Friday, April 30, 2021

Mortal Kombat (2021)

Thank God this movie wasn't absolute horseshit like that trailer.

Now you're expecting me to say it's the best Mortal Kombat movie to date. Nope. I can't even explain why I didn't like it, now I must set a disclaimer. I did not hate it. I thought it was average. I can't even discern what angle the filmmakers were going for, they didn't make another practical remake of the original film, they didn't make it an all out fight fest plot be damned, now you think I would be thrilled that it wasn't another movie where a buncha' fighters take a boat to an island like yesterday when I gave good grief for the animated movie treading familiar waters. But here's the thing, there is no tournament. At all. The plot follows new character Cole as he's very much slapped into this world of magic, creatures, and abilities as he meets up with various characters and has to learn his special abilities to fight in the tournament. The tournament that never even begins. Oh sure you get your fights and your gore, but there's no real semblance of beginning, middle, and end. Now I know. I know. This film was in production at a very uncertain time, and while the effects are done okay the story needed revisions. Several revisions. Now the characters are done well, there were a few I didn't know but the ones I was familiar with were played by good actors and it got the basics right so I have no complaints there. The effects look good, though Goro looked just flat out like Hulk from The Avengers except with 4 arms. But the designs worked for me with tons of love going to Scorpion and Sub-Zero giving a proper update from the 95' film. And I must admit the film never really got me pumped though the fights are decent, but really the highlights were at the beginning with Hanzo and at the end with Scorpion, those were done very well. But it just kind of fell flat for me, it's an okay movie and I have no problem seeing the second but this is totally a rental not a theater experience. It really is sandwiched between the two other live action films which some may consider bad but it's purely logical. Annihilation got a 1 for f***'s sake and the original got a 7, that's a wide berth. So this gets 2 stars, 6/10. Christ this really was a rocky week of quality, with the first Mortal Kombat movie being the best still for me with Scorpion's Revenge coming in second. I can scarcely believe that and I just wrote the damn thing but man that first film is better than most would give credit for, and I wouldn't mind adding it to the movie collection at all. So sort of a disappointing end to the month but there are always possibilities and opportunities in the future. So give this a watch if you're hardcore for Kombat or just want to judge it for yourself.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge

I'm sort of split on this.

Now the concept of an R rated animated Mortal Kombat film is by no means a bad idea, I think the execution of it is performed very very well here. However, I'm more split on the plot elements. The story is sort of a hybrid of a Scorpion origin/standalone film mixed with the 1995 movie, and I genuinely wasn't expecting that. I fully anticipated a pure Scorpion movie, and while I don't need to fully know who Scorpion was before he was killed and returned as a specter I don't mind the story given with Hanzo and his family being killed and it's his quest for revenge that brought him back to life. That's cool, that could so easily be a film in and of itself, you get the backstory, you see him battle his way out of hell, craft his new persona, and seek vengeance on Sub-Zero. Beautiful, perfect! But then we just do the 95' movie again, with some variation of course, but I feel it was almost entirely unneccesary. Now if you wanted the original movie to have the ludicrous amounts of gore of the modern games then you are going to adore this movie. The blood is almost comical in it's absurd cartoony fashion, and the x-ray bits are clearly for the demographic who plays the new games, it's without a doubt the Mortal Kombat film for this generation. But every other aspect besides plot is really good, the animation is clean with a few good nods to anime thrown in, the voice cast is super good, music once more is decent, it really is just the nitty gritty details of the story that I'm not all for. Including one, I swear to God, it really made zero sense whatsoever and I feel was there just for the sake of a twist. It is beyond stupid, it almost makes me long for the plot points of Annihilation. Now granted those plot points were bullshit, but for the movie they were contained in it worked. Here, what the actual f*** were you on? I will say this however, in just one week I have garnered so much appreciation for Sonya than in 26 years of living, I'm serious once again she comes out as the best character for me. Which is odd because, not that I ever disliked Sonya, but my mains in the few games I played from most favorite was, Baraka, Reptile, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Noob Saibot if he was unlocked. I'm not even touching on Annihilation with how they handled Baraka. Look at how they massacred my boy. But we're in a happy place now, a gruesome, bloody, action packed, f***ed up happy place. So I would have to give this movie 3 stars, 7/10, not what I expected but neither was I disappointed. So I hope this week appeased my viewers and the elder gods, and tomorrow we wrap it all up with the new movie.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Mortal Kombat Annihilation

What a heavy load Einstein must have had. F***ing morons everywhere!

