Godzilla’s Revenge

godzillasrevenge Every franchise has its failure. The one movie or piece of canon that the fans wish didn’t exist. Godzilla is not immune to this type of blemish on his career. Many American fans are quick to point to the Sony movis as the worst that Godzilla has ever endured but older fans who have any knowledge of the other films know better. Godzilla’s worst film is Godzilla’s Revenge.

Ichiro is a young boy who gets bullied by the bigger kids in his class and doesn’t see his parents often. To escape this harsh reality he dreams of being on monster island will all the Kaiju of legend. He also befriends Minya, the young son of the king of the monsters who is constantly being plagued by a monster named Gabara. Together the two of them will learn to be stronger by confronting their bullies.

This really isn’t that good of a film on many levels. First its all a dream. Literally all of the scenes with the monster are taking place in Ichiro’s imagination. None of it is real. Even the new Kaiju that’s introduced, Gabara, is Ichiro’s creation. Which means all of the combat that occurs in the film has no bearing on the rest of the world.

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Second, let’s take a moment to look at Gabera shall we? He really isn’t that menacing. His electricity through touch ability was used better by King Kong and it seems that his entire purpose is just to stalk Minya. He is never even used again in any other Godzilla film or (I’m pretty sure) Video Game. Not like its a real waste. I’ve yet to meet the person who admits that Gabara is their favorite monster. People have more appreciation for Baragon then they do for Gabara.

Third, the majority of the material is from other Kaiju movies. Specifically, Son of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Its not just some reused explosions or effect but full scenes of the Kaiju combat are cut into the film. This is a clip show the creators are trying to pass off as a full movie. Personally, I hate clips shows.

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Finally lets look at Minya. I know he was introduced in Son of Godzilla but they do something special with him in this film: They let him talk. Has there ever been a time that having the monsters talk has been a good thing? The English dub for Minya is terrible and makes him sound like a complete moron. A good-natured moron but still he sounds like a moron. He’s the son of the king! Couldn’t they have offered to give him a little more dignity? He already needs someone to step on his tail to shoot his radioactive blast.

There really isn’t much positive I can say about this film. Its the worst of Godzilla films and its a glorified clip show. This is the one I’ll recommend people skip as they go back through the history of Kaiju Films. There are much better films out there. Think I’ll go watch one now to wash the taste of this film out of my mouth.

RATING: F

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Mothra Vs. GodzillaHere it is. One of the most infamous movies in the entire Godzilla franchise. Then which had two monsters from the TOHO studios together. It was here where many say the studio found its groove and started a streak of great films. This is Godzilla vs. Mothra.

After a violent storm rocks a costal town, a large egg is discovered. As reporter Ichiro Sakai and his photographer Junko Nakanishi begin to investigate the egg it gets bought by a man named Kumayama, owner of Happy enterprises. Just as reports come in and let them know the egg is radioactive, the pair is approached by the Shobojin who tells them the egg belongs to Mothra. Unfortunately, before they can get back the egg, Godzilla appears, and seems on a mission to destroy the egg. Now Mothra must do what she can to save her lost egg and the innocent creatures inside.

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This movie takes a sharp eye to really appreciate. First off Godzilla is out for blood and he wanted nothing more than to destroy Mothra and the egg. He appears out of the ground, because he had been following after the egg after it was carried away by the hurricane and got buried in the process. It was a best character motivation the creature had since his first movie. Mothra itself starts to get his own characteristics as she becomes a bridge between humans and monster kind.

The humans of this movie are also some of the more entertaining since Gojira as well. Sakai and Junko are very interesting and well meaning characters who are doing everything they can to try and help the world. Kumayama finds a way to represent the worst of humanity by putting his own interests ahead of the safety of others. Their interaction really helps to make the movie more memorable.

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This movie has a scene which is still very memorable even today. In an effort to cure Sakai and Junko of radioaction contamination they simply coated in a little bit of gas and they perfectly fine after. For the longest time I believed this is actually what happens. Always know people, this is an example of TOHO science which should always be double checked before actually using it as a source for a report.

