[EXPRESSO] Pacific Rim: The Black (Season Two) (2022) | Kaiju Kult

Well, look’s who back, a series that i honestly even forgot existed, but they did announced this second (and final) season, guess that branding helped.

So yeah, while i didn’t hate the first season, Pacific Rim The Black was kinda the perfect example of “Netflix anime”, as in, it looks like anime, it’s produced by an anime company and japanese directors, but you could tell it’s written by non-japanese staff.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue, but you just can tell right away and it creates this slight disconnect, and due to that once again it’s hard to say for whom exactly this is made for exactly, given it’s still made in okayish but still janky 3D CG (and the specific “3D CG anime jank” of Polygon Pictures output), which is kinda offputting for most of the self-proclaimed “anime enthusiasts”.

But on the flipside, it’s not that bad, it’s honestly alright, it’s entertaining enough and this one picks from the point where the first season started having some interesting worldbuilding and character development, and manages to make the plot have some purpose (though it kinda has to, since this is the final season), introducing a death cult of Kaiju worshippers.

It’s an actual improvement over the first season, the writing it’s still nothing impressive, but it’s better, though despite being just another 7 episodes, i did wonder if it was ever supposed to be longer, as some resolutions and events happen very quickly, almost abruptly so.

Again, it’s alright, but as the idea of anime series based on Pacific Rim makes a lot of sense if you think about it, it kinda let you wish it had better animation and a slightly longer lenght.

Still, for a spin-off “western-ish anime” series that didn’t need to exist in the first place… it’s decent.

Giant Monster March 2022 is GO!

Some things come and go, but giant monsters are forever!

Yeah, while i’m still keeping the bi-daily posting rate, starting tomorrow for this month every posting day when there’s not a new movie EXPRESSO review there will be a full lenght giant monster movie review. Simple as that, so see ya tomorrow for the first one of this year, hoping this will become a yearly institution! 🙂

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #10: Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds/Legends Of The Dinosaurs (1977)

We previously spotlighted the delights of live action tokutatsu monster and superhero anime hybrid with the Dinosaur War Izenborg 4 episodes-to-compilation film “Attack Of The Super Monsters” by Tsuburaya Productions, so let’s talk about an even more obscure kaiju film, this time by Toei, with Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds, also known as Legend Of The Dinosaurs.

Interestingly, this was a japanese kaiju movie spurred by the international success of Spielberg’s Jaws (release in 1976 in Japan) and a coincidental resurgence of reports of Nessie in Loch Ness, so Toho settled to make it about a geologist who start investing strange reports of fossilized eggs and odd events surrounding the Saiko Lake (one of the Five Fuji Lakes) community, including a headless horse carcass and mysterious disappearances of people in the lake area.

Eventually Takashi puts the clues together and surmises it must be a Plesiosaur doing this, which turns out to be true, as it attacks the lakeside attendants during an event (hi, Jaws parallel), but in japanese monster movie tradition, the creature it’s bound to fight with another monster, a “Rhamphorhynchus” (basically a type of pterosaur like the pteranodon), emerging from a hidden cave in the Aokigahara region (aka the tragically famous “Sea Of Trees”, subject of a very crap Gus Van Sant movie to make things even worse), as accidentally discovered by a young girl.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #10: Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds/Legends Of The Dinosaurs (1977)”

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #4: Attack Of The Super Monsters (1982)

It really IS Christmas time, because today we’re doing a movie that’s both dinosaurs and vintage tokusatsu cheesiness from the 80s. How can you go wrong? You simply can’t.

Add drill spaceship to the mix and you really can’t go wrong.

Though it’s worth pointing out this is actually an edited down TV series (i suppose it’s just the first 4 episodes of the series mashed together, as it was a common practice at the time), Dinosaur War Aizenborg, itself quite the interesting piece of media, as it’s an hybrid anime and live action show, with sentai style rubber suit and stop motion puppets action for the dinosaurs and giant monsters, but animation for the humans and most regular animals, played over live-action miniature sets.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #4: Attack Of The Super Monsters (1982)”

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla VS Kong (2021) | MONSTERS, FIGHT!