I'm in a bad mood, like what an absolute waste of 90 minutes and 3 dollars, both of which I will never get back. I don't need to tell you this movie is a dumpster fire, anyone with a brainstem can witness that and testify to it. That was the one thing I did not like in the first Mortal Kombat was they sequel baited it at the end, and one of the only few good things I can say about this movie is that it picks up right where the last movie ended. Now I pose this question because my knowledge of Mortal Kombat is basic, harboring on adept, is Shao Khan the emperor of Outworld? Cause that's who Raiden said turned up, and I'm not sure. But anyway so he pops up bringing with him a cabal of nearly every villain up until Mortal Kombat 3, leading Liu, Katana, Sonya, and a healthy dose of new characters to stop him. I will now disclose the 3 things I liked about this movie, we actually get a Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero fight which was missing in the last which was kind of a bummer but I didn't mind much, and the fight goes for a decent length here and easily is the best fight in the entire movie. The soundtrack isn't bad with good tracks, with of course Techno Syndrome still the main theme. And Sandra Hess as Sonya Blade, I'm not joking she actually did really really good in this movie, and I have zero issue with Bridgette in the first film but her performance was 99% pouty and pissed off, but Sandra is the best actor in the film for my money, giving a lot of humor and warmth for lack of a better word, she's awesome. Everything else, what. Like man when even my technologically inept ass could probably make a better fan made Mortal Kombat movie in terms of special effects and costumes, I really have no words. I have seen bad CG, many a time in fact, this might be the worst. I mean wow. Everything is so slap dash in this f***ing movie, literally every aspect, I'm almost positive there was a blood sacrifice to Azazel for this movie to even hit theaters. Yes, this was theatrically released. Not direct to VHS which is how I saw it when I rented it from Blockbuster when I was probably 12, and I don't remember liking it even back then. I like the scene with Jade, though I'm positive that was for more specific fact every guy in this movie hits on Jade. You need to get laid filmmakers. I just...I'm so done with this movie. I was done with it 5 minutes in, if you honestly sit through this longer than 5 or 6 minutes and you don't have to review it like me, superhuman endurance man, like proper incredible feats of patience and acceptance. Death is only a temporary moment of displeasure for true peace. Just watch Cinemassacre's Rental Review, I'm done, I'm away. What did I give the animated movie? Like a 2 or 3/10? Shit. 0.5 star, 1/10, never again. Let's hope the new animated movie is good so we can get off the bumpy road of quality.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Mortal Kombat

Shit that still held up.

For a movie I haven't seen in about 15 years, I still liked it! And from my limited knowledge on Mortal Kombat it did pretty good, which is strange because Mortal Kombat in some form or another has been a part of my childhood. I played Mortal Kombat 2 lots on the Super Nintendo, played the arcade cabinets, and watched the movie despite me being roughly 10 years old. Hell I even remember how I saw this movie for the first time, I got my Nan to buy the VHS at a Sam's Club of all places and I think she knew about the game cause she asked what the rating was but I got it and I quite liked. But now I have a lot more appreciation for it, it genuinely truthfully is a pretty decent movie! It takes the basic plot, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade through various means are brought to the tournament of Mortal Kombat spearheaded by Shang Tsung and must fight for the sake of the world. Fairly accurate to the games. The first thing I gotta say is the production of this movie is excellent, even though the CGI is not quite good it's used when needed. The sets are outstandingly crafted, the cast does pretty good with lots of love going to Robin Shou and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa being the highlights of the cast, this soundtrack man, ho my gawd is the bomb dot com, no horeshit Jack. Just the amount of practical effects used must truly be applauded cause you would think oh it's CGI bullshit, it's so dense every single image has so much going on, they use it for anything and everything but that is far from true. This has honest to God effort in sets, choreography, acting, they wanted to do it as best as they could. Ooh but it doesn't have the blood and gore, oh it doesn't have an R rating, jabber jabber jabber, accept it for what it is. The filmmakers knew damn well the demographic was teens so they made a movie for teens to be able to go see, and shock twist everybody it made over $120 million dollars with an $18 million dollar budget so it did great in theaters and no doubt became a mainstay for video rental stores. And trust in me when I say, you get your money's worth of fights, in Street Fighter there was hardly any but here my God, after 40 minutes in it's practically non-stop fighting, it gives some preamble and explanation to this world then is all out martial arts. I have to praise the actors cause they just flat out did it all, they were trained for extensive fighting and they do pay it off. Now obviously some are more seasoned fighters than others but that doesn't take away from the effort of these actors. I mean I couldn't do 1/10th of the moves they pull, it's mighty good stuff! I was just so pleasantly surprised with the quality, and urge people to watch it again if you haven't already. 3 stars, 7/10! I wish...God how I wish I could say with all of my might the next one is just as good. I'm getting depressed just thinking about it. Tomorrow, I will face annihilation.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins

What a way to f***ing start this week!

