Godzilla (1998)


maxresdefaultEver swear you have done something but then when you go back you realize you didn’t do it at all? This is the case with today’s review. I could have sworn I already took the time to review this movie but once I looked through the archives I realized that in fact I did not. Maybe it’s the fact I had voiced my disdain for the film so many times previously which confused me.

French nuclear tests have caused a creature to grow to an immense size. As the military calls in nuclear research, Nick Tatopoulos to investigate, the strange anomalies makes its easy to New York City. As Nick tries to dig into the mysteries behind the creature he runs into his past and discovers something about truly terrifying which could jeopardize the safety of the world.

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Probably should try to start with the positive moments before ripping the movie apart. Jean Reno`s character is epic. Anytime that man has the opportunity to play a laid back bad ass is when he is truly in his element as an actor. Also Zilla`s (the rename he received when TOHO studios bought the rights for him)  design when not compared to a form of Godzilla is very distinct and memorable. That’s all I got now onto the bad.

Despite the re-branding he would later receive there is no escaping the fact this was supposed to be a Godzilla film. It was introduced and marketed as such and if you want to wear the crown of the King of the Monsters you better be ready to bear the weight it holds. Zilla couldn’t handle this weight as he crushed under it for not emphasizing the important facts with Godzilla: he is a force of nature and despite all our resources we as humans will be destroyed in the wake of his destruction. Zilla is killed by a few missiles as he gets tangled in a bridge and is dealt with pretty easily compared to any other incarnation of Godzilla.

godzilla-matthew-broderick-1998-reviewFor years I thought the main problem with this film was its treatment of Godzilla. That by stripping away his power, it diminished the monster and gave him less presence when he was on screen. This is not the case at all. After repeated viewings It finally dawned on me why this film is such a terrible experience. Its all because of Audrey Timmons. Audrey offers nothing to the overall story. She doesn’t help anyone but herself. She uses her closeness with her ex-boyfriend to get a scoop and then feels guilty about doing it. She does report in the moment about the nest and give Nick the recognition he deserves but she would have done that anyways as a reporter. She is given far too much of a pass for all the crap she pulls in this film.

There has been arguments that when watching the film without thinking of it as a Godzilla film helps to give it a bit more weight when watching the film just as a giant monster film. I really can’t agree with this theory. The movie is bad. It’s too long, poorly acted and scripted, and doesn’t hold up to repeat views. Even when it was with the help of the crew at Rifftrax this film is an obstacle to take on. At best I can recommend it as a movie you watch once for the experience of knowing how poorly Hollywood can adopt a property and then walk away entirely. It’s not worth more than one torturous ride.

RATING: D

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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+

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.

Gigantic News: MST3K Kickstarter!

MST3KYou guys know I prefer to do these with three news articles at a time but this one is too important not to talk about now! This is Mystery Science Theater 3000! That’s right! The show that sung about Gamera being filled of turtle meat wants to come back and expose a whole new generation of film buffs out there to the greatness that is Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Manos the Hands of Fate.

If you haven’t already clicked the link for the kickstarter, to donate money, HEREit is. CLICK people, we need more MST 3K in our lives.

Colossal News: Shin America, Cancelled?!

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I’ve got some news bits so its time for another, COLOSSAL NEWS!

First up more news on the King of the Monsters. Godzilla’s film from Toho Studios coming out in 2016 has a title. It will be called, SHIN GODZILLA (New Godziila). Not very impressive but still good to hear that things are moving ahead. There is also rumors that if things go well with King Kong’s new film, Skull Island, the two foes could go team up in the future. Fingers crossed on that one.

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Next up, the kickstarter worked! Team America has reached the goal to outfit their robot for their fight with Japan. The Megabots new concept looks is like something out of G-Gundam. Not in a good way. Still, the giant robots will fight so we have that going for us.

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Finally, Pacific Rim 2…is cancelled?! What mockery is this? Announced early this week, Pacific Rim is on indefinite delay which could become a cancellation. The reason? Money. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are having a financial look at the film and fear it will not be feasible or a good idea to keep going. I couldn’t disagree more and think they should get off their butts and give me more Jaegers but that’s me. Hopefully this will be resolved in the near future and we won’t have to worry about this hiccup in the road to get more giant monsters from director, Guillermo Del Toro.

That’s it for now. As always people, LIVE LARGE!

Godzilla vs. Biolantte Podcast

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Got to do the recording of a Godzilla vs. Biolantte Podcast. Check the link out to see the turbulent road that finally led to Paul Chapman (the host), Mike Dent (Guest one), and myself (Guest two) sitting down and discussing this movie in depth. I once again found myself gushing over film. Download it and give it a listen.