November 30, 2004

Godzilla News

Gojira!There’s another Godzilla movie on the way. NPR was reporting it this morning on Morning Edition.

I like Godzilla. So sue me.

Truth be told, I like a lot of Japanese things, especially offbeat things. I have 3 weird Japanese films at home, from Netflix, ready to be watched and about 8 more on the short list.That doesn’t even include less quirky films like the Kirosawa films Julie has lent me.

You’ll hear about those in due time (and if I ever get un-swamped enough to watch them). But now, Godzilla.

Ryuhei Kitamura is the director of Gojira: Fainaru uôzu this latest (final?) Godzilla film. The name is familiar to me because I just discovered his other popular Japanese films on a recent visit to Newbury Comics. His film “Alive” is one I’ve gotten from Netflix.

I’d thought the Godzilla franchise was already over (and I’d told Julie as much) but I’d gotten it wrong. Not only is there this new Godzilla film which has yet to be released here, I’d overlooked a 2003 film which is set to be released on DVD in a couple of weeks.

Here’s a quick review of recent Godzilla movie history. Since Godzilla history is somewhat mixed up and I don’t completely grasp all the separate threads (some of them concurrent) I’m concentrating on the time after 1995, when the original (by some accounts) Godzilla melted down, producing energy that revived baby Godzilla (who, presumably, has grown into the post-1995 Godzilla).

  • Godzilla 2000 (1999) aka. Gojira ni-sen mireniamu
    • This is a weird film where Godzilla battles a UFO which later becomes a tentacled monster. Notable as the first Godzilla film to feature a fully CGI Godzilla in certain scenes. Godzilla reins supreme in the end, which makes sense, since puny humans can’t do much to defeat a nuclear-powered mutant dino.
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) aka. Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jî shômetsu sakusen
    • This film is actually the most decent of the recent Godzilla films. There is a lot going on, with the main attraction being Godzilla attacked by a bunch of little insect monsters which are explained as being food for Rodan long ago. I never understand what the Japanese plan to do to deal with Godzilla (it never makes sense to me). Since nothing ever works with Godzilla, you really have to just get out of his way. But, as always, they have a plan.
  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) aka. Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidorâ: Daikaijû sôkôgeki
    • Not as good as the previous movie, although the cheesiness is up a notch. Lookit the wires! It wouldn’t be a Kaiju movie wihtout some of that. But I couldn’t care less about Baragon, one of the most pathetic Godzilla monsters. What’s he doing there? Holy cow, there was a Frankenstein vs. Baragon. Weirder and weirder.
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (2002) aka. Gojira tai Mekagojira
    • What could be better than another story about Godzilla fighting his mechanical alter-ego built from the skeleton of a previous incarnation of Godzilla? Well, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus was better, but this one is a visual spectacle, with people running around in anti0Godzilla flight suits. More talky than I would have liked, but still good.
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) aka. Gojira tai Mosura tai Mekagojira: Tôkyô S.O.S.
    • Haven’t seen this one yet, but since it features Mothra and Mechagodzilla, it can’t be all bad. However, I’m told it’s pretty close to all bad. Releases on DVD this month.
  • Godzilla: Final Battle (2004) aka. Gojira: Fainaru uôzu
    • Promises to be the last Godzilla movie for a while, and reports are mixed, but it features a slew of monsters from previous films, international locations and a new “Monster X.” Perhaps it will even be shown in theatres around here, providing me my first opportunity to see a new Godzilla film on the big screen since the absolutely horrible (but I didn’t know better) Godzilla vs. Megalon.

For a look at the more general and wide-ranging confusing Godzilla timeline, check this page out. You can see they haven’t been too concerned with keeping one Godzilla story arc consistent.

Also: Toho Kingdom provides a ton of Kaiju monster resources. Personally, my favorite Kaiju is Gamera.

Posted by James at November 30, 2004 12:23 PM
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You didn't see G2K at the movie theater?? Well, that sucks! It was great! First time I ever saw Godzilla full-size.

Apparently, Final Battle premiered last night (not tonight as I had thought); there is a sketchy review on imdb

Posted by: Julie at November 30, 2004 1:38 PM

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