Top 10 Godzilla Films

29 06 2016

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It should come as no surprise that my favourite film series is of course Godzilla. I don’t know how many times I must have mentioned it to people I know, people passing by, or the number of posts I have written on the subject on this very blog that you are reading now (speaking of which, did you know this is my 500th post?). Yes, I love Godzilla movies! Ever since I was a young boy to right now and probably beyond, I have had a craving fascination for a film series starring a Giant Nuclear Irradiated Japanese Monster. While there are a lot of really great movies out there not including/starring Godzilla, it should come as no surprise that my Top 10 absolute favourite films are all Godzilla films. But which ones though? You see back in 2014, after the release of the 2014 Godzilla film, I thought I would finally work it out. What do I mean by that, well, you see the thing is that for many years I had always said which ones were likely and which ones would be high up but I never actually had a defined list of which were my top 10 favourites, just an idea. So with the 2014 film out of the way and to sort of celebrate I thought I would work it out.

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To zone in and find for definite which ones are my favourite and then order them was always going to be trivial. How I actually did it was like this:

  1. I ordered the films in order of when they were released starting from the original 1954 film, to the 2014 film.
  2. I then picked out the ones I thought were terrible (and there are 3 I can think of) and deleted them off the sheet.
  3. Even after cycling through some bad ones, I still had near 25 to choose from, so I just worked through them from there, picking out ones I did not feel strongly for until I get to a more definitive list (between 15 and 20) to then think more carefully about.
  4. As the process continued, some of the remaining films became obvious as to being ones I absolutely loved, so I then began to order those ones around a little.
  5. From there it became a process of difficult elimination as I analysed the films in my head and said to myself; “Is that one better than that one?”
  6. In the end it came down to 12 films and a difficult choice to get to specifically 10, so I worked hard and finally whittled it down to just 10 films.
  7. I then repeated step 5 to put the surviving 10 in order from 10 to 1.

Making this list was actually rather fun and interesting experience, and one I look forward to doing again in the future, but to which series I do not know (probably Studio Ghibli once I get more head on into it). There is a little bit of an issue with the choosing process, and that is I have not actually seen Invasion of Astro-Monster or Son of Godzilla. Invasion of Astro-Monster is on my shelf, and just haven’t got round to watching it yet, whilst I do remember seeing something of Son of Godzilla from when I was about 4 years old, but as I cannot currently get a copy of it, I am pretty much stuck. If anything, the only other one I have not seen is Godzilla Resurgence…..which has not been released yet. As this list goes though, there are still plenty of surprises…possibly. Some surprises for me as some films I was sure of being on here are not, and some surprises for you my wonderful readers as to where some films have been placed, however, being the Godzilla fan that I am, I will not have put it in that position unless I thought that it deserves to not only be on this list, but also in that position. Anyway, introduction’s over, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I have enjoyed working it all out. So sit back, relax (not unless you are like me and have to lean in on a computer to read something), and find out what my Top 10 Favourite Godzilla films are.

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1974)

10. Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla – An Ancient prophecy begins to come to fruition when a dark cloud in the shape of Mount Fuji appears in the sky. The prophecy states that a Giant Monster will come along to destroy the land. Things take a confusing turn however when the Monster that appears turns out to be Godzilla. Things take an even bigger twist when another monster, who also looks a lot like Godzilla appears also. With everyone by this point really confused, the first one decides to shed its skin and reveals itself to be a cybernetic clone.

Mechagodzilla

The 1970’s were not a great time for the Godzilla series. From the start of the decade the series was already beginning to slump with the mediocre release of Godzilla vs Hedorah. Things then got even worse as the two films that followed were mostly made up of Stock Footage and very little were actually filmed. This landslide from Great films to terrible films appeared to be unending, until veteran director Jun Fukuda returned. Having previously done three Godzilla films in the past, and being one of the most important directors in the series, it came down to him to turn Godzilla’s fortune’s around; which he did spectacularly. Out with the stock footage; back in with actual film making. This film in the series was also made up with a lot of firsts: While Godzilla and Anguirus make an appearance in the film, both King Caesar and the now legendary MechaGodzilla both made their debut in this film. The film manages to cram a lot of human story and character elements into it also, with the characters having to help the Monsters as best they can; because otherwise, the green-skinned ape aliens would win. With a very jazzy soundtrack from Masaru Sato and also showing how fun a night time chase around a ferry cruise could be, Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla remains one of the series most stand out and thoroughly enjoyable entries into the series.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Toho Co. Ltd. - 2002)

9. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla – In 1954, the monster simply called Godzilla attacked Japan and left Tokyo in ruins. Over the next 40+ years; several more Giant Monsters including Gaira, Mothra and a monster that looks a lot like Godzilla attack the nation. Having had enough, the country of Japan launches a new weapons program to build a machine specifically designed to defend themselves from these attacks. The machine code-named Kiryu is built on the fossilized skeleton of the original Godzilla. When Godzilla suddenly reappears, Kiryu is sent into action. After hardly any battle, Godzilla leaves, but Kiryu runs amok in Tokyo, but why?

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Since the release of Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, MechaGodzilla has been redeployed in a film sense on several occasions. But the 2 times between this and the original did not fare so well and did not impact all that greatly. By the Millennium, and with the new series in full swing, Toho brought MechaGodzilla back, and created one of the Millennium Series most stand out films. In comparison to the above mentioned film, this one is not crammed full of characters, with instead only 3 really appearing as leads; but in this instance they are worked on in a great deal. The story and setting produce an initially terrifying but also heart-warming story telling of the connection between man and machine while also creating an initial yet terrifying plot twist, with not Godzilla necessarily running amok, but the weapon. Still providing the best in monster mash-ups, and up to date special effects as well as terrific pieces by Michiru Oshima for an unforgettable main movie theme, Against is an absolutely superb film and is easily Mechagodzilla’s best film appearance to date (not unless Legendary have plans).

Godzilla (Legendary

8. Godzilla 2014 – In 1954; something is discovered by the American navy; this thing is quickly covered up and supposedly destroyed. Nearly 50 years later, a nuclear power plant is destroyed supposedly in an earthquake. Sometime later, the husband of a scientist who died in the power plant goes mad trying to prove it wasn’t an accident, and he was right, as inside the power plant is a Giant Monster which escapes it’s confines and goes on the rampage.

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In 2010, Legendary Pictures announced it was going to make a brand new American Godzilla film, even though in the end we had to wait 4 years for it to be released. I went to see it on opening night, and absolutely loved it. It was near perfect, Godzilla himself was perfect, and the new MUTO’s were amazing creatures, all combined into a very human story (that seemed strangely similar to Gamera: Guardian of the Universe) supported by a terrific selection of cast, special effects and heart pounding music (composed by Alexandre Desplat), all brought together by Director Gareth Edwards. I enjoyed it so much that I went to see it another two times at the cinema. But for me, the real proof of the pudding came the Saturday after it was released. I had the night off, and really wanted to watch a Godzilla film for some reason, so I watched Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster, one of my favourite Showa films and one I have always enjoyed. But right there and then, I was struggling to enjoy it as much as I used to…..I wonder why?

