Godzilla: King of Monsters 2nd Official Trailer


Godzilla King of Monsters

This past summer we saw the first trailer to Godzilla: King of Monsters. To say that the reaction to that trailer was positive would be an understatement. It was one of the highlights of San Diego Comic-Con 2018.

Now, Warner Brothers Pictures saw fit to release the second trailer for the film. This time with less classical music and more Kaiju mayhem visuals instead. Michael Dougherty takes over directing duties from Gareth Edwards and this time it shows as the film stresses the action in the film rather than the human interactions underfoot.

Kaiju films have been fan-favorites for decades upon decades because of the monsters and less about the humans. The humans really were just there to give voice to the different factions of monsters duking it out. It looks like this time this sequel will follow the same formula.

Godzilla: King of Monsters is set for May 31, 2019.

Film Review: Destroy All Monsters (dir by Ishirō Honda)


Long before Marvel Studios convinced everyone in Hollywood that shared cinematic universes were the way of the future, Toho gave the world Destroy All Monsters!

First released in 1968, Destroy All Monsters featured almost every monster that every destroyed Tokyo.  As you can see in the picture below, this was a collection like no other.  Long before the Avengers, it was all about … The Monsters!

Check out the cast of Destroy All Monsters:

Some of these monsters are more identifiable than others.  Everyone knows Godzilla and I imagine that the majority of our readers can identify both Rodan and Mothra (who spends most of Destroy All Monsters in her larval form).  And, of course, that’s everyone’s favorite three-headed dragon, King Ghidorah, hovering in the sky.

As for the rest of the cast, they may be lesser monsters but, just like Ant-Man and the Falcon, they all have a role to play.  Up at the front of the group is Minilla, who is Godzilla’s bastard son.  Walking next to Godzilla is Baragon, who was the antagonist in Frankenstein Conquers The World.  The big snake is Manda, who previously appeared in a non-Godzilla film called Atragon.  The spiky armadillo is Anguirus from Godzilla Rides Again and directly behind him is Gorosaurus, who previously appeared in King Kong Escapes.  The big spider is Kumonga, who previously appeared in Son of Godzilla and apparently no longer wants to eat Minilla.  Meanwhile, up in the air with Rodan and Ghidorah, you’ve got Varan the Unbelievable from the film of the same name.

When Destroy All Monsters opens, all of these monsters (with the exception of Ghidorah) have been trapped on Monster Island.  Somehow, despite the fact that they’ve all tried to kill each other in the past, they’re now getting along just fine.  There’s a research station located underneath the island, where scientists can both study the monsters and keep them from escaping.  It seems like a great situation for everyone!  The monsters get a home of their own and the humans don’t have to keep rebuilding their cities.

But then, one day, all communication with Monster Island is lost and the monsters themselves start to pop up all over the world.  Rodan destroys Moscow.  Mothra takes out Beijing.  Gorosaurus totally destroys Paris.  Why doesn’t America step up to save the rest of the world?  Well, they’ve got problems of their own.  Just check out who has surfaced in New York harbor…

After years of exclusively destroying Tokyo, Godzilla has finally decided to visit New York City!  Of course, Godzilla ends up wrecking the place.  He specifically takes out the United Nations and wins the hearts of libertarians everywhere.

It turns out that, once again, a bunch of aliens have invaded Earth and are using mind control signals to force the monsters to attack humanity.  (After you watch enough Godzilla movies, you come to understand that this happens pretty regularly.)  While a team of humans try to figure out how to disrupt the control signals, the monsters are busy destroying every major city that they come across.

However, as the lead human points out, the monsters instinctively know who they’re “real enemy” is and it’s only a matter of time until they turn on the aliens.  The aliens, however, have a Plan B.  And, like so many intergalactic schemes of the past, that Plan B involves summoning King Ghidorah.

The appeal of King Ghidorah is obvious.  He’s got those big wings and those three heads and he breathes fire and he just looks like the type of monster that you would want on your side.  But, at the same time, I really do have to question the wisdom of continually trying to use Ghidorah to defeat Godzilla.  Ghidorah and Godzilla fought a countless number of times and never once did Ghidorah actually win.  He often put up a fairly impressive fight and he usually managed to knock around Godzilla’s friends but, repeatedly, Ghidorah proved to be totally ineffective when it came to actually defeating or even slowing down Godzilla.

That said, Destroy All Monsters just wouldn’t be the same without King Ghidorah.  Reportedly, this was originally envisioned as being the final Godzilla film and it’s kind of nice to see Godzilla hanging out with all of the other monsters.  Ghidorah and Godzilla may not have been friends but Ghidorah is still as important a part of Godzilla’s life as Rodan and Mothra.

Like most of the Godzilla films of the late 60s and early 70s, Destroy All Monsters spends way too much time on its human characters but, even if there isn’t as much as you might want, the rubber monster mayhem is still enjoyably silly and fun to watch.  All the monsters get together and play their role in saving the world.  Call it Godzilla: Infinity Wars.

