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Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:01 am
by bastard_robo
Bean wrote:Godzilla is fucking amazing....anyone to say other wise should watch Godzilla vs. King Kong and I DARE you to not be entertained.

King Kong vs Godzilla is easily one of my top 3 favorite Godzilla Films. Theres a sense of wonder and fun to that film

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:40 am
by TheButcher
From THE NEW YORK TIMES Blog Opinionator:
Japan’s Long Nuclear Disaster Film
PETER WYNN KIRBY wrote:OXFORD, England — Peering at the post-tsunami devastation in Japan on miniature YouTube windows or video-streaming displays from Japanese news outlets provokes not only great empathy and concern, but an unmistakable feeling of déjà vu. As a scholar focusing on the place of nuclear energy in Japanese culture, I’ve seen more than my share of nuclear-themed monster movies from the ’50s onward, and the scenes of burning refineries, flattened cities, mobilized rescue teams and fleeing civilians recall some surreal highlights of the Japanese disaster film genre.

This B-movie fare is widely mocked, often for good reason. But the early “Godzilla” films were earnest and hard-hitting. They were stridently anti-nuclear: the monster emerged after an atomic explosion. They were also anti-war in a country coming to grips with the consequences of World War II. As the great saurian beast emerges from Tokyo Bay to lay waste to the capital in 1954’s “Gojira” (“Godzilla”), the resulting explosions, dead bodies and flood of refugees evoked dire scenes from the final days of the war, images still seared in the memories of Japanese viewers. Far from the heavily edited and jingoistic, shoot’em-up, stomp’em-down flick that moviegoers saw in the United States, Japanese audiences reportedly watched “Gojira” in somber silence, broken by periodic weeping.

Yet it is the film’s anti-nuclear message that seems most discordant in present-day Japan, where nearly a third of the nation’s electricity is generated by nuclear power. The film was inspired by events that were very real and very controversial. In March 1954, a massive thermonuclear weapon tested by the United States near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, codenamed “Bravo,” detonated with about 2.5 times greater force than anticipated. The unexpectedly vast fallout from the bomb enveloped a distant Japanese tuna trawler named the Lucky Dragon No. 5 in a blizzard of radioactive ash. Crewmembers returned to their home port of Yaizu bearing blackened and blistered skin, acute radiation sickness and a cargo of irradiated tuna. Newspapers reported on the radioactive traces left by the men’s bodies as they wandered the city, as well as “atomic tuna” found in fish markets in Osaka and later at Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. The exalted Emperor Hirohito himself was said to have eliminated seafood from his diet.

In a nation fixated on purity, the revulsion against this second nuclear contamination of the homeland was visceral. In late September 1954, the Lucky Dragon’s radio operator Aikichi Kuboyama died. “Gojira” appeared in cinemas the following month, breaking the record for opening-day receipts in Tokyo and becoming one of the top-grossing films of the year. During the same month, there was an upsurge in anti-nuclear petitions in response to Kuboyama’s death, and the peace movement went national.

Audiences who flocked to “Gojira” were clearly watching more than just a monster movie. The film’s opening scenes evoked the nuclear explosion in the Pacific and the damaged Japanese bodies so poignant to domestic viewers. Godzilla — relentless, vengeful, sinister — looms as an overt symbol of science run amok. The creature’s every footstep and tail-swipe lay bare the shaky foundations on which Japan’s postwar prosperity stood. The great reptilian menace onscreen — actually a man in a 200-pound lizard suit stomping through miniaturized versions of Tokyo neighborhoods — illustrated both Japan’s aversion to nuclear radiation and its frustrating impotence in a tense cold war climate.

The bizarre and suggestive menagerie of creatures that followed Godzilla onto the silver screen ranged from the intriguing to the ridiculous. Two pterodactyl-like monsters, both named Rodan, wreak havoc on Japan after being disturbed underground by Japanese mining operations. Mothra, the giant, pied moth-god of Infant Island — a fictional nuclear testing ground in the South Pacific — unleashes devastation on Japan in one film and actually gets the better of Godzilla in an epic smackdown in another. Other monsters include Gamera, a giant turtle, and the absurd Varan the Unbelievable, a large reptile resembling a flying squirrel. In all the films, Japanese populations alternately mobilize against and cower from the threats that wash up, or lumber onto, Japan’s shores.

If there is any thread running through this sprawling bestiary of monster films, it is “the profound vulnerability of Japan,” as William Tsutsui writes in his acclaimed book “Godzilla on My Mind.” Japan, relatively powerless in the cold war arena in reality, is able in a fictional world to muster its heavily armed and impressively disciplined Self-Defense Forces to fight against, or occasionally delay or redirect, the colossal rampaging of outlandish threats.

But the films also clearly depict a human population that is, again and again, boxing above its weight class. Over time, Godzilla morphs into a defender of Japan, but dangers begin to materialize within the nation itself. For example, in addition to the lost moral compass of Japanese developers and other businessmen critiqued in several films, works like “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster” (1971) gave voice to popular opposition against toxic pollution from Japanese industry and rapacious development that had notoriously poisoned Japanese bodies and defiled the nation’s once-famed “Green Archipelago” in a series of environmental debacles worthy of their own horror movie marathon.

If the monster-film genre is less ubiquitous than it once was, the themes it reflected are no less present today, particularly in the 24-hour blanket coverage of last week’s earthquakes and tsunami. It shows a Japan that remains visibly beset by large-scale threats that strike without warning. Japan’s emergency response teams rescue citizens stranded amid once-thriving cities I have visited in years past that are now little more than sludge and debris. Cars, trucks, trains and large ships lie swept into piles ashore or float in murky water like misshapen bath toys. Buildings implode and fires rage as if ignited by a burst of radioactive breath or a flick of a great creature’s tail.

But it also brings back into focus Japan’s awkward postwar nuclear predicament that was ambiguously illustrated by the Godzilla series. Japan now has 54 nuclear reactors, ranking third in terms of energy output behind the United States and France. Japan also has an unusually shoddy record for nuclear safety. The long string of occasionally fatal nuclear mismanagement lapses over the past few decades in a nation famed worldwide for manufacturing quality control and high-tech achievement is troubling and almost incomprehensible, to say the least. Part of this story is distinctly Japanese, as lack of transparency, insufficient inspection regimes and a sometimes paralyzing inability to make imperfect but practical decisions can leave an industry vulnerable to the sort of dangerous situations that confront the Fukushima reactors.

What is different this time, however, is that we don’t need a disaster film to bring out the nuclear contradictions of Japanese society. The tsunami was but one clear counterargument to the claim that nuclear power is a safe solution to climate change and dwindling oil supplies. As our thoughts remain focused on the plight of tens of thousands of people in harm’s way, Japan’s flawed nuclear record can help shed revealing light on nuclear power plans in other nations, including the United States, that have to succeed in the real world instead of in a far-fetched film plot.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:41 am
by GothamAlleys
Personally I cant get into the older Godzillas, but the ones from the early 90s to date I think are actually very good scifi stories and I always enjoyed thoroughly, especially the ones in which Godizlla is a villain. My favorite is probably Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 (1993)

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:57 pm
by bastard_robo
I have said that Eiji Tsuburaya would be proud and horrified at how well his effects appear to mirror the real world disasters that have happened in this last week.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:29 pm
by TheButcher

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:26 am
by TheButcher
From The L.A. Times:
Japan crisis evokes comparisons to its pop culture disaster narratives, historic events
In postwar books and films, the nation has imagined national apocalypse from earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat. Recent events echo its pop culture and World War II-era history.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:24 am
by bastard_robo
Wait... did I miss a screening in LA????????????????????????

Re: PULGASARI: Korean Classic or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 3:58 am
by TheButcher
The producer from hell
John Gorenfeld wrote:The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has a passion for cinema. But he could never find a director to realise his vision. So he kidnapped one from the South, jailed him and fed him grass, then forced him to shoot a socialist Godzilla. Now, for the first time, Shin Sang-ok tells the full story of his bizarre dealings with - and eventual flight from - the world's most dangerous dictator.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:57 pm
by bastard_robo
TheButcher wrote:The producer from hell
John Gorenfeld wrote:The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has a passion for cinema. But he could never find a director to realise his vision. So he kidnapped one from the South, jailed him and fed him grass, then forced him to shoot a socialist Godzilla. Now, for the first time, Shin Sang-ok tells the full story of his bizarre dealings with - and eventual flight from - the world's most dangerous dictator.

Yeah.. it was this film:

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:27 pm
by TheButcher
RODAN is on TCM right now!

8:00 PM Eastern - "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" (1956)

9:45 PM Eastern - "Rodan" (1957)

Japanese Monster All-Stars

11:15 PM Eastern - "Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster" (1965)

1:00 AM Eastern - "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero" 1966

Re: G"Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "Destroy All Monsters"

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:00 am
by TheButcher

Re: G"Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "Destroy All Monsters"

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:42 am
by bastard_robo


im only missing 4 of the films from my DVD collection (i'm too lazy to get the imports) DAM, Megalon, 1985 and Biollante. I will be down only 2 now..

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:31 pm
by TheButcher
From Hero CompleX:
Tim Burton: Nine monster movies that inspired him
Susan King wrote:Tim Burton’s gleefully macabre aesthetic is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — the exhibition that bears the filmmaker’s name and runs through Halloween brings together more than 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, film and video works, storyboards, puppets, concept art, costumes and other movie memorabilia. During a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Burbank-born director talked about the influence classic monster movies have had on his life’s work, and picking up on that theme, the museum this weekend will launch a Saturday Monster Matinee series spotlighting nine films that are close to Burton’s heart. Here’s a look at the lineup:

“Mothra” (1961) The female creature first appeared in the serialized novel “The Luminous Fairies and Mothra” before she made her film debut in this Japanese feature. A giant lepidopteron with butterfly-moth characteristics, Mothra has been an ally with Godzilla but often the two square off in combat — with Mothra winning most of the bouts. When the film was released in the U.S. in 1962, it ran on a double bill with “The Three Stooges in Orbit.” Screens Aug. 13.