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1966)

7. Ebirah: Horror of the Deep – A young man who is looking for his brother lost at sea, finds a couple of people at a dance contest who take him to see some boats. They go aboard one, and the following morning the young man steals it, which ironically has already been stolen. After several days at sea, they get caught in a storm and the boat is destroyed by a giant claw. They all wash up on shore and discover that the giant claw belongs to a giant Lobster called Ebirah. Yet more nightmares are to be realised however as the island is the base for a terrorist group called the Red Bamboo, and the island boasts yet another secret.

Ebirah

With the Godzilla film series now in full swing, directing duties were handed over to hot up and coming director Jun Fukuda. Most of his previous work involved comedy and mystery, but in all fairness, Ebirah wasn’t any normal Godzilla film. It was originally intended to be made as a King Kong film, but Toho decided to make it a Godzilla film instead; such is why Godzilla does not smash-up a city, as well as show off several un-Godzilla like traits including attacking Mothra after supposedly now being friends. Any who; as a young boy, this one stood out for me a lot as for quite a while it was the only Godzilla film I had VHS access to, until the collection grew. As time has passed and other films have come that I prefer to it, this remains one of the films I have enjoyed the most. It’s not just a connection to my youth, but also a film that I have come to love with a great deal of memory and passion with many scenes, quotes and a heart thrilling caper like soundtrack being many a highlight. It’s place on this list always a guarantee; more than any other Godzilla film, it’s possibly the most enduring and one that I have conceivably the most memories of just watching it over and over again, even remembering specific times and days of watching it.

The Return of Godzilla (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1984)

6. The Return of Godzilla – In 1984, it’s been 30 years since Godzilla attacked Japan, but has not been since. His presence has still cast a shadow over the nation even as it progresses into a modern high-tech future. Out at sea, a fishing boat is discovered where only one member of its crew survived. He talks about seeing a Monster and as time passes, more incidents get reported, and it’s all revealed to be true, that Godzilla has indeed returned.

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After nearly a decade since Godzilla’s last movie appearance (Terror of Mechagodzilla), Toho finally decided to bring the monster back during the ever-growing tensions of the cold war. It was perfect, with the monster having lost his terrifying persona over 20 years of film making, they brought him back to his terrifying self in a movie that ignored all events of the films in between this and the original. This was also only the second time in the series that Godzilla attacked a city and did not fight another monster. Yes, while we all love a good fight, Toho showcased how terrifying, realistic and enjoyable a Godzilla film could be when he is not surrounded by other Monsters. This film would go on to kick-start the best era of Godzilla movies to date: the Heisei series; and while Godzilla the hero would come out to play a couple more times, the producers worked really hard to maintain Godzilla’s terrifying position and persona throughout. More than any film, this one ensured Godzilla’s long lasting cinema presence, one that is still being seen to this day.

Destroy All Monsters (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1968)

5. Destroy All Monsters – The year is 1999 (hypothetically), and all the monsters of the world have been collected and made to live together on an island decidedly called Monster Land. All of a sudden communications with the control station nearby is lost, and the supposedly ‘contained’ monsters all start attacking the Major Cities of the world, all except Tokyo?

Mothra, Gorosaurus, Rodan, Kumonga, Anguirus, King Ghidorah, Varan, Godzilla, Manda, Baragon, Minilla

What was originally intended to be the final Godzilla film, and as such was given a much bigger budget, remains one of the most popular in the series. Having just done some research, I have discovered that this is one of only a few Japanese Godzilla films to have a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, for about 11 years, this was my favourite film. What sets this film apart from others is its large cast of Monsters. Loads of Monsters appear in this film, some remaining real favourites and some of the most endearing monsters in the series. Plenty of city destruction takes place, with others than Tokyo being hit for once, all the while setting the early instigations into an alien conspiracy. Expect some of the most memorable pieces of music, and some of the best military vs monster scenes to date as Godzilla leads the charge of the Monsters (which includes but is not limited to: Gorosaurus, Rodan, Varan, Manda and Baragon).

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1991)

4. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah – In 1992, over the sky of Tokyo, a UFO is spotted. It is eventually tracked, where it turns out not to be aliens, but people from the future. These people go on to talk about the future non-existence of Japan as a nation and that the country is to be finally destroyed by Godzilla. They send a team back in time to an island battlefield in World War Two, where the Dinosaur that would become Godzilla first appears; sending it to the bearing sea, preventing it from evolving into Godzilla. Returning to the present day, rumours of a new monster begin to circulate.

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This film easily remains one of the most beloved films in the series by fans. After struggling to get Godzilla going with the release of Godzilla vs Biollante, it was decided that for their next film that Godzilla would fight his arch-nemesis for the first time in nearly 20 years: the three-headed golden dragon; King Ghidorah. This new film in essence is based on the popularity of the time travelling element in the recently released Back to the Future films while also combining it with a story that focusses on how Godzilla became Godzilla. Its story; while basic does achieve quite a bit, with the implication that with Godzilla removed from history, King Ghidorah takes his place and is under the control of people with vengeance on their mind, only for their plans to eventually backfire. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah in the process creates some terrific scenes of city destruction, as well as not one but two incredibly well fought battles as Godzilla goes one on one with his Greatest Nemesis, in a battle that leaves one monster horribly scarred for life.

Godzilla (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1954)

3. Godzilla 1954 – Out at sea, several fishing boats are mysteriously destroyed. On a nearby island, the village is destroyed a few days later. A team is dispatched to investigate, and make a chilling discovery, one that will bring repercussions for the country of Japan for decades to come.

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1954 was a big year for Japanese cinema, especially more so for Toho. A few months earlier they released the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece Seven Samurai, but on set; apparently everyone was talking about something called Gojira. After trying to produce a film in Jakarta which ultimately fell through, Toho producer Tomoyuki Tanaka took two pieces of inspiration: the Lucky Dragon 5 fishing boat incident and the Ray Harryhausen film; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and in the process created Japan’s first movie Monster. Taking into account the destruction dealt upon Japan at the end of World War 2 by not one, but two Nuclear Bombs, Tanaka created a creature born of the forces of Nuclear Power and Nature’s answer to humanities destructive attitude and set this new monster loose in Japan’s Capital. Backed up with a terrifying soundtrack by composer Akira Ifukube, and the latest in Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, all under the direction of Ishirō Honda; I believe they say: “The rest is History!”

Godzilla vs Mothra (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1992)

2. Godzilla vs Mothra – Out in space, a meteor strikes earth, and a Typhoon ensues revealing a giant egg. A team is dispatched to investigate the island where they find the egg and are told a harrowing tale of how an ancient battle was fought between Earth’s guardian Mothra, and another monster similar in design called Battra, who might have reawakened.