Oh man, this...this brought back some stuff. So how does one describe The Journey Begins? Shite. I mean that's the easy way at least, but you have this direct to video project that is this mighty bizzare mix of 3D and 2D animations, essentially being the cliffnotes version of Mortal Kombat to get you prepped for the big movie. Except for the fact the movie hit about 10 days before this. Friggin' whoops apparently! How do you mess that up? It even has some behind the scenes footage with cast interviews and stuff at the very end, so you would think this would come out like a solid 2 weeks before the film. I'm sorta dumbfounded at that. The story is this pseudo-prequel/parts of the original movie/ buncha' bullshit you never saw. It starts on the boat where Liu, Johnny, and Sonya are heading for the tournament as they come actoss these characters and learn the backstory of the actual Mortal Kombat tournament. And this is where the 3D animation comes in, and it's not good. I mean not. Good. But it is fascinating to see because they used motion capture for it, and such technology was in it's sheer infancy, I mean even in Two Towers it was still being perfected but they did such a good job with it. And boy howdy, you better f***ing believe I thought this was the most high tech, cool, state of the art shit you ever seen. I rented this tape a good fair amount of times in my youth, and the 3D CG fights were my favorite part. I'm so happy I waited until a more mature, seasoned, and intelligent me started writing reviews. In fact even the animation style is so unheard of, they used 3D backgrounds and environments that look much worse than a Nintendo 64 game but still animated the characters in the 2D style. So you have this hilariously jittery, poorly tracked, flat out garbage animation trying to interact with a 3D world. They had no budget for this, they blew it all on CG wonder, they barely had animation cells to film a scene. It's that special kind of cheap animation where they constantly reuse bits and pieces and the lip syncing makes Godzilla movies look masterful. I simply cannot wrap my brain around why this exists. I know I didn't exactly have a warm reception to the new Mortal Kombat trailer but I think it is extremely safe to say we are on an upward spiral. It's not getting worse than this. No way. Absolute tripe. Thank God you can watch it for free on the YouTubes, because I have wasted money on a bit in my life, but I'm not wasting it here. 1 star, 2/10, I somehow have nostalgic memories of this but it does not hold any sway this time. Watch if you are morbidly curious or are still part of the Kombat Klub. Movie coming up tomorrow on a very special day so stay tuned for more.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Terror Of Mechagodzilla

Excellent ending shot for the entire Showa series.

It's a real shame that this is the most least succesful Godzilla movie to this day, cause it is a decent ending to it all. The year is 1975, Godzilla has been on screens for over 20 years, and the energy crisis has hit Japan leading Toho to make just one more Godzilla movie. And in that time and place in the world it was the last, the Heisei series didn't pick up until 9 years later so for all intents and purposes this was the final Godzilla film. It was the final film of the series directed by Ishiro Honda, and was also the final appearance of Akira Takarada playing one more scientist role. The story follows a marine biologist who is sent to investigate the appearance of a dinosaur named Titanosaurus, while Mechagodzilla is rebuilt and both forces start to take on Japan. The strange part is this film is the first and only entry to focus on a romance, sure there have been couples and young people going out but it's never been this prominent and in the foreground, with our biologist Ishinose falling in love with Katsura the daughter of the scientist who discovered Titanosaurus. It's not a terribly good romance, Ishinose just seems completely whipped for this lady with little provocation and the story of Katsura is quite tragic and apparently this was only one of two Godzilla movies that had a female who wrote the screenplay, and had a good amount of the story focused on Katsura. So the human story is decent, I don't like it as much as the first Mechagodzilla movie but it does work. Seeing the opposite of what happened in the last movie with Godzilla in a big handicapped match against two other monsters is really good stuff, though the monster action isn't very abundant. It does however have the best Godzilla entrance ever, fight me this is no hot take, I'm right. It never fails to get me pumped and ready, it is all the awesome and greatness. And while the box office was lacking big time, the production is very well done and does not feel like just another average Godzilla movie to cap off the series. It truly was great fun to go through all of these movies, and I'm kinda sorta tempted to do a ranking list just for the fun of it tomorrow, I just really loved talking about all these movies. But for this one I'd give it a solid 3 stars, 7/10! And now that I have done over a month of talking about nothing but Godzilla it's time to move on, but very much like the ending of this film it's just a break before we return again to the empire of the rising sun with the king of the monsters surveying all in his domain. And it has come to my attention today that a certain movie just hit theaters and to apologize for my lateness, get ready for a week of MORTAL KOMBAAAAAT!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla

I may jump the gun but this is the best Godzilla movie of the 1970s.