Re: Mothra's 50th Anniversary

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:30 am
by TheButcher
From the Godzilla 2012 Blog:
Japan Recognizing Mothra's 50th Anniversary
Armand Vaquer wrote:
Another kaiju in Toho's stable is seeing an anniversary in July: Mothra!

July 30th will mark the winged wonder's 50th anniversary.

According to Evan Brehany's Tokusatsu Eiga Times blog, the anniversary will be noted in Japan with special movie screenings and a new book.

To see Evan's write-up on Mothra's 50th anniversary, go here.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:28 pm
by TheButcher

Re: Mothra's 50th Anniversary

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:29 pm
by TheButcher

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:55 am
by TheButcher
Criterion Teases Gojira (Godzilla) Blu-ray
Matthew Smith wrote:Earlier today Criterion posted an image of a Toho film canister on their Facebook page that hinted they may be preparing the 1954 monster classic Gojira (Godzilla) for a future Blu-ray release.

The Ishiro Honda film, which began the long series of Godzilla monster movies and spin-offs, previously debuted on Blu-ray in a 2009 release courtesy of Classic Media, but has yet to undergo a full restoration. The film is also known as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, a re-edited North American version which featured Raymond Burr.

The tease leaves many questions unanswered since an official announcement from the distributor has yet to be made. A possible release date and answers as to what versions of the film will be included are now open to speculation. Pictured below is the image posted on The Criterion Collection's official Facebook page.

From The Good, The Bad and GODZILLA:
CRITERION PREPPING "GODZILLA" (1954)! - DVD & BD Release Coming Soon?

From Facebook:
The Criterion Collection's Photos - Wall Photos

Re: Criterion Collection: King of the Monsters

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:13 am
by TheButcher

Re: Criterion Collection: King of the Monsters

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:52 pm
by TheButcher
Criterion “GODZILLA” disc details/art stomp in
Michael Gingold wrote:Ishiro Honda’s 1954 GODZILLA (a.k.a. GOJIRA) still stands as a landmark in genre cinema, and it’s getting its due in new Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray editions coming in January. Full specs and the cover art have been revealed, so read on.

More than just a monster movie, GODZILLA is an allegory for the H-bomb destruction suffered by Japan a decade before its production—one that was compromised in the U.S. edition released in 1956 as GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS with copious added footage featuring Raymond Burr. Both versions will be present on Criterion’s discs (streeting January 24), each in fresh high-definition digital restorations, presented at 1.37:1 (with uncompressed monoaural sound on the Blu-ray). Special features include:

    • Audio commentary on both versions by kaiju historian David Kalat

    • New interviews with actor Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Godzilla performer Haruo Nakajima and FX technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai

    • Interview with legendary GODZILLA score composer Akira Ifukube

    • Featurette detailing GODZILLA’s photographic FX

    • New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato

    • “The Unluckiest Dragon,” an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo fukuryu maru, a real-life event that inspired GODZILLA

    • Theatrical trailers

    • New and improved English subtitle translation

    • Booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman

Retail prices are $23.96 for the DVD, $31.96 for the Blu-ray.

Re: Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora, Giant Monsnters All-Out

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:58 pm
by TheButcher
From the Godzilla 2014 Blog:
Why Godzilla GMK Is The Best Godzilla Movie Ever
Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a huge Godzilla fan. Always have been. I’d like to write a review about my new all time favorite movie. 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora, Giant Monsnters All-Out Attack. (That’s a mouthful) or GMK for short. I’ll focus on the ending and why it’s such a great film. This one is awesome. It’s one of the most original Godzilla movies ever made. It takes everything you think you know about Godzilla and turns it on its ear. It comes as no surprise, because it’s directed by Shusuke Kaneko who directed the Gamera trilogy of the 1990’s, which are some of the finest Kaiju-eiga (giant monster movies) ever made. I like Kaneko’s take on Giant Monsters because he puts them squarely where they belong, in the realm of fantasy, not just pure science fiction.
(Spoiler warning! If you don’t want to know how the movie ends, I suggest you change your mind and keep reading. It won’t spoil your enjoyment of the film.)

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:39 pm
by TheButcher
Godzilla Lawsuit – Copyright Karma Coming Back To Bite Toho On The Behind?
Brendon Connelly wrote:I’m not well at all – I think Rich e-mailed me his germs, in fact – but there’s some strange and interesting things out there, and I want to bring them to you. So, a few talking points stories, in something of a fuss-free manner.

Then bed. Then getting up and feeling really, really well – right? Right?

Let’s start with a little bit of Godzilla controversy.

I haven’t been able to find multiple sources, so consider this unverified, but I was tonight sent a link to the Japanese language blog Blogos. What follows is based upon their report.

So, it’s said that the family of Ishiro Honda, director of the original Gojira, are suing Toho, the company that produces and releases the big green fella’s pictures. The Honda estate are apparently looking to secure the full copyright, but Toho are desparate to retain, at the very least, the lucrative merchandising rights.

A recent, similar case by the estate of Akira Kurosawa went against Toho, so there’s every chance it will happen again.

Which is a real turnaround. Toho have been hugely litigious in the past, slapping down several uses of the Godzilla name or likeness, including:
    Warner Bros. for Godzilla’s cameo in Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure
    Subway for an animated Godzilla-alike in a commercial for their sandwiches
    A band called Asshole Godzilla for their name
    The Adler Fels Winery for their Cabzilla Cabernet Sauvignon
    Honda, the car manufacturers, for using the big ol’ Gorilla Whale in a commercial, just this year.
The problem seems to be that most folk assume Godzilla is public domain, and he’s very much not. The question today, though, is in whose domain is he really?

There’s no suggestion in the report that this rights dispute will effect Legendary and Gareth Edwards’ upcoming US Godzilla movie.

I’ll keep looking for clarification on this one. If you have any more info, please send it over.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:04 am
by TheButcher
Honda Estate vs. Toho Ramifications?
Armand Vaquer wrote:The story of the alleged copyright lawsuit against Toho by the heirs of Ishiro Honda over the Godzilla character may have some big ramifications if 1.) the story is true or, 2.), they actually win.

The story does not sound Japanese to me. Maybe in America, perhaps (i.e., Bela Lugosi Jr.'s legal actions over his father's image and The Three Stooges).

If the story is true and Honda's heirs prevail and win the Godzilla copyright from Toho, could we see Noriaki Yuasa's estate taking similar action against Kadokawa Pictures (the successor company to Daiei) over the Showa Gamera and Shusuke Kaneko over the Heisei Gamera? Who knows what (or who) may come out of the woodwork?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if true.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:54 am
by TheButcher
From Akira Kurosawa Info 20 March, 2008:
Toho sues Cosmo over Kurosawa DVDs

From Variety:
Mon., Apr. 2, 2007
Kurosawa films center of suit - Toho targets DVD sales company
Mark Schilling wrote:TOKYO -- Toho filed suit in Tokyo District Court on Monday against a DVD sales company for copyright violations on eight Akira Kurosawa pics, including the classics "Ikiru" and "Sugata Sanshiro."

Toho, the studio where the helmer spent some of the most productive years of his career until his death in 1998, is suing Tokyo-based Cosmo Contents, which has been selling DVD knockoffs of Kurosawa films for ¥1,000 ($8.54) per copy vs. Toho's own list price of $51.28.

Based on its losses so far, Toho is estimating the damage at $128,205.

Before 1971, Japan's copyright law protected pics for 38 years after the creator's death. In 1971, the law was revised to protect film copyrights for 50 years after release.

Toho is claiming that, since the eight pics in question were released before 1971, the old law should apply, meaning that their copyright extends to 2036 -- 38 years after Kurosawa's death.

Cosmo Contents claims the post-1971 law gives it the right to distribute the films, all of which were released more than 50 years ago.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:47 am
by TheButcher
From Deviant Art:
Honda takes Toho to court
*KaijuSamurai wrote:Details are still sketchy, but recently news started making the rounds that the Honda family has discovered a document declaring...something. Word has it that the contract states Ishiro Honda, and by extension the Honda estate, to hold ultimate copyright over the Godzilla name. Monster movie historian August Ragone will be posting more accurate and up-to-date details in his blog, The Good, The Bad, And Godzilla soon.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:32 pm
by TheButcher
From the Godzilla 2012 blog:
Honda Estate vs. Toho: More Information
Armand Vaquer wrote:Here's a few more details (and confirmation that there is a legal action pending) from Godzilla historian Ed Godzisewski (that was posted at the Monster Zero message board:

Yes, there is a legal case ongoing in Japan. Has been for a while. I have heard about the case from Ryuji for a couple years. The family has preferred to just quietly pursue the case the way it should be done, in court. It all stems from the Japanese system that gives rights to writers (not directors).

The first ruling is due in February.

Looks like we won't have to wait too long.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:25 am
by TheButcher
From Variety:
Mon., Apr. 2, 2007
Kurosawa films center of suit - Toho targets DVD sales company
Mark Schilling wrote:Before 1971, Japan's copyright law protected pics for 38 years after the creator's death. In 1971, the law was revised to protect film copyrights for 50 years after release.

From the Godzilla 2012 blog:
Honda Estate vs. Toho: More Information
Yes, there is a legal case ongoing in Japan. Has been for a while. I have heard about the case from Ryuji for a couple years. The family has preferred to just quietly pursue the case the way it should be done, in court. It all stems from the Japanese system that gives rights to writers (not directors).

I wonder how many monsters could be involved in the lawsuit?
Below are some of the monsters that are 50:
    Shigeru Kayama , Takeo Murata and Ishirô Honda wrote Godzilla in 1954.
    Shigeaki Hidaka, Shigeru Kayama and Takeo Murata wrote Godzilla Raids Again in 1955.
    Takeshi Kimura, Ken Kuronuma and Takeo Murata wrote Rodan in 1956
    Takeshi Kimura and Ken Kuronuma wrote Varan in 1958.
    Mothra was written by Takehiko Fukunaga, Shinichirô Nakamura, Yoshie Hotta and Shinichi Sekizawa and was released in 1961.

    Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster was written by Shinichi Sekizaw and released in 1964.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:02 am
by bastard_robo
I see this getting shot down like the Jack Kirby suit...

