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  #31  
Old 02-27-2013, 01:20 PM
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I love Mothra. Just a single working mom trying to ruin Tokyo before driving the kids to soccer practice.
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  #32  
Old 02-27-2013, 04:18 PM
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We interrupt this following movie review for an editorial by Twelve-Year-Old Blinkpen:

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King Kong vs. Godzilla is the stupidest movie ever! Like, Godzilla should be able to step on King Kong because King Kong fell off the Empire State Building and Godzilla's like, as big as the Empire State Building or something. Also how can he survive Godzilla's fire breath like that when he can't even handle a little machine gun fire from some airplanes huh? And why the hell does electricity hurt Godzilla and make King Kong stronger anyway? This movie about a giant gorilla fighting a giant dinosaur is completely full of shit!
Let's face it, as a kid, I went into this movie with my loyalties staunchly pre-aligned and thus never could sit through it without balking all the way. How does it hold up to a more mature viewing, however?

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Man, what the fuck? Godzilla should have totally stomped on that stupid monkey and...

Ok ok, no, I don't hate King Kong as much now as I used to, and frankly a lot of that early hate was purely in an adolescent mindset much like the kind you get where you have to hate Super Nintendo because you own a Genesis. It's stupid kid-logic, but it was there nonetheless. Nowadays I have quite a bit of fondness for the character and there's no denying that a match-up between the two most iconic monsters from each side of the Pacific could not be a more perfect fit for a great kaiju battle. The question is of how well it handles things.

Well it's a great deal better than Godzilla Raids Again, I can tell you that for sure. It starts the trend of what I'll call the Loose Continuity of Godzilla movies throughout the Showa Series, where you can roughly draw a continuous flow of events from movie to movie but damned if the plot is going to do much of a job backing you up on it. For example, Godzilla is loosed in this film from a giant block of ice when a submarine full of idiots crashes right into it for no reason. You might remember that in the previous movie Godzilla was indeed frozen in a block of ice. Which reminds me:

LIST OF THINGS WHICH CANNOT KILL GODZILLA:

-Burying him alive in an icy grave.

But there's some irksome dialogue from the shoehorned in American commentators treating Godzilla as if he's simply been frozen in an iceberg for hundreds of millions of years. I don't know if this is just dumb scriptwriting or a lousy american translation or maybe just an attempt to disavow the existance of Godzilla Raids Again but the best thing to do when these continuity snarls rear their ugly heads is to repeat the MST3K Mantra to yourself and assemble whatever canon feels most comfortable in your head. I like my Godzilla to be as singular and reboot-free as possible, something the Millenium series will give me agonizing headaches over.

Meanwhile some scouts for a pharmeceutical corporation go to a rather unfortunate island full of japanese people in blackface, where they hilariously placate the hostile natives with their magic music box and all the cigarettes they can smoke. They worship a mysterious giant ape god, but rather than placating this one with nubile young women, they just get him doped up on their wacky island berries. After he chases off a giant octopus (a real goddamn octopus, which is retroactively a bad idea if you don't want your fake monkey suit to look all the more ridiculous by comparison) and passes out in a drunken stupor the pharmaceutical reps steal him away for their cartoonish ninny of a CEO who wants to use the beast for... promotional purposes? I don't know, the guy literally points at a TV screen in frustration when Godzilla is tearing some shit up and says, "I've had it! I want my own monster!" and just orders his men to go out and find one. It's so over the top ridiculous it's kind of charming.

The american news reports constantly piping in because americans apparently hate dramatic tension fall pretty flat however. Unlike the cartoonish silliness of the japanese plotted scenes these ones take the movie too seriously and go to great lengths to explain things to the audience and try to justify the fact that we've got a giant lizard and ape battling on Mount Fuji. At one point a Scientist Who Knows Whats Up actually opens a children's book of dinosaur illustrations to try and describe Godzilla as a cross between a tyrannosaurus rex and a stegosaurus. Which makes me just want to reach in the TV and slap him.

