If this is your first time here please read our FAQ and Rules pages. They have some useful information that will get us all off on the right foot. More details on our policies, especially our Own the Source rule are available here. If you do not understand any of these rules send a private message to one of our staff for further details.

My Year with Godzilla
Week 31: 'The Mysterians' [1957]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Features kaiju Moguera, later to appear in the film 'Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla' and 'Godzilla Island' on TV.
Sub or Dub? Sub

Japan is under attack! Motorcycle-helmet-wearing aliens arrive, demanding Lebensraum and conjugal access to local women. Japan declines; war inevitable.

This 1957 Ishiro Honda film features some impressive effects for its time - notably the earthquake and landslides, reused in later Toho films - but the plot, bar one element, is routine. I'd read that 'The War of the Worlds' was an influence on this film, and I'm glad I watched that first as it did have a similar feel to it, as far as I was concerned. 'Forbidden Planet', another cited source of inspiration, is less apparent here, though some of the composite work and mattes were vaguely reminiscent.

The fact that the Mysterians explicitly wish to mate with Earth women is a bizarre twist that doesn't really go anywhere, except give the menfolk an opportunity to save damsels in distress. Lots of familiar Toho regulars are sprinkled throughout, making a nice palate cleanser after so many so-so Heisei films in this year-long project of mine. A semi-sequel, 'Battle in Outer Space', was released in 1959 (to be reviewed in two weeks).
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
Week 32: 'Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla' [1994]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes.
Sub or Dub? Sub

The One With Godzilla's Evil Twin. From Space.

'Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla' has so many callbacks to other films that it's hard to keep up sometimes. Baby Godzilla (or 'Little Godzilla', as termed here) returns, looking more cat-like, as does Mothra, looking much, much smaller, and Moguera, last seen being destroyed in 'The Mysterians'. (Considering that so many other elements of this film are referenced with dialogue and flashbacks to other movies, it's odd that no mention is made of the possible connection between the two Mogueras.)

SpaceGodzilla is a product of Godzilla cells being sent into space via Biollante and Mothra (nice use of continuity) then subjected to radiation from black and white holes. Naturally, this produces a Godzilla-like kaiju with giant crystals on its back. Actually, SpaceGodzilla is one cool looking monster, with an impressive sneer. With several competing projects to either destroy or control Godzilla in progress, Japan must decide how best to stop the threat of SpaceGodzilla and/or the earthbound one.

'Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla' is a silly yet fun sci-fi fantasy. Megumi Odaka returns as Miki the psychic, in her largest role yet, and is amply backed up by a strong cast, most notably Akira Emoto as Yuki, a no-nonsense rogue soldier with a Godzilla grudge. His laidback, deadpan portrayal is among the best acting in a Godzilla film I've seen in a long while.

There are some great battle scenes, utilising more face-to-face fighting than the usual beam wars. Model work is acceptable, and I noticed the score more than normal, as it sounded suspiciously like that from the Bond film 'You only live twice'. The third act drags a little, but overall this was a well above average Heisei feature.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 3 users Like Garp's post
Reply
I'm already making plans to watch this with my older sibling after reading this review.
Mega Man is best game. 
[+] 1 user Likes jrWHAG42's post
Reply
'Godzilland' [TV] [1996]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes.
Sub or Dub? Sub

'Godzilland' is a Sesame Street type TV show for the very young, helping them with mathematics whilst indoctrinating them into the world of Godzilla. I could only stomach one half-hour viewing - on subtraction - which featured a human-sized, talking Godzilla sharing cupcakes with a pretty young girl who teases him about his 'girlfriend', Godzilly. Cut then to some simple cartoons, in which a much younger set of kaiju (think 'Muppet Babies') play and figure out how to share apples using subtraction. Lots of notable monsters on display - Mothra, Baragon, Anguirus, King Ghidorah, Moguera and MechaGodzilla, who gets into trouble by being a bit too aggressive with Godzilly, leading the others to think she's being kidnapped! Rather bizarre overall. For completists like myself only.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
According to Wikipedia, Godzillaland was initially a trivia show to promote Godzilla vs Mothra, and then Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II, and the educational incarnation came later. The trivia show seems like it would be more enjoyable. I'd be interested in checking out the educational series though, to help learn Japanese. According to YouTube, the best way to learn the language is to watch Japanese shows without subtitles and pick up on the context. I presume a children's educational show would be best, it helped Bruce Banner learn Portuguese in Incredible Hulk.
Mega Man is best game. 
[+] 1 user Likes jrWHAG42's post
Reply
Week 33: 'Battle in Outer Space' [1959]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Loose sequel to 'The Mysterians'
Sub or Dub? Dub