Re: PULGASARI: Korean Classic or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:43 am
by TheButcher
From B.A.D.:
PULGASARI: Kim Jong Il’s Kaiju Film
Devin Faraci wrote:North Korean president Kim Jong Il has died, and cinema has lost one of its greatest supporters - a man who wanted to make movies so badly he kidnapped filmmakers.

Re: Godzilla: A Japanese Classic!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:48 pm
by TheButcher
WHERE ARE ULTRAMAN AND GODZILLA? (3): Miniature sets offer a new take on reality ... 1208240032

Toho says it has no plans to resurrect monster films.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:45 am
by TheButcher
Shot on location in Japan exclusively for the SciFi Japan website (link below), produced by the Gaijin Channel team, SciFi JAPAN TV delves into the world of Japanese monsters and scifi, featuring the latest and hottest tokusatsu events in Japan, as well as simple yet in-depth discussions with the people who bring all of our favorite films and television shows to life!

SCIFI JAPAN website:

SciFi Japan TV #01 Ultraman Max Producer

SciFi Japan TV #02 Tokusatsu Museum

SciFi Japan TV #03 The Man Who Became Godzilla

SciFi Japan TV Vlog #01 Meeting Godzilla

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:21 am
by TheButcher
City of Monsters・怪獣たちの町 (SciFi Japan TV #15)

Re: Godzilla 1998 vs Godzilla 2014

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:51 am
by TheButcher
danielc56 wrote:Hi all,

I'm a long time visitor to the site, back when it was (aintitcool, blahhh!!). In observance of the 10th anniversary, I thought I'd try and come up with a list of famous, infamous and other memorable moments in AICN history. Some of these I dug up from my browser's bookmarks; others I had to hunt down through Google based on vague recollections. Here's what I came up with:

Harrys infamous Godzilla review (May 1998) - and a second look:

Ok, so ya see, I'm in New York, and the GODZILLA premiere is going on, and well I had to go. That's what brought me to the city that never sleeps. But this is my tentative review. The first one that I write up real quick like so that y'all can all hear what I thought of it. This will be incorporated into a much longer series of adventures in New York, that I'll try to finish tonight... So on with the review....

GODZILLA: Emmerich and Devlin style.

Is it the best giant monster movie? No, not even close. The original King Kong is still leaps and bounds better than this. And by following what Kong did, you can kinda see what kept this from being among the greatest films ever, and simply a great big monster movie. GODZILLA is a kickass big monster movie. In fact it is very very enjoyable, but it does have weaknesses.


Godzilla (the creature that steps on shit) is awesome. They keep him in the dark, with rain, smoke and debris to distract the eyes from nitpicking. This is very important. This is the reason why I haven't been posting pictures of the design. Naked, with just a few pencil strokes and no setting, this Godzilla can be picked to pieces. However, when introduced in the context of New York, with the speed he moves, the sound, the mayhem and destruction... well... it's just the sort of big monster on the loose mayhem that we fans of big monsters love. As Glen (who was with me) said, "Maaaaaaan, Harry, there were about a dozen still shots that I want to just frame and stare at." The composition of some shots were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

The way Godzilla moves. He is so dang fast, he doesn't lumber (hey I loved him lumbering in those TOHO films too, but this is a different creature). He leaps, glides and runs. The movement (to my eyes) was not that of a CG water balloon, but of a big damn lizard.

Jean Reno is an awesomely cool being of such radiant coolness that well I worship the man. He didn't play the part as I thought he would, but instead was simply a cool character. He's just the sort of guy that handles things like giant city eating lizards. And you would believe him. I know I'll never chew bubblegum again and not think of him.

The SOUND was awesome, even in Madison Square Garden. The sound just didn't seem to be bouncing around like it should in a good ol THX auditorium, and the audience of over 15,000 was quite noisy at times. I can't wait to see this film tomorrow night in AUSTIN, in a great sound auditorium with a smaller audience.

The Editing was intense. I really loved the movement of the Godzilla action sequences, they were very well thought out, and did a great job of conveying the motion of the character.


Matthew Broderick and Hank Azaria were pretty good. They weren't quite realized enough to see any real dimension to them, but over all I think they were likable enough.

The cinematography was nowhere near as good as INDEPENDENCE DAY. Gone are the golden hues and the beautiful skies. In place is rainy New York, which is harder to make look 'epic', but then I don't think they were aiming for epic either. This had the visual texture of a Spielberg film, very glossy, very deliberate.


The plot. Of course this ain't really Hamlet, but hey this is what's really holding this film back. The truly GREAT films that happened to have effects, balance that with a great plot. Take KING KONG (1933) there you had emotion all over the place, a driving narrative. You understood why the characters were doing what they were doing. Here, ya kinda have to take a leap of faith that the characters would act in the way the are. Though this exact same problem can be stated with all BIG MONSTER films with the noted exception of KING KONG and THEM. And only Kong balanced that with great effects.

Maria Pitillo. Well she just didn't do it for me. I wanted her to be toe jam in the worst way. Don't get me wrong, but she just was a bit too whiney and didn't have that lights behind the eyes thing going. She isn't Fay Wray or even Jessica Lange. Instead she is simply screen filler. Which is what she and all other human characters in a Godzilla film have always been. Of course that judgement is my own. Being that I am not of Japanese culture I don't know if any of the actors were great in their native tongue, but I can say this crew was better than Raymond Burr.


Where in the Godzilla film world does this film place?

Well, given it's a totally different looking creature, given David Arnold's score doesn't have that Ifukube theme, given humanity doesn't have cool space ships and laser beams... well it's a different film. I really really was blown away by this big guy, but there's a part of me that misses and loves that big ping pong eyed blue glowy finned Godzilla that would scratch his nose and lean back before atom breathing every thing in sight with a classic cheesy sound. My favorite being DESTROY ALL MONSTERS and GODZILLA VS MEGALON. But another side of me loves with every geek fibre of my being this version.

It's kinda like Univeral DRACULA and Hammer DRACULA. I love both of them. In the classic Godzilla tales, I got the sense that Godzilla was a big ol force of nature. Something that man tries to put a stop to, but that ultimately just has to try to divert. Here I get the idea that Godzilla is a tragic character that is being hunted to extinction. That's two very different stories, and I think the character has room for that. We really have to remember that the it took TOHO a long time to find GODZILLA's character, and this is Emmerich and Devlin's first of three Godzilla films. And after talking to effects people, studio people, other people in the know, this was kinda of an introduction to the character.

I'm gonna see the film probably 4 or 5 more times. The effects work simply must be seen over and over. Better than ILM or DIGITAL DOMAIN, the people that Volker Engel was in charge of, really made complete sequences. Foreground, key character and backgrounds just work so well for me. Now I'm not the sort of person that sees effects flaws, that's Glen, and he was pretty damn blown away by the film. He keeps talking about the shot composition and how pretty it was. Ya see folks, go see the film for GODZILLA, not for the characters. Root for Godzilla, curse everytime he misses someone. Godzilla is our main character, and he shoulda stomped em all.

All in all a fun as hell movie, that disappoints at the character end of things. Better than TWISTER and LOST WORLD in my opinion, I don't know Where it places in the great scope of summer films, simply because... well I need to see it a few more times. All my fave summer flicks were decided upon multiple viewings, and this one has earned at least a couple of more sittings from me.


There is going to be people that talk about the derivative nature of the film. Case in point the "Jurassic Park" T-Rex and Jeep sequence. There is a sequence where the main group of characters are being chased by one helluva angry Godzilla while driving a cab. SURE it is a lot like the previously mentioned sequence, but I feel it's done MUCH BETTER here. For one it's a helluva lot wilder, it's longer and the motion is cooler. The thing I like, is it just isn't a matter of stepping on the gas to get away, cause this fucking monster moves 300 mph and there ain't a cabbie in New York that drives over 250 mph. Let me warn you, don't leave till after you see a cab sequence, some people thought the film was over, don't be that dumb, wait for the credits.

'Raptors' vs Baby Zillas.

Ok, I like the 'look' of Raptors more, but I think as a whole the Baby Zillas in Madison Square Garden really do kick ass. Ya see, I've kinda always hated just 3 of anything. Here ya have hundreds of raptor like mean muthas and they really want a piece of Leon and Mr Bueller. The song, "Bad to the BOne" comes to mine when thinking of these bastards. I'm serious. These mean little farts just lay waste to the french, and hey I'm with em. I mean I had a couple of french dudes drive me nuts once, and I wish I had a Babyzilla to kick their asses. But for me it comes down to the scale of the sequences. Of course the fact I was sitting where them buggers were nesting and could actually look around at the areas they were dogging people... well it was a bit surreal.

Godzilla vs Attack Helicopters, Tanks, Rocket Launchers and other man-made destruction tools.

Folks this shit just blew me away. I had never even thought in terms of tracer rounds in the dark rainyness of New York. It's just too damn cool. Godzilla running around like the little 'redrum' kid in the Shining, Godzilla darts around the labrynth desperate to get away from the damn lead pouring helicopters. But unlike Danny, Godzilla thinks harder and gets a whole hell of a lot more pissed off and decided to go on a bubblegum chewing kicking ass good time.

This movie can kick your ass if you let it. The plots really are no better or worse than a 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH or a BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, and just like those films I'll see this one about 35 times over the next 20 years of my life. Godzilla is much more satisfying for me than THE LOST WORLD, but it ain't the greatest damn film ever. But it sure is one hell of a fun one.

Re: Godzilla 1998 vs Godzilla 2014

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:53 am
by TheButcher
2nd Viewing of GODZILLA (1998), MULAN and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS reviews May 22, 1998
GODZILLA: the second time.

I didn't like it. This reminded me of my reaction to SPEED, the first one, and actually most De Bont films. The first time I was excited to see it, I was in Madison Square Garden, I'd just ridden in the New York Subway, walked down Broadway, stood atop the Empire State Building, saw Muhammid Ali, Chow Yun studly, Drew Carey, Helen Hunt and that Taco Bell dog. I have always said that the enviroment can color your viewing. Like say you see a suspense film for the first time and some asshole in the theater yells out the ending. Well it can go the other way. Watching that film in Madison Square Garden, and feeling the energy of seeing the film with 15,000+ screaming people lends itself to delusional activity.

