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My Year with Godzilla
#51
I'm pretty sure Godzilla did not come about naturally. Is he not a being born of pollution and whatnot? He literally has radioactive breath, that's not natural. I can't say for sure about the others. Actually, as I'm typing this, I realize that Godzilla himself is not on the list, so nevermind. Even then though, I'm pretty sure Gigan is part synthetic machine.
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#52
BONUS: 'Gorgo' [1961]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: UK's answer to Godzilla

Pretty routine but nicely done monster movie from the UK, mixing elements of Godzilla with King Kong. Gorgo, a prehistoric sea monster, is unleashed by the sudden appearance of an erupting volcano off Ireland, of all places. It is swiftly captured and transported to London as the prize exhibit in a circus. Unfortunately, it turns out that Gorgo, the 65' giant, is actually baby Gorgo, and 200' mum is none too pleased at the separation. Off she goes to get him back. Stiff upper-lipped destruction ensues.

This was pretty entertaining and better than expected. The acting - Bill Travers and William Sylvester (Dr. Floyd from '2001') take the lead roles - is good and the underwater photography works well. A monster movie lives or dies by the effects, though, and here we have a mixed bag. Mother Gorgo lumbers through London like a drunken tourist, taking in (and destroying) well-known tourist sights - Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus. The destruction is not up to Toho Studios standards, but is close. The Gorgos themselves are OK, though the constantly snapping jaws make them less believable. The giant models of the creatures are excellent, though. 

The British extras prove to be just as adept at running from unseen menaces as their Japanese cousins (or Danish, when comparing 'Reptilicus') and get into the spirit with extreme relish. I wouldn't be surprised if some first aid was required.

I watched the VCI blu-ray and there is an interesting restoration video, showing how much effort was put into restoring the image. It still looks grainy as hell, but the colours are at least closer to nature.
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#53
Loving this thread!!!

I eagerly await your review of this classic....



Tongue Big Grin
"... let's go exploring!" -- CALVIN.
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#54
BONUS: 'Gappa: The Triphibian Monster' [1967]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Quasi remake of 'Gorgo'
Sub or Dub? Sub

There is nothing particularly original in this film by Nikkatsu Studios, their only kaiju entry. The film borrows heavily from 'Gorgo', as well as the films that 'Gorgo' rips off too, but is nevertheless a pleasant albeit forgettable way to pass the time. We have another volcanic island, another hatched monster, another greedy businessman ready to exploit it on the mainland, and two angry parents intent on rampant destruction to track him down. There are more black-faced natives, whose exhortations are ignored, and a happy reunion too.

The Gappa family are giant aquatic reptilian birds, not unlike Rodan in design, and are OK. The miniatures are pretty good, from a former employee of Toho Studios, and rip off some 'Rodan' shots too, though any moving vehicles break the spell. The underground home of the Gappas is excellent, though. Scenes of a tsunami ripping through a town is also well done, but despite viewing this only last night, I can't recall anything else memorable about the film. It had a pretty catchy theme tune, though; that I do remember. Sounded like something Tarantino would purloin.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
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#55
Week 8: 'Mothra vs. Godzilla' [1964]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes.
Sub or Dub? Sub

It was a dark and stormy night. A typhoon rips across Japan, laying waste to a coastline and summoning forth a mysterious giant egg. While greedy impresarios (are there any other kind in these movies?) quickly seek to exploit the new find, a more dangerous giant is lurking buried in the sand. When Godzilla finally awakens, our heroes rush to persuade Mothra's tiny fairies to have her defend them from the radioactive beast.

'Mothra vs, Godzilla' successfully continues the legend of Mothra, featuring the natives of Infant island and the two fairies, and weaves it into an entertaining Godzilla sequel, my favourite so far. So much effort appears to have been spent in making the film big, colourful, fun and - as far as a fantasy can be - realistic that it's easier to overlook some of its flaws. At the risk of sounding repetitive in these reviews, the effects are very well done - from the giant egg, to Godzilla himself, his dramatic entrance and the obligatory destruction that results. The script touches on the effects of nuclear testing again but has lighter moments - I enjoyed the egg-munching sidekick journalist especially.

Unfortunately, I'm still not a fan of the Peanuts, the twin singing fairies, and felt the film dragged whenever they were on screen. Plus they're creepy as hell. Whenever they look at each other silently, I'm reminded of the sisters from 'The Shining'. I just don't trust them.

Mothra's younglings manage to dispatch Godzilla in a rather comically bizarre manner (this after she drags the poor beast by his tail and showers him in her wing-dust) - and when will the humans learn that Godzilla can't be stopped by electrical wires, no matter the voltage? Move on from that idea. Seriously. Still, everything wraps up nicely within a tight 89 minutes, safe in the knowledge that all concerned will live to see another battle very soon.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
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#56
Film #8 - Mothra vs. Godzilla

Those bugs kicked that lizard's ass!

