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My Year with Godzilla
#11
I've watched Gojira 54
Mothra, Godzilla vs Mothra and King Ghidorah (doesn't this also feature mothra and Rhodan?) which are a decent little trilogy.

Then probably 97, 2014 and Shin Gozilla, and Planet of the monsters on Netflix,  I was going to watch the second one but Ive since changed my mind.

It's always been my intention to watch more of the classic TOEI movies but I just end up wasting my days doing nothing lately.
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#12
I'm gearing up for my new year with kaiju, finding more books to expand my knowledge. 'Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda' is a good one, as is 'Monsters are attacking Tokyo'. I've also discovered a host of documentaries of YouTube which I've saved: 'Hail to the King: 60 Years of Destruction'; 'Directing Godzilla: The Life of filmmaker Ishiro Honda'; 'Godzilla: It came from Japan' and others.

I'm also looking for some more bonus films to watch along the way. Through my reading, it seems that a few early films were inspired by other US films: 'The beast from 20000 fathoms' influenced 'Gojira', 'Them!' influenced 'Rodan' and 'The War of the Worlds' influenced 'The Mysterians'. I've actually seen all of those before, but will rewatch them prior to their Japanese counterparts. I was wondering if anyone knew of other films that may pair well with the Japanese ones on my list. 

Finally, here's a list of books I intend to buy/borrow over the next year. If anyone knows of any other good kaiju-related books/comics, please let me know. Cheers.

The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies: The Lost Films - non-fiction
A Critical History and filmography of Toho’s Godzilla series - non-fiction
The Sons of Godzilla: From Destroyer to Defender, From ridicule to respect - non-fiction
The Kaiju Film: A critical study of cinema’s biggest monsters - non-fiction
Terror of the lost Tokusatsu films - non-fiction
Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - non-fiction
Shambling towards Hiroshima, James Morrow - fiction
Godzilla: The Half-Century War comic
Making of Godzilla
Skull Island: The Birth of Kong comic
Godzilla Awakening comic
Godzilla Aftershock comic
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#13
I forget what it's called, but my father told me about a detailed book about the Godzilla franchise that he read a while back, I'll tell you what it is when I get the chance to ask him.

Also, if you want more bonus films, I would propose adding some more King Kong films. Even though only the three already on your list connect to Godzilla, the original is always nice to re-watch, and I've heard the 70s version is fun. 
I believe Ultra Man directly fought a bunch of licensed Kaiju, albeit with slight alterations (I think I read that Godzilla is given a collar?)  You could add some episodes of that to the list.
I can't think of any other movies or shows worth adding, but I'll keep you updated if I think of anything. Also, Frankenstein Conquers the Earth, I watched it not long ago, and it's pretty great.
Mega Man is best game. 
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#14
Thanks for the tips. 'King Kong' films seems like a good suggestion - I have all of them, I think (the original, 'Son of', the 1976 version, 'King Kong Lives' and the Peter Jackson version, plus the ones already on my Godzilla list). I'll add them in as I go along.

In the meantime, here's my first BONUS film:

'War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya' [1942]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Eiji Tsuburaya did the special effects.
Subbed or Dubbed? Subbed

This Japanese war propaganda film celebrates the first anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by recreating the run-up to the event through the eyes of a new recruit. The first half covers his training (marching, rowing, sumo wrestling and rugby, surprisingly) and emphasizes the Fighting Spirit of the Japanese soldiers at every opportunity. Going up against superior technology and experience were no excuse - Spirit is the key. As propaganda, this was probably effective at the time as the squad leaders are seen to be firm yet kindly, sort of like tough motivational speakers. Recruitment must have been sky-high.

The second half gets to the attack itself, which is recreated through the use of Tsuburaya's miniatures. The effect is extremely convincing (the later attack on British warships off Singapore slightly less so). In an interesting touch of realism, Japanese commanders listen to the radio, picking up a live US broadcast from an Hawaiian nightclub as the planes advance, gauging whether the attack has been successful. The planes fly to a theme similar to 'The Ride of the Valkyries'. As they search for British warships off Singapore, their fuel is depleted, leaving the option of returning to base or continuing with the mission. No guesses for which they choose.

There is little in the way of story here, but that probably wasn't the point. Even through Western eyes, the characters are sympathetic, although the scene where the pilots are laughing about what is in store for the unsuspecting dancers at the nightclub is disconcerting. As a slice of history (Japan's devastating defeat was still 3 years away) it's a fascinating film, and as an early look at early Japanese special effects equally interesting. I can quite imagine Criterion picking this one up in the future.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#15
I've updated my list, adding in a few more related films/TV shows as bonuses. Looking forward to starting this and hope that some of you might be inclined to join in or at least enjoy some of my reviews.  Smile
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#16
To pump myself up for 'My Year with Godzilla' I rewatched a classic South Park episode. S01E12 "Mecha-Streisand" has always been a personal favorite. When it first aired in 1998 me and my dad went bananas, and we rewatched it a bunch of times. Looking back on it now it still holds up (in my eyes) despite the fact that Season 1 South Park is G-rated compared to current episodes. How can you not love this wacky Kaiju spoof? Barbara Streisand as Mechagodzilla, Leonard Maltin as Ultraman, Sidney Poitier as Gamera and Robert Smith as Mothra. No doubt when I watch some of these Kaiju flicks I'll be thinking of this episode.