And I sure as hell must of been deluded as hell, because I fell asleep 3 times during GODZILLA the second time. I began thinking during the film of all the things the could have done, all the things they could have kept the same or changed. Most of all I began hearing Bernard Herrmann's CAPE FEAR in David Arnold's score and became a bit annoyed. Especially since regularly I adore Arnold's work (Stargate, Tomorrow Never Dies, ID4).

The film dragged like Tommy Chong, for a long time. The Godzilla scenes appeared and I reacted, and I still think those are gorgeous images, but I can't imagine myself watching the film like I could 20 Million Miles To Earth or Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Or the Godzilla films of TOHO. Why? Lack of charm. The Godzilla design just felt cold and non-expressive. He moves great, better than any big lizard I can think of, but it doesn't have an ounce of the character of say Gwangi or Ymir or Godzilla.

They attempted to do a little Godzilla acting, what with the figuring out that one trap, but ya see that would of been the perfect place for a Godzilla howl, followed by the first activation of true atomic breath. The audience would of gone bonkers.

Instead we have another run chase. Bah, humbug. And then the human stuff is 1000 times worse. I swear Matthew's woman just needed to be food for the babies. Now that would of been something. Or can you imagine if she would of been killed at the beginning of the film by Godzilla, then Broderick's character turn into an Ahab of types with Godzilla as his white whale. The killing of the babies, being his 'buried alive inside a dead planet' revenge, only to awaken the same sense of loss in Godzilla. Heck, that sounds like crap, but I like it's smell better, and it wouldn't of had all those painful shots of lip biting and eyes darting to the corner to ponder hair spray thought patterns.

I actually got a bit angry when leaving the theater, cause I was fooled the first time. Kinda like if you drink a glass of 'lemonade', you hand it to your friend and ask for a refill, and when your halfway done with the second glass he tells you it's piss.

The lack of charm of Godzilla, the lack of passion throughout, the lack of awe throughout, the stupid puns really got to me this time, and the whole Mayor Ebert bit I missed the first time, it literally went sailing over my head. Gosh, that film sucks. It still has some damn good effects work, but I highly recommend seeing it just once, and you might even hate me for that, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

Strange though, the Godzilla fan in the audience liked it, it was his first showing, and Dad still did. (Though, when I came in at the end of the evening, Dad was watching the more recent GODZILLA VS MOTHRA and feels that, that film is much more exciting and watchable than GODZILLA 1998)

This sort of reversal has only happened a couple of times with me. The aforementioned SPEED, but then in the reverse with a couple of John Carpenter films. The first time I saw CHRISTINE, I hated it, same with THEY LIVE and PRINCE OF DARKNESS. All of which on multiple viewings I came to love.

First off, I'd like to apologize to anyone that went because of my review. As I watched it today, it was if I had machine gunned innocent people from a helicopter, I felt bad, like I might of contributed to lost hours in lives. Dad and I have had extensive discussions about Emmerich and Devlin, and I really do feel they can do wonderful work. The looks of their films, the technical aspects are just so note perfect for me, but they really need to spend more time on the characters... therein lies the key. In JAWS the shark is lame, but those three guys on that clunky boat... well we care... and that makes every bump, every attack, every taut line of rope powerful. But only because we care. The film wasn't cute, it didn't wink at the audience, instead it merely introduced us to three characters that we were in a boat with, and then tore the hell out of the planks beneath our very soda stuck feet.

Re: Godzilla 1998 vs Godzilla 2014

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:55 am
by TheButcher
Trailer Talk: Can 'Godzilla' 2014 Top 'Godzilla' 1998?
Scott Mendelson wrote:I’m of mixed minds over the fact that this first teaser for Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla reboot flat-out shows the title creature. The pre-reveal teaser was effective enough in establishing real-world dread and showing off its human stars (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, and David Strathairn ) that you arguably didn’t need the reveal. So yes, on one hand I would have preferred that Warner Bros. tease a bit more for at least the first teaser, perhaps gradually revealing the monster in all of its glory either closer to the release date or perhaps not at all.

On the other hand, and presuming that there aren’t other surprises not yet revealed at this juncture, Sony tried the same “hide the monster” trick with their Godzilla in 1998 and it was an infamous flop, partially because audiences didn’t care for the somewhat lizard-like look to the infamous creature. Warner understandably has to reassure fans that Godzilla will in fact look like Godzilla. I understand, but it still feels like a slight loss.

But was Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla really a flop back in the day? I of course dissected the box office performance of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla back in May for that film’s 15th anniversary. Long-story short, the film grossed $138 million domestic and $379 million worldwide on a $125 million budget. By today’s standards, those kind of numbers get you a sequel, as evidenced by Snow White and the Huntsman HUN -3.07%($396m on a $170m budget = probable sequel).

Adjusted for inflation, those numbers would be about $230m domestic and $633m worldwide, and that’s not even accounting for fifteen years of overseas expansion and the 3D and IMAX bumps that of course didn’t exist in 1998. Pacific Rim barely crossed $400m worldwide on a $180m cost yet we may (possibly) get a second go-around there too, although I wouldn’t bet on it unless they can get a major star this time.

Point being, it will be interesting to see how we measure the success of this new Godzilla compared to the older one. Obviously we can hope that Edwards’s version is a better film than Emmerich’s version, and this trailer certainly looks like a step in the right, terrifying direction. But the whole “Godzilla = 9/11″ gimmick was already done pretty effectively with Cloverfield back in 2008, at least on a localized scale. It will be interesting to see what new thematic material this can bring to the table.

What we’re probably going to see box office-wise, barring an earthshaking success, is a new Godzilla that is hailed as a major win for merely out grossing the previous version even if it in fact sells far fewer tickets. Inflation is a tricky business, as audiences had far fewer ways to see a film outside of a theater even back in 1998 and had far fewer distractions for their entertainment dollar.

But this is a clear comparison case where it will be worth watching the old “tickets sold” stat, even if only for curiosity. The two films will make good comparison points about the growth of the international film market as well as a host of other variables that have changed over the last fifteen years. Godzilla opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX on May 16th, 2014, or sixteen years and four days to the day of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla. As always, we’ll see.

Classic Godzilla

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:40 am
by TheButcher

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:41 am
by TheButcher
Godzilla vs Nessie for the Hottest Topic of 2014
Gabriela Motroc wrote:With the latest Godzilla movie to be released in May 2014 and the disappearance of the Loch Ness Monster, dubbed Nessie, this year is quickly seized by the renowned monsters which could compete for the hottest topic of 2014. The famous monster comes back this year with a movie, a book and a comic book to flatter the radioactive character and allow fans to immerse in the world of the most imposing animal, while another marine creature has reportedly disappeared. Irrespective of Godzilla’s comeback or Nessie’s disappearance, 2014 is the year of fearful creatures and their stories.

The radioactive monster has had plenty of movies over the time, but this year Legendary Pictures, Toho Co., Ltd., Insight Editions and Warner Bros. have joined forced and created “The Art of Destruction,” which portrays “a one-of-a-kind natural anomaly which had simply been dormant for centuries prior to humanity’s discovery of atomic emergy.” At the other extreme lies the disappearance of Nessie, which has been noticed by Gary Campbell, the Scotsman in charge with keeping a record of the creature’s sightings. Therefore, 2014′s hottest topic is all about legendary monsters: Godzilla vs. Nessie.

Gojira The Original Japanese Classic

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:11 pm
by TheButcher
Original 1954 Japanese ‘Godzilla’ Making Rare U.S. Theatrical Run
Jordan Zakarin wrote:Now, Rialto Pictures is releasing in American theaters a new restoration of the 1954 film “Godzilla,” as it was seen by Japanese moviegoers 60 years ago. The Toho cut will play at the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 12, before beginning a run at New York’s Film Forum the next week and rolling out to cities throughout the country. Its practical effects — with miniature cities and other classic devices of the bygone era — will be seen more in greater detail thanks to the restored cut.

:: April 18 – 24 NEW YORK, NY Film Forum
:: April 25 – May 1 SANTA FE, NM Jean Cocteau Cinema
:: May 2 – 5 PORTLAND, OR Hollywood Theatre
:: May 2 – 8 SEATTLE, WA SIFF Cinema Uptown
:: May 23 – 26 HOUSTON, TX The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
:: May 28 LEXINGTON, KY Kentucky Theatre
:: July 17 COLUMBUS, OH Wexner Center for the Arts

Re: Gojira The Original Japanese Classic

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:11 pm
by TheButcher
New poster and trailer for the re-release of the 1954 'Godzilla' stomp online
All we hear is a scream, but that's enough
Drew McWeeny wrote:Now that my oldest son is getting more cognizant of what it is I do when I travel for business, there are some awkward conversations about why he can't just drop everything and come with me to do something that sounds like fun.

For example, he is currently exasperated with me because he isn't going to be allowed to join me in Austin, TX, for this year's SXSW Film Festival, where Rialto Pictures and Warner/Legendary are going to be presenting a special screening of the original 1954 Ishiro Honda film "Gojira," with director Gareth Edwards appearing afterwards for a Q&A that should also address this summer's remake of the film.

That's not actually technically accurate, though. I wouldn't call the new film a remake because, aside from the presence of the giant monster who breathes atomic fire, the two films really don't have much in common in terms of story. The new film tells its own story, and there's a lot more going on here than just one giant monster destroying things.

The 1954 film was, of course, substantially altered when it was first released in America, and while we've had restorations of the original Japanese cut before, Rialto seems very excited about the notion of a theatrical release. They've just released a brand-new poster and trailer for the release, and we're happy to be able to share them with you.

The trailer, which is embedded above, makes strong use of the Akira Ifukube score and one of the most iconic monster sounds of all time, and there's no actual footage. That's an interesting choice, one that trades on just how well-known those elements are.

While my kids won't be able to join me for the special SXSW presentation, which I'm excited to see, I'll make sure that they get a chance to see it theatrically if they want to in LA. The original one-sheet for the classic film is the only movie poster they have hanging in their bedroom, and Godzilla is such a big part of their fantasy lives. It's a great year to be a fan of Toho's biggest icon, and I look forward to this as well as the new movie.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:36 pm
by Spandau Belly
Spandau's Kaiju Smackdown!