3.5/5
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#57
BONUS: 'Daimajin' [1966]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection? Daiei Film's other giant threat
Sub or Dub? Sub

Daiei, better known for their 'Gamera' series, also made a trilogy of films concerning a large stone statue that comes to life to right wrongs. Set in Feudal Japan, the film opens to a coup, forcing the former lord's children to escape into exile within the scared mountain. Ten years pass, and the now-grown children seek revenge on the brutal overlords, summoning the great Daimajin to help.

The film succeeds more as a period film than a kaiju film; the sets, location filming and costumes are all excellent and help build a realistic world. The story isn't exactly complex and the acting can seem a tad hammy at times, but it's enough to draw you in. It takes a long time to reach the inevitable climax, that of the statue coming to life, and is almost too little too late. Recommended for the period setting, but otherwise an inessential addition to the daikaiju genre.
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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#58
Week 9: 'Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster' [1964]
Is Godzilla in it? Yes.
Sub or Dub? Sub

Kaiju Assemble! A mysterious meteorite crash lands in - where else? - Japan, later revealed as - what else? - an egg, birthing the three-headed space monster, King Ghidorah. Meanwhile, an exotic princess is hypnotized en route to Japan, becoming the mouthpiece of a Venusian Prophet, warning the world of Ghidorah's destructive tendencies. Meanwhile, Godzilla resurfaces, as does Rodan, and Mothra is indirectly summoned via a where-are-they-now TV show... Will Godzilla & Rodan stop bickering long enough to join forces with Mother Mothra to defeat King Ghidorah? Have you ever seen a film before?

'Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster' is completely bonkers. As I was watching it last night, I couldn't decide whether it was brilliant or a total mess. It's certainly entertaining; I just don't know whether it's 'good'.

If more equals better to you, then you will undoubtedly enjoy what I shall term "G3HM". There are more monsters for a start, and hence more battles. Yet here is where I began to suspect I was watching the beginning of the end of the 'Gojira' Godzilla. Godzilla here is not a mindless force of nature with a brain probably the size of a walnut. The Godzilla in 'G3HM' is a petulant brat, squabbling with his sibling Rodan, 'laughing' at Rodan's comeuppances and having sulky "It's so unfair!" moments. Fortunately, Godzilla, Mothra & Rodan speak the same language, which can also fortunately be translated by the creepy fairies, who get to sing new songs and share more silent knowing glances. Instead of sending Godzilla & Rodan to their rooms to have a time-out, Mothra (in larvae form) decides to guilt-trip the pair into helping by going off to fight the new golden beast herself.

If sub-plots are your thing, 'G3HM' also has you covered. The now-zombie-like Princess is pursued by assassins, for reasons I didn't catch, but provides the film with human villains in case a three-headed golden space monster isn't enough for you. Takashi Shimura turns up again, this time as a psychiatrist who risks his license by suggesting that, yes, the extraordinarily beautiful Akiko Wakabayashi, probably is possessed by a Venusian and not insane at all.

'G3HM' is lots of fun and is best viewed with a heavy suspension of disbelief and an uncritical eye towards the absurdity of it all. I mourn the Godzilla of old, however. It seems we hardly knew you.
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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#59
BONUS: 'Return of Daimajin' [1966]
Is Godzilla in it? No. Godzilla connection: Sequel to Daiei Film's other giant threat
Sub or Dub? Sub

Did you see the original 'Daimajin' film? Congratulations - you've just seen 'Return of Daimajin' too. Daiei Films made a trilogy starring the same giant god within the same year - an impressive feat until you realise they probably made the same film three times (I have yet to see 'Daimajin Strikes Again' but I will take that bet).

The plot is virtually identical: warring clans, one oppresses the other, oppressed leader escapes, victorious clan attempts to destroy Daimajin, leader is captured, woman beseeches Daimajin to help, Daimajin awakens, swift righteous mayhem ensues. Rinse and repeat.

Again, the production values are high - the sets look great and the acting is slightly better. There is a wonderful 'Ten Commandments' moment as Daimajin parts the water in the lake as he emerges. Yet it all adds up to... nothing much. Daimajin gets slightly more screen time here but still takes almost the entire length of a film bearing his name before he does anything. It's frustrating as the premise and the look of the films are good. This could have been so much better.
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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#60
Film #9 - Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster

[Image: giphy.gif]

This is exactly what I've been waiting to see, a bunch of raging monsters having an all-out knock-down battle for glory. My favorite Godzilla sequel so far.

3.5/5
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