barem, they soon find that Barem are being spread by a monster named Dagahra. Moll and Lora have no choice but to summon Mothra, but even his power may not be enough to stop Dagara and the Barem from covering the ocean.

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As promised its all down hill from here. This film is basically the Goonies with giant monsters and sadly the humans are less charming this to around. The trio doesn’t really have anything in terms of memorability behind them what they do and offer no real skills or talents that would help them on their adventure. Truth is that they are just the kids who were lucky enough to find Ghogo and decided to help.

Mothra does gets two new transformations in this movie. The first is called Rainbow Mothra, which I will admit I didn’t really notice until writing up this review that it took place. The wing shape and color changes a bit but the attacks stay about the same. Maybe blame that old VHS fansub version of this film I used to watched. The second form, Aqua Mothra is much more distinct with its shape and color. It also has some interesting attacks but the weird look to him may turn off a few of the Mothra fans out there. I haven’t heard people complain about it but I think he looks too much like a flying fish myself. I’m sure that’s what they were going for with the design aspect but I’m just not feeling it myself.

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The environmental message here is much thicker than the one in the previous film. The movie states that Dagahra and the Barem were created to eat the waste of man but that didn’t work and ended up destroying the ancient civilization instead. I personally prefer Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster when it comes to the environmental message mixed with Kaiju. This didn’t really grab me as much.

Moll and Lora regrettably don’t have a chance to grow much this film and get no actual character development. They are still just supporting characters to the humans and don’t get to shine. There really hasn’t been anything to help describe who they are and what makes them function other than they serve Mothra. They care whether or not humanity is destroyed but that’s about all we get to know about them.

I hate to keep comparing the Mothra and Gamera trilogies, especially since Gamera’s three films are vastly superior. Still both came out a time when Godzilla was nowhere to be seen. They were the monsters in the spotlight and while Gamera performance was phenomenal, Mothra really didn’t make any strives or impact with his movies. The Gamera trilogy totally reinvented the monster from his comedic films in the 60s and is some of the best giant monster movies to come out of the 90s. The Mothra Trilogy really becomes a treat mostly for the Mothra fanbase and few others. And if you think this is bad, wait until I get around to the third movie.

Rating: B-