The kaiju genre is one I’ve always thought of as Japanese. Godzilla was always the king of the monsters as far I was concerned, yet when I thought about it I realized most of the kaiju flicks I had seen were American. Stuff like the various versions of KING KONG, some of the old schwarzweiß flicks like THEM!, some of the grindhousey stuff like Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, family-oriented stuff like HONEY! I BLEW UP THE KID! as well as the 90s American remake of GODZILLA and the found footage flick CLOVERFIELD, and the movie that may or may not be a hit or original depending on who you talk to, PACIFIC RIM. As for Japanese ones, I’d seen the original GODZILLA / GOJIRA and a few of his other flicks from the 70s, but not many since.

I also realized Europeans don’t really seem to produce a lot of kaiju flicks. The only one I could think of was TROLLJAEGER, which I thought was pretty good. I’m actually fairly surprised Europeans never made more of a stab at this. I mean, there are plenty of Eurotrash knockoffs of CONAN THE BARBARIAN and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. So I’m just surprised we’ve never seen a dinosaur knocking over the Eifel Tower or molesting Asia Argento. You’d think especially during the Cold War there would be some obvious political metaphors with the USSR being a giant sleeping monster ready to destroy Western Europe. Or at least we could’ve had Bud Spencer punching out a giant crab monster, is that too much to ask? If I have just somehow missed the big European kaiju flicks, somebody please let me know. I would like to see them.

So I decided I would catch up with the kaiju movies from Japan, mostly the newer Godzilla series, although I did check out some of Mothra’s spinoff movies, too. A lot of them already blur together so I’ll mostly speak in generalities. I did, however, haphazardly watch most of these films in the order in which they were released. Not that they’re really sequels, in fact, one trend is the over-rebooting of this series. It felt like almost every movie would wipe the slate clean, usually they would try to all be direct sequels to the original GODZILLA and ignore all the films inbetween. But it’s not like it fucking matters. They prettymuch all end with Godzilla getting chucked in sea, or blown up in the sea, and then they all start with either Godzilla coming back out of the sea, or a new Godzilla coming out of the sea. Sometimes they really overestimate how much of a fuck the audience gives and they get really specific about which films they are acknowledging. We just want to see monsters destroying cities and fighting, continuity is not a priority.

I saw Godzilla frequently fight some of the same monsters. Specifically, Mothra and Ghidorah, who is also sometimes called King Ghidorah so maybe I missed the film that featured his coronation. He’s pretty unruly and it’s hard to imagine him sitting through a lengthy ceremony let alone somebody trying to get crowns on each of his three heads. I’ve come to the conclusion that Mothra is my favourite kaiju. She’s got a lot going on. She’s got a good surprise factor. Most of us don’t really think of moths as being all that threatening and she’s all colourful and fuzzy (although her design improves over the movies and goes from looking like a Chia piñata to something more articulated). Where I grew up there were a lot of people from Lebanon and she looks like something would be hung on one of my Lebanese friend’s rec room walls in 80s, so maybe some of my affection for her comes from fond childhood memories. She looks really majestic and hypnotic in flight. All those colours and that peaceful trance-like theme song it’s like if Angelo Badalamenti staggered towards you while wearing a tie-die shirt. But like I said, she doesn’t look like such a threat, but then you see her in action and she’s like a bat that gets caught in your hair and Godzilla doesn’t have the reach to easily pull her off the top of his head either. She’s got some projectile attacks, too. But she’s one of the few kaijus that really seems to have a sense of strategy to the way she swoops around and picks Godzilla up by head and whips him around. Ghidorah just seems like a rabid dog. Sure I’d be scared if I opened my door and saw him on my porch, but he’s not clever like Mothra. He just charges. And Mothra is frequently shown meditating and even has powers of speech and uses diplomacy to build alliances, so there’s clearly a thought process going on here that I can’t attribute to other kaijus or Ben Affleck.

As these movies progressed, I found the directing generally got better. They all had the wide shots of dudes in kaiju costumes smashing little model cities, but I found the later films brought the scope home a lot better by including more shots from the human perspective. Sure, it’s cool to see Godzilla just plow through the middle of a skyscraper like his version of making a snow angel, but I really liked the shots that showed what it was like to be inside a building when Godzilla’s tail brushed against the outside or what it’s like to be a man in the metro when Godzilla is thumping about.

If there’s one thing I wanted more of, it was probably gore. The violence was one of my favourite aspects of PACIFIC RIM and I hoped that since the Japanese usually go way overthetop with violence this series would also deliver, but you mostly get a lot of glorified shoving. If these movies were about two giant potatoes fighting each other, I probably wouldn’t have expected much gore. But you look at these monsters and most of them have these claws and teeth that just seem to go underused. I don’t know how you have a three-headed monster like Ghidorah and never have at least one of his heads getting ripped off. There’s some scratching and occasionally Ghidorah takes a chomp at Godzilla’s neck, but not as often as I would’ve liked.

The human drama is never terribly engaging. It’s mostly the same stuff as you see in American disaster movies that show how disasters are great opportunities for people to prove themselves. So you get variations on estranged parent-child relationships in which one person shows themself to be a hero and that compensates for being a shitty parent/child all these years. ”I’m sorry I always made you feel like shit and belittled your goals, but I did just drive a nuclear submarine down a dinosaur’s throat so we’re good now, right?”

I generally found the 2002 version of GODZILLA VS MECHAGODZILLA to have the best overall human plotline. You get the same dynamic of one human using a disaster to prove their worth to another human. In this case you get the classic dweeb-proves-to-hot-chick-that-he-deserves-a-blow also seen in TRANSFORMERS. The dweeb in this one is a middle-aged single father engineer working on mechagodzilla (the human-controlled robot version of Godzilla built to punch Godzilla in the face) and he’s trying to woo the pilot of mechagodzilla, who happens to be a hot chick half his age. Like a lot of the single dads, he uses his kid as a cute puppy to endear himself to the object of his affection. This ties in well with the film’s environmental themes because he is recycling by using the by-products of one relationship to start another. I liked this plot because the human drama was always focussed on beating Godzilla. It wasn’t like you got a monster attack moment, then it turns into KRAMER VS KRAMER, then back to monster attack. The focus was always on the monster and improving the weapon they will use against him. Also, this film has best human action moment I saw in this series. The hot chick pilot of mechagodzilla falls out of mechagodzilla while high in the sky in flight, then her rival from mechagodzilla top gun school is in a jet below and he fires his ejector seat and catches her in mid-air and they float down to ground in safety. Fuck, I hope they rip that off in a FAST & FURIOUS movie. That was just brilliant!

I liked all of the kaiju movies I saw to varying degrees except for one. The only one I didn’t like was GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, which I couldn’t even finish. On paper that one sounds like it should be the best. Godzilla fights more monsters than ever, and you’ve got a Jesse Ventura / Josef Stalin hybrid driving a giant drill. But the focus just wasn’t on the monsters. Not only that, the focus was on a really dreadful THE MATRIX knockoff. The monsters were just the pawns in a big war between various superhumans and always treated like background noise. After about a thousand poorly-executed bullet-time shots of dudes in black leather coats doing wire-fu and the Neo stand-in saying stuff about “being the one” and “having the power of choice” and the bad guy comparing humans to cattle, I was just bored out of my mind and shut it off.

The Mothra solo movies were a bit different/dinky. They were more kid-oriented, probably like something like GOONIES or SUPER 8 with kid protagonists going on an adventure. Like usual, Mothra brings a bit more to the plate than just a pure giant monster threat. The second one had a city of Atlantis that rises from the ocean near Japan’s coat and so there was a lot more mythical discovery going on there.

So I’m all out of things to say. Kind of abrupt, I know. I had fun watching all of these movies except for FINAL WARS. Seeing these films somewhat lowered my appreciation for PACIFIC RIM and made me realize that since that movie was mostly just synthesizing these other movies, it should’ve done a better job. The heavy lifting was already done. I’m glad I discovered Mohtra and all her glory. I now have a better idea of what I want (Bud Spencer as a kaiju) and what I don’t (amateur MATRIX shit trying to upstage the kaijus) in these types of films and I’ll probably continue to throw one on when I’m bored or drunk or whatever.

Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's: GODZILLA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:13 pm
by TheButcher
Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Part 2)
...Now for your unfilmed version of Godzilla. Oh man, so many questions! How did you cope with the difference between Western and Asian views of the Big G, especially the determination of Western audiences and critics to deride even the best Godzilla movies as Godzilla Vs Megalon-level crap? What instructions did you have from Toho? Why did you feel it important to create a second monster? Where would you like to see (a) the American Godzilla series, and (b) the revived Japanese Godzilla series, go? Which is your favorite Godzilla film, and which do you think is the best one (not necessarily the same thing)? Sorry to get carried away, but I'm a huge Godzilla fan...

TR: “It was obvious to us that audiences wanted two things from a Godzilla movie: they wanted to be scared of this big unstoppable monster, and they wanted to root for him to kick ass in the end. Godzilla is, after all, the hero. That's why we invented a story that involved a second monster. In the film that was made, neither aspect is provided: Godzilla runs and hides, and we never get to root for him. Stupid mistakes, really.”

TE: “We wanted a second monster because we wanted to move Godzilla from where he was in the first movie - unstoppable destroyer who had to be stopped - to where he was at the end of the third movie - defender of the earth, but still not someone you want stopping by unless it's really, absolutely necessary. A friend of mine, a big G-fan from way back, once said about Godzilla that, ‘It's not that he's a good guy - he just hates other monsters.’

“I think the first one - the original, not the recut/redubbed/Raymond Burr-added American release - is the best one. And you can't beat Monster Zero for a great enemy, can you? After that, they all kind of blend together for me. I've liked some of the remakes/updates ... but that first one, with the skeleton at the bottom of the sea ... great stuff.

“By the way, I am convinced that the whole ‘Godzilla is a metaphor for the A-bomb; analysis is wrong. In the original movie, the scientist who unleashes the weapon which kills Godzilla - metaphorically stopping the A-bomb - takes his own life afterwards. Had he died because he was trying to unleash the weapon, I would buy it - ‘We must make sacrifices necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.’ Naw, I think Godzilla is a metaphor for forces unleashed by man which he has no control over, for which he cannot predict the results, and for which he refuses to take responsibility. This makes the scientist's actions both correct to the metaphor, and makes him undeniably the hero of the movie. And I wish I could remember his name.”