Not that I take my giant monsters too seriously or anything. *cough*

The biggest downside of the movie is it's still pretty padded and it takes a long time for the two titular beasts to properly brawl, only getting into a true knock-down drag-out fight with each other in the last 10 minutes. It is a pretty good fight when they get into it though and feels satisfyingly equally matched despite certain script decisions to stack the scales in a certain stupid monkey's favor.[/twelve year old]

The thing is I don't really mind them powering up King Kong so he can stand his ground against Godzilla. If they did actually throw a 25-foot ape against a 150-foot dinosaur it wouldn't have made much of a movie. So making Kong larger, more durable, and giving him some kaiju powers like gaining strength from electricity is all fine by me. But they couldn't seem to leave it at that. They also seemed to feel it necessary to de-power Godzilla somewhat, as this is the only film in the series where he is actually harmed and repulsed by electricity. I also cringe at the scene where the stupid americans have to pound home that while Kong is a proud, noble, cunning beast with a massive thinking brain, Godzilla is just a stupid idiot lizard with a stupid idiot lizard brain the size of a marble. Way to not take sides there, guys.

THE MONSTERS

Godzilla: This is getting closer to the more universally recognized depiction of the character. His suit design is actually rather cool, slimmed down a bit, all the better to duke it out with other towering monsters with and has a really great sillouette when viewed from a distance. Up close the head looks very primitive and mindless but that's at least a quality he shares in common with his co-star here. A good job is shown that Godzilla favors the more direct, aggressive approach to battle compared to Kong's more strategic attacks. This movie also debuts his most iconic "skree-onk" roar, which suits the more upbeat tone than the deep and mournful bellow of the previous two films.

King Kong
aka: Nope, just King Kong

This beefed up version of the classic monster has a few of his namesake's foibles like a weakness for pretty girls and tendency to climb atop buildings but he lacks the same pathos and expressiveness of the classic King Kong. Rather this version is more of a brute like his opponent, despite what the american commentators would have you believe. He does make for a fitting opponent to Godzilla and they have a solidly enjoyable brawl, brief though it is. I'd give him shit about that convenient thunderstorm out of fucking nowhere to revive him when Godzilla has his ass dead to rights but frankly, that kind of day-saving deus ex machina shit is all over the kaiju genre and Kong doesn't deserve any more shit for it than anyone else in the lineup.

THE PEOPLE:

Not as emotionally driven as the cast of the original film, but not as banal and useless as the cast of the second, these guys fall perfectly in that average spectrum of human cast members that entertain just enough not to make you want to pull your hair out waiting for the monsters to show up on screen, but damned if you can remember the name of any of them. I'll say this much, the japanese side of the movie is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the american one, they seem to understand that they're in a cartoonish excuse plot to let some dudes in rubber suits smash intricately crafted miniatures and they have fun hamming it all up, while the dry deadpan performances of the american commentators come in every time something interesting has happened to go Buzz Killington all over everybody's asses.

I'll tell you what, if there's a movie that I'd like to see re-made in this day and age it's this one. No Godzilla and Kong solo movies made to establish the characters first. Don't waste your time with that world-building bullshit, just make a great excuse movie with the splendor and graphical effects of today (but an aesthetic appreciation for the bulk and weight that made kaiju films so enjoyable) to get these guys together again to throw down in a modern city. Though, god, I don't know if I could trust anyone not to turn Godzilla into another fucking velociraptor iguana again.

Last edited by blinkpen; 02-27-2013 at 04:28 PM.
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  #33  
Old 02-27-2013, 04:26 PM
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Hey Blinkpen, Tell Us Something We Don't Know

Ok, how about this: Did you know that there's a japanese version of the film where Godzilla is the one who wins in the end?

You did? Well guess what, you're wrong! It's one of the most widely believed myths in moviedom, so much so that books have published it as fact and trivia games have used it as a question and answer. The cold-hard truth of the fact is that at the end of the movie Kong is the only one who surfaces to swim for home in either version. That's not really a big deal, lots of Godzilla movies end with him being defeated that way. But the big, easy believability of the rumor has lead to such widespread fame that it's considered truth by quite a few people, and before the internet was probably considered cold-hard fact by most american Godzilla fans.

The only big difference is after the fade-out in the japanese version, you hear Godzilla's roar as well as Kong's, probably because the japanese version was more even-handed about both beasts being pretty destructive brutes and the american one played up Kong as more of a hero. But this was mainly considered as a way of implying that the monsters were "taking a bow" for the audience rather than to imply victory conditions.