Aliens from the planet Natal have colonised the moon and are mind-controlling humans as a precursor to invasion. The UN gather to discuss the threat, deciding to send two rockets to earth's only natural satellite to destroy the would-be invaders. Little do they know that a mind-controlled astronaut is amongst their number...

I was hoping to like this one, having gained some enjoyment from its spiritual predecessor 'The Mysterians'. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into 'BIOS' at all. The film is very slow, very talkie and very, very light on characterisation - roles, dialogue and action could be interchanged without losing anything here. This film felt much more like 'Forbidden Planet' in tone, just not as good. The Natal aliens are unseen for majority of the film, being only a formless inner voice to the mind-controlled, and are laughable when finally encountered - clumsy, grabby entities probably played by children.

The effects are well-done, especially the fate of the Golden Gate Bridge and an unusual anti-gravity effect that sucks buildings apart. The rockets and vehicles have the 'Thunderbird'-type feel I like - they look hefty and well-constructed - but even the pew-pew stand-offs in the latter half of the film couldn't keep me interested, I'm afraid. I may be an outlier, though, as other reviews are generally good, so maybe I'm missing something. *shrug*
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
BONUS: 'Gorath' [1962]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Features kaiju Maguma.
Sub or Dub? Sub

A star 6,000 times the mass of the Earth is on a collision course with our home. There is no way to deflect or halt the unstoppable object, named Gorath. The UN's answer? Move the Earth instead!

This Ishiro Honda film apparently has similarities to the earlier 'When Worlds Collide' (which I have not seen) and reminded me of 'The Day the Earth Caught Fire' (which I have). The idea of using nuclear explosions at the South Pole to shift the Earth out of the way of a rogue star is ridiculous, yet is presented somberly and methodically here. 'Gorath' is very much in line with the previous 'Battle in Outer Space', being slow and talkie yet bests the earlier film in nearly every way. The characterisation and acting is better (lots of recognisable Toho favourites on show) and the effects are superb. In the standard of early Toho films, everyone seems to have a link somehow to everyone else, and there is an obligatory love triangle (albeit one corner of that triangle being dead).

There is a shoe-horned-in kaiju appearance, for no discernible reason - blink one too many times and you'd miss it - which goes against the serious tone of the rest of the film (and against the wishes of director Honda, apparently). All-in-all, though, despite the excellent effects (the climatic flooding being a highlight), I wasn't drawn to this one either. I'm not adverse to thoughtful sci-fi, yet for some reason there hasn't been enough to retain my interest in this loose trilogy of Toho space movies. A few years from now, far removed from this kaiju marathon, I shall return to these three and re-evaluate. For now, though, I remain underwhelmed.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
BONUS: 'The War in Space' [1977]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Features the warship 'Gotengo' (Atragon).
Sub or Dub? Dub

I had a feeling of deja vu whilst watching 'The War in Space' and it took me until the following morning to figure out why - much of this film is featured in the mash-up fan film 'Attack of the Galactic Monsters'. Even so, with its title and date of release, I was hoping for a fun 'Star Wars' rip-off. Except in one obvious aspect, I was disappointed.

For a start, this film isn't set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away; it's 1988 and on Earth. Aliens based on Venus are attacking us and we retaliate with the flying battleship 'Gohten', which is pretty much the 'Gotengo' from 'Atragon' (got that?) It doesn't matter, as this film is largely forgettable anyway.