It was 20 years after a genre, a metaphor for nuclear destruction, and the king of the monsters was born and Jun Fukuda went out swinging on his last Godzilla film. The plot concerns a statue being found at an excavation site and with it a prophecy of monsters, and I'll give you a buck if you can guess what I'm gonna say next. Aliens. Yes, another anonymous sect of extraterrestrials have created Mechagodzilla to destroy Tokyo. Why? Aliens. How did they build Mechagodzilla and why did they model it on a heroic monster? Aliens. Why does it move so fluidly in Godzilla camouflage and yet ultra robotronic without it? Aliens. It's like the Godzilla form of "It's magic, you don't have to explain it.". Granted it's the best Mechagodzilla design still to this day, and you get yourself a mighty fair dose of action. Hell there's enough explosions to put Infra-Man to dishonoring shame, my God they actually had a budget! You see what happens Toho? This is what happens when you have a budget in the effects Toho! Very well done on the suits, miniatures, action, and boom. Can't forget about the boom. And as we come to a close on 2/3 of the Godzilla series, I've yet to see a truly bad human story, the one aspect every fan wishes was simply not there. Now is there a gradient of human stories? Absolutely. But this is one of the best. You can tell a good human story by looking at the impact the characters have on the kaiju stuff. They are influencing events constantly, attacking the aliens, aiding Godzilla, summoning King Caesar (Not my favorite Caesar though.), relaying the prophecy. They put good effort into all of this and it shows. It's certainly the most bloody of any Godzilla movie I've seen, for a movie rated G and to have literal arterial spray at least 3 times is sort of shocking. I feel this is where the demographic for strictly kids ended, and that was a fair stint of 4 movies in a 15 movie series. And it all culminates in the best end fight since Destroy All Monsters, excellent use of effects, explosions, and brawling, a truly memorable highlight of the entire series. So it's no secret I love it, but really I haven't had any negative feelings towards any of these movies and I doubt that will occur with the final Showa entry. 4 stars, 8/10! Mechagodzilla will return. In the meantime I strongly and highly recommend Brandon Tenold's YouTube channel, he makes great reviews and his Godzilla stuff is engrained in my memory. So check it out and it all ends tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Godzilla Vs. Megalon

The only Godzilla film in the public domain, and probably the reason why these films never quite caught on here in the States.

Do I personally think this is one of the most notorious and poor entries in the Godzilla series? Actually no, it's wild and certainly could be considered the black sheep of the Showa series but I enjoyed it for what it is. The story centers around an inventor named Goro who somehow, I wish I knew how, independently created a robot named Jet Jaguar who gets swept up in a plot of underground humans, a bug kaiju, and quite possibly the most iconic tag team duo in history. The film was originally supposed to be all about Jet Jaguar as our hero but thinking it wouldn't perform well, Toho added Godzilla and Gigan to try and up the box office profits. Now you can tell that from watching the movie, Godzilla really only shows up for the big fight and a brief scene where Jet Jaguar and him meet. I don't have a huge problem with that but it is kinda silly for a movie named Godzilla Vs. Megalon. But I think Jet Jaguar is awesome, the design is unapologetically 70s, the concept was very much based on other heroes like Infra-Man and Kamen Rider, and the fact that a child designed Jet Jaguar for a competition and got to see his creation on the big screen is pretty amazing. It's a shame Haruo Nakajima bowed out of the role in the last film, I honestly thought he was there until the end of this era but Shinji Takagi does mighty well giving personality and power to the king. But yeah, this movie is kinda weird when you step back and look at it. Not at all to say the production is bad, the cast does decent work, the production design is cool, you can tell and the special effects director at this time Teruyoshi Nakano said so too, that the effects crew working on this put a lot of work into it. It's such a shame the budgets for the effects got so limited, I can't even imagine trying to make all this work with a genuine inadequate amount of money, and I just have monumental respect for the effects creators of these movies and more importantly this genre, even if it wasn't flawless. The final fight is worth it, it's pretty awesome in it's own outrageous way, with plenty of explosions, tag team moves, and one of the most absurdly hardcore badass moves ever put to cinema. I can't obviously speak for audiences in 1976 when this was released to the States, but they pretty much shit on this movie. Now I know the climate of viewing cinema has changed, and all for the better I say, but if I watched a piece of japanese cinema about giant monsters fighting even if it was hacked to hell in editing, I couldn't bad mouth it. But the stigma this movie got transcended generations even to this day, if you tried to sit someone down to watch a Godzilla movie from the 60s or 70s they would probably object due to the quality. Oh it's a rubber suit, oh it has dubbing, blah blah blah, it drives me up the wall. Do I blame this movie? Hell no, it has a cult following all of it's own, with lots of it's own idiosyncracies that makes it so popular whether in a positive or negative light. And if you're wondering what camp I reside in, I can recite almost the entirety of the Jet Jaguar song. I rest my case. 2.5 stars, 5.5/10. Final two coming your way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Godzilla Vs. Gigan

We are truly in the tail end of an era.

Jun Fukuda returns once more to direct in Godzilla Vs. Gigan, a not half bad entry in my eyes. Though you can tell the production was just as low budget as similar films of this period, I can't say this movie is at all bad. The plot once again features aliens from outer space but has one of the most interesting of twists to it. An illustrator for comics is contacted to work for a theme park that is building a Godzilla tower but treachery is afoot as oopsy daisy my employers are aliens, as they bring down King Ghidorah and newcomer Gigan to tear stuff up leading both Godzilla and Anguirus to stop the menace. Yeah, it's an original if nothing else stance on invading aliens. They come from a planet in the Space Hunter Nebula M (God I love terms like that) very similar to Earth hence their plans here, but they also have perception filters so they look human but are actually space cockroaches. Freaky, but props to keeping it fresh and unpredictable. Gigan also is a strange creature, with a Cylon eye, hooks for hands, and a buzzsaw on it's chest, an instantly recognizable and memorable foe for such a hacked and slashed budget. The plot focuses more on the humans but once again in a twist, for the last roughly 30 minutes of film it focuses mostly on the monsters fighting, with brief scenes of the humans. That's never occured. I think the longest kaiju fight up until this point was the stand off in Mothra Vs. Godzilla, cause you get the winged version and the 2 babies at the end. So it's one of the best entries if you want prolonged fight sequences. Granted there is a fair amount of stock footage from Ghidrah, Destroy All Monsters, and even Son Of Godzilla, but it's really not a lot. I do find it hard to rate though, because while I do not consider it sub-par I also don't think it's very good either. I'd give it a solid 2 stars, 5.5/10, and we only have 3 left. But the next one might not be so great either, so join me tomorrow for Rex Dart eskimo spy!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Godzilla Vs. Hedorah

You know guys it just dawned on me how kinda weird this film is you know? It's kinda trippy.

