Godzilla

The end of a one journey

This post is long overdue. I’ve been putting it off for far too long. After delaying the inevitable, its time I say goodbye to this blog.

I’m getting a bit a head of myself. I’ll start at what has happened since the last post. I put this blog in hiatus back in September of last year. I was in the middle of returning to college and didn’t have enough time to work in this, study, and write for Monkeys Fighting Robots. I decided to put this blog on hold until I had time to catch back up on it. Unfortunately things started happening all at once. After I was done with college in December I had to start studying for my certification test and get my Occupational Therapy Assistant License. Afterward, I found myself in a move. Then as I was job hunting, I finally had my book be released.

Handbook for Surviving a Giant Monster Attack

Yes, I wrote a book. The Handbook for Surviving A Giant Monster Attack is available on Amazon from Severed Press. The book is the reason why I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to show my knowledge as a fan of giant monsters. It did help me to connect with Derek Koch of Monster Kid Radio who helped direct me towards Severed Press. I’m eternally grateful for his help.

Still, with the book out and me constantly writing for Monkeys Fighting Robots, while still doing a day job, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Unfortunately this means I have to finally say goodbye to this blog. Know this isn’t my goodbye to the Kaiju community as its more than obvious Giant Monsters will always be a part of my life. Instead, its saying goodbye to a project I’ve which has been a part of my life for over three years. Still, there comes a time when you have to direct your energy towards more important projects.

I know this blog didn’t get nearly as much traffic as I do over at Monkeys Fighting Robots and I never did get as much interaction as I hoped I would. Still, I had a lot of fun doing it. In closing I would like to leave you with the 5 Ultra Vows. Some of which are valuable even today:

1. Never going to school on an empty stomach (good advice)

2. Be careful of cars when walking down the street (also good advice)

3. Hang your futon on a sunny day (If you have a futon this is pretty good advice)

4. Do not depend on people (I’m pretty sure this one means in an ALL the time sense)

5. Play run around and play barefoot on the ground (be honest, we all need to do this a bit more)

I will probably post on this blog again when I do Podcasts or plan to attend conventions. Speaking of which I’ll be at Midwest Media Expo on April 28th-30th. I have my usual Godzilla panel scheduled. Overall though this is the last post of substance I’ll make on this blog for the foreseeable future. If you want more of my writing, then please buy my book. For everything else…”So long and thanks for all the fish.”

 

King Kong vs. Godzilla


King Kong vs. GodzillaTime to look at the legendary showdown of the Kaiju world. The King of the Monsters fighting the 8th wonder of the world. East Vs. West. The infamous international brawl of King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Mr. Tako, the head of a pharmaceutical company is looking for a way to boost the ratings of a TV show his company produces. Hearing a rumor of a monster on a far away island he dispatches two men, Sakurai and Kinsaburo to find out if the rumors are true. They soon discover the island is home to King Kong. Elsewhere, a submarine accidentally hits and iceberg and frees Godzilla.  Soon, these two behemoths will come face to face and fight until only one is left standing.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Is this the devastating battle everyone makes it out to be? No, not really. The fact is this movie survives and is so well known because of the fact it stares these two icons. The battles themselves are not as impressive. In their first encounter Godzilla is able to scare Kong with fire from his radioactive breath. The fights are also not nearly as long as others in later movies.

The human characters are incredibly forgettable. The only one which really sparks any memories is Mr. Tako but this is do more to his cowardliness. Frankly, the film which follows this, Mothra vs. Godzilla, did a much better job of presenting a character who was trying to exploit monsters for his own benefit in the form of Mr. Kumayama. Without captivating humans to follow this film really drags at times.

King Kong vs. GodzillaKing Kong really gets the short end of the stick. Sure Godzilla is just a creature of pure destruction in this film and presented as having a tiny brain (ouch), Kong still gets off worse. Despite this being one of his better moments including having changes made to the character such as increasing his size and giving him a new ability in an effort to stand against Godzilla, Kong is exploited once again. Out of all six King Kong movies (can’t count Song of Kong because it doesn’t star him) four of them involve him being exploited as a tourist attraction. Can’t the creators find a different way to work with the creature?