This review is out only now because we didn’t fuckin get the movie (officially, anyway) here in Italy until now. Streaming only, due to cinemas just now preparing to re-open in some capacity.

So, after some delays and a wait that consumed me, the monster RE-match of the millennium has finally happened, as part of Legendary’s Monsterverse.

And it delivers, it does, even though there are caveats, ones that most people already know and are willing to ignore, especially because Godzilla II: King of The Monsters already had these issues.

Plot sees Godzilla rampage in New York for unknown reasons, and the Monarch company is basically engaged to use Kong as a guide to reach his ancestral home located inside the “Hollow Earth”, supposedly common origin to all the giant monsters. This because they sensed a huge energy source there and plan to use it in order to power up a weapon capable of stopping Godzilla.

The effects are top notch, the monster fights incredibly satisfying, there’s actually a bit of personality to the monsters (even if Godzilla – by Toho’s strict decree – doesn’t talk in any way) the Hollow Earth scenario is actually quite a spectacle and interesting, even if the plot is a bit there to justify the monster fighting and not the other way around, combined with the human characters really being… just kinda there to be there, mostly coming off as annoying, stupid or a bit douchy.

And i’m “sorry”, but we spend a lot of time with them as well, they’re played by good actors, we can have better scripts and better human characters for monster movies, even by just looking at MonsterVerse’s own Kong: Skull Island.

Could have been better, but overall it’s still a blast to see, especially on the big screen.

[EXPRESSO] Run Godzilla iOS | Tamakaiju

Toho plans to release not one, not two, but THREE Godzilla mobile games this year worlwide, and the first one is the already available Run Godzilla, which isn’t an endless runner (despite the title kinda implying it), but more a simulator-raising game where you take care of your very own kaiju in order to… make it run like a horse.

I’ve seen people describe it as basically Uma Musume but with kaijus instead of horse girls… and it’s not that far off. And by that i mean it’s basically a stat building game where you increase the stats of the monster before taking on races, where you can just tap a button to encourage the monster to go faster, but that’s about it, you don’t control the kaiju directly.

Strenghtening the monster is done via a typical idle game setup, as you juggle resources to have enough people praying for the monster to grow, extend the time they will stay in the group, pick up apples and gems to recruit more people, and change weather to influence the growth of a some stats over others. The kaiju itself has an “expiration date” which can’t be extended, but the following generation/monster will inherit some experience points, and the loop repeats.

It’s more complex to look at than to actually play, just a thing you’re supposed to tinker with on a somewhat regular base, as timers keep running regardless, so you might come back to find the your digital “pet kaiju” (one you don’t have to feed or “poopscoop”) already dead/expired.

It’s a thing to thinker with more than play, and while it’s very honest about it, outside of the initial novelty it’s hard to care for long if you have at least another free-to-play game/app you keep coming back to regularly.

Zarkorr! The Invader (1996) [REVIEW] | Cinephiles Of Earth, Beware…

You can hardly go more Z-grade cinema than with Zarkorr! The Invader from Full Moon Entertaiment, at least regarding movies that do have production values and some backing behind them. Of course, you can go even worse, as the company itself demonstrated last year by making a zombie movie about the Coronavirus… and by that i mean putting a shitty comical dub track over Bruno Mattei’s Hell Of The Living Dead, with a tiny bit of new footage to act as a “framing device” of someone watching Hell Of The Living Dead while quarantined at home. Good lord.

But thankfully this is just Full Moon Entertaiment doing a direct-to-video kaiju movie, about aliens that have been observing Earth for centhuries, and one day decide to challenge mankind by sending in a huge monster called Zarkorr to wreak havoc with its size and lazer eyes. As the human champion, they choose an incredibly average postal worker, Tommy Ward, as the only one who can defeat Zarkorr and save the planet.

Continua a leggere “Zarkorr! The Invader (1996) [REVIEW] | Cinephiles Of Earth, Beware…”

Gappa The Triphibian Monsters (