Ummm, so this certainly was a Godzilla movie. It had the roar and everything. nothing. Yoshimitsu Banno's only directorial effort in the Godzilla series and the one disliked the most by producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, Godzilla Vs. Hedorah or the more generic term The Smog Monster is one of the most simultaneously fascinating entries and bewildering entries. The plot is primarily more about an issue than character dilemmas or intense sequences of events, specifically pollution. Back in the 70s there was a huge appraisal of the situation where the Earth was ecologically, reports were coming in of massive amounts of airborne pollutants in urban areas and littering was quite possibly a bigger deal than it is now. So Banno took a page out of Honda's book and wanted to make a Godzilla movie to bring up the issue, which is admirable, it really is I mean it was an issue in 1971 and still pretty rough today. I have no problem with that, but good God the movie is such a bizzare, odd, and all around unusual sequence of events that makes Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas seem resoundingly normal and even logical. So Hedorah I originally assumed was a monster bred by mass pollution, but found out just to make it even more surreal, that it originates from the one place that isn't corrupted by capitalism. Space! And thusly it goes on a rampage with Godzilla right on it's heels, who gives a hoot and wants to put an end to this putrid kaiju. There's too many odd occurances and moments to even fractionally bring up, all I can say is it's weird. And you know me, you know my tastes, so trust in me when I say this shit is out there man. I mean far out. Needless to say it wasn't well received when it came out but in recent years has gotten a serious second look at and a lot of people respect it for how bonkers it is which is fine. Even I can't say I hate it, but I'm far from loving it. While the effects are done quite well, with multiple forms of Hedorah to play about with and it has such a fascinating but properly disgusting design, and the film is shot well even with the menagerie of abnormalities in it, the music ain't pretty. It's like the one bad thing I can say about it, now I quite like the opening titles which is so transparent in it's Bond-esque presentation but the song is good. It has some psychedelic rock tunes thrown in which I personally love, but the rest just further cements how unashamedly wacko this film is. I almost urge people to watch this more than other entries of the Showa period just so not only can you experience the film, but just attempt to come to your own conclusion. I'm seriously blanking on a rating right now, so I must deduce my stance based on my ratings of the other films. Do I like it more than All Monster's attack? Objectively, no. But neither do I hate it or think of it as a shoddy production. I think I'm just gonna have to give it a solid 2 stars, 5/10, smack dab in the middle. Do I suggest you watch the film on any substances? A drug person can learn to cope with things like seeing their dead grandmother crawling up their leg with a knife in her teeth. But no one should be asked to handle this trip. No sympathy for the devil. Buy the ticket, take the ride, best of luck.

Friday, April 16, 2021

All Monster's Attack

One of the most attacked entries in the series, and was my personal favorite when I was young a long time ago.

