Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters

Sometimes studios have to retire a property for a while. When they do they sometimes try to have a celebration to show just how incredible the franchise was and all the joy it brought to others. Destroy All Monsters was this type of movie and was supposed to be the final Kaiju film from Toho. Then something glorious happened. It reignited the love and kept the series alive.

In the far future, mankind has quarantined the monsters of the world on an island called Monsterland and people no longer have to worry about their rampage. Until an alien race known as the Kilaak take control of the island and release the monsters onto the human race. Now a group of humans must work you to find a way to bring the monster under control and fight back against these alien invaders.

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This movie suffers from a bit too much human interaction. Captain Yamabe and his crew essentially save the planet but they aren’t exactly the most interesting bunch. Also there is the whole “earring” scene where Yamabe removes the device controlling her is a bit disturbing. I mean how many other scenes in movies involve ripping a woman’s earring off her? Not many or at least not in Kaiju scenes. Also, it probably wasn’t the best idea of the Kilaaks to decide not to leave any of the monsters at Monsterland, especially when they decide to make it their base of operations on Earth. For an advanced race they really seem to make a lot of stupid mistakes.

The monsters attacking the world is cool enough. Seeing them rampage at the different locations across the globe is definitely the highlight of the entire movie. The final fight scene at the base of Mount. Fuji is a pretty good beat down against King Ghidora. It would have been better if there had been more evil monsters for the Kilaaks to send against the monsters of Earth. Ghidora had previously defeated by a pair of monsters the last time he came into the picture in Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and in this movie he is terrible outnumbered to the point he doesn’t really stand a chance against the monsters of earth. Also, the whole, firebird monster turning out to be the Kilaak’s ship is totally lame.

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This was supposed to be Tohos last giant monster movie but it did so well they made more. It is good but it could have been better if their was more actual focus on the monsters instead of the humans. Still it resulted in more movies getting made so it’s influence can’t be overlooked.

RATING: C+

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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.

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

Rebirth of Mothra

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When Godzilla made first appearance in America the throne for the king of the monsters became empty. Two different contenders stepped up in an effort to prove their greatness by releasing trilogies. These two enormous titans were Gamera and Mothra. I have already reviewed the Gamera trilogy and how exceptional those three movies were but what about Mothra?

Picking up after Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Mothra has presumably saved the world from an asteroid that would have wiped out all life and has since returned to his island and laid a new egg. Elsewhere a construction company is tricked by a mischievous fairy named Belvera into released the ancient evil known as Death Ghidorah (I’m aware wikipedia has it named differently but that’s the name the version I saw used and I think it sounds better than Desghidorah). Working to stop Belvera plans is the twin guardians, Moll and Lora who summon Mothra to fight against this reborn terror. As the new born larva hatches he has no choice but to fight along side of its weakened mother to stop Death Ghidora from destroying all mankind.

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The characters for this outing are a mixed bag. I don’t really remember anything that stands out in the human characters of Taiki and Wakaba and are really only there so the Moll and Lora have someone that doesn’t know what’s happening to explain the situation to. The three Elias sister though definitely stand out. I’m glad that they didn’t have Moll and Lora talk in unison. That would have really gotten old fast. The fact that the two of them have to watch their sister, Belvera try to take down humanity and stop them is very touching to watch. I’d be willing to go to bat with other Kaiju fans to say that are the top runners for the best priestess Mothra has ever had.

Once again we witness a Mothra death scene but this one is probably one of the most tear jerking of them all. His Showa era death was pretty memorable with the Mother Mothra sacrificing itself to protect her egg but in this film we witness as the baby Mothra can do nothing to save its mother who is too weak to return home and collapses into the sea from exhaustion. It definitely is one of the most heart breaking scenes of the Heisei era of monsters.

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One minor strike I can’t help but note against this series is Mothra’s genre. The movie makes it a point to express that the Mothra that is the center point for this trilogy is distinctly male, even given the name Mothra Leo once it hatches from its cocoon. What did they not think that a female monster would be able to carry the entire series. Come on Japan, that’s old school thinking.

The Rebirth of Mothra trilogy comes out swinging and delivers one of the Kaijus most action packed and heart felt outings. It also possesses my favorite version of Mothra, complete with lasers coming out of every possible surface. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from here. Unlike the Gamera where all three movies maintain a high level of quality through the series, the next two films are not as entertaining as this one. My advice is to just watch this one and walk away. Stay tuned for later posts where I will describe in detail how those movies don’t stack up.

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)