[twelve year old]Besides, everyone knows once the credits are done rolling Godzilla yanked that dumb ape back under the water and tore his stupid head off.[/twelve year old]
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  #34  
Old 02-27-2013, 05:10 PM
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All of the older Gamera movies are unwatchable without the MST3K crew, but the whole 90's reboot trilogy and Gamera the Brave from 2006 are some of the best Kaiju movies ever made. Which is great, because with Gamera's design and abilities there's no reason for him to be anything less than The Best Monster.
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  #35  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:01 PM
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I still can't believe it took me until a few years ago to figure out why Godzilla gets bottom billing in this and in Mothra vs. Godzilla: because he's still the Bad Guy. So far we have yet to be given a reason to root for him: he's always been that giant lizard that tears up cities for no damn reason. Whereas Mothra and Kong are both established as sympathetic monsters.

Another fun fact: King Kong vs. Godzilla was built from a concept by the original Kong FX artist, Willis O'Brien, for a King Kong vs. Frankenstein (later King Kong vs. Prometheus) movie.
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  #36  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:11 PM
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When I first saw this thread, this is what popped into my head:

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  #37  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:15 PM
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Haha, I had the poster for that!
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  #38  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex Scott View Post
I still can't believe it took me until a few years ago to figure out why Godzilla gets bottom billing in this and in Mothra vs. Godzilla: because he's still the Bad Guy. So far we have yet to be given a reason to root for him: he's always been that giant lizard that tears up cities for no damn reason. Whereas Mothra and Kong are both established as sympathetic monsters.

Another fun fact: King Kong vs. Godzilla was built from a concept by the original Kong FX artist, Willis O'Brien, for a King Kong vs. Frankenstein (later King Kong vs. Prometheus) movie.
To be fair, one of Mothra vs. Godzilla's most prominent alt titles is Godzilla vs. The Thing, so she definitely gets the short shaft in that billing.
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  #39  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:47 PM
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Yes... This is a wonderful thing.

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Originally Posted by blinkpen View Post
I'll tell you what, if there's a movie that I'd like to see re-made in this day and age it's this one. No Godzilla and Kong solo movies made to establish the characters first. Don't waste your time with that world-building bullshit, just make a great excuse movie with the splendor and graphical effects of today (but an aesthetic appreciation for the bulk and weight that made kaiju films so enjoyable) to get these guys together again to throw down in a modern city. Though, god, I don't know if I could trust anyone not to turn Godzilla into another fucking velociraptor iguana again.
Indeed. No damn GINO!
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  #40  
Old 02-27-2013, 08:02 PM
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Another fun fact: King Kong vs. Godzilla was built from a concept by the original Kong FX artist, Willis O'Brien, for a King Kong vs. Frankenstein (later King Kong vs. Prometheus) movie.
I recall from James Rolfe's review of this one that it started off as Godzilla Vs. Frankenstein, which explains Kong's out-of-place affinity for lightning. And in Germany, they ran with that idea and stuck Frankenstein's name in the titles of all sorts of kaiju films, with the explanation that the monsters were created by Dr. Frankenstein, or his descendant, or something.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:02 PM
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I'm really hoping that the release of Gareth Edwards's Godzilla reboot next year will prompt Universal to give us a proper DVD release of King Kong vs Godzilla with the original Japanese version included, because that movie was the most butchered of any other Showa-era movie besides the original Godzilla. The Japanese version is way more of a straight-up comedy satirizing Japan's then-increasing commercialization, which is where you get stuff like the head of the pharmaceutical company trying to kidnap King Kong to use as a mascot. It also moves at a quicker pace thanks to the absence of those dumbass news segments where white people give us information we already have. The US version also replaces most of Akira Ifukube's score with stock music from Universal's archives, which is unforgivable.

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At one point a Scientist Who Knows Whats Up actually opens a children's book of dinosaur illustrations to try and describe Godzilla as a cross between a tyrannosaurus rex and a stegosaurus. Which makes me just want to reach in the TV and slap him.
"Godzilla appears to possess traits of both aquatic and terrestrial dinosaurs, so obviously he is a cross between these two dinosaurs, neither of which are aquatic in any way."

Quote:
They also seemed to feel it necessary to de-power Godzilla somewhat, as this is the only film in the series where he is actually harmed and repulsed by electricity.
The best part of this development is the part where the military essentially has the exact same electric fence idea that didn't work at all in the first movie, only here it totally does.
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  #42  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:13 PM
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Looking up Toho Frankenstein brought me to the Godzilla Wiki page for "Oodako" (literally, "giant octopus").