I have a lot to explain and unpack. As I stated before, I haven't seen a lot of the Showa series. Before I started the Criterion set I only saw maybe seven, and you may know of this DVD set when I talk about it but when I was very young, I can't have even been 9 at the time I begged my Nan to buy this Godzilla set. It included Godzilla, Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Godzilla's Revenge, Terror Of Mechagodzilla, and as a bonus included Rodan. I was a big Godzilla fan and watched those DVD's countless times, but my absolute favorite was Godzilla's Revenge or All Monster's Attack as it's known in Japan. It's been nearly 20 years since I have watched it and it brought back a lot of memories, and I want to go on the record and say the japanese version is not bad. Not with a capital N. The english trash. Turrible, it's turrible. Stick to the original. The story follows a young boy named Ichiro who is a huge kaiju fan and is pestered by a group of bigger kids, he doesn't have many friends and spends time daydreaming about Monster Island where he can hang out with Minilla and Godzilla. Ishiro Honda directed this surprisingly, but brings his analytical eye to a rising thing that was occuring in Japan at that time that is still felt today. In the movie Ichiro doesn't spend a lot of time with his parents, his dad is a train conductor and his mom is a hostess, and most days after school he's on his own. Looking back that says a lot about why this was my favorite, it was very relatable to my life. I did have bullies, I did spend lots of time alone, I was a Godzilla fan, I did spend days after school on my own at the house even at such a young age. It wasn't a problem at all and I certainly don't hold grievances with my mom about it, nothing bad ever happened, but it was the way it was. Plus this had the most monster fights, sure now I know it's blatant stock footage from Ebirah and Son Of Godzilla but I had no idea those movies existed until later so this was my first exposure to Ebirah, Kamacuras, Kumonga, even that condor thing. I thought it was awesome! So I truly cannot hate on this movie even now after my own tastes and sensibilities have changed, because I remember it in such a positive light. I like the real world stuff with Ichiro, just seeing life from the perspective of a child at that time and place in the world is so damn interesting. The new monster stuff isn't bad though it is very scarce in this barely over 1 hour movie. Yes, you read that right. The total runtime is 1 hour and 9 minutes. But let me tell you, it did not feel that short back then. I did miss that wild ass jazz intro for the opening titles, but no matter which version you see that song will get stuck in your head for a minute, and the lyrics contain a subject that will be explicitly abundant in the next film. This movie, believe it or not, has a lot of thought provoking stuff, more so about social situations than anything. The film brings up bullying in a less intense fashion, and you could see the resolution of it in either a positive or negative way. Personally I was just thinking how much the world has changed since this movie. Parents whether single or married were working more, leaving kids to themselves at home, that's probably more prevalent now than ever. There's a throwaway line about a computer that could do homework, back then it was wishful thinking but now? Holy f*** how far we have come! The fact that Ichiro is looked after by a neighbor who actually invents toys is so different, I mean around that same time when I was that age I think the notion hit America that you need to keep a closer eye on your kids in that day and age especially if you were in a big city like me, I don't think I could trust my neighbors to look after my dirty laundry let alone a child. Geez, watching this movie has brought a plethora of different thoughts and memories to me, and I can't lie and have to admit I did enjoy my viewing of it after all this time. It's no masterpiece, but a pivotal part of why I am a Godzilla fan to this day, and I must pay it my respects for that. 2.5 stars, 5.5/10, and now we start winding down with only five entries left to review. Walks down memory lane is the only exercise I get.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Destroy All Monsters

Yes the "final" entry in the Godzilla series. Short but sweet I'd say.

I mean would Destroy All Monsters be the grand epic finale if it really was? Eh, it does a good job but it's no surprise that because this movie did so well the studio did a 180° and started cranking out more Godzilla movies. It's the last dream team entry of the entire series from Showa to Reiwa, Tanaka is producing, Honda is directing, Ifukube composes, and Tsuburaya does effects, and it really does show. I know some people give this movie a bit of flak because it's not the monster royal rumble but in all seriousness the pacing was excellent, for an hour and a half movie it barely feels like an hour long. You do get a good moderate amount of Kaiju action, from military scenes, to city destruction, to the big fight, so they got their bases covered and all is done very well. The story takes place in the futuristic year of 1999 where mankind has set a base on the moon, technology is pretty close to where we are now, and all the monsters have been rounded up (Somehow?) on Monsterland. But all goes to hell pretty quick when the Monsterland outpost is attacked, in such a fashion I was half expecting Cesar Romero or Frank Gorshin to be behind it, but no an alien species known as the Kilaak's have plans on what else? Taking over the world. OF COURSE! They quickly take control of the monsters and start an international attack on major cities, Rodan in Moscow, Mothra in Beijing, Godzilla in New York yes it's way better than the 98' version, leading the humans to thwart the aliens once more. Again, not a horrible plot though heavily similar to Invasion Of The Astro Monster, but I am happy the series continued on past this. The plot focuses more on the human aspect but it's not at all dull, there's always something going on whether it be shoot out's, new developments on the human's plans, space travel to the Kilaak base, it keeps you engaged. The monster stuff is handled very well too, with a greatly improved Godzilla suit, you get all new monsters added to this series that have been in other Toho movies like Varan and Baragon and Manda, the destruction scenes are good but of course the major highlight is the fight against King Ghidorah near Mt. Fuji and for good reason. The kaiju have their own unique attack styles, the fight goes for a decent length, it's hardly fair for Ghidorah and he gets curb stomped to death, it's good stuff. This movie easily has my favorite of all the opening titles so far, which is just an excuse for me to say Akira Ifukube is a master of his craft. Though the plot is familiar there's enough there to not just dismiss it as old hat, and you can tell every aspect got some serious attention in production. Some people say just watch the end, but I very much advise against it because it is a solid entry. I give it 3 stars, 7/10, and we are more than halfway there. 6 to go, and another step towards a lifelong goal will be accomplished.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Son Of Godzilla

Quite a leap from decimating Tokyo and being an allegory for the most horrific weapon in existence.