Battra

For over 11 years or so, Destroy all Monsters was my favourite film, until by chance I was able to get a copy of this film, and within one showing I knew this was my new favourite film. What is basically a film telling something of a lesson of the importance of keeping earth clean, and what is renowned as being rather rushed, is also a fantastically enjoyable film. It is rife with elements of tension; lots of city based destruction, and so far the only film in the series to contain one of the series best creations, the creature known as Battra. Containing some great acting, a fully thriving in-depth story and some amazing Monster Powers to create a full on power play of a Monster Battle climax, Godzilla vs Mothra in sense recreates the story of Mothra vs Godzilla, but ultra-charges it into the early to mid-nineties, and in the process creates one of the series best films to date.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Toho Co. Ltd. - 2001)

1. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack – Across Japan, several incidents take place, in each one a Monster being spotted. It has been nearly 50 years since Godzilla attacked and has not been seen since, and his print on Japan’s history is slowly being forgotten. Meanwhile a young Science Fiction TV Presenter goes on the trail of an ancient legend concerning the reawakening of several monsters, monsters determined to make sure Japan does not forget its history, but more importantly, make sure Japan is defended from the return of the King of the Monsters.

Baragon (2001)

During Christmas 2007 (I think it was 2007), I received a couple of Godzilla DVD’s from my parents. One of them was this, with the other being Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. I was certain that Tokyo S.O.S. was going to be the better of the two, boy was I wrong. I had no real clue as to what this film was going to be like, but boy did I enjoy it. Directed by the man behind the Gamera Heisei Trilogy: Shusuke Kaneko and including a mystical based soundtrack from Kow Otani, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack is a very different film to its predecessors. What we have here is less a modernistic take on Godzilla, but more one that relies on the myths and legends of Japan’s history and combining it with the terror that Godzilla should stand for; and that’s what we get. We get three Monsters teaming up to take on Godzilla which includes Baragon, while Godzilla himself shows off his real power. He has bare white eyes, and can create an atom bomb like explosion from the power of his atomic breath. The monsters are relatively smaller than before, but their power isn’t by far. Its story of a Mystical history is addictive, its cast is effective, its soundtrack is enchanting, its effects are magical and its ending is terrifying. I watched this film many a time before I finally realised that this was my favourite film, and my favourite film it remains. To me at least (how long this will last is yet to be seen, but for now), of this I am certain; this is the best of the best, My Favourite Godzilla Film.

GENEPOOL

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Tonight’s Main Event: It’s Monster Madness As Mechagodzilla, Takes On Godzilla, Takes On Mothra In A Triple Threat Match For The Supreme Heavyweight Championship – Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

17 02 2016

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Toho Co. Ltd. - 2003)

I don’t know if you watch Professional Wrestling; oh you do, OK. Well in that case, for those of you who may not watch Professional Wrestling, in Pro-Wrestling there is a kind of match called a Triple Threat Match. Now this pretty similar to a singles match, except that it involves three competing athletes instead of the usual two. It brings an extra level of tension and jeopardy to a match as the athletes have to worry about not one, but two athletes. It’s the kind of match that is not wheeled out as much as it might have done once upon a time, but imagine for a second, that there is a Triple Threat Match, and competing in it, are the three of the best Pro Wrestlers in history (something like Triple H vs Sting vs The Undertaker). Well, we have something like that here in this film, as Three of Japan’s best loved Giant Monsters fight it out in a Triple Threat Match.

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Released in 2003 by Toho, Produced by Shogo Tomiyama and Directed by Masaaki Tezuka; Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is the 28th film in the Godzilla series, and serves as a direct sequel (as in it follows where the last film left on, instead of a sequel in the generic form of just happening to be made after a film) to the previous film: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. The film also serves as continuity to both the original Godzilla film and Mothra back in 1961. While the previous film was entirely about the confrontation between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla; this film also sees the welcome return of Mothra, whose only other appearance’s in the millennium series include Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack and Godzilla: Final Wars (which came after this).

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Set about a year after the Events of the previous film; Mechagodzilla is undergoing repair after his confrontation with Godzilla, while Japan is rebuilding after both the fight, and Mechagodzilla’s rampage. In Karuizawa, Airman Yoshito Chujo (Noboru Kaneko) and his nephew Shun (Kenta Suga) are staying with Yoshito’s father; Dr. Shinichi Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi). Suddenly, two tiny twin fairies (Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka) appear to Dr. Chujo, who remembers them well, as he has met them before. The twin fairies warn the three of them, that if they do not return the original Godzilla’s bones (the same ones used to build Mechagodzilla) to the bottom of the ocean, then Mothra will declare war on the human race. Yoshito argues with them saying MechaGodzilla is Japan’s only real defense against Godzilla, but the Twin’s tell him that if they return the bones to where they belong, Mothra will take Mechagodzilla’s place. Upon returning to the base where MechaGodzilla is being rebuilt, Yoshito has mixed feelings to what he has heard. Meanwhile a new set of Mechagodzilla pilots arrive, one of whom; Azusa Kisaragi (Miho Yoshioka), is an old friend of Yoshito’s. Meanwhile, the news and press are all wrapped up in wondering why so much money is being poured into the MechaGodzilla project, especially after the robot’s accidental rampage. Back at his home; Dr. Chujo tells Shun about what how he met the twin fairies and Mothra’s attack on Tokyo back in 1961. Dr. Chujo makes an appointment to see Japanese Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi (Akira Nakao), and tells him of Mothra’s warning and that they should end the project. Out at sea, the carcass of a strange giant turtle like creature called a Kamoebas washes ashore dead, with a scar in its neck, believed to have been done by Godzilla, who is also responsible for the destruction of an American Nuclear Sub too.

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With news of Godzilla possibly heading for Japan, Mechagodzilla’s repairs are fast tracked as a new weapon is added to replace the defunct Absolute Zero weapon that was destroyed in the previous fight. Wind of Dr. Chujo’s talk with the Prime Minister reaches hot-shot pilot Kyosuke Akiba (Mitsuki Koga) who gets into a fight with Yoshito. A short time later however, Godzilla reappears, and is attacked by the military, soon landing ashore. The city is evacuated, but Shun goes missing. Dr. Chujo goes to find him at the school, where he discovers that Shun, using the tables and chairs within the school, has made the sign for Mothra in the playground. This instantly summons the appearance of Mothra who quickly sets to attacking Godzilla. Shun and Dr. Chujo run from the scene while Mothra and Godzilla engage. Mechagodzilla is ready and waiting, but the command to attack has not been given yet. On Infant Island meanwhile, the twin fairies start singing to an egg.