Despite its lack of any of more enjoyable fight or a message, the movie is still well known. This international fight is one people still talk about today. A representation of two cultures coming together for the entertainment of the world. The rumor of an alternate ending, one where Godzilla was the winner of the final fight has been spread for years. Sadly this wasn’t true and there was only one ending where King Kong won but helped to grow the legend behind this movie. The film was a bit of a let down but its influence cannot be argued. Just wish I had more of a desire to rewatch the film when given the opportunity.

RATING: C

Return of Daimajin

000013752_zps335f0c1fTime to check back in with the demon who uses a stone statue as his vessel. The second in the Daimajin trilogy has the statue setting up in a new location with a bunch of new individuals admiring him. What zany antics will this vengeful being get into this time?

Between the two villages of Chigusa and Nagoshi is a small island where Daimajin has taken up residency. The leader of Nagoshi, Lord Danjo Mikoshiba is brutal and cuts down any who oppose him. As he makes his move to take over the village of Chigusa, the daughter of its lord, Sayuri prays to the statue in hopes it will deliver its judgment down on the wicked. Mikoshiba knows he must crush the hope of the villagers so proceeds to blow up the statue. Their idol in ruins, the villagers may be doomed to a life of servitude unless a miracle comes to save them.

Daimajin-2-2This film really increases the tension from its predecessor. In the first scene alone, villagers trying to escape from Nagoshi are hunted down and killed. From there it just gets more barbaric. In the previous film there was a time jump to the future so there wasn’t as much footage of the villagers becoming enslaved but in this one the cruelty the villagers endure is right out front. It makes for some very memorable scenes.

The characters in this film seem much more interesting then in the first one. Again, this is probably due to the lack of a time jump. Instead of waiting around a decade for things to turn out, the attack on the island and how Juro, Sayuri, and Katsushige react to it happens in real time. They are often in great danger the entire film and it makes you hope Daimajin will come to life at any moment to help them out.

Sadly, Daimajin once again takes his sweet time to arrive on the scene to help. Its not until the tail end of the film he finally decides to show up. At least this time one can argue he has the excuse of being blown up and having to use his power to put himself back together delaying his arrival. Once he does appear he is able to display much more of the mystical powers he has at his disposal. Parting the lake so he is able to casually make his way to the shore is the most memorable moment of the movie and is a sight to behold.

6a00d8341d6d8d53ef017d3d870979970c-piThe ending to the film is also much better than it was in the previous film. Just a few more minutes at the end compared with the first was all it took to really hammer in the ending. Not like Daimajin is expected to stick around for victory cake and coffee but a little more time of reflection after the destruction and vengeance he has brought is all which is really needed.

Two down and one to go. Daimajin really is a great trilogy of films which I regret taking so long to get around to watching. Live and learn I guess. I just have to remember to spread the joy of these films to others so they don’t make the same mistake I did.

RATING: B+

PODCAST: Rodan Roundtable

Rodan

Monster Kid Radio had me back again. This time it was to talk about Rodan on his 60th anniversary. The Podcast’s host Derek M. Koch invited me, author Stephen D. Sullivan and Illustrator Mark Maddox (who drew the above picture) on to talk about how much we loved the movie. Check it out and see what it scarred the crap out of me when I was a kid.

Daimajin

daimajin10 Today’s movie tells of a monster which doesn’t get a lot of respect in the kaiju community. Sure those who know his name know how important he is and how good these movies are. For those who don’t pull up a seat as I tell you the tale of the mountain god known as Daimajin.

The peace of a town is thrown into turmoil when Samanosuke the chamberlain to the Feudal Lord decides to overthrow his master and take control. The Lord’s two children Prince Tadafumi and Princess Kozasa manage to escape with the help of a samurai named Kogenta. He takes the children to a cave near where the mountain god statute, Daimajin sits. Ten years pass as the children grow up in isolation from the rest of the world and Samonosuke has enslaved the people for his own ambition. When her brother and Kogenta are taken hostage, Kozasa is left with no option but to pray to the ancient statue and hope for a miracle. Luckily, her wish is answered as the statue comes to life and sets forth on a path of divine justice.

