After a soft-launch in some Asian countries last year, now the Crash Bandicoot runner (developed by trademark abuser & bully King, yes, i have the power of “memory”) launched worldwide, and since i still can’t find Crash Bandicoot 4 at a decent price, might as well review this.
Cortex is up to his usual stuff, which means he sent his minions to conquer various dimensions, but Coco found a way to kick their asses and save the multiverse, which involves Crash and Aku running their way through familiar levels.
After you’ve crafted the weapons required for the boss or to even enter the level, with the usual gaggle of resources needed to craft items and timers, all avoidable with the premium currency. And of course the usual gaggle of base building stuff and social integration. You might say it’s at least upfront about it being a free-to-play game, i will say that Activision and associates evidently don’t feel it necessary to even mask the issue, so they just start pummelling your resolve very early, even if you do know the shitty deal, doesn’t matter.
The gameplay itself it’s alright, i mean, a Crash Bandicoot endless runner makes a LOT of sense, it looks good and runs well, but it doesn’t really stand out in this crowded genre, even if this does have finite levels, alongside looping and proceduraly generated ones. It starts very run of the mill, but the level design does improve after the initial phase and there are some tough extra challenges.
Shame new areas and story runs aren’t that distinct or well designed to be worth the grinding and farming they’re locked behind, which only gets more taxing as the game progresses and keeps pestering you into buying the premium currency.
One of the minor, less known giant monster, and the only kaiju eiga ever made by Nikkatsu (which almost went bankrupt after releasing it), also known under the mystifing title “Monster From Another Planet” in the US, and directed by Hiroshi Noguchi, better known for the Cat Girls Gambler yakuza series and the Ginza Mighty Guy/Ginza Whirlwind series.
Oddly, the plot is virtually identical to the one seen in Gorgo (hi again), with a grouple of people (in this case a group of reporters and scientists instead of a salvage crew) capturing and bringing a monster from its island (here a place called Obelisk Island) to “civilization” in order to become a media attraction. But this also angers the natives of the island and – more importantly – the parents of the infant Gappa monster, who head to Japan and cause huge havoc in their wake.
If japanese monster movies taught me anything, it’s to never steal children, especially those of literal giant monsters. Just don’t. Or stop.
Sometimes it’s hard to forget that neither Japan or the United States have an exclusivity on making giant monster movies, even if often we still end up in the vague “asian sphere of influence” one way or another. This one as well, but it’s from Thailand, not a country you immediately associate with giant monsters, but it doesn’t matter, and director/producer/writer Monthon Arayangkoon tapped from thai folklore for the monster, the titular Garuda, originated from Hindu mithology as a legendary bird-like creature aligned with the element of wind, serving as a steed to the god Vishnu, and depicted as either a giant bird with half-open wings or an humanoid with bird features.
He’s usually depicted as a protector figure, always ready to fight the serpent enemies (which means the naga), but in this case he’s depicted as a bloody rampaging monster, but i guess being trapped into the concrete under Bangkok for thousand of years will make anyone snap into a rampage.
Released by American International Pictures in a double bill with Cat Girl (not what you’re probably thinking), this Bert I. Gordon “cheese classic” also spawned a sequel, War Of The Colossal Beast, and it embodied – alongside The Incredible Shrinking Man – the 50s B-movie fascination for size alteration, leading to another popular and often parodied drive-in feature, Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman. Mr. B.I.G. himself would go back to this motif not only with the The Cyclops (previously released the same year), Attack Of The Puppet People and the aforementioned sequel to the movie , but even well into the 60s with Village Of The Giants, VERY loosely based off H.G. Wells’ Food Of The Gods, before he actually did a more…let’s say “proper” adaptation of the story. And then followed it with a sequel that had even less to do with the H.G. Wells classic book.
Nothing new, since this is actually an uncredited adaptation of the short sci-fi novel The Nth Man by Homer Eon Flint, a fairly unknown sci-fi author of the early 20th centhury.
Like many B-movies from the 50s, it’s the radioactivity (discovered by Madame Curiè) that’s in the air for you and me. This time it’s Lt. Colonnel Glenn Manning (played by Glenn Langan), who gets hit by a plutonium bomb after rescuing a pilot that just crash-landed near the testing site.
Godzilla is, has been and probably will be in secula secularum the greatest legacy of Toho and its empire of weird monsters. But of course, if the Big G sits at the top of “kaiju mountain”, and other monsters from their own movies have become inscindible part of the Godzilla series, some of them don’t dine at the court at all, and just get called back as jesters for the big monster mashes.
Varan is sadly one of them, and it’s a bit sad when they decide a frigging giant shrimph like Ebirah was worth doing new effects when Godzilla Final Wars came around, instead of just re-using old footage from Destroy All Monsters, like they did for Varan’s (among others) cameo, just happy to be there and cheer from the sidelines, even when Minilla is frigging more useful. Poor Varan.