Creature Double Feature 4: RODAN (Toho 1957) and MOTHRA (Toho 1961)


cracked rear viewer

Let’s begin “Halloween Havoc!” season a day early by taking a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun for a pair of kaiju eiga films from Japan’s Toho Studios. Both were directed by GODZILLA’s Godfather Ishiro Honda, have special effects from Eiji Tsuurya, and feature the late Haru Nakajima donning the rubber monster suits. But the similarities end there, for while RODAN is a genuinely scary piece of giant monster terror, MOTHRA is a delightfully bizarre change-of-pace fantasy that began Toho’s turn toward more kid-friendly fare.

RODAN was filmed in 1956, and released in America a year later by DCA (the folks who brought you PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE! ) under the aegis of The King Brothers . There’s more A-Bomb testing in the South Pacific, as Americanized stock footage tells us before the movie proper begins. Miners digging deep into the Earth’s crust are trapped by flooding…

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Film Review: Godzilla vs. Mothra (dir by Takao Okawara)


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Last night, I watched a marathon of Godzilla films on Chiller and, perhaps somewhat foolishly, I took it upon myself to review each film that I saw.  Following Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, I watched the 19th film in the franchise, 1992’s Godzilla vs. Mothra.

If you’ve seen any previous Godzilla films, you will not be surprised to discover that Godzilla vs. Mothra opens with a random ecological disaster.  A meteorite strikes the Earth, causing a mudslide on Infant Island that reveals a very large egg.  As you can probably guess from the title, the egg contains the latest incarnation of Mothra, the giant moth who protects human civilization.

And human civilization needs to be protected because that meteorite has also woken up Battra, another ancient insect that serves as a bit of an anti-Mothra.  Battra was created by the Earth to maintain a balance between the planet and the humans who lived on it.  Whenever the Earth feels threatened, Battra destroys the menace.  Unfortunately, mankind is now the biggest threat to the planet.

And, finally, when that meteorite struck, Godzilla was hibernating under the sea.  Now, Godzilla is awake and he’s not particularly happy about it.  One thing that I always find interesting about Godzilla films is that the film’s human heroes are always 1) so shocked to discover that Godzilla has woken up and 2) so incapable of tracking Godzilla down once he does wake up.  Seriously, how hard is it to find a gigantic lizard that breathes radioactive fire?

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Godzilla vs. Mothra has its good points (for example, the idea behind Battra is a fascinating one and, as is to be expected from a Godzilla film, the monster fights are handled well) but, for the most part, it’s one of the more uneven of the Godzilla films.  The film is maybe 10 minutes too long, the heavy-handed ecological message makes Godzilla vs. Hedorah look subtle and nuanced, it drags whenever the monsters are not on-screen, and, as far as the English language version is concerned, the dubbing is so atrocious that I almost suspect that it was done poorly on purpose.

But, that said, Godzilla vs. Mothra has one big thing going for it.  Mothra kicks ass!  Of all the various monsters that often play sidekick (or rival) to Godzilla, Mothra is my favorite.  (I even like her more than that armadillo from Godzilla vs. Gigan.)  Whereas the rest of the Toho monsters can never seem to decide whether they want to destroy the Earth or save it, Mothra is the franchise’s warrior queen.  She is the one who serves not only as the voice of reason but she is also usually the only one who can convince Godzilla to stop destroying Tokyo long enough to defeat the aliens or Ghidorah or whatever other threat has invaded Japan this week.  And, during those rare times when Godzilla ignores her (like in this film, for instance), Mothra puts him in his place.

Best of all, Mothra may start out as an ugly larvae but you always know that, halfway through the film, she’s going to emerge as a beautiful moth.  There’s a valuable life lesson there for all of us.

Seriously, Mothra — you go, girl!

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Other Godzilla Reviews:

 

Film Review: Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (dir by Shusuke Kaneko)


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In honor of the opening of the new American version of Godzilla, Chiller is showing a marathon of Godzilla films today. While I was out and about during the first few films, I did make it home and turn on the TV in time to catch Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out.

That Godzilla is one moody lizard!  Half of the time, he’s Earth’s protector and you can’t help but love the big guy, no matter how many cities he destroys.  However, whenever Godzilla is in a bad mood — well, that’s when you better start looking out.

2001’s Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack finds him in one of his bad moods but, at least he has an excuse.  He’s been possessed by the spirits of Japanese soldiers who were killed in World War II.  Convinced that Japan has forgotten them and their sacrifice, they are now determined to use Godzilla to get their vengeance.

Fortunately, there are three ancient guardian monsters who, once awoken, can protect the Earth from Godzilla.  Those three monsters are a dinosaur named Baragon, Mothra the giant Moth, and Ghidorah, the three-headed dragon with no arms.  With Godzilla attacking, it’s up to Ghidorah to save mankind and…

Wait a minute!

Isn’t Ghidorah supposed to be like the epitome of pure evil?  In fact, back when Godzilla was still the Earth’s protector, wasn’t Ghidorah the monster that Godzilla was always protecting us from?