Daimajin02

One of the most noticeable aspects of the film is it being a period piece. It takes place in ancient Japan where the country is still ruled by Feudal Lords who have samurai to enforce the laws. This also means the ways to stop Daimajin when he comes to bring his wrath are limited to what the people had in such a time. Ropes, hammers, and a few rifles are all they have at their disposal to fight against the magically possessed statue. It’s very interesting to see especially compared to other films where after a giant monster appears the audience finds themselves waiting for the army to show up to try and fight against the creature.

The scenes with Daimajin are the most striking and memorable parts of the movie. Moments like when the villains try to break his stone sleeping form to when he awakens to punish the wicked are very impressive bits of special effects which really help to make the movie distinct. Also, Daimajin has powers which he uses to extinguish flames and even travel great distances by turning into a comet. These more practical effects still retain their impressiveness even today.
daimajin12214

The one glaring problem with this film is its ending. It wraps up far too quickly. A little bit more of an ending showing how the people are able to recover after their time being under the harsh treatment of the bad guys would have been nice to see. Also, Daimajin waits a very long time before finally awakening to offer aid, a trend he will carry throughout the entire trilogy. The people need saving buddy, wake up a bit sooner.

The Daimajin trilogy is a very good series which all fans of giant monsters need to check out. I’ll work on getting through the rest of the films later in the year. For now, just wait and if things get bad, ask some large stone samurai statues for help.

RATING: B+

Trollhunter

Trollhunter01

Today we come across another film which uses the “found footage” style to tell a story. Does the film stack up better than Cloverfield? Let’s find out.

A documentary film crew tries to investigate a mysterious man named Hans, who many believe to be a poacher. They soon discover he isn’t hunting bears but is instead a licenced hunter of Trolls for the government. Soon, Hans reveals his techniques for hunting and destroying Trolls. It involves a surprising amount of paperwork.

Trollhunter02

The film offers an interesting bit of world building. Large proportions of the movie are spent explaining the workings of the Trolls. Using a lot of the old legends of trolls, it depicts how Trolls smell the blood of Christians and why they turn into stone during the day. The film also grounds the Trolls in a sense of reality when having the characters get a blood sample test to see if the creatures have come down with an illness. A lot of research and thought went into this film and it shows.

The downside of the film comes from the characters. Yes, the titular Trollhunter Hans does get a lot of backstory and character explanation but the others don’t get as much information about them. They are dedicated to investigating the truth behind if Trolls exist or not but there really isn’t much else to their characters. Thomas is memorable because he’s the one who gets injured fairly early in the film and you spend the whole time wondering if the whole “Is something going to come from the injury” plot line is going to come into effect. The cameraman Kalle has a brief bit of character but only for a crucial moment. The female in the group Johanna really has no definitive character except for being the girl. This film would definitely fail the Bechdel test.

Trollhunter03

I’ve heard its supposed to be a comedy but I didn’t really pick up on this vibe. There are some moments which could be seen as comedic but there are enough grim scenes to make up for this. Maybe is was one of those times where you have to understand the culture to really get the jokes. I’ll admit I haven’t seen many Norwegian films. Still, it feels like there are too many light moments for it to be a horror movie and too much violence for it to really be a comedy.

As I did mention Cloverfield before I’ll take the time to compare the two films. Frankly, Cloverfield really was the better feature as it allowed us to connect with the characters and care about whether they were going to get out alive or not. This film doesn’t really have us connect with anyone except for Hans and frankly he’s presented as such a capable warrior despite fighting these intense creatures you never really worry if he’s going to make it out alive. The film is an interesting bit of world building but really could have stood to have us connect more with the cast, especially when there are so few in the main cast. Still, the film is worth watching for the giant monster fan who wants to see how other countries treat their Kaiju.

RATING: B-

Poll: The next theme month

poll girl

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.