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Mothra begins to lose the fight. Prime Minister Igarashi gives the orders for Mechagodzilla to be launched in order to help out Mothra. Yoshito leaves the base to go and look for his father and Shun, and is given assistance by the twin fairies. Back on Infant Island, the egg hatches to twin Mothra Larvae, which then immediately head for Tokyo. Back in Tokyo, Godzilla and Mechagodzilla engage in battle with Godzilla quickly gaining an upper hand, eventually knocking out MechaGodzilla indefinitely. Yoshito finds Shun and his father, badly beaten and in desperate need of medical attention. Mothra’s twin Larva arrive and distract Godzilla, but just when it looks like they will be destroyed too, the adult Mothra jumps in the way to save them. With MechaGodzilla needing on site repairs, Yoshito volunteers to do on site repair work. With help from his crew back at the base, as well as the twin fairies, Yoshito is able to repair Mechagodzilla, but gets trapped inside. Mechagodzilla comes back online. He is soon able to get an upper hand over Godzilla, and with some help from the Twin Larvae, Godzilla is cocooned in silk. At that moment, the twin fairies singing can be heard all over the city. Yoshito hears it within Mechagodzilla, and takes it as a sign that Mechagodzilla just wants to sleep in peace. The Twin fairies declare that the bones residing within Mechagodzilla should be returned to the sea, and that humans have no right to touch the souls of the dead. Seeing Godzilla lying defenceless on the ground, Prime Minister Igarashi decides that Godzilla should be destroyed, and that then he will cancel the Mechagodzilla project. Mechagodzilla though becomes irresponsive, as the spirit of the original Godzilla wake up inside Mechagodzilla once more. Mechagodzilla wraps itself around the cocooned Godzilla, picks him up, and flies out to sea. Yoshito meanwhile is still inside but is rescued by both Azusa and Akiba. Mechagodzilla then, with Godzilla still attached dives into the ocean.

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Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S, is an interesting film with a terrific title to boot. It has a lot of interesting ideas and is backed up with lots of Giant Monster action. It’s just a shame that these ideas do not really go anywhere. The film creates ideas and interesting story points, but some of these don’t exactly start out very strong, and in the meantime, the good ones do not really go anywhere either. The film’s plot begins with the arrival of Mothra and a warning to return Godzilla’s bones to the sea. This creates a first good build-up; it’s an ultimatum, not a request; however the consequences sound rather weak. Ok, Mothra will declare war on Humanity, which it does not want; but it feels like a weak consequence, against say something like the monster within Mechagodzilla from the previous film reawakening and going on a similar rampage like it did before, or even worse. It’s not a bad idea; it just doesn’t really feel all that strong a consequence to not heeding to an ultimatum. One thing this film mentions very briefly as well is the political and financial difficulties when dealing with a project such as building a giant robotic form of Godzilla. This idea is touched upon early in the film, but for most part is just ignored…..and it’s a real shame, because it is a really cool idea. If there wasn’t a political, financial or a civilian problem to such a large-scale project, then it would seem ok just to carry on with it, but in this case, there is an overall issue from all sides. You have TV coverage on the general populations view on the financial costs of a project that is only partially successful to date. Why is it then that this side of the story does not go into as much detail? It’s not like this kind of thing has not been done before in film. Gamera 3 deals with political and civilian issues with Giant Monsters in great detail to a high level of realism, so why is it not done here? Part of me thinks this film was done at the wrong time, and that such levels of voice in a hot situation as covered here, should have been done in a film made about now. There were no international monetary problems back then, or at least as bad as they are now. If it was to have been done now, it’s a subplot that could have been weaved in beautifully? But even if it wasn’t, there is a suggestion there that is not worked on, but rather skimmed upon.

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It’s a film of missed opportunities, and one whose list sadly continues. It’s like the writing team were dipping their fingers in a tank of water. They began to submerge the tips, but did not decide to push their entire hands. It’s a film whose points and issues could have been worked on by just dipping their fingers, or even knuckles; in that little bit more. The more they would have done it the more it would have improved, and then could have sprouted out more and produced a work of art that could have found itself in close ranks with the original 1954 film. It’s not bad, just not worked on enough for it to reach the stars. Another issue I have with the film’s story is how quickly it ends. The film’s big battle reaches a climax, but then all of a sudden it just stops. A realization then suddenly hits everyone. The story of Mothra’s Fairies warning comes to a bit of light and suddenly Yoshito learns what the fairies warning was really all about. It’s a subject that should have been constantly touched upon, but is forgotten during the fight, and then suddenly everyone realizes what was really meant? I just don’t understand it. It makes me think that the writing team were running out of printer paper and just decided to end it quickly. There is no build up, or consistent mention of story plot points, or at least not enough for this ideal to change in a good way. It’s just sudden and not understandable. It then ends altogether, very quickly with a change of heart from Mechagodzilla.

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Tokyo S.O.S. does struggle with casting. For what is supposedly a follow-up to a previous film, I find it weird that while the film does feature the monsters and events, there is very little form the previous films cast of characters. I thought a follow-up would include them in a much bigger form. While the film does boast at least one major character from Against in Koh Takasugi, while also being backed up with Godzilla veterans Akira Nakao and Hiroshi Koizumi, why is it, that the lead character from Against is only in this film for less than 5 minutes. Yumiko Shaku, who played JXSDF Lt. Akane Yashiro in Against appears in about 2 scenes before bowing out for the new lead characters. Surely a direct follow-up would feature her more so why is it then that she disappears? Along with the lack of Lt. Akane are the other 2 major leads in Sara (Kana Onodera) and Tokumitsu Yuhara (Shin Takuma). Where did they go, and why aren’t they mentioned in at least some vain if not given major parts in this film? While the lack of Akane’s character in this film is a real disappointment; that’s not to say that the cast taking her place are also. Some of these characters could have been developed more, but their onscreen appearance is still pretty good and very enjoyable. Hiroshi Koizumi and Akira Nakao for instance are always good value. Koizumi who sadly passed away last year had a prolific career and recorded several major appearances in the Godzilla series. Now providing a similar role to the one he had in Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla in the 1970’s, He is as good here as he has ever been. While his role is more reliant on the past experience of his role in Mothra, his caring side for his family, plus knowledge on the situation, continue to highlight his scientific character, one that Koizumi has practically played in every Godzilla film he has appeared in. His different stance though, that of a grandfather make his role a more active one, and one that takes him into more perilous situations, including being on the ground, very near to Godzilla. These scenes with Shun are pretty good ones to look out for, very enjoyable. Akira Nakao meanwhile continues to play another strong leadership role in playing the Prime Minister. In this role he is a strong character, but also a very believable one, and looks like a real politician/prime minister. He is a very caring one, and carries a lot of weight on his shoulders and continues to battle all sides and everyone around him. His sudden change at the end is a bit swift; much like the script, but throughout he is a character to look out for.