But of course he did debut in its own movie, Varan The Giant Monster, and yes i’m talking about the original version, not the americanized one that does go under the title of Varan The Unbelievable, and alters the plot to include the american army… because America, that’s the reason. Sighs
Strange as it may sound, you really can’t talk about King Kong and Godzilla beating each other up without talking about the Frankenstein’s monster, but we already talked about the backstory of the original “Monkey VS Nuclear Dinosaur” kaiju flick in its review, so let’s just say that this movie is actually Toho bringing back the partially scrapped idea of having Kong fight a monster created by Frankenstein for King Kong VS Godzilla, which would itself spawn a follow up a year later, with War Of The Gargantuas. And of course, tasking yet again Ishiro Honda to direct it.
Also, this one introduces a monster that would eventually cross into the Godzilla franchise, Baragon, not be confused with another, completely different but – for pure coincidence – very similar looking (at a glance) monster from the Gamera franchise, Barugon, with a “u”. A minor monster, brought back just for the giant monster brawls installments of the Godzilla series (where pretty much every frigging Toho kaiju was invited for a quick cameo), but here the main antagonist to the “Frankenstein” monster, as the original japanese title makes it abudantly clear.
If you have been searching for an original, fresh take on the kaiju movie, you simply cannot overlook a movie like Big Man Japan, directed, written and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto, a popular japanese comedian, here at it first full lenght feature, followed by Symbol, Saya Zamurai and R100.
Sure, in the movie there are giant monsters attacking Japan, there is an Ultraman style humanoid giant that fights them to protect the country and its citizens, but this isn’t a merry tale of people in rubber suits smacking the shit out of each other, getting set on fire by fireworks and hosed down by stage assistants.
This is actually the story of Masaru Daisato. Like his ancenstors before him, he can grow into a giant over 30 meters tall when shocked by electricity, and he uses this power to defend Japan from the giant monsters that routinely attack it…. in a completely unremarkable way, to be very polite about it.
For whatever reason, Netflix perseveres in commissioning 3D CG anime based on popular franchises, despite them often not looking good and anime fans notorious knee-jerk reactions of disgust towards 3D CG anime.
So while we wait for Godzilla Singularity Point (which looks notably better), let’s give Pacific Rim: The Black a shot, because Legendary really wants to make this one a franchise. This specific entry (written by Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle but co-directed by Masayuki Uemoto, Susumu Sugai and Takeshi Iwata) follows a couple of siblings that find a Jaeger called Atlas Destroyer and go on a journey with it, after their parents never came back and kaijus destroyed Australia.
And you know what, an anime series spin-off is a shoe-in for Pacific Rim, but once i saw the PV, i realized why most people won’t bother… and yes, it’s animated by Polygon Pictures, which means the robots and monsters look fairly good, but the animation for the people – sporting nicely drawn character models – also has this stiff, uncanny, robotic feel to it. And this honestly doesn’t look much better than the Blame movie or the Godzilla anime trilogy Polygon Pictures also made for Netflix, while this style of “3D anime” has vastly improved in quality over the last few years.
Shame because the giant mecha battles against monsters look good and are fun, but the humans characters or the plot surrounding them aren’t that interesting, and sometimes their animation is just crap. The script, while unremarkable, tries to add something new to to the Pacific Rim universe, but it’s kinda of half baked attempt as it starts getting better only at the very end of this very short first season. Overall, it’s… alright.
A second season has already been greenlit… but i still wonder for whom exactly.
Denmark gave the world many things, despite what Shakespear told us, many influential painters and artists, many metal bands like King Diamond, Manticora, etc.
But you don’t exactly think Denmark when you think giant monster movies, and the only that still comes to mind is the old Reptilicus, a danish-american coproduction, with two existing versions, one completely shot in danish and the international release that was cut and changed by the screenwriters to make it more marketable (and american) by good ol’ American International Pictures.
While the movie it’s available in DVD fairly easy (and i do own it), i’ll mostly refer to a fansubbed copy of the original danish version. The international release, aside from a complete redub due to the cast very thick danish accent (kinda dumb how AIP didn’t expect that since the cast IS danish), cuts the scenes where Reptilicus flies… because the effects aren’t that great, but added the special effect of green poisonous saliva shooting out when the monster opens its jaw.
Sure, Konga wasn’t great, and earlier this year we also spotlighted another King Kong rip-off, the italo-canadian Yeti: The Giant Of The 20th Centhury, which indeed is worthy of being called “craptacular”, as in it’s really bad but also frigging hilarious and with some odd innocence for italian exploitation cinema. Even if there’s a crime thriller subplot that almost kills off Lassie.
But we can go lower down the cinema alphabet, and for theatrically released feature lenght movies about giant apes, you can hardly go lower than the american-south korean A*P*E*, quickly put out to cash-in this wave of Kongsploitation, as it released the same year of the Dino DeLaurentis backed remake, with 3D effects because if we’re gonna do this, might as well make it gimmicky.
Yeah, i’m doing this one because i feel more people are at least aware of The Mighty Peaking Man, also made to cash-in the popularity of the 1976 DeLaurentis’ King Kong remake, but far better than most Kong rip-offs, definitely far better than A*P*E*.