Seriously, what the Hell…

Well, it really doesn’t matter.  You don’t watch a Godzilla film for continuity.  You watch them to enjoy all of the rubber-suited mayhem and that’s exactly what this film delivers.  And you know what?  Godzilla is actually a lot better at being a villain than a hero.  Whereas the heroic Godzilla always had to watch his step to make sure that he didn’t actually step on any of his human friends, the villainous Godzilla does not care.  Villainous Godzilla is a force of pure destruction and, as a result, is a lot more exciting to watch than heroic Godzilla.

And, perhaps not coincidentally, Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is one of the more entertaining entries in the Godzilla franchise — a nonstop thrill-ride of monster mayhem that also happens to feature interesting and compelling human characters as well.  Seriously, try not to be emotionally moved by the scenes of reporter Yuri and her father Admiral Tachibana working through their relationship while Tokyo burns around them.  There’s a reason why this movie ends with a close-up of a beating heart!

And, it should be noted, it also happens to have the best title of any film in the Godzilla franchise.

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Film Review: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (dir by Jun Fukuda)


Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster

With the latest version of Godzilla set to be released in a little over a week’s time, we’ve been taking a look back at some of previous adventures of the king of all monsters.  Today’s movie is the 7th Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster.

First released in 1966 (and also known as Ebirah, Horror of the Deep), Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster opens with a young man named Ryoto who is desperately looking for brother, Yata.  Yata is a fisherman who has gone missing at sea.  Everyone else assumes that Yata is dead but Ryoto knows that if he can just find a boat, he can set sail and rescue his brother.

But where and how can Ryoto get a boat?

Well, Ryoto happens to spot a dance marathon being broadcast on television.  First prize is a yacht!  Ryoto runs down to the dancehall, just to discover that the contest has already been going on for three days and that it’s too late for him to enter.

(Incidentally, if you know how much I love to dance than you also know how much I loved the fact that this Godzilla film featured a random and somewhat senseless dance scene.  Seriously, it was just so 1966.)

DANCE!

DANCE!

While at the dance, Ryoto meets Ichino and Nita, both of whom have already lost their chance to win the yacht.  However, Ichino and Nita take sympathy on Ryoto and decide to take him to the docks so that he can see the yacht that he could have won if only he had been able to enter the contest.  (If you’re thinking to yourself that this doesn’t make any sense and seems like an awfully complicated set up for a Godzilla movie — well, you’re right.  Get used to it because this is about as logical as any of the characters in this film get.)

Our heroes.

Our heroes.

Once they board the yacht, they’re confronted by a man named Yoshimura, who is carrying both a rifle and a briefcase full of money.  As they stare at each other, a news report comes over the radio.  It appears that there’s been a bank robbery.  Yoshimura assures them that he’s not the bank robber and then, for some reason, invites them to spend the night on the yacht.

(I imagine that a lot of kids in 1966 were going, “Where’s Godzilla!?” at this point.  Well, don’t worry.  Godzilla will show up … eventually.)

When everyone wakes up the next morning, they discover that the yacht is now floating out in the middle of the ocean.  That’s right — Ryoto has set sail and apparently, he just assumed that his three new friends would want to come along with him.

Anyway, long story short — the boat gets destroyed by a combination of a storm and a giant lobster (that would be Edirah) and our four “heroes” end up washed up on Devil’s Island.  As they investigate their surroundings, they discover that the island is controlled by a terrorist organization known as Red Bamboo.  (We know that Red Bamboo is evil because one of its leaders wears an eye patch.)

He's bad.

He’s bad.

Red Bamboo, it turns out, has been kidnapping the natives of Infant Island and putting them to work on Devil’s Island.  Now, if you’ve seen any previous Japanese monster movies, you might know that Infant Island is also the home of Mothra, a giant moth who is occasionally Godzilla’s ally.  The natives — both those who have been enslaved and those left on Infant Island — are busy praying for Mothra to come rescue them.

Mothra

Mothra

At this point, you may be tempted to repeat, “But where’s Godzilla!?”

Don’t worry, Godzilla does eventually show up.  It turns out that he’s on Devil’s Island, as well.  However, he’s asleep.  Our four “heroes” decide that the best way to defeat Red Bamboo and save the slaves would be to wake up Godzilla…

Okay, so this is a weird one.  The film takes a while to get going, plot threads are raised and abandoned almost at random, and, once he does wake up, Godzilla doesn’t really act much like himself.  (That could be because Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster was originally written to be a King Kong movie.  That would certainly explain why Godzilla becomes infatuated with an escaped slave named Dayo.)

Godzilla and Dayo

Godzilla and Dayo

But, with all that in mind, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster has its charms.  In many ways, I would compare it to Godzilla vs. Hedorah, in that the film is hardly Godzilla at his best but, at the same time, it has enough odd moments to keep things interesting.  Ebirah may not qualify as one of Godzilla’s best opponents but he still has his moments.  His first appearance — in which a giant claw reaches out of the ocean to grab that stolen yacht — is undeniably effective.  Meanwhile, Red Bamboo makes for an enjoyably silly organization of evil doers.  They’re like an amazingly inefficient version of Hydra.  Their island headquarters is the epitome of 1966 evil chic and you have to appreciate the fact that not even they seem to be sure just what exactly their master plan entails.

And finally, there’s that big dance number at the beginning!

Seriously, you can’t go wrong with a random dance number…