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Alongside them, we have our many side characters. Ok, Azusa and Akiba are more up front, but don’t really have as much air time as Yoshito. Akiba is a prat, and a real one at that, but his character does have some redeeming aspects to it, and one that grows as the film carries on. While Akane might not be in it, her replacement is still very good. Azusa enters as a possible love interest to Yoshito, but becomes more of a supporter to him. It’s not till the end that more of that comes out of her, going so far to rescue him at the end of the film. Shun is a good little character for Yoshito, someone to look after and care for, and whose near death in the film creates a very powerful moment, it’s just sad that it wasn’t strung out or developed a little more. After them we have our collection of Side characters. The Shobijin (or twin fairies) are nicely done once more, but don’t really show much in the way of character other than near replicating every Shobijin performance so far. There are a lot of extra characters of note including military personal and politicians including JSDF Chief Hitoyanagi (Takeo Nakahara), General Dobashi (Koichi Ueda), one character whose name I cannot find…nor an actor’s name, but plays Akiba’s Father, and a fleeting appearance from Shun’s mother (Noriko Watanabe). After that, it really only comes down to Yoshito himself. Yoshito is a good person and a great mechanic. He takes his job seriously, and is very caring of his family. But this man is thrust into a difficult situation, as two twin fairies tell him that he needs to dump Godzilla’s bones in the ocean. This plagues his mind throughout, until eventually he learns what they really mean. They mean it not in the form of getting rid of the Japans only defence against Godzilla, but in letting the original Godzilla’s bones, and history rest in peace. He begins to understand this as the film reaches its conclusion, whereas when it first starts he does not believe that Mothra is a hero given the creature’s past, but now realises that what the twins meant is that Japan had no right to drench up a dead body and mess with its soul. Yoshito is a good lead for a film that has lost its previous main, but he is one that you want to follow, and one whose life you care about. You feel his pain, his emotions and struggle throughout, but all the while he remains strong.

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A Godzilla film though is not without its Monsters. Godzilla has changed somewhat from his previous appearance. Detail has been made to his look to include a still healing injury from the previous film. He is still though incredibly powerful, and one whose talents are on great show in this film. His merciless like domination as he kills but does not eat a giant turtle like creature, his destructive underwater power as he destroys yet another submarine in a scene that is very reminding of The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs King Ghidorah. Mothra is back in a much bigger way than his/her/its previous performance in GMK. Mothra is represented more as this guardian and caring creature but once again with some strict morals, as per its ideal that it is earth’s natural guardian. The representation of Mothra however I feel is that it relies too much on things Mothra did in previous films. Things such as Twins coming out of the Mothra Egg, like in Mothra vs Godzilla. Mothra does not appear to be as powerful as he/she/it can sometimes be and appears to be somewhat weaker, however, it’s early arrival, flying through the clouds and appearing on a small hill, as well as its appearance near the symbol of its calling make some really good shots though. I just don’t know however the real reason for Mothra’s inclusion in this film, it just does not really appear to fit. It seems more like a small part, like Baragon had in GMK. The lack of strong powers really helps this point, as it seems to be a bit weaker in comparison. Despite this though, it’s always fun to see Mothra in a film, and whose appearance adds an extra level of taste, if not much spicy. Mechagodzilla seems to have changed some level despite it supposedly being a follow-up. In Against, Mechagodzilla was constantly being referred to as Kiryu, a name which I rather like, but now Kiryu has just gone and has been replaced by Mechagodzilla, so it’s all rather confusing. Mechagodzilla is of course being repaired, and scenes from with-in the factory floor, plus its launch are really well made scenes. What I don’t get with it this time though is why the sudden change of heart? In Against, he gets mad and goes on a rampage, now he has a sudden change of heart ad decides to go back to where it belonged? Why is it that it did not want to do that in the first film, why now? What has changed? It is talked about in a form that suggests that it was ok fighting for humanity, but now it does not want to. Something has definitely happened in between the two films that are not getting explained here. It’s just further questions, as all of a sudden; Mechagodzilla has become nearly a different monster. Despite all those points though, he still looks as good as he did in the previous film. This form of Mechagodzilla is definitely my favourite (preferably with the name Kiryu, I just rather like it, it’s a cool name), plus his appearance in this film comes with a much more sinister look.

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One way the film really struggles though with its monsters is the detail of the special effects aimed towards them. Now while the CGI may not be all that great in spots, as this series was built on its pioneering and experienced use of monster suits, I can look over that. It’s more in the suits that this film starts to fail. When an effect is done properly, as in it is worked on hard enough to create the right effect, it is something that as an audience member you don’t necessarily care about while watching the film, as the real looking effect grabs your attention and draws you more into the story. With films like this, one of the things that helps is that because it is a suit, it’s easier to have something look real, as there is actually something real standing in the foreground, instead of having to act or create around something that is not originally there. Suit acting therefore helps with the effect in one important way, that it’s real because it is. As the Millennium series has progressed, more has been done to incorporate suitmation into other forms of special effect creation to create more outstanding moments; an example of this being in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, when Godzilla first rises out of the sea above an Aquarium.

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It’s a fantastic shot, and real work has gone in to make Godzilla look both Authentic and Real. When we come to this film though, most of that seems to have been thrown out of the window. In the previous film, Godzilla looked Authentically Real, here; I can look at Godzilla and instantly tell it’s a suit. A level of reality has been thrown out the window, and it does put me off. There are scenes when shots are done properly to make it look as real and astonishing as possible, such as Godzilla walking through a building site, a Fantastic Shot in its own right, but then it cuts to a suit walking through an obviously fake town. The realism is gone, and it is a detracting thing from this film, as it just sort of looks bad; and it’s not just restricted to Godzilla neither. Mechagodzilla and Mothra suffer from this too. Not necessarily Adult Mothra as it has some good scenes such as on-top of the hill and above the school, but more the larvae. The larvae have some nice added bit of detail, and the shots of them crawling round the town are pretty cool, it’s more how much use is made of solid colouring and no real form of shading, they look absolutely solid if it wasn’t for the little added bits of movement around their heads. Mechagodzilla meanwhile has lost some life in his look, and the effect of him looks pretty similar to Godzilla, in that he looks like an obvious suit. It’s a real shame considering the effects of the film before it, but S.O.S. has its moments; mostly from uses of cinematography, such as capturing moments where Godzilla rises out of the sea, Mothra over the school, and Mechagodzilla knocked out on the floor and having people scrambling over him.

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It’s sounding like this is a bad film doesn’t it? It sounds like a film of missed opportunities raising more questions than delivering answers, not providing much in the special effects department and kicking actors out the door. But don’t think that means I don’t like it; because I do. It does have its problems and moments, but for all the things that near disappoint, something pops along which nearly makes up for it. The film’s monster battles contain a few continuity errors, and while it starts out nice and fast, action packed – it does begin to slow down and come to a crawl before eventually just stopping and ending on a weird note. However, when the action is nice and fast, it’s really good and at its best. It’s not too fast neither. Monster battles at speed are always good, but when going to fast just look bad, however in this, they go at a good speed and continue at relative pace for some time, making up for some of the early on monster disappointment, especially when Mechagodzilla is turned on. The film’s miniatures and set pieces are near to perfection, with special note going to the factory floor for Mechagodzilla, as well as his eventual launch. The city destruction scenes are really good, and as well are the scenes of people running away. They are scenes which are frequent of any monster movie for that matter; but these ones are done really well and add their own level of character too. Even the deserted city streets and inside the Tokyo Tower look really good. A lot of work has been put in to make this film as good as it can be no matter what, and it has worked. And while the story has its issues, it also has its moments. From scenes like the near death of Shun, to the scenes inside military command centres. But above all else is the after credits scene (which I might explain in a later post). To back all this up you have film extras who work really hard to make sets believable, but also, let’s not forget the film’s soundtrack, once again composed by Michiru Oshima.