Quote:
Trivia
  • The inclusion of Oodako in Toho's vast slate of monsters may be the fulfillment of a dream of special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who had always wished to make a monster film with a giant octopus (original concept art for Godzilla himself for the 1954 film depicted him as a giant octopus).
  • For the Oodako scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla, four live octopuses were used. They were forced to move among the miniature huts by having hot air blown onto them. After the filming of that scene was finished, three of the four were released. The fourth became special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's dinner.
I...see.
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  #43  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:25 PM
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Oh, man, my favorite part about Oodako is that when Toho was making Frankenstein Conquers the World, their American collaborators, Benedict Pictures Corporation, insisted on including a fight against a giant octopus because they were so amazed by the Octopus scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla. So in the original cut of the movie (and preserved in the International cut) after Frankenstein defeats Baragon, a giant Octopus just shows up out of nowhere and they fight to the death. This was ultimately removed from the general theatrical release of the movie because it didn't make any sense. But when they went on to film the sequel, War of the Gargantuas, again with Benedict, the Americans (again) insisted on including a giant octopus, so Toho I guess was like "Fine! Here's your goddamn octopus!" and so they included an equally nonsensical scene in the beginning of that movie that actually stayed in. And it's one of my favorite scenes in anything.

Unfortunately the scene itself isn't on Youtube, but some dumbass turned into an Iron Maiden music video.
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  #44  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:45 PM
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To be fair, one of Mothra vs. Godzilla's most prominent alt titles is Godzilla vs. The Thing, so she definitely gets the short shaft in that billing.
Yeah, but I'm talking about the Japanese titles. American titles can get weird (see also: Godzilla on Monster Island / Godzilla vs. Gigan; Monster Zero / Invasion of the Astro-Monster).
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And in Germany, they ran with that idea and stuck Frankenstein's name in the titles of all sorts of kaiju films, with the explanation that the monsters were created by Dr. Frankenstein, or his descendant, or something.
Funny thing, I also looked up Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster / Ebirah: Horror of the Deep, just to check on that title, and the German title was indeed Frankenstein and the Monster from the Sea.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:18 PM
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Okay, so I think I have the King Kong - Godzilla - Frankenstein connection straight now:
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Originally Posted by Wikipedia, "Godzilla vs. Frankenstein"
King Kong vs. Frankenstein was a project originally conceived as a sequel to the 1933 film King Kong, with a treatment written by animator Willis O'Brien featuring King Kong battling a large monster created by Frankenstein's grandson in San Francisco.[1] John Beck (an independent producer) stole the story from Willis O'Brien and, since he could not find an American buyer for the story (which was fleshed out into a screenplay by George Worthing Yates and retitled King Kong vs. Prometheus), sold it to Toho Studios who replaced the Frankenstein/Prometheus monster with their own monster Godzilla, and filmed it as King Kong vs. Godzilla instead.[2]

Toho had always been interested in the Frankenstein character, as years earlier they had planned to film a movie called Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor (フランケンシュタイン対ガス人間 - Furankenshutain tai Gasu Ningen, literally Frankenstein vs. the Gas Human), a follow up to their 1960 hit movie The Human Vapor, that fell by the wayside. Influenced by the concept of the giant Frankenstein monster from the King Kong vs. Frankenstein/King Kong vs. Prometheus story, Toho planned on making Frankenstein vs. Godzilla as a follow up to King Kong vs. Godzilla. Written in 1963 and planned for a 1964 release, the story dealt with the heart of the original Frankenstein monster becoming irradiated and growing into a Frankenstein-monster giant. Afraid the giant would start eating people, Godzilla would be freed from an icy prison by the JSDF and goaded into a fight with the monster in hopes of killing him. Even though King Kong vs. Godzilla had already been made with Godzilla escaping from an iceberg that he was trapped in at the end of Godzilla Raids Again, script writer Kaoru Mabuchi (a.k.a. Takeshi Kimura) thought with Godzilla disappearing into the ocean at the end of that film, that the idea of Godzilla becoming frozen in the North Sea into another icy prison could still work.[3] The story would end with Godzilla disappearing into a raging river flow, while the Frankenstein giant disappears into magma.