TR: “In the end, there's not much use in our answering questions about Godzilla. It would make as much sense to ask questions about James Bond, or Indiana Jones. Because we've never written a Bond film, or an Indiana Jones film - or a Godzilla film. The Godzilla film that got made didn't have anything to do with our work. Our credit on the film is just another testament to the vagaries of the WGA credit arbitration process.”

TE: “I think it did have something to do with our work, with the basic approach we took to Godzilla - that he had to be presented as a serious threat, as something real. No dancing the jig or playing hoops with Charles Berkeley. That may sound like a no-brainer to Godzilla fans, but at the time we got the assignment, we were the only ones thinking that way. In fact, Devlin and Emmerich had been offered the project before we were, and turned it down because they didn't think Godzilla could be done except as an Airplane!-type spoof.

“Later, after the movie was completed, we met Dean Devlin - the first and only time we'd ever spoken to him - and he said that it was reading our screenplay convinced them that it could be done seriously. Of course, they then chucked our screenplay and did their own, borrowing a few key elements from our story (specifically, Godzilla travelling toward New York with a purpose - although in ours, his purpose was to fight another monster, not to lay a bunch of eggs). So in a way, the Godzilla movie that got made was due to us - but it sure wasn't the Godzilla movie we wanted to see made.

Re: Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's: GODZILLA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:17 pm
by TheButcher
Godzilla vs the Gryphon
The unused plot for TriStar's 'Godzilla'
Script written by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott Additional re-write by Donald MacPherson

Somewhere in the icy waters off Alaska, a salvage ship is retrieving reactor cores dumped there by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Something goes wrong and a mammoth explosion destroys the ship. On shore, the snow catches fire and crevice cracks open, oozing steaming blood.

US government scientist Keith Llewellyn is flown to the military investigation of the incident, leaving behind his wife Jill and daughter Tina. The investigation into the Alaska incident is being given top secrecy by the military. Soldiers cart off entire barrels of the 'blood', which upon examination resembles nothing so much as amniotic fluid. Keith soon joins the team in the cavern the military has discovered beneath the crevice. There, he discovers that the enormous cavern is far from empty, there is a gigantic creature embedded in the ground, its head and claws poking through the dirt. Keith climbs onto the head, noting its dinosaur-like structure. As he stands on the creature's muzzle, he watches in horror as one of the eyes suddenly snaps open. The monster bursts from his prison, killing the team inside the cavern, and soon destroys the entire base camp. The reign of destruction continues when the monster appears at the Japanese Kuril Islands, wiping a fishing village from the face of the earth. A surviving fisherman calls the monster Godzilla, after a legendary dragon.

It is 12 years later. Cryptozoologist Aaron Vaught, a best-selling author, and his assistant Marty Kenoshita, sneak into a mental hospital in Japan. They interview the fisherman, who shows them pictures he has drawn of Godzilla, locked in battle with another creature. MPs arrive before the interview can progress and detain Vaught and Kenoshita. At the same time, a meteor crashes into Lake Apopka in Kentucky. The impact deluges a nearby town in a rain of frogs and fish, torn from the lake by the violence of the fireball's advent.

In Massachusetts, the US military has established the 'St. George Project', a top-secret project to find Godzilla. Jill Llewellyn is the project's director. It is learned that Godzilla was last seen six years ago when he destroyed an oil tanker. In the hopes of drumming up more funding from Congress, Aaron Vaught has been brought on-board as co-director, the Pentagon hoping that the best-selling 'authority' on monsters will impress the politicians. It is a decision that does not exactly thrill Llewellyn. Adding to her problems is the fact that base MPs have just arrested Tina for trying to steal a car. Meanwhile, back at the cavern in Alaska, another military base has been constructed. Two sentries are surprised to see a strange light emanating from a previously undiscovered cave branching off from Godzilla's cell.

In Lake Apopka, the strange bio-metallic meteor begins to stir. Flowing through the sediment like a mass of liquid metal, the probe enters a cave. The creature extends tendrils, snaring bats nesting in the cave and absorbing them. The probe regurgitates the bats, now altered into monsters with 12-foot-wingspans. The 'probe bats' leave the cave and their 'parent' and fly into the night.

Vaught, Llewellyn, and Kenoshita fly to the Alaska site, where the amniotic 'blood' has begun to flow again in the cavern. Vaught deduces that this was the proper time for Godzilla to be re-awakened, but the salvage ship tragedy disrupted things and released him early. The side cave is lined with strange organic structures, remnants of an ancient society with advanced biotechnology. No one sees a small creature strike Marty Kenoshita and burrow into his neck. Even Kenoshita does not feel the creature's attack.

Events progress. In Kentucky, strange cattle mutilations occur. In the Pacific, Godzilla is reported, swimming towards San Francisco.

A command post for the 'St. George Project' is established at the Presidio. Llewellyn and Vaught soon arrive, but Kenoshita takes ill and is rushed to a hospital. The Navy dispatches two missile carriers, a battleship and a submarine to intercept Godzilla. Godzilla retaliates, cracking one of the carriers in half when he resurfaces from beneath the ship, and blasting the others with a fiery breath that actually melts armor plate. The military considers using a small nuclear device to destroy the monster, but Vaught advises against it, He feels that Godzilla is a living nuclear reactor. What the monster breathes is not fire but something that ionizes oxygen, so great is its heat. Llewellyn further postulates that the amniotic fluid was not food, as previously supposed, but a tranquilizer to keep Godzilla asleep. The fluid is hastily transported from Alaska and fireboats spray the substance on the water at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Godzilla swims right into the oily liquid. Roaring feebly, he emerges from the water and collapses on the southern extremity of the Golden Gate Bridge. The military secure the unconscious Godzilla to six super-helicopters and airlift the monster back to the St. George Project in Massachusetts. Godzilla is housed in a huge hangar. Tina realizes that her mother has been trying to hunt down and kill Godzilla for the past 12 years. She protests that the monster is just a force of nature, not responsible for the damage he causes. Not wishing to listen to this point of view, Jill sends her daughter to stay with an aunt in New York.

At an army hospital, the strange infection that has griped Kenoshita is becoming worse, consuming his internal organs and leaving his face an eyeless blank surface. Before death claims him, Marty tells Jill Llewellyn that he has been taken over by an ancient force. The force has told him of its history, and the threat that has come to Earth. An alien civilization employs probes to aid its colonization of the universe. These probes consume the native life on the target world and create a doomsday beast from the genetic material. By the time the aliens arrive, the probe will have wiped out all life on the target planet. An ancient Earth civilization warded off these probes by crating Godzilla from dinosaur genes. Godzilla would awaken when the probes arrived and destroy them before they could reproduce. In Kentucky, the probe bats continue to absorb animals, returning to the cave with their genetic collections to deliver to the main mass of the probe, which is slowly beginning to take on a definite shape.

Vaught, upon hearing the late Kenoshita's story, decides that Godzilla was heading for Kentucky, where the meteor crashed. Local storekeeper Nelson Fleer drives Vaught out to Lake Apopka. The two men don scuba gear and dive into the water. They discover a tunnel leading upwards from the bottom of the lake. The tunnel leads into a series of caves, and Vaught is horrified when he stumbles upon a giant paw. The paw is attached to the newly formed shape the probe has assumed. The monster has the body of a puma, the huge wings of a bat, and a hydra-headed tongue composed of snakes. The probe has become the Gryphon of the Japanese fisherman's drawings. Fleer accidentally bangs his air-tank against the cave wall, the sound awakening the dormant Gryphon. The men beat a hasty retreat, but the monster's roar pursues them even into the water. As they surface, they seem safe. Suddenly, the water churns and the huge Gryphon emerges, lifting into the air. The Gryphon flies away, descending upon the Clarksburg, Virginia. The monster destroys a train and blasts a fuel storage tank with energy bolts, as well as killing hundreds. Huente's design for the Gryphon.

Despite the steady drip of amniotic fluid being given to him, Godzilla awakens, destroying the hangar and slipping into the Atlantic. It is clear that he has sensed the Gryphon's awakening. It is later determined that the two monsters will run into each other in one of the worst scenarios possible. Evacuation of New York City is begun. Jill Llewellyn tries to make her way into the city to save Tina. She is trapped in the Queens Midtown Tunnel when Godzilla steps on it, but manages to swim to safety. Jill finds her daughter just as the Gryphon arrives and the battle of the monsters begins.

The Gryphon attacks Godzilla from the sky, forcing the dinosaur back towards the shore. Gripping the frame of a proto-skyscraper to secure himself to the ground, Godzilla pulls the Gryphon downwards and savagely mauls its leg with his teeth. Horribly, the Gryphon's wounds heal instantly and it blasts Godzilla with its energy bolts. Godzilla topples into a row of buildings and the Gryphon tears into his flesh with its talons. The battle continues across Manhattan, the two monsters wrestling into skyscrapers and warehouses. The Gryphon finally delivers a double-kick that sends Godzilla crashing into the base of a building which topples onto both monsters, burying them in rubble.

Vaught realizes that Godzilla cannot hope to defeat the Gryphon as long as the tank of amniotic fluid is still attached to him, the liquid weakening the giant beast. Army helicopters distract the Gryphon while another gunship drops Vaught and Fleer onto the stunned Godzilla, to blast the restraining device from Godzilla's neck. The Gryphon blasts the gunship from the sky just as Vaught and Fleer attach explosives to the restraining device. Jill and Tina distract the Gryphon again by crashing a gasoline tanker into the alien horror's leg. As the Gryphon is turning toward Godzilla, the restraining device is destroyed. Godzilla rises and blasts the alien with his atomic breath, wounding the Gryphon. The Gryphon tries to retreat, but Godzilla pursues it. The battle moves to the East River. Godzilla creates a fog of steam that blinds the Gryphon by breathing on the water. The Gryphon crashes into the Brooklyn Bridge, getting tangled in the support cables. Godzilla tears one of the Gryphon's wings off, but the monster instantly grows another one and pulls itself free from the bridge. The Gryphon rises into the sky and then power dives at Godzilla. Godzilla waits until the last moment and then leans forward. The Gryphon is sliced in half as its body connects with Godzilla's dorsal plates, so great was the beast's velocity. Godzilla rips the head from the alien monster and sets fire to the body.