Some characters stay friends forever. Others are villains until the end of time. Then their are the characters who help each other but then again will sometimes butt heads. This is a rival and are essential for helping to advance one another through their careers or towards goals. This is the relationship Mothra and Godzilla have had over the years. One which has helped the two of them rise to great strides. When Godzilla was taking his break while he was with Sony, Mothra took over and had her own trilogy. Now all we have to do is hope Mothra does in deed make a comeback in the second Godzilla because it would be great to see this great rivalry continue.

RATING: B

Godzilla vs. Biolantte

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Today’s film is my favorite Godzilla movie. This is the film I have watched over and over to the point that my VHS copy of the film will probably burst into flames if I watch it again. This is the film that I push every time I run a Godzilla panel because I want everyone to see it. If its not obvious already, I love this movie.

After the events of The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985 as it was called in America) the world has begun to rebuild and prepare for Godzilla’s returns. With the formation of the special task force, G-Force to combat the King of the Monster, new methods of attack are investigated. To this end Dr. Shiragami, a reclusive scientist is recruited to work on the weapon. Dr. Shiragami has his own plans and tries to use the cells to revive a plant he believes has the spirit of his dead daughter. The results is a monstrous rose known as Biollante. As Godzilla appears he makes a beeline to the new creation and battle ensues.

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One of the most appealing elements of this movie is the world building. The lack of knowledge or feel over the fact that humans live in a world where giant monsters could appear at a moment’s notice always annoyed me. Putting measures and procedures into place for such an attack should just be a way of life. This film opens with the different levels of the Godzilla appearance scale. There are buildings dedicated to those that were lost in the last Godzilla attack. This is a world that experienced a monster attack and is ready for when the next one takes place. Also, there is the subplot of people who are intentionally using Godzilla’s cells as a means to get a leg up in the energy race across the globe. Again, this is a world that definitely feels like its feeling the impact of giant mutated dinosaurs stomping around and causing havoc.

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This film introduces us to Miki Saegusa the one character that we will observe and follow the rest of the Heisei era films. Here she starts as a young girl with psychic abilities working at a center for people who have special talents. We also watch her become contracted by G-Force for her abilities. This is not the last time she will be asked to use her gifts to take on Godzilla. Truth be told, she was my first movie character crush.

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Biollante is unique and I meant that in a very good way. Other than Destroyah, she is the only monster that is original in the Heisei era. All others are based off or modified monsters that we saw previously in the Showa Era films. She definitely leaves an impression with her tentacles and her acid spitting abilities. Sadly she is still a plant and is very vulnerable to Godzilla’s radioactive blast and thereby easier to kill.

Basically if I have not gushed enough I will say it again “Go see this film!” This is the movie that I keep coming back to every now and again to remind myself just how much I enjoy Kaiju films. My only wish is that other films of the Heisei era stuck with this level of intensity and awesomeness. Sadly, its a bumpy ride from here. If you don’t believe me check through the archives for my review of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Compared to this, the rating went down considerable.

Rating: A

Colossal News: Googling a giant robot ambassador

Welcome to a new segment on this blog that I call, COLOSSAL NEWS! This is where I’m going to take the time to discuss news articles that I feel fall under this blogs criteria. My way of talking about some recent events without doing a full review or anything like that. Lets get started.

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First up, a big shout out to Google who decided to celebrate Eiji Tsuburaya’s birthday in style. The custom google splash allows a person to make their own mini-kaiju movie. I already tried it myself and found it to be a lot of fun. Happy Birthday to the late but still true Master of Monsters. I really need to get around to reading that biography of his I have on my shelf.

Next up, Its America vs. Japan…WITH GIANT ROBOTS! American robot developers out of Texas have created a robot called the Megabot MK 2 and have now challenged the Japanese robot, Kuratas to a duel. And Japan accepted! They are still working out all the details on how the fight will play out but it will surely an event I’ll keep a look out for. All we need now is for an announcer to yell, “GUNDAM FIGHT! READY? GO!”

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Finally, as I have to talk about it even in the Facebook group, lets give it up for Godzilla! Early this year the King of Monsters was officially made a Japanese citizen and was given the honor of being an ambassador of tourism for the country. Way to go Big G! I’m looking forward to your work as an ambassador as well as your film next year from your old mother company of Toho studios.