All good jests aside, Son Of Godzilla while massively divisive in the States didn't showcase the worst of this series. I put it on par with Ebirah, and urge everyone to see it just to find out where you stand. The story once again goes tropical with a team of scientist's working on a weather machine to influence food growth for the world, but apparently they never knew the premise of Geostorm otherwise they would have ended the project, but if that wasn't enough multiple kaiju are found on the island. Of course you have Godzilla and his probable son Minilla, but you also have giant preying mantises, and a spider that would put Tarantula to shame. Now I need to say, while the setting of the movie was purely for cost effectiveness because of the budget which is no bad thing I mean studios have shot films in local places for decades, just look at Vasquez Rocks and Bronson Cave, and the monster suits are pretty good. I seriously have no clue how they pulled off Kamacuras and Kumonga, because it's not your average man in suit technique which makes me think it's pure wirework but they do such a good job with it that it seems there is far more to it, once again showing even in the lesser renowned entries in the series that these special effects are an artstyle as much as just an effect. It's praise worthy for sure. Though I will admit the Godzilla suit is my least favorite of the series thus far, and Minilla while going through phases showing his growth isn't horrible, it's kind of easy to pick on this being the least good design of Godzilla's son. Now I've heard tale Minilla is quite well recieved in Japan but here in the States it's a true love or hate situation, do I feel it was entirely necessary? Nope! Even the writers really had no clue what to do next so they were throwing anything that would stick. Despite Toho being the most world known Japanese studio besides perhaps Studio Ghibli, they were on hard times in the late 60s through the 70s nearly going bankrupt. The Godzilla movies from Ebirah onward were made essentially to keep the studio in production because of how succesful they were with audiences, more so children now at this point, so I somewhat see the decision to appeal to as many kids as possible to keep tickets selling. But you can tell even with less than great entries it was never a cash cow for Toho and they still put a lot of effort in it. I think the human story is kinda interesting, the new monsters are good additions, the interactions between Godzilla and his son do work and you can tell what's going on through visual storytelling and physical acting, I even kinda like the relationship thing going on between Saeko and Goro Maki (yep the same name from both 1984 and Shin Godzilla, guess Hammer wasn't the only studio guilty of renaming protagonists), so I can't genuinely say this is a bad movie. You need to be in a specific mindset but I didn't mind it much. It's a kaiju family film and I can appreciate that somewhat. 2.5 stars, 6/10, the supposed end is near next time.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Ebirah Horror Of The Deep

Or Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster if you want the late night cable version.

I know people consider this to be one of the lesser Godzilla movies but I don't think it's bad at all. True it focuses primarily on the human characters, more so than usual even, with a man named Ryota searching for his brother lost at sea before the weather started getting rough and the tiny ship was tossed before setting foot on an island used for creating nuclear weapons. Soon he and his companions find a woman from Mothra's island and very soon Godzilla as well. So it's a matter of evading military forces, avoiding Godzilla, and trying to find a way past Ebirah the eponymous sea monster. Most Godzilla movies have about half if not 60% of the runtime devoted to the human characters, but here I'm almost willing to bet 85% of the runtime is devoted to the human characters. You don't get a lot of monster action or fighting until the last quarter of the movie. Originally this was supposed to be a King Kong film and it seems abundantly clear when you take that fact into consideration when watching the movie, but my question is would Mothra still be a part of the movie to get everyone off the island? Now why they swapped Kong for Godzilla is beyond me, he still has a lot of traits of the Toho King Kong and I don't mean the 30s japanese King Kong, and I do feel it would have worked better with the ape. This happens to be a significant entry not for plot elements but production elements, this is the final Godzilla film to feature Akira Takarada who's been around since the first film until the Heisei series, this is the directorial debut of Jun Fukuda in the Godzilla series who will pop up more as we go along, it's the first Godzilla movie not to have Eiji Tsuburaya doing the special effects since he was heading his own special effects company though I would say the effects are on par for the series, and both the adult Mothra and the twin fairies also wouldn't be seen till the Heisei series. So quite a few events to take note of for an entry that's less than good. It's not horrible by any stretch, the pacing is decent, the cast does well I even strongly approve that there is zero romance subplot with Daiyo, the plot though scarce of monster action isn't the worst I've seen, but I think it's safe to assume this is a definite skip in the filmography. 2 stars, 5.5/10, and we get a divisive entry in the series next time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Invasion Of Astro Monster

Or pick whatever title you want, Monster Zero, Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero, it's a dime a dozen for these Godzilla movie titles.