Victorious, Godzilla roars and heads out to see. Air Force jets begin to attack the wounded monster, but Jill Llewellyn calls them off. She has finally come to terms with Keith's death and forgiven Godzilla. Jill, Tina, Vaught and Fleer watch from the shore as Godzilla disappears into the sea.


When MacPherson rewrote the script, principally to make it more stream-lined, with less effects shots and more in keeping with the somewhat miserly budget TriStar was allocating to the film, he made several changes. There were to be more apocalyptic images and references, going so far as to set the story in 1999. The characters of Keith Llewellyn and Marty Kenoshita were eliminated. The salvage ship scene would be replaced with a scene of an Eskimo fisherman (Junji, replacing the Japanese fisherman) on the ice with his son when the red blood appears. Godzilla does not awaken until the probe has landed, this time in Utah. Nelson Fleer becomes a redneck. At Fleer's wedding, the probe bats attack, killing his wife among others and giving Fleer a film-long desire to see the Gryphon dead. Vaught is a former student of Llewellyn's and it is she who convinces the head of the St. George Project, a government man named Pike, to allow the writer on-board. It is also Vaught, not the Japanese fisherman, who names Godzilla after a legendary dragon. Junji the Eskimo is the one infected by the ancient civilization, the injury occurring in his eye rather than neck. The battle with the Gryphon encompasses more of New York, some scenes occurring at the World Trade Center. In the end, Godzilla bests the Gryphon at Ellis Island, spitting the alien's detached head on the Statue of Liberty's torch. Jill and Vaught intercept a missile flying at the victorious Godzilla with their helicopter. Godzilla catches the damaged helicopter and gently sets it down on Ellis Island, saving the heroes before retreating into the Atlantic.

The biggest change was forced by Toho themselves. Rossio and Elliott originally wanted to have a different foe for Godzilla to fight, but Toho wanted more money to allow another famous monster to be used. The Gryphon was a substitute for the ultimate in evil beasts … King Ghidorah!


TriStar secured rights from Toho to produce an American Godzilla film in 1992. One of the key players in this arrangement was Henry G. Saperstein, who had brought several Godzilla films to America with his United Productions of America. TriStar originally hoped to have the film released in 1994. However, it was not until May of 1993 that Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott were asked to write a screenplay. The script was completed in November, but TriStar had yet to select a director for the film.

In July of 1994, well after the originally announced release date, TriStar tapped Jan DeBont to direct the film. DeBont confessed to liking the older Godzilla films, although he stated that many of the later ones with their monster free-for-alls were a bit silly. Although he intended to keep humor in the picture, DeBont also pledged to deliver stunning effects and preserve the indomitable spirit of the Japanese Godzilla. DeBont assembled a team and had Rossio and Elliott rework the script to make it more to his liking. The revised script was ready in December of 1994.

After Industrial Light and Magic turned down working on the Godzilla project, in October of 1994 it was announced that Stan Winston's Digital Domain would be doing the effects work for Godzilla, with a reported budget of around $50 million. The entire film was estimated to cost around $120 million. DeBont sent crews to construct a Japanese fishing village on the Oregon coast, filming Godzilla's attack on the Kuril Islands as the backbone for a teaser trailer. The sets were built, but filming did not occur. Sony, TriStar's parent company, panicked when they saw the massive price tag being affixed to DeBont's Godzilla project. In late December of 1994, TriStar and Jan DeBont parted company after the director refused to accept the studio's new budget restrictions. Although the script was rewritten again, this time by Donald MacPherson in May of 1995, the project was to all intents, dead. TriStar began to court Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the team who had just reaped huge profits with Independence Day in late 1995. By May of 1996, Devlin and Emmerich officially had the job. They agreed to bring the movie in for about half of what DeBont wanted, $65 million. In the end, the resulting iguana rampage offered no aliens, ancient civilizations, atomic heat rays, or shape-shifting Gryphons. It did offer an eventual cost of $150 million for TriStar to swallow, plus the astronomical ad campaign.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:58 am
by TheButcher

Re: Godzilla 1998

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:52 pm
by TheButcher
Godzilla 1998: What Went Wrong With the Roland Emmerich Film?
Hype is building around Gareth Edwards’ upcoming stab at the King of Monsters, we look at the train wreck that preceded him: Godzilla 1998
Jim Knipfel wrote:Following the release of 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, a film that marked the resilient series’ 50th anniversary, Toho Co. announced they would be taking a hiatus from Godzilla for a bit. It might be another decade before we saw a new film, they warned, which would give the King of the Monsters a rest and give the screenwriters a chance to come up with some new ideas. They’d done it before, back in 1975 and 1995, so there was no widespread panic at the news. Godzilla would be back, because Godzilla was always back. In fact it was only a few months before rumors began swirling a new Godzilla film was already in the planning stages. Some said it would be in 3-D, others that Toho was bringing back the much-maligned director of Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. But for all the rumors, nothing ever materialized.

Nearly a decade passed before it was announced a new Godzilla film really and truly and finally was in the works. Thing was, though, this wasn’t going to be a Toho production. No, it would be an American film from Warner Brothers directed by hip youngster Gareth Edwards, who’d already cut his teeth on the giant monster front with his hit, Monsters. As the hype began to grow and Edwards stayed tight-lipped about the project, people started to get excited.

Can’t say I did, though. Yes, it’s foolish to dismiss any film before seeing it, but fact was I wasn’t a big fan of his Monsters. More importantly though, I kept recalling George Santayana’s famous quip about those who don’t remember the past and so forth. So let’s go back almost 20 years to 1995.

After Godzilla was decisively snuffed for only the second time in his then-40-year career at the end of Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Toho’s Tomoyuki Tanaka announced the studio would be giving their cash cow a breather. Let the Big Guy take a little vacation or something. But he never mentioned Godzilla would be taking that vacation in Manhattan.

After announcing the hiatus, Tanaka turned around and sold the licensing rights to Sony on a limited basis for what was supposed to be a three-picture deal. Sony immediately got to work, bringing in the sure-fire team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, who at the time were still riding high on the mega-success of their Independence Day. It was a dream match-up, right? Emmerich and Devlin obviously had a taste for mass destruction, so why not hand them an established property about a monster whose taste for mass destruction might conceivably surpass their own?

The pair was given a jaw-dropping budget, rounded up an all-star cast the youngsters would like (including Matthew Broderick and most of The Simpsons’ cast), arranged for a killer soundtrack, and started blowing up New York. Sony’s hype machine went into overdrive, the public became very excited, the merchandise began appearing on store shelves, and a new tie-in cartoon series went into production. It was a sure thing. Then in 1998 the film hit theaters, where it promptly crashed and burned. When the film is remembered at all today, it’s usually with sneers and derision.

Plans for those two sequels were quickly scrapped. Toho snatched the licensing rights back from Sony, and immediately began damage control by pushing ahead with their own Godzilla 2000 in an effort to get the true series back on track. There’s even a sly, snide jab at the Emmerich/Devlin film at the beginning of 2001's Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack. Upon hearing about a monster attacking the East Coast of the US in 1998, a student asks, "That was Godzilla, right?" A fellow student responds, "The Americans say it was, but the guys over here have their doubts.”

So what the fuck happened?

Well, I can think of a few things off the top of my head.

First of all, Devlin and Emmerich made the same boneheaded mistake Peter Jackson would make when he set out to remake King Kong. In the 1933 original, Kong was a mythological figure, a legend, a character from a fairy tale who was still more human than any of the human actors around him. Even though he made a big deal of sticking (to a point) to the original script, in the end Jackson’s Kong was, well, just a big gorilla.

Likewise, from his debut in 1954, Godzilla had always been a myth, an allegory, a symbol, and an embodiment of recent Japanese history. Even as his character changed over the course of the series (from vengeful demon to savior and back again) all those things remained consistent. So much so that countless academic papers have been written attempting to interpret what Godzilla represents. As re-imagined by Emmerich and Devlin, Godzilla was nothing more than a mutated dinosaur. That what we’re dealing with is merely a big animal behaving like a big animal is a point Matthew Broderick’s character makes repeatedly throughout the film. The Toho pictures (like the original Kong) gave us reason to care about Godzilla because he knew what he was doing. He had purpose. This was more akin to having some stranger’s pit bull break loose and knock your trash cans over.

It’s even emphasized by the monster’s revamped design, which bears no resemblance to any Godzilla we know. The thick legs are gone, the back spines are gone, the cruel, humanoid eyes are gone. What it is, in short, is a plain old allosaurus (or whatever paleontologists are calling it these days). Godzilla’s profile was always absolutely unique and unmistakable, but this thing here? I saw pictures of that in dinosaur books when I was a kid. I mean, Christ, he doesn’t even breathe radioactive fire! What the hell’s THAT all about?

Then there’s the effects question. Without diving headlong into the useless CGI debate, the 1998 model Godzilla was a state of the art CG creation. It was smooth and slick and virtually hyper-realistic (and to my mind anyway utterly lifeless). At the time of the film’s release it was dazzling and kapow. But the trouble with state of the art anything, especially computer FX, is that they have a very short shelf life. It’s only going to be a blink before the next generation of digital effects comes along, leaving everything that preceded it looking clunky and silly and sad (remember Lawnmower Man? That was pretty wowza in its time too.) Forget 20 years, by the time you get four or five years down the line, things can start looking pretty dusty. A man in a rubber suit, however much the knotheads may mock it, is eternal. Even the shabby Toho Godzillas from the ‘70s had more personality than this thing, and seemed much more real and present because they were.

There was a much bigger problem afoot with the Emmerich/Devlin Godzilla, however. For all the lifts and outright thefts from other, better films scattered throughout Godzilla (last time I made a list I counted at least 40 individual ideas lifted from everything from Larry Cohen’s Q: The Winged Serpent to Jaws), at its heart the Emmerich/Devlin Godzilla isn’t even a remake of Godzilla.