Toho thought the story would not make any sense because the JSDF are trying to get Godzilla (who was still a villain at this point) to kill Frankenstein because they are afraid Frankenstein will start eating humans. So the idea was dropped and Mothra was brought in as Godzilla next opponent for the film Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964). Toho didn't give up on the Frankenstein giant idea. In 1965, the monster would appear battling a new monster opponent named Baragon in the film Frankenstein Conquers the World, which used a lot of concept ideas as well as the same characters (such as Dr.Bowen) from this story treatment.
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  #46  
Old 02-27-2013, 10:48 PM
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I'm really hoping that the release of Gareth Edwards's Godzilla reboot next year will prompt Universal to give us a proper DVD release of King Kong vs Godzilla with the original Japanese version included, because that movie was the most butchered of any other Showa-era movie besides the original Godzilla. The Japanese version is way more of a straight-up comedy satirizing Japan's then-increasing commercialization, which is where you get stuff like the head of the pharmaceutical company trying to kidnap King Kong to use as a mascot. It also moves at a quicker pace thanks to the absence of those dumbass news segments where white people give us information we already have. The US version also replaces most of Akira Ifukube's score with stock music from Universal's archives, which is unforgivable.
God I know. Horrifyingly, I've heard that the cut footage from the original film has been lost and is only available in increasingly degraded copies. The more I read about the Japanese cut of the film the more I wanted to see it and learned how nearly impossible it is to see it.

Anyhow, time for some giant bugs.

Godzilla vs. Mothra
aka Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. The Thing

This movie is a pretty solid piece of work! Neither quite a grimly dark serious work like the original Godzilla nor a purposefully goofy campfest like King Kong vs. Godzilla, it straddles the right line between serious and silly that most future Godzilla films will occupy, allowing it to have body counts and meaningful property destruction while still possessing moments of levity and comic relief.

After her standalone movie things have gotten rough on Mothra's island. The notoriously short-of-memory folk of the civilized world have conducted nuclear tests on the verdant paradise and left it a grim, desolate wasteland, survived only by the living goddess and her tribe of worshippers. To make matters worse, the now more-vulnerable to the elements island has been hit by a hurricane that's washed away Mothra's egg to the Japanese mainland, where unscrupulous business types immediately claim it up as a tourist attraction and refuse the pleas of Mothra's fairies to return it to its rightful homeland. Even the insistance that their intentions are only to help the people of Japan as the hatching larva may cause unintentional damage on its return journey fall on deaf ears and they leave in defeat.

Then Godzilla shows up in a pretty flashy entrance.

Loose Showa Continuity Time!

In King Kong vs. Godzilla, the ape Kong manages to defeat Godzilla in an unseen underwater climax so intense it causes a minor earthquake, likely indicating that Godzilla was left buried under the sea or otherwise left drifting unconscious. It stands to reason that the same hurricane that washed ashore Mothra's egg is what buried his unconscious body on the mainland where he eventually wakes up pretty pissed off.

The military is better equipped than most films and puts up a decent fight against Godzilla but are still no match for putting down or driving off the mighty beast, so the trio of plucky heroes of Scientist, Photographer, and Reporter go to Mothra's island to beg the inhabitants for assistance. A pretty compelling scene ensues where the natives condemn the visitors for the callous and destructive ways of their people, that they deserve everything Godzilla gives them. But our heroes make an equally compelling speech about helping your fellow man regardless of past differences, and they move the powerful Mothra and earn her trust.

There's just one problem, Mothra's at the end of her current lifecycle and will soon die. Though she will be reborn as usual there may not be enough life left in her current body to defeat Godzilla. Indeed this proves to be the case as she gives Godzilla everything she has but expires before putting him down for good. Nevertheless, her fairy guardians pray to her egg to hatch and she manages to split herself into two larvae upon rebirth, enough to catch Godzilla in a clever pincer attack with their cocoon webbing and dump him into the ocean in a rather undignifying defeat. Afterwards they once again depart peacefully for their homeland.

NOTE: MOTHRA B DIED ON THE WAY BACK TO HER HOME PLANET.

THE MONSTERS:

Godzilla: He looks damn cool in this movie. The suit has been tweaked to have a somewhat more serpentine look and the face incorporates the iconic mix of reptilian and mammalian features that ends up making him look so distinctive in future films, coming also with a pleasingly menacing glower. His arms also look more prominent and sharply clawed, giving him a rather sleek and feral appearance. Personality wise though he seems a little clumsy, most of his acts of destruction appear to be more by awkward accident than purposeful malevolence or callous neglect. It makes the movie feel a little off-message with the humans' desperate desire to stop his "rampage". Near the end he does seem to head for an island specifically because a group of young children and teachers are trapped there, which ups his villainy quotient at least.