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That will just about do it. Remember everyone, LIVE LARGE! Also I’m just toying with that as a closing line. IF you feel I should try something else let me know. Helpful criticism is always welcome.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

godzilla vs megalon dvdThis film has something of a reputation. People will often describe it as campy, hockey, and lame. Such negative criticism is going a bit too far. This film has its shortcomings but I am one of the first to rush to its defense. This is not the worse Godzilla movie in existence. I have yet to get around to reviewing that one.

The lost civilization of Seatopia, which disappeared underground centuries ago, wants humanity to stop with nuclear testing, decides to retake the surface, and plans to destroy all life in the process. To accomplish this they unleash the insectoid, Megalon to destroy all that stands in his way and capture a scientist who has made a robot that they plan to use to guide Megalon as he rampages. The inventor, Goro, along with his friend and nephew, regain control of the android, Jet Jaguar, and have him call for Godzilla. As he waits for the king of the monsters to arrive, Jet Jaquar grows big and enters the battle, but Seatopia has a plan and calls for Gigan to even the odds. Who will wing/ Godzilla nd Jet Jaguar, the saviors of humanity or Megalon and Gigant, the harbingers of death?megalonvs4

I’ll start by addressing the negativity that surrounds this film. There is no explanation as to how Seatopia, a kingdom that has been stuck underground for years has a connect with aliens from Nebula M to the point that the aliens would have no problem loaning them Gigan (I’m sure this was another script draft or something along those lines where this plot point made sense). It utilizes a lot of recycled footage including the explosions (that were originally from King Ghidorah’s attacks) and Godzilla crossing the sea. The “Kenny” (annoying little kid character, named for the kid from “Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster”) Roku is pretty annoying especially his dub actor who can be very loud at times. Finally their is Godzilla’s flying kick, which makes no flipping sense at all. Of course after the incident in “Vs. Smog Monster” where he used his breath to fly, we really can’t fault the studio for not wanting to stick with logic. megalonvs3

Let’s move to the good parts. It IS a very fun movie. This is Godzilla in the middle of his “friend to humanity” time and he is more than willing to drop everything and swim across the sea at a moment’s notice. It’s fun to watch him and Jet Jaquar work together to take down their enemies. Also, despite the fact that this is only appearance, Megalon does do enough damage and was iconic enough to become a favorite of many a Kaiju fan. Maybe its the fact that he’s a insect like monster but doesn’t look disgusting in his appearance.

In end its one of those movies that has the split “Love it or hate it” reputation. Personally though I love it. That Godzilla gives out such a thrashing on both Megalon and Gigan, especially Gigan considering Gigan kicked Godzilla’s butt the first time he appeared. I know Godzilla won that battle but it wasn’t without first getting knocked around like old garbage. Anyways, if you a new fan give it a shot. The show is free to watch over at Crunchyroll and I recommend you give it a watch as you explore your the genre of Kaiju.

Rating: B

Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster

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This is going to be a first on this blog. You see I have seen every Godzilla movie ever. Some more than others with how much I enjoy them. Today though I’m revisiting one of the films I have only seen once to see if a second viewing can change my mind about it. I didn’t enjoy Ghidora the three headed monster the first time I saw it. Let’s see if it can score any higher in my book.

After a foreign princess survives a plane crash, she appears before the world insist that she is a Martian and death and doom are coming. Meanwhile the Fairy companions of Mothra hear of the girls prediction and go to meet with her. They soon find that she is right and that the mysterious meteor in he mountains was in fact King Ghidorah the monster that destroyed Mars many years earlier. Realizing that he cannot fight such a creature alone, Mothra calls for the help of Godzilla and Rodan to stop the menacing Ghidorah or watch the rest of the world be a barren wasteland like Mars.

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Few things. What happened to the other Mothra larva? Did it die? How did a television station get the fairies without Mothra coming to tear the city apart to look for them? Why did only one Rodan survive the volcanic eruption? Why do they insist on having Godzilla blow steam the entire time? That last one was a point that I found myself having trouble getting over. I have seen footage of him using the steam breath at other times where it doesn’t bother me as much but when they happened I actually saw that the attack did any damage. Here he uses it on Rodan several times and without any type of effect. Castrating Godzilla’s signature power was a lot to get over.