Out of the Showa era, this is probably my favorite of the King Ghidorah entries. Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster was good, do not get me wrong and you could argue this could be a remake of that movie with a lot more sci-fi in it. The year is 196X, yeah back when movies had to be vague and stuff like this could actually happen, two astronauts voyage to a previously unknown planet orbiting Jupiter brilliantly named Planet X, we get one more and this will be the first Godzilla movie with a XXX (hoo-hoo), where an alien species makes first contact with Earth and requests their assistance. The aliens are attacked by Monster Zero or the kaiju formerly known as Ghidorah, and they want both Godzilla and Rodan to defeat it in exchange for the literal cure for cancer. We're not science fiction we are in fact, science fact over here at Toho. This movie was released in 1965, man had not yet landed on the moon but we're taking manned flights to Jupiter. I would be 86 years old and we still wouldn't have gotten to that point. Hell Star Trek wasn't even out yet, those 60s was the space age man. I was very happy to rewatch this movie again and to see it in it's native japanese was really nice. One curious thing to note is an american actor, Nick Adams was put in the movie for better international releases yet this is the only occurence at least in my memory that such a thing has occured in a Godzilla film. And even more so strange, he was dubbed in the japanese version which okay fine this is the edit for audiences in Japan, but that's never occured in another movie. I expected english audio with perhaps japanese subtitles, like when I watch something like Shin Godzilla with the japanese audio but english subtitles. Huh, how about that. I watch these to fully experience the performances sans dubbing, and yet I get dubbing in the original version. Blows my mind man. But enough of that, how's the rest? Pretty good, performances are really good, I like the designs of the spaceships and aliens, it's really friggin' cool to see Godzilla fight in outer space, I mean this is the movie that gives us the Godzilla victory dance for crying out loud, it's just a fascinating entry. And while the alien invaders plotline will get so dull even you'll want me to say something else happens, and this is where stock footage is first used albeit sparingly, I can't give this movie any good grief. It's solid, they play their cards right and still make a entertaining, special effects heavy, monster movie that doesn't go too weird or too quick. Keep in mind, weird is highly relative when it comes to this show. 3.5 stars, 7/10, and the directorial chair will be swapped out for Jun Fukuda next time.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Godzilla Raids Again

Yes, we're doing this. I got the Criterion collector set.

Released just 6 months after the original, Godzilla Raids Again is a unfortunately average entry in this series. Which sucks to say because the original is like a 9 if not a 10/10 film, it's a masterpiece. But here? Well let's talk about it. I genuinely did get to thinking before I ever watched this movie, who had the idea to make a sequel to Gojira? I mean it had a pretty strong definitive ending, so who gave the green light to make another? I think that's the most interesting thing about the Showa era is to find the reasoning as to why the series kept going on. Well I sort of have an answer, apparently the executive producer of Toho, Iwao Mori heard of the huge success the first film made and told long time producer Tomoyuki Tanaka to make another. That's right they pulled a Son Of Kong, ironic that the international re-release of King Kong inspired Toho to make Godzilla. But boy that's a decision that changed the scope of cinema forever. The story this time around is two air pilots discover an island where not just another creature of Godzilla's species is found but a mutated Ankylosaurus dubbed Anguirus, who in future films is a trusted ally but here a bitter rival. And that's basically it, the humans try to find a new way to handle Godzilla and minimize damage to Osaka while he battles another monster. Now I'm not going to judge the first kaiju clash, the crew members barely figured out how to make Godzilla work let alone a new monster suit which also had to fight one another. I respect it for introducing such a concept and trying their best to make it work. Which they mostly do but there's no way of getting around it, they goofed hard on production. The camera crew was supposed to undercrank the camera so you would see the appropriate speed for the monsters, but they didn't so when you see Godzilla or Anguirus on screen they move in real time, it's not slowed down to where they look like they are huge monsters with significant weight to them. It literally looks like two guys in suits scuffling in a model city. Yes that's what it is, but there is an art for such special effects, and it's not here. Sometimes it looks totally fine but this does add to the more "cheap" quality of the film. I genuinely don't think it's bad, but there are elements I dislike. Which is two aspects, but they are big important aspects. First is the music, the score is subdued at best with hardly any music throughout, now if this was a film made in 1932 I could forgive it because sound in movies was new, but here it's blatantly obvious. The only scene where it works effectively is when they show news footage from the 54' film where Godzilla levels Tokyo, it makes sense why it wouldn't have sound you needed actual equipment to capture sound back then so if only the footage survived it only makes sense there's no sound recordings with it. But the biggest issue and what drags this movie down so much is the pacing and the movement from scene to scene. This feels more like a film from the 1940s when it comes to the human scenes, they have the full gambit of a romance scene, a scene set in a club with a lounge singer, and even a big group laugh scene and spoiler alert, none of it feels like it's connected to a giant monster movie. They even have this fraking bizzare sequence where for 5 minutes we follow these escaped prisoners from a convoy in the middle of a monster fight scene. Are you real right now?? And it is horrendous writing at that because I know the filmmakers were like, "We need to get Godzilla back on land somehow, how do we do it?" so like the prisoners steal a car, with really noticeable jump cuts as the police pursue them, they crash the vehicle into like a factory or something, everything blows up, and Godzilla sees the mass of flames and goes to it. That is the most bullshit writing I have ever seen in a Godzilla movie. What the fu-, oh my God! I'm absolutely speechless! The best part of the entire movie isn't even in the movie, it's in the english dub, this is the movie that has the line banana oil. Find this clearly early 2000s documentary, it's called It Came From Japan and you will hear George Takei bring this up. It's amazing. And thank God that Toho broadened their horizons and did stuff like Mothra and Rodan before getting back to Godzilla cause they needed time to actually work out a movie. This is a definite skip in the annals of Godzilla history, I'd give it 2 stars, 5.5/10, but they came back swinging with King Kong Vs. Godzilla so balance was achieved. Now we gotta jump alllll the way to Invasion Of The Astro Monster, go read the previous reviews and I'll see you back here next time.