Mothra
aka: Mosura, The Thing

This is a rare movie where Mothra starts in her adult form and ends up in her larval state(s) by the end. Her flight model looks a little raggedy in some shots and it's kind of annoying that the next several films put her in larval form the entire way through. However here it works as a clever way to invert expectations for how the battle will play out.

THE PEOPLE:

The people in this film are actually pretty likeable! Ok, so I don't actually remember the names of any of the main characters, but Reporter, Photographer, and Scientist are a likeable enough group of plucky heroes who butt heads with the short-sighted business tycoons that later recieve karmic comeuppances. And the scene with the debate between the heroes and the tribesmen on Mothra's island is pretty great. It's always a pleasant thing when the human segments aren't just something to be wearily tolerated until the monsters show up.

It's a good film with a solid plot and pacing and a really good establishment of the proper tone for the Showa series. But it is a little tiresome seeing Godzilla get his ass kicked at the end of every one of those movies. If only someone more evil than him would come along to give him a villainous foil to actually try saving the world for a change. Perhaps some kind of golden three-headed dragon demon that spews space lightning in a typhoon of destruction. Sadly to my knowledge no such monster exists.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:53 PM
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enough chump stuff!

Get to King Ghidorah already!
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by blinkpen View Post
Godzilla: He looks damn cool in this movie. The suit has been tweaked to have a somewhat more serpentine look and the face incorporates the iconic mix of reptilian and mammalian features that ends up making him look so distinctive in future films, coming also with a pleasingly menacing glower. His arms also look more prominent and sharply clawed, giving him a rather sleek and feral appearance.
Major props for mentioning this because it is my go-to line when making people listen to my opinions about how Godzilla should look. I had a professor at SCAD who was great to talk Godzilla with; he used to say the Mothra vs Godzilla suit was his favorite because the lower lip was slightly unstable and would wobble a little bit when the suit moved around, which made Godzilla kind of look like he was snarling.

After you watch Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster I'm gonna want to hear your favorite Mothra song. My favorite is Call Happiness from Ghidorah, which in my opinion is criminally unappreciated.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:23 AM
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Also, fun fact: Mothra's cry is actually Anguiras's roar sped up real fast!
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:10 AM
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After you watch Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster I'm gonna want to hear your favorite Mothra song. My favorite is Call Happiness from Ghidorah, which in my opinion is criminally unappreciated.
I'll let you know if it changes but I'm pretty sure Sacred Springs is definitely my favorite Mothra Twins song. So beautiful and mournful.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:37 PM
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To be fair, one of Mothra vs. Godzilla's most prominent alt titles is Godzilla vs. The Thing, so she definitely gets the short shaft in that billing.
I'm trying to think of how Godzilla vs. The Thing would play out now. Sadly, I think it'd basically just boil down to Hedorah with a coat of red paint and a few legs/tubes hanging all over it.
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  #52  
Old 02-28-2013, 07:07 PM
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Speaking of this film's music, it has my very favorite rendition of a Godzilla theme. 0:33-1:10 gives me tingles every time. I'm not sure what it is, but there's something distinct about this version of it.
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  #53  
Old 03-02-2013, 02:19 AM
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Gidorah: The Three-Headed Monster
aka Three Giant Monsters, the Greatest Battle On Earth (guys, theres... there's four of them)

Oh man they really pull out the stops here. This movie is the The Avengers of this stretch of films. Multiple independantly established monsters coming together in one film to fight a powerful foe from the stars and saving the world, some of them taking on a heroic role for the first time, if grudgingly. And the fight scenes are fun and exciting and display a level of personality for the kaiju that has been unheard of so far.

The movie opens with a mysterious giant meteor falling to earth and causing surprisingly little damage in the process. Around the same time a foreign princess mysteriously survives an assassination attempt and ends up on the streets of Japan in a hobo's clothing announcing prophecies of doom and destruction. First she predicts the waking of Rodan from a dormant volcano to terrorize the skies once more, and then declares that a ship should not sail, and when her words are not heeded it is sunk by the mighty Godzilla. The two quickly run afoul of each other and do what comes naturally, they begin beating the shit out of each other and crushing anything that gets in their way. Finally the doomsayer predicts the arrival of King Ghidorah, who emerges from the fallen meteor, a monstrous golden space demon who apparently wiped out the Martian civilization thousands of years ago and now has come to claim Earth because thats how he rolls.