The soundtrack itself is about the same as it were for Against, but with some pieces getting more attention than others. Yes there are new ones, but these take more of a sombre note rather than a militaristic theme like in Against and Megaguiras. These range from the ending credits, to Shun’s near Death. Weaved in is some more heroic pieces for characters like Mechagodzilla, plus scenes towards the end. All the while continuing to incorporate the soundtrack from the previous film, oh and of course, the sounds and songs of Mothra. It’s a nice soundtrack, and though while it may not standout like it did for Against, it’s one that works for the occasion. Oshima still continues to provide for the series in her own way, and one that continues to produce no matter what the outcome of the film turns out to be; creating in the process some of the most memorable pieces in the series to date.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. in the end is a really nice film. It is a nice enjoyable film combining the things we have come to love in the series while also continuing to create new ideas and moments. While some of its story, characters and even monsters do struggle with the films over broad and under developed points; it provides enough to get you thinking. While maybe not explored in-depth or enough to satisfy completely, there is enough to enjoy. While in its failings it does cause more questions to be asked than answers given, it provides enough to be enjoyed with for now, until something comes along to improve on them. Bolstering meanwhile good cast, monsters, soundtrack, effects, scenes, post credit scene and of course a brilliant title; Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is definitely worth the time and money to watch, and when looking past it’s issues, provides an enjoyable entry to the series and one that every Monster Movie fan should see.

GENEPOOL (It’s not really a Triple Threat Match thinking about it, more of a handicap match, but with some moral issues between 2 members of the opposing team).





Godzilla Quiz (Showa: 1954 – 1975)

21 05 2014

Godzilla 1954

In need of a quick post and to celebrate how good the New Godzilla Film is, I thought I would do a little quiz about Godzilla. So here is how it’s going to work. Here are 15 questions, one for each film in the Showa Period, but most are in a different order to one another and the film title will not be shown in every question, and so will take some real working out. I will provide the answers at a later time (probably sometime next week). So take out a pen, paper, phone, iPad, Kindle or some method of taking note of your answers and enjoy.

  1. Who developed the Oxygen Destroyer in the original 1954 film?
  2. Name three other monsters beside Godzilla who fought King Ghidorah in the final battle of Destroy All Monsters?
  3. What was the name of the Military Group in Ebirah: Horror of the Deep (Godzilla VS The Sea Monster)?
  4. In his Godzilla debut, who was the first monster to make Godzilla Bleed?
  5. Who was the ally of MechaGodzilla in Terror of Mechagodzilla?
  6. What was the name of the robot in Godzilla VS Megalon?
  7. Who was the first Monster that fought Godzilla?
  8. What was the name of the first film to feature Minilla?
  9. Which American Actor made an appearance in the series in 1965?
  10. Which other Iconic Movie Monster fought Godzilla in the early 1960’s?
  11. How many forms of Hedorah were there?
  12. What is the name of the Organisation that buys the Egg in Mothra VS Godzilla?
  13. What is the name of the Monster that Ichiro imagines lives on Monster Island and is also the name of the bully that torments him in All Monsters Attack?
  14. What Monster helps Godzilla fight MechaGodzilla in Godzilla VS MechaGodzilla?
  15. This film sees the debut of Godzilla’s greatest enemy?

GENEPOOL (For those of you who are wondering, I will be doing my review of the new Godzilla sometime in June).





Latest Blog Milestone – Two Hundred And Fifty Posts

20 03 2013

Firework1

Yes it’s true, this is my 250th post. It has been a long time since I started doing this blog and I am not going to sugar coat it by saying that it feels just like yesterday when I started, because it doesn’t. Interestingly enough, my blog technically started one year before it officially started with a me writing about the problems of Multiplayer Video Games and printing them off and sharing them around friends. Well one year later, I finally got round to starting this. the blog started off well but eventually the views would go down as  low as 7 views in one month. But then I started doing FIlm Reviews, then eventually post a week and my views began to grow and grow towards the internet sky. Many milestones have been reached and now that I have reached the amazing total of Two Hundred and Fifty Posts, I think it is time for a celebration.

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I have managed to wade through all my previous posts and chosen my personal favourite top 25 posts, and so I will present them to you. The first 20 will just have a brief overview of each but the top 5 will have an in-depth summary of sort with pictures. I will also be presenting the top 5 Highest rated posts as well as the top 5 most viewed. If you would like to read any of the posts that are to be mentioned, just click the link. So let’s get started.

25. Before The War – Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace: This is a film review of Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, this post is the most recent one I have posted.

24. Top 5 Black Sabbath Songs: This past June on the day that was both My Birthday but also the live performance of Black Sabbath at Download I did a post of my Top 5 Personal Favourite songs from my Favourite Band (apologies for the long-winded description).

23. UNSTOPPABLE Review – The Runaway Train came down the hill and Blew Up; Unless Chris Pine and Denzel Washington can Stop it: This one as described by the title is a Film Review of the Tony Scott film Unstoppable. To date this post is the fourth most viewed Film Review I have done.

22. Sam’s Rant – Multiplayer Games: Everyone needs to start somewhere and for me, this was it. this post was published all the way back in November 2009.

21. Film Review: The Count of Monte Cristo: This was as the title suggests a film review of the 2002 film The Count Of Monte Cristo. I was getting views for this review almost every week when I originally posted it.

The Count Of Monte Cristo (Spyglass Entertainment - 2002)

20. Four Blokes From Birmingham – Black Sabbath: This post was a response to something I was reading online which stated that a line from the film Almost Famous is used by Trebuchet Magazine when new writers start, so I decided to do it as a challenge.

19. Raging Bull: This post is about the original Dodge Charger car. A Great and interesting start to The First of 2012 Challenge, It was originally a piece of work I did for University but in the end I did not submit that part, so I decided to turn it into a post.

18. The Railway Company – A History of TOHO (200th Post) : A post that I had been wanting to do for almost a year, this post talks about the history of the Japanese Film Company that made such films as Seven Samurai as well as creating Godzilla. This was also my 200th Post.

17. Maze In The Forest – Pan’s Labyrinth: Pan’s Labyrinth was a film that I was unsure of at first when I originally saw it but it was after doing this review my opinion changed. I even draw inspiration from this film for a story I am writing at the moment.

16. Attack Of The Giant Moth – Mothra vs Godzilla: This was my review of a film that is said to be one of the best films in the Godzilla series, Mothra vs Godzilla.

Mothra vs Godzilla (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1964)

It’s now time for a break in the proceedings as we now turn our heads to my Top 5 Highest rated posts. What does this mean, well at the bottom of each post there is some green stars, each named after a Different Godzilla Monster. Much like any star rating system, 5 stars is best and it goes down from there. So let us turn our gaze, quite literally to the right of the screen to see what the top 5 Highest Rated Posts to date on this FAntastic Blog are.

Stars

5. 5 Years and Still Painful – Part 4: Part 4 of the ongoing saga of how I broke my knee cap.

4. Film Review – The Muppet Christmas Carol: A film review I did of The Muppet Christmas Carol.

3. Akira Kurosawa’s Masterpiece – Seven Samurai: The film review I did of Seven Samurai.

2. My Week: 09/04/2012 – 15/04/2012: What it says, a sort of review of my week between the two dates.

1. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): A Brief History of Godzilla, read it, it’s Fantastic.