P.S.
"Disintegration" is the best album ever!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this forum post do not represent the views of Fanedit.org or the Administrators. 
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#17
BONUS: 'The Beast from 20,000 fathoms' [1953]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Cited as inspiration for 'Gojira'

Although not the first giant monster film, 'The Beast from 20,000 fathoms' from the US is often credited as being the direct inspiration for the following year's 'Gojira' from Japan. It's not hard to see why. Nuclear testing in the Arctic by the US government awakens the titular prehistoric beast, which proceeds to cause destruction and mayhem along the East coast. Whereas Japan's film utilizes 'suitmation' (ie. a man in rubber costume), 'The Beast...' features incredible stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen, the first film in which he took sole reins of the special effects.

'The Beast...' doesn't waste any time getting to the action, showcasing a nuclear blast, dinosaur and avalanche within the first 15 minutes. The film then sets up what would become a set pattern for monster movies, perhaps, with recognisable characters. There's the dashing leading man, the attractive female sidekick, the older expert/scientist, the military bigwigs, etc. Paul Christian plays the handsome scientist having difficulty persuading his skeptical colleagues that a previously long extinct species is headed for New York. Maybe it's his accent. (Christian was Swiss, and his Germanic tones are explained in a throwaway line of dialogue.) The good Dr. Thurgood Elson (a wonderful Cecil Kellaway) is a little too quick to believe the preposterous scenario on the flimsiest of evidence, but nevertheless rightly stakes his reputation on it.

However, the plot is immaterial as the real star is the dinosaur. The creature moves smoothly, with none of the sometimes jerkiness of stop-motion. The mix of animation and actors is adequate on the whole, and some scenes are incredible for its time, notably the attack on the lighthouse. Like many films of its day, the movie ends rather abruptly on the inevitable climax - were 1950s audiences in such a hurry to head for the exits? Still, it's a highly enjoyable 80 minutes, and the perfect appetizer for 'Gojira' later this week.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#18
Week 1: 'Gojira' [1954]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes
Sub or Dub? Sub

Those more familiar with the later Godzilla movies - bright, colourful spectacles, often poorly dubbed, with increasingly ridiculous foes - may not recognise the sombre tone of the original 'Gojira' as being from the same stable. Although there is plenty of rubber-suited foot-stomping of miniature cityscapes, the film has a surprising depth to it, more concerned with the terrors of nuclear war and its aftermath.

Nuclear testing off Japan's coast unleashes the terrifying monster, which locals fear is the 'Gojira' of legend, one that would deprive their seas of fish and could only be sated by a human sacrifice. When it becomes clear that the beast is immune to regular deterrents due to its irradiated state, opinions divide as to the proper course of action. Dr. Yamane, renowned paleontologist (Takashi Shimura) believes the creature should be studied, despite the obvious devastation it is creating. Others, including his wannabe-son-in-law, feel only a new secret weapon can stop further calamity.

The subtext of the destructive power of nuclear testing and bombs is never far from the surface. The film begins with a ship becoming the unwitting witness to a nuclear test (the real life 'Lucky Dragon No. 5 incident'), and characters later reference the irradiation of tuna (again, factual) and previous evacuations of cities. The fact that this film was made less than a decade after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gives it a poignancy in these scenes that only a Japanese filmmaker could have achieved.

If you came purely for the effects, you would not be disappointed. Godzilla himself looks pretty good, especially against a burning city. Miniature houses look better than some of the moving models, and the juxtaposition of actors and giant beast are effective. The acting is also good overall, Shimura being a stand-out, but also the young love triangle being handled delicately by the cast.

Atypical of the later giant monster movies, 'Gojira' is a delight - thoughtful, moving, beautifully executed with impressive effects. I wonder, is it mostly downhill from here..?
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#19
BONUS: 'Lucky Dragon No.5' [1959]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla Connection: True life event that helped inspire 'Gojira'
Sub or Dub? Sub

In March 1954, the fishing vessel Lucky Dragon No.5 is caught in the nuclear fallout, known as 'The Ash of Death', following a US H-bomb test at Bikini Atoll. The crew quickly develop symptoms of radiation poisoning and are transported to Tokyo hospitals for treatment. This film recreates the events in a touching manner, highlighting the confusion of a simple community caught up in an international affair.

As expected, the Americans are not depicted as particularly cooperative in this film. The crew at first keep quiet about what they have witnessed, scared that they will be arrested as spies (which they were indeed accused of). As news of their condition leaks, the US government are shown as mostly silent observers, offering help on their own terms and refusing to divulge secrets of the bomb tests that could help the Japanese doctors treat the victims.

The acting is superb, especially Jukichi Uno as the radio operator who is most affected by the fallout. Early scenes aboard ship prior to the explosion highlight the camaraderie, claustrophobia, boredom and teasing amongst the crew, and elements of light humour occur throughout what is otherwise a serious and frankly depressing film. A jaunty theme tune, played often early on, masks the later horrors as the crew suffer blackening of their skin (a point of embarrassment rather than concern to begin with), blisters and loss of hair.

A great anti-nuclear film and perfect accompaniment to 'Gojira'. Highly recommended.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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#20
Film #1 - Gojira (1954)
Subbed or Dubbed? Subbed

This is the greatest classic monster film for two reasons. Simplicity and quality. The writing is excellent, with fleshed out characters who speak intelligent dialogue. The story isn't convoluted, the plot is based off real-life incidents and concerns about nuclear radiation. The special effects still hold up after 60 year. This is such a wonderful piece of cinema and I'm glad that I'm finally going through with watching all the sequels, spin-offs, remakes and whatnots. Sadly, it's mostly downhill from here...

5/5
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