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Still on the rewatch I was able to find some new aspects about the movie that I found entertaining. Watching Mothra attempt to play with the big boys, was entertaining. He was only a little larva but still found a way of two of offering his aid. When the three come together that they are able to succeed and it really is fun to watch them all fight a common foe. Later films would perfect the style of the monster team up to fight a greater monster, but this was the first time so we have to give it some slack.

The human aspect of this film is also quite interesting drawing aspects from a spy movie. Shindo the police detective trying to protect the possesses princess Saino is very moving. This is especially true as Saino seems hellbent on only spreading the message that Ghidorah is coming. Speaking of hellbent what about her assassins. You would think they would just leave her to get destroyed by the monsters that are lumbering towards the city but no, they are dead set on making sure that the princess is dead this time around. I would also be in the wrong if I didn’t mention the Fairies, who are doing all they can to help mankind despite their previous negative experiences with us. If it weren’t for their efforts, the attack against Ghidorah would never get off the ground.

So a revisit to this film did indeed help me to appreciate it a bit more. I wish I could to this with more films, but I can only do so much. I assure you though the different Godzilla and Gamera films I have reviewed so far on the blog I have seen countless times before. I have lost count of the number of times I rewatched the Gamera trilogy. Still, in the future if someone suggests watching Ghidorah, the three headed monster I won’t be so quick to shutter at the idea.

Rating: D (first time)/ B-(after watch)

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster

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Back when you start into your fandom and its all fresh and new, the question of “What should I avoid?” seem ludicrous. Then after you are in any fandom for a decent amount of time and you take time to reflect on everything you have experienced you come to the harsh realization that not everything is sunshine and rainbows. As a Godzilla fan you put up with a lot of inconsistencies in science and the limitations that the studio had to deal with but still find yourself enjoying the movies. Yet once you scrutinize the film and learn what went on behind the scenes, you become aware of how close to greatness a project reached.

After his brother goes missing, Ryota and his friends “borrow” a boat from a man who turns out to be a bank robber and set sail. They soon fall prey to the Ebirah, a giant shrimp who also destroyed Ryota’s brothers boat. Stranded on an island, the unlucky crew finds the island inhabited by a military organization known as Red Bamboo, befriend a runaway island girl and seem hopeless. Their only option: awaken Godzilla who they find sleeping on the island.

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This film makes a lot more sense once you understand it’s background and original concept. You see this film was supposed to star King Kong as the title monster fighting Ebirah. This casting smooths out the questionable moments that the film possesses such as the giant vulture that comes out of nowhere and Ebirahs lack of origin (both of which fit in perfectly if the story had been on Kong’s island of lost gigantic beasts), why the sea monster would actually be a threat (unlike Kong, Godzilla breathes underwater so those scuffles would have more severity to them), and that moment that Godzilla shares with the island girl (because as we all know Kong loves the ladies). Once you think of the movie recast with Kong instead of Godzilla you are presented with a film with a lot more gravity and less plot holes. Unfortunately Toho didn’t get the rights, had to use Godzilla instead, and we are presented with a film where the King of the Monsters doesn’t even break a sweat when dispatching his latest opponent. If they had gotten the rights to use Kong I believe this would have been one of the better outings for the giant ape but sadly this did not come to pass and Ebirah gets owned by Godzilla.

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This film does age well and becomes one of last Godzilla movies I find myself re-watching. The film by itself was never really that impressive and once you know the truth behind it and the recasting, you really can feel where the movie would have been improved with King Kong in the rule and how Godzilla really is just copy and pasted in their to make the film work.

The idea of the Red Bamboo group is interesting as they seem to be plotting something with their nuclear facility (probably global domination) but have picked the worst spot possible. They have to use the local natives they kidnapped off Mothra’s island (that Yuta and Ryota both conveniently end up on) to make formula to fend off Ebirah which is waste of a lot of man hours and power. This movie really doesn’t hold up to scrutinizing at all. Sorry people. I’m not a fan.

Rating: C-