Needless to say, things are bad. The heroes ask the Mothra twins if she can come to help, but the mighty goddess is still in her juvenile larval stage and not strong enough to take on King Ghidorah alone, so she does the unthinkable, tries to convince Godzilla and Rodan to stop fighting each other and help her save the human race from extinction. It goes about as well as you might expect, the stubborn hot-heads tell her to piss off, but after being sufficiently shamed by watching the young Mothra valiantly head into battle with Ghidorah alone, they come to her rescue and one hell of a great fight ensues with some scenes that will enter the most overused selection of stock footage ever.

THE MONSTERS:

Godzilla: His design is roughly the same as the previous film but doesn't quite look as serpentine. They have some nice eye movements in some of the puppet closeups that make him look a little less beady-eyed and dull. His grouchy, tempermental personality comes through with charming clarity for perhaps the first time. Other films had him mostly lumbering and reactionary in his body language and for the first time he actually starts to feel like a character with something going on behind his skull. There's a cute bit where the twins are translating for the three heroic monsters as they argue, and they admonish Godzilla for his foul language. I just get a kick out of stuff like that.

Rodan
aka: Radon

The giant pterodactyl returns in singular form(funny how this is true for both of Godzilla's costars). Rodan's characterization is charming in much the same way as Godzilla's. You get the impression that they're fighting not because they hate eachother so much as because that's just what comes naturally to them.

Mothra: She's in caterpillar form the entire film and thus doesn't have a lot of personality to work with but she's actually rather cutely effective as she attempts to broker peace between the warring giants to convince them to use their powers for good for once. The scene where she finally shuts them up and gets them to listen to her by blasting them with webbing is absolutely delightful, capped off with some hilarious muppetlike dumbfounded reaction shots by both Godzilla and Rodan. And the scene where she rides on Rodan's back is just adorable.

King Ghidorah
aka: Gidrah

This is it, this is the king, in my personal opinion the greatest of all kaiju villains. The golden, lightning-spewing three-headed space dragon is the most iconic and recognizeable of any foe Godzilla has ever faced and always commands a powerful and menacing presence. He is a badass motherfucker who destroys planets for the sheer savage joy of it, an elder god of wrath and chaos who rains destruction from above. It always bummed me out how the later Hesei and Millenium films de-fanged him by turning him into a mind-controlled earthborn mutant and mystical protector respectively. As far as I'm concerned the only true King Ghidorah is the pure evil tyrant who makes Godzilla's life hell time and time again at the behest of alien warlords or his own sadistic whims.

THE PEOPLE:

Much like GvsM before it, the people in this film are likeable and inoffensive, but forgettable. The subplot about the amnesiac princess-turned-martian-doomsayer and the heros trying to keep her away from her would-be assassins loses relevance after the point at which she climactically announces Ghidorah's presence to the world but it keeps going on in the background throuhout the rest of the fil which doesn't entirely feel necessary. That said there are worse things to have going on in your background human plot than a modest spy thriller.

So, now that Toho's knocked it out of the park by bringing three great monsters together to fight an exciting brand new foe, it'll be great to see what they come up with next, right? Something striking and original no doubt!
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  #54  
Old 03-03-2013, 10:27 PM
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Today Guy and I watched Space Amoeba, which is a fun little romp about an amoeba from space that hijacks a space probe, takes it back to earth, and possesses different animals, turning them each into giant monsters. It uses these forms to terrorize a small island and its natives. The monsters are:

Gezora - A giant cuttlefish, probably better known for his appearance as the weakest boss in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters

Kanime - A giant enemy crab.

Kamoeba - A giant ugly turtle. They had a weird way of setting this up earlier in the film: at one point they're going through the forest, and the female lead gets frightened at the sight of a small turtle, just sitting there, minding its own business. Then this guy turns up at the end.

Also, the natives chant with the same song used in King Kong vs. Godzilla. Three times.
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  #55  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:20 AM
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I always wondered where Gezora came from, and now I know.
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  #56  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:02 PM
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Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
aka Invasion of the Astro Monster

Here, let me show you the best part of the movie.