The effects are pretty poor for a Toho film in the 70s, less impressive than the original 'Atragon' in the 60s. There's a contractually obligated love triangle, the result of which is so foreshadowed that a five year old could spot it, and some terrible masked aliens. One bright spark is the inclusion of a horned Wookiee, although he's no Chewbacca and gets dispatched far too easily.

I watched this two nights ago and nothing memorable stands out now as I write this. Seek it out if you must, but if I wanted to see a quick 'Star Wars' cash-in, I'd probably opt for 'Starcrash' personally.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
Week 34: 'Godzilla vs Destoroyah' [1995]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes
Sub or Dub? Sub

The Heisei Godzilla era ends with possibly the only logical conclusion to 40 years of kaiju destruction. 'Godzilla vs Destoroyah' hearkens back to the 1954 original and is one of the better 90s efforts because of it.

Godzilla is dying. His nuclear core is overheating, threatening not only to kill the beast but take out Earth when he succumbs to meltdown. In the meantime, scientists have discovered micro-oxygen, a modern version of the Oxygen Destroyer that defeated Gojira in 1954. This discovery leads to the creation of Destoroyah, first as a small trilobite-like creature, which soon evolves into man-sized spider-crab kaiju and finally a flying red xenomorth thing. Using Baby Godzilla as bait - now more like a teenager, dubbed 'Junior' - the Japanese forces lure Destoroyah and Godzilla to Tokyo for their final confrontation.

Like 'Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla' before it, 'Godzilla vs Destoroyah' leans heavily on continuity within the series, utilising recurring characters and scenarios from previous films. The biggest callback, of course, is the return of the Oxygen Destroyer, and the grandkids of Dr. Yamane. Also getting a look in are psychic Miki and Masahiro Takashima, here piloting the Super X3, after a similar duty in 'Godzilla vs Biollante' and Super X2. These could have felt like fan-service, crowbarred in awkwardly, but I thought it worked, giving a few characters a final curtain call.

The effects are good, with the pre-meltdown red Godzilla looking impressive. Destoroyah is obviously heavily influenced by the 'Alien' franchise, but I'm giving that a pass too. This film won me over, after too many draggy Heisei films in a row. It's a sombre film and one that's surprisingly capable of emotional manipulation, considering the ridiculous subject matter. Without spoiling too much, things tend not to end well for our major characters here, and the pathos is handled remarkably well, managing to skirt melodrama. As a finale - for the Heisei era at least - it does its job, and does it well.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 2 users Like Garp's post
Reply
BONUS: 'Godzilla Island' [1997] [TV]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes
Sub or Dub: Neither

'Godzilla Island' is a series of 3 minute episodes for kids, strung into story arcs. I watched about half an hour of these unsubtitled, undubbed shows and called it quits. OK, so I'm far removed from the demographic, and not understanding the language didn't help, but this show is probably not good regardless.

The premise, that I could make out (plus further research), is that Godzilla Island merrily houses the usual roster of monsters, overseen by a goatee-wearing guard and his floating yellow robot ball Lucas. When a UFO starts attacking Japan, some eye-candy for the Dads turns up, wearing tight colourful pleather, who helps him... do... stuff. I don't know. Apparently she has the ability to commune with the kaiju, but that part was lost on me as I watched it.

The UFO Captain is a holdover from 'Invasion of Astro Monster', being a Xilian (again, I didn't pick up on that at the time but can totally see it now). She is cute and cackles evilly for a lot of the time. Dads are batting two-for-two at this stage.

The main draw for the kids, however, are the easy-to-recreate-at-home monster battles. All kaiju are represented by toy monsters, shot so that you don't see the hands underneath maneuvering them into position. It's funny and endearing for the first five minutes, then the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Some stock footage, mainly from the Showa era, is also employed, but the majority of kaiju-on-kaju action is toy-on-toy. 

This must have cost Toho about $5 an episode to make, yet sold a boatload of toys (take that, He-Man!) and kids (especially the ADHD ones) probably lapped up the 3 minute stories. So, yeah, this exists and it's easy to find out there and is worth a perusal just to see the absurdity of it.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)