Top Rated

Meanwhile the Top 25 List continues.

15. Top 5 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours: A list of my Top 5 Favourite Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours. One of the most surprising things about this post was how quickly it shot up as one of my most viewed posts and reached the Major milestone of becoming the first post to reach the 1000 views milestone.

14. Film Review – Godzilla vs King Ghidorah: The first Godzilla review I posted, incredibly fun to write and thoroughly enjoyable. I am hoping to publish a re-review of this film in the next few months just so I can update it and put it in the format I am currently using for my Film Reviews.

13. It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do That Defines Me – Batman Begins: My review of Batman Begins, while pretty much being in the original format, it is still a Great post and one I enjoyed writing a lot.

12. Top 5 KISS Songs: My top 5 favourite Kiss Songs. It was a lot of fun trying to work out the order as well as listen to some of the best songs by one of the Greatest Rock Bands.

11. How To Make A Tardis?  This post goes in-depth into the ideas behind the machine that is piloted by Doctor Who, it was a lot of hard work to produce but it was an incredible post to write.

Tardis

10. Top 5 SAXON Songs: As you can see by the title it is my Top 5 Favourite Saxon Songs. While not the first Top 5 List, it was the first one related to music.

9. Virgin VS FirstGroup: The Real Issue: Written back in September, this post looked into what I thought was the real issue in the Virgin/FirstGroup West Coast Main Line Fiasco, the issue being the trains. A train company is not a train company without trains.

8. Space Impression From Space – Godzilla VS SpaceGodzilla: My review of Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla. While the film in some cases was a bit weird, it was very enjoyable and writing this post was enjoyable too.

7. My Top 10 Favourite (NON-GODZILLA) Films: All my favourite films are Godzilla films (if you have not worked it out yet) and so I need two Top 10 Lists for my Favourite films. This one was tricky to write and I even edited part of it the night before it was published. I am hoping to publish my Top 10 Favourite films in the summer.

6. A Nice Film That Will Be Hard To Beat – The Hunger Games: My review of The Hunger Games. Because I enjoyed this film so much I didn’t want to just do a standard review. It was from this film that the current format for my reviews come from with Pictures between paragraphs and the movie trailer as well as going a bit more in-depth with the films. It was also the first time that I used the Black, Italic, Bold Link system. In my own personal opinion, it is one of the Best Reviews I have done to date.

The Hunger Games (Lionsgate - 2012)

Now lets take another quick break as we look at the Top 5 Most viewed posts on my Blog.

5. Godzilla News – Unveiling, Release and Giant Plants: A look into the latest news regarding the upcoming Legendary Pictures Godzilla Film as well as the news of the release of Godzilla vs Biollante on Blu-ray.

4. Dinosaurs Return To Television: A post which I did within a few hours of Planet Dinosaur’s first episode. This post had a link to it on the BBC Website and at one point was the most viewed post on my Blog.

3. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): The highest rated post on my blog is also the third most viewed post on my Blog.

2. The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack: On two occasions this post was the most viewed post on my blog and became the second post to reach the 1000 views milestone.

1. Top 5 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours: While it may not be number 1 to me, it surely is the current title holder of the most viewed post on my blog.

Views

Now we enter the final stretch. before you, you will find My Top 5 Personal Favourite Blog Posts – Enjoy.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2001)

5. The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack: The Best Film in the world, FACT. An incredibly enjoyable post to write. When I usually write a review I watch the film before hand but I wrote this one from memory as well as getting some help from other websites. The post eventually became the most viewed post on my Blog, a title which the post has held on two separate occasions. Please head over and read this Incredible review. If you have not seen the film, I recommend you do because you are missing out. You can buy the film on Amazon (follow the link).

Seven Samurai (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1954)

4. Akira Kurosawa’s Masterpiece – Seven Samurai: My review of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Seven Samurai. After years of wanting to watch this film, I finally got round to it and until just recently felt that it was my best review to date. I was able to write a lot about this film without making it too long. I was able to find pictures from the film itself and even included a trailer for it and one of the best clips from the film. Both an incredible film and an enjoyable experience to write, it even includes links from where you can buy the film.

RAN (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1985)

3. The Final Masterpiece – RAN: My review of the Akira Kurosawa film RAN. When I was writing this I knew that the post was something special. I posted this review in January this year and watched the film itself the day before New Years Eve. Originally I was going to watch the film the same night that my family was going to see The Hobbit, but in the end I decided to watch it sooner and make the film my first review of the year aswell as my first official blog post for this year. To me this is the Best Film Review I have done to date.

Nintendo Wii

2. 5 Years of Nintendo Wii: This post took me almost a day to write. It was published on the 5th anniversary of the Nintendo Wii being released in the UK. While it took me a long time to produce, the nostalgia that came to me when writing it, all the fantastic and happy memories that came to me of one of the Best Video Game Consoles was just so enjoyable. I was able to find fantastic videos on the subject and the simple fact that I could write a post so passionately about a subject i love was just a  Fantastic Experience, an experience i look forward to doing again.

So we have finally arrived at my Personal Favourite Post. While I have enjoyed writing almost every post I have written to date, this post stands out to me as My Best Post.

Godzilla 1954 - Present

1. A Brief History of Godzilla (100th Post): When I was fast approaching my 100th post, I wanted to do something very special for such a magnificent milestone, so I decided that I would do A Brief History of Godzilla. It was the last Tuesday of my time at Teesside University, I woke up at about lunchtime and because I had nothing to do for the rest of the day, I got stuck straight in. I watched videos on the subject from many places on the web as well as using my own personal knowledge on the subject. Over the course of about 5 hours I wrote about 3 pages of work and it was after attending the final Teesside CU of the year I got back into writing. I loaded up pictures into the post of other monsters as well as posters from the series. It is a post that I enjoyed writing every paragraph, sentence and word of. Even after all this time from me posting it to now, it is still my Favourite Post.

So we have finally reached the end of this enjoyable look back through the history of my blog. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and the blog and all those who continue to do so on a regular basis. I both hope and invite you all and anyone new to come back soon for more Fantastic Posts. Thankyou.

GENEPOOL





Attack Of The Giant Moth – Mothra vs Godzilla

5 07 2012

Out of all the Godzilla films made this is regarded as one of the best, and I agree, it deals with many issues in the world including nuclear testing, ownership of objects, the environment and Giant Insects. If you had an insect problem in your house you could easily ring up someone to come and deal with it, but what would you do if the insect is almost 100 metres long and weighs 25000 tons?

Mothra 1961 - Present

Mothra vs Godzilla came out 10 years after the original Godzilla film and so is a sort of celebration, and what a celebration it is. The film is produced once again by the big four consisting of Ifukube, Tanaka, Honda and Tsuburaya and is the third film in the series to have a Monster fight in it. The previous year of course saw the release of King Kong vs Godzilla, well for this film another Toho Monster was used, Mothra. Mothra previously had her own film in 1961, but since making her debut in the Godzilla series not only became one of Toho top 5 (Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan and MechaGodzilla) but became one of the companies most loved and most well used monsters, she holds the most wins over Godzilla, and if you have still not figured it out yet, yes Mothra is a Giant Moth.