There, now you don't have to watch it anymore because fuck this movie. I hated it as a kid and I still hate it now. If there's one thing I can't stand it's when someone writes a shitty alien invasion story and sticks kaiju in as an afterthought (Final Wars, I'm looking at you!)

Even as a stand-alone alien invasion story it would be pretty damn weak. Humanity discovers the mysterious Planet X just past Jupiter and sends a rocket ship to investigate staffed by a japanese man and an american guy, who unbeknownst to him is dating a woman from Planet X but confuses her with the other women from Planet X because they all look alike. Are they trying to be meta or just stupid?

I'll admit the designs of the Planet X dudes are pretty boss.



And their spaceships are just adorable. But the padded, slow-as-balls plot sure takes all the fun out of everything. There's some inventor guy who creates a stupid device at the beginning of the movie that makes a horrible noise and serves absolutely no other purpose but in the end of the movie it just happens to be able to cripple the aliens and ugh ugh ugh.

The people of Planet X are running out of water so they plan to trick us by asking to take Godzilla and Rodan who are the only ones deemed capable of defeating King Ghidorah who is plaguing their world. I guess Mothra doesn't get credit because even in the kaiju world there's a glass ceiling. It's all just a trick though and after the shortest goddamn fight scene ever the earthlings leave Godzilla and Rodan behind on Planet X with a "cure for all diseases" that they didn't even bother to check for a gloating betrayal. Frankly they deserve to be conquered. So the aliens show up with all three monsters mind-controlled but the vast, vast majority of the screentime is just devoted to the stupid fucking humans coming up with a stupid fucking plan to defeat the stupid fucking aliens and then there's another stupidly short fight scene between Godzilla and Rodan against Ghidorah, at the end of which they appear to be killed while Ghidorah flies away into space.

Man, fuck this movie.

THE MONSTERS

Godzilla: His suit design is roughly the same as the previous film I think. There seems to be a more prominent tongue in the headpiece. He has some overly silly cartoonish acting in this movie but his screentime is so friggen' brief the goofy charm is not worth the price of entry.

Rodan: Is Rodan again. I'm starting to realize he's not the most interesting monster, though I still kind of like him. I suppose his involvement in the movie is no less token than the other monsters.

King Ghidorah: Same as the above two really. You love the guy but he's just here for the paycheck, there's no actual menacing involvement.

The movie seems to have a kaiju foot fetish. I've never seen so many close ups of the monster feet stomping on buildings with more detailed closeup models in one film before. The fight scenes are very lively but painfully brief and the presence of the monsters at all seems like a cheap throw-in to get more butts in the seats, as the alien invasion plot alone wasn't enough to carry the film (and still isn't even with the monsters).

THE PEOPLE

Ugh, fuck these guys. For a film that wants us to spend so much time with the human characters they sure are a charmless bunch of wretches. Alien Lady Who Falls In Love With American Dude Against Her Programming is pretty easy on the eyes, but everyone else is dull and droning and the dub has a particularly deadpan feel to it. It can be entertaining when the Planet X men speak but when the rest of the characters speak the same way it dulls the effect.

In short BLEGH, it bugs me to no end that this movie seems to command a much greater mindshare than its vastly superior immediate predecessor. I would rather watch a movie where Godzilla fights some kind of big stupid lobster than this mess again!
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  #57  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:13 PM
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Wasn't that movie the basis for the Perfectly Decent GameCube Godzilla Game?

If so, then it at least has something to offer the world besides Godzilla-aerobics.
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  #58  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:16 PM
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Hmm, no, the Perfectly Decent Godzilla Gamecube Game was called Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (or God DAMM as my friends and I liked to call it), named for Destroy All Monsters, which is generally a better movie than this piece of shit.
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  #59  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:20 PM
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Not that I'm in any position to contradict you, since all I remember about said game is that I said "Hey! This GameCube game is Perfectly Decent! Yippee." when I played it. But wasn't its plot (such as it was) that the Planet X guys are trying the exact same plan again, but using more monsters this time?
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  #60  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:52 PM
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You nuts dude. Monster Zero is the best Godzilla movie. "Where is the SHIP... GLEN."
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Originally Posted by blinkpen View Post
I'll admit the designs of the Planet X dudes are pretty boss.
They have elf shoes too. It's pretty amazing.
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