Consider the bare bones of the plot after scraping away all the surrounding soap opera nonsense: Nuclear tests awaken an amphibious prehistoric creature. Driven by some primordial urge it sets out in search of its natural spawning ground. Along the way it destroys a few ships and coastal towns, and as those reports are collected it soon becomes obvious to authorities the creature is headed straight for New York. It crashes its way onto the docks in New York harbor and stomps into Manhattan where, as such things do, it wreaks havoc (including walking through a building, leaving a monster-shaped hole). Scientists and the military both scramble to stop it, but learn it has the pesky ability, big as it is, to disappear for long stretches. Eventually they track it to a famous NYC landmark where, after our heroes are placed in grave danger for a few moments, the military destroys the monster.

Sounds about right, right? Trouble is, that’s the plot synopsis for 1953’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

Yeah, it seems that student at the beginning of 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah was right after all, and it wasn’t really Godzilla we were dealing with.

Now granted, Emmerich and Devlin obviously know their B-film history, and that being the case may well have been aware Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (along with King Kong) was a fundamental inspiration for 1954’s Gojira, but that doesn’t change the fact that, despite their use of the name, what they made was a reboot of the 1953 film, not the 1954 film or any of the Godzilla films that followed.

Maybe it was a marketing decision. Maybe the team wanted to remake Beast from the start (which would allow them to savagely rip off the Great Ray Harryhausen for a second time without giving him a lick of credit or paying him a dime) but figured “Godzilla” would mean better box office in terms of name recognition alone. Or maybe they were just confused.

When you get down to the nut, the real curse facing any attempt to create an Americanized Godzilla is a simple one. Although inspired by two American films, when Tanaka first came up with the idea of making a monster movie (a first in Japan at the time) he insisted there be something about it that made the monster in question uniquely Japanese. To this end his writers came up with a creature representing the horror of not just Hiroshima and Nagazaki, but the nearby H-bomb tests that followed the war. As the series progressed the films dealt with other issues facing Japan at the moment, from the decision to use nuclear power to the environment to Japan’s role in the world. Moreover, the series, in a convoluted way, remained aware of its own history and mythology, even as it was rewritten from decade to decade. One of the reasons the Godzilla films seem so silly to American audiences is that this self-consciousness and the deep, specifically Japanese roots were often excised by American distributors or were simply missed by American audiences. Any attempt to Americanize Godzilla means stripping away everything he represents to his original audience, leaving us with nothing more than a big mutated dinosaur.

That’s why, as history seems to be in the process of repeating itself, I suspect the upcoming Edwards film, as good and dazzling and action-packed as it may be, will likely, like the Emmerich/Devlon film, be a monster movie, but not a Godzilla film.

Godzilla vs Charles Barkley

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:39 am
by TheButcher
Nike Commercial 'Godzilla vs Charles Barkley''

Nike Commercial: 'Godzilla Vs. Barkley - The Trailer'

In the summer of 1992, while the Heisei Era G-series was still ongoing, Godzilla faced an opponent more unusual than Hedorah and Biollante combined on the small screen in America...none other than NBA basketball star Charles Barkley himself.
This 30 second commercial, one of the best visual depictions of Godzilla ever, and part of an advertising campaign for Nike’s Air Ballistic Force line of basketball shoes, was also fairly respectful considering the frivolous tone of the storyline, and was first aired September 9, 1992 on MTV.

An elaborate teaser trailer preceded the release of the commercial during the July 1992 All-Star Game on CBS, depicting stock footage of Godzilla’s battles from the G-films of the '60s and '70s, and ending with the new footage of Godzilla donning his goggles and confronting Barkley. Full page movie poster-style ads were also featured in magazines such as ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and ROLLING STONE, something previously unheard of for a 30 second commercial. The storyline of the commercial is as follows:

Godzilla is rampaging through Tokyo, smashing buildings and incinerating everything in sight with his atomic breath (a Toho sign could be seen falling by astute viewers). Suddenly, much to the kaiju’s surprise, an almost equally gigantic Charles Barkley approaches him, dribbling a giant basketball in hand. Accepting Barkley’s challenge for a one-on-one basketball game, Godzilla dons a pair of goggles and then uses his tail to move down the ‘O’ in a huge Tokyo sign to form a makeshift basketball hoop.
As the contest begins, Godzilla strikes first, knocking the basketball out of Barkley’s hand with his tail. Barkley nevertheless catches the ball and shoulders Godzilla, sending the Kaiju King smashing into a skyscraper, and the giant athlete then pounds an enormous jam.
Following the contest, the two giants proceed to walk off together in the city, Barkley asking Godzilla if he ever considered wearing shoes.

Nike’s renowned ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, particularly Warren Eakins and Steve Sandoz, first came up with the concept of pitting the famous athlete against Toho’s atomic titan, and they commissioned Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Hollywood’s greatest sfx studio, to produce the special effects for the commercial.

Their Godzilla suit and city miniatures were excellent, and very faithful to the Toho design of the evil version of Godzilla, although the costume was nowhere near as durable as its Toho counterpart (it didn’t have to be for such a short filming period). However, in order to ease the sfx crew in facilitating the accuracy of detail on the city miniatures, Godzilla was given his original Showa Series height of 50 meters, rather than his 100 meter movie height in 1992. The spot was directed by Michael Owens and produced by John Adams.

The commercial was a big hit, the G-fans were pleased, and even a sequel was written and planned for 1994, which would have pitted Charles Barkley and David Robinson against Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. However, due to the projected high cost of such a venture, the sequel idea was abandoned, apparently for good.

A one-shot comic book issued by Dark Horse Comics was based on the commercial, and a very detailed description of every production aspect of Nike's unique contribution to TV advertisement history can be read in JAPANESE GIANTS #8.

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Charles Barkley Played Basketball Against Godzilla
Brian Cronin wrote:Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Brendan M., we take a look at one of the few comic book one-shots that was based on a commercial, Dark Horse’s 1993 comic book Charles Barkley versus Godzilla #1!

In 1992, Nike debuted a very popular television commercial featuring then-NBA superstar Charles Barkley playing basketball against Godzilla in the streets of Tokyo. A year later, the ad campaign was adapted into a one-shot comic from Dark Horse Comics, written by Mike Baron (with plot by “Alan Smithee,” a pseudonym people use when they are trying to take their credit off of a project) with art by Jeff Butler and Keith Aiken.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:03 pm
by bastard_robo
There are no words in human language for the glory of this video......

Re: Godzilla 1998

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:21 am
by TheButcher
Sony Pictures 1998 'Godzilla' roars to Blu-ray in May!
Sony Pictures has announced the upcoming Blu-ray release of the much lambasted (but ultimately financially successful) 1998 Godzilla
Ben Gourlay wrote:Godzilla 1998 is scheduled to come to Blu-ray on May 1st and whilst Sony Pictures have yet to detail the discs features, it should feature an audio commentary, featurettes and a Wallflowers music video, along with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and UltraViolet digital copy.

Re: Godzilla: Japanese Classics or Just Crap?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:23 am
by TheButcher
GODZILLA Trailer With Footage From GOJIRA (1954)
Fans of the Japanese original should get a kick out of this. The audio from the latest trailer for Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot has been added to footage of the 1954 kaiju classic. Revisit the king of the monsters back when he was a guy in a rubber suit after the jump.


PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:10 pm
by TheButcher
Titanic Terrapin's 50th Anniversary Production

Re: Grim & Gritty Gamera Reboot

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:25 pm
by TheButcher
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris
Tom Mes wrote:
When Toho studios launched the Godzilla/Gojira series (the first two installments were made in the mid-1950s, but the series didn't kick off until 1962's King Kong vs Godzilla / Kingu Kongu tai Gojira) and hit box office pay dirt as a result, rival Daiei was quick to cash in by introducing its own giant monster: Gamera the Giant Turtle, who made his debut in 1965.

Three decades, nine films and a fifteen-year recess later, versatile director Shusuke Kaneko (at that point best known for co-directing the H.P. Lovecraft anthology Necronomicon with Brian Yuzna and Christophe Gans in the US) breathed life into the Flying Turtle with a trilogy of brand new Gamera films: Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe (Gamera, 1995), Gamera 2: Advent Of Legion (Gamera 2: Region Shurai, 1996) and this third instalment.

Now to be honest, despite their millions of fans the appreciation for the classic kaiju eiga is strongly coloured by oceans of nostalgia. Watching the Godzilla and Gamera movies of the sixties and seventies is on the whole a rather dull experience: Destroy All Monsters! (Kaiju Soshingeki, 1969), for example, is fondly remembered for featuring all the Toho monsters in a big end battle, but aside from those final fifteen minutes of mayhem it is a film that plods along at a leaden pace. In a nutshell, the kaiju movies left a lot to be desired.

This seems to have been exactly the feeling that motivated Shusuke Kaneko when he went about revamping Gamera; to make a monster movie the way monster movies should have been made in the first place. This resulted in a series that put Toho's neverending efforts to keep Godzilla alive (including the much-hyped, but badly-received Godzilla 2000 / Gojira 2000: Mireniamu) to shame. No kaiju movie had ever been as dynamic, action-packed and alive as Kaneko's reborn Gamera.

Because a rebirth it is. This, the best of the new Gameras so far, delivers everything a movie about huge, fighting, city-stomping monsters should have: excitement, slam-bang action sequences, beautifully designed creatures, and yes, even stunning special effects (the days of the noticeable man-in-a-rubber-suit stomping on lifeless cardboard houses are definitely over). Its dynamics rival the best anime out there and beat anything Hollywood high concept sci-fi has thrown at us this last decade.

Of course, in the end it's still about a big turtle stomping on Tokyo and your appreciation depends on your willingness to accept that premise, but if there has ever been the slightest fondness in your heart for giant monsters, this dynamic piece of high-class pulp will knock you out of your seat.

The Original Grim & Gritty Godzilla Reboot

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:56 am
by TheButcher
Godzilla 1985: Reboot or Rebirth?
Godzilla 1985, The 16th film in the Godzilla franchise, stomps the fine line between sequel, remake, and kickstart