Kong on Skull Island

Just reviewed Kong on Skull Island at MonkeysFightingRobots.com. I’m calling it essential reading for all fans of the 8th Wonder of the World. Click the link and give it a read.

Advertisements

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

Gamera: The invincible

Gamera_The_Invincible

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.

gamera-3

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+

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.

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)
Konomi_Amagai_VI

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))

Ann-Darrow-ann-darrow-31750369-2000-1130
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)

pacific_rim___mako_mori__1__by_newyounggun-d8si4mh

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)

76b1d3bcc8dd099b

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)

M_Saegusa_Destroyah

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)

Jen_profile

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)

60df9bfe195813564d093b5896a92749

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)

710420571_orig

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)

kumi-mizuno-2

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)
MOTHRA_VS_GODZILLA-3

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.

King Kong (2005)

4076942-514The term “remake” is a dangerous word for any fan of film these days. Hollywood is so scared to take risks that they find it safer to remake a classic movie that has an audience. Unfortunately, this often resulted in movies being made that lack the love and attention the original film possessed. It takes love for the original property to make a remake of any worth. Lucky for the world, Peter Jackson loved King Kong when he set out to revitalize the classic film. 

Ann Darrow is a young actress in need of work. She is cast by Jack Driscoll, a movie director desperate to get out of town and start filming his movie before the studio pulls his budget. Together the two set off with a crew to the mysterious and lost land known as Skull Island. There they encounter the 8th wonder of the world, King Kong. 

The most notable difference between this movie and the original is the visuals. the visual effects and cinematography is gorgeous to behold. From the scars and markings on Kong`s body to the lush jungle world he calls home, everything is a sight to the eyes that easily requires multiple viewings to take it all in. 
king-kong-2005

The real draw of this film Ann and the bond she shares with Kong. the love she feels for the creature is evident as she would prefer to do a chorus line (something she detests) than actually be a part of the show that exploited Kong. The scene with them frolicking on the ice is a demonstration of the bond the two of them share. 

The major criticism associated with this film does ring true. IT IS LONG. Thought it is a fun ride it is not without its slow moments that the movie drag once and a while. Still, this is a minor criticism over an incredibly entertaining film. 

King-Kong-2005-01-1

In the end Peter Jackson`s film is a marvel to behold and stands as a fan`s ultimate love letter to a film that was a big part of their childhood. Other features have not nearly been as fortunate as Kong and would love to have a film haf as entertaining as this. Much like how I dream of working with Godzilla. Ah, someday.

RATING: A-

King Kong (1933)



kongmain

The mission statement of this blog has been and will always be very simple. To look through the vast genre of shows and movies that star giant monsters and robots and to be as inviting as I can with those who are new to this area. To hopefully steer them in a direction that helps in getting the most enjoyment from the media that they possible can. To this end I make it a point to take the time to review movies that may be thought of as ancient to some but are still staples in the genre. Today we have a film that became pivotal as not only a giant monster movie but as a milestone in cinema history.

Filmmaker Carl Denham is about to cast off to the mysterious Skull Island to shoot a film and casts a young girl named Ann Darrow to be his leading lady. As they sail Ann starts to fall in love with Jack, the first mate of the ship. As they arrive on Skull Island they find that a large gate has been erected and the villagers want Ann as a sacrifice to the monster behind the wall. Soon Ann is kidnapped and offered to King Kong, the Eight Wonder of the World.

king-kong-subido-al-empire-state-building

This film grabs you from the start and keeps you engaged until the end. Beginning with the stirring music of the overture and the busy streets of New York we watch as a team is put together for a simple movie shoot. From there we are taken to an island untouched by civilization and bare witness to creatures that were thought lost to time itself. We watch what happens when we try to bring a beast from this lost world back and the terrible ramifications that come from it. It is true entertainment.

One of the best points when looking at this film is the stop motion. It is a site to behold. The dinosaurs that the crew encounters, that Kong fights, and Kong himself look incredible and when you realize that every movement had to be taken frame by frame, it will truly blow your mind. I’d gush over it more but I would much prefer that you go out and experience this film for yourself.

Ann_Darrow_1933_2
The film is not without some bad points though. Fay Wray’s screaming is high pitched to say the least. Her performance even gave birth to a legacy of characters known as Scream Queens, whose sole purpose was to look attractive for the audience and scream in terror. There also is the cheesy acting from Ann and Jack as they are flirting which was even poked at with love in the 2005 remake. Still, these are minor issues that don’t subtract from the film as a whole.

For those who are complaining that you don’t want to see the movie because its in black and white, you need to grow up. A lot of classic film is in black and white or has a poor color scheme to it but the films themselves still need to be seen. If you can’t handle watching the film, you might want to ask if your really in it for the long haul as a movie buff.

The original King Kong is a film that live up to the hype and acclaim surrounding it. The fact that the film has been parodied and referenced so many times is evidence to the effect that the film has had on the world. Any giant monster fan needs to take the time to watch the original film and appreciate the greatness that helped to start a legacy of movies and movie creators that came from watching and bearing witness to the greatness that was this film. Kong truly is the Eighth Wonder of the World.

RATING: A