The film begins with a massive typhoon; the following morning while work is being done to clean up the area News reporter Ichiro and photographer Junko find something strange in the wreckage. Meanwhile at a fishing village a monster egg has been discovered. The villagers decide to keep it under the idea that it belongs to them. While Professor Miura studies the egg he is interrupted by a business man called Kumayama who has bought the Egg and seeks to turn it into a tourist attraction. Ichiro, Junko and Miura are disgusted at this and discuss it at a hotel, just as Kumayama checks in. Kumayama goes to see the head of happy enterprises Jiro Torahata. While the two are discussing the idea, 2 little fairies turn up and ask them to return the egg; they instead try to capture them. The fairies escape and meet up with Ichiro, Junko, and Miura. The fairies tell them that they have come from Infant Island, an island that has suffered from Nuclear Testing. The egg itself belongs to Mothra and the egg must be returned as soon as possible because the baby Mothra inside the Egg could cause a lot of damage when it hatches in its search for food. The fairies tell them that Mothra is nearby and wants their help too. The three people then see Mothra through the bushes nearby.

Miura, Junko and Ichiro go and see Kumayama and ask him to give the egg back and also show him the fairies, which he instantly recognises. He tries to buy the fairies but the three people leave. The three people try to come up with ideas of how to give the egg back to the people of infant island, but the fairies decide to leave with Mothra. Due to the lack of interest in editorial pieces about the egg, Ichiro gives up. At this point Junko arrives and tells them that Professor Miura wants to see them. They enter a containment area and are sprayed by strange purple gas, Miura tells them that they thing they discovered in the wreckage is incredibly radioactive. The three go to the site of the wreckage which has now been cleared up and don’t find any radiation. A couple minutes later, while taking some photographs Junko notices the mud moving, Miura checks the radiation level and finds that there is a lot of radiation in the area of the moving mud. Eventually Godzilla appears from underneath all this mud (this shows that the mysterious thing is part of Godzilla’s flesh and that when it was discovered by Ichiro and Junko they were standing a short distance from him). Godzilla proceeds to attack Nagoya.

Junko and Ichiro along with the professor head to infant island to ask for Mothra’s help. When they get there they see the destruction caused by nuclear testing, they are captured by the islanders and are told by the chief they cannot ask for help because they failed to return the egg and because of the nuclear testing on the island. The three of them go and see the fairies and they refuse to, until Junko talks and really argues the case for asking Mothra’s help. The fairies talk to Mothra, who agrees to help although it is likely that Mothra will die because she has almost reached the end of her life. Back in Japan the military build large electrical pylons to use against Godzilla. Kumayama ends up broke from his venture and tries to steal money from Torahata, who shoots him only to be killed himself as the hotel is levelled by Godzilla. Godzilla heads towards the egg, possibly to destroy it but then Mothra shows up and fights him. Mothra initially gets the upper hand and almost beats Godzilla, But Godzilla uses his Atomic Death Ray on Mothra’s head and she flies to the egg and dies when she lands on it.

The Military attempt to deal with Godzilla in a 2 stage plan and almost succeed until they get way ahead of themselves. The fairies and the island natives sing for the egg to hatch and 2 caterpillars come out of it. Godzilla attacks a local fishing village and heads to Iwa island where a party of school children are stranded. The caterpillars go to attack Godzilla while Ichiro, Junko and Miura go and get the children, they are successful and the 2 caterpillars successfully wrap Godzilla in cocoon string as he falls in the sea. The children are returned to the mainland as the 2 caterpillars and the fairies return to Infant island.

The films cast is a good mix of characters. The film’s human villains, Torahata and Kumayama are nicely played by Kenji Sahara and Yoshifumi Tajima. They do look like gangsters in the way they are played but also can play the crowd to the point that you just don’t like them, Kumayama in particular looks and acts like a fool, which he is. The character of Junko is a good supporting character but only makes a few independent pieces. The same actress would appear in Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster the following year but not as the character of Junko but as a completely different news reporter. One of the real privileges though is Hiroshi Koizumi who plays Professor Miura. His part is a more noble character filled with wisdom and more level headed in a situation. This is Koizumi’s second role in the Godzilla (Godzilla Raids Again being the First) series and would continue to star in another 4 films, usually playing the role of a professor. He actually returns to a similar storyline in the 2003 film Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. which has a similar plot involving Mothra. A couple of other good roles in the film include the island chief on Infant Island (Akira Tani) and the Japanese Military Commander (Susumu Fujita). Both of these characters show that commanding presence that the characters are and are two memorable characters even if they are not the main characters.

It is interesting to compare Mothra from how she looks in this film to how she looks more recently. Of course back then they did not have the same technology as we have today but the original effects are still pretty amazing. By using something real, it appears to be real and can easily captivate the audience. The same goes for Godzilla, this is one of my favourite and best well-remembered appearances for the King of the Monsters. His scenes where he is attacking cities are nicely made with some scenes showing him in the background and some in the foreground, you do get a sense of scale with something like that. His attack on Nagoya and the castle is nicely made as well. The scenes where the military attacks him with the tanks, aircraft and pylons are some of the best in the film, the best of which in my opinion is the night time one where tanks are moving in to attack something but you don’t realise until the camera pan around that they are not far away from him. These are some of the best military attack scenes in the whole series. One way of showing how much technology has moved on is in the way of animatronics, particularly on the Mothra twins. When you consider the mouths in this film they just open and spray but in more recent films you could see a lot more detail in the movement. There is also the Egg to think about which is nicely detailed in both as a miniature and large pieces for close ups but if we were to look at the Egg from Godzilla vs Mothra 2 we could see a lot more detail in it. For me though the best monster scenes are the scenes involving Godzilla.

Akira Ifukube’s pieces of music are great for this film. Sometimes in the film series pieces are recycled from previous films with not much new stuff but in this there appears to be several new pieces, almost as if the whole thing has its own independent soundtrack except for the Theme for Godzilla of course. The military sounding pieces work very well with the scenes that it is used while the pieces that are set on Infant Island have the nice sense of mystery, and Mothra’s theme when she is first sighted as a sound of shock and mystery, almost like going “What is that”. One thing that should be pointed out of course is the music sung by the fairies which would become a theme by itself for Mothra and in most films involving Mothra would make some kind of appearance in the soundtrack.

Mothra vs Godzilla is a Great film and you can see why fans of the series like it a lot. It has a great group of characters, Great Monsters, Great Fight Scenes, Great Military Scenes, a Great Soundtrack and Great everything really. It is another on of Ishirō Honda’s films which has his sense of Storytelling and makes sure it does not go too fast for people new to the series while still keeping fans entertained. There is nothing more to say about it than it is A Great Film and a must see for Everyone and I mean Everyone.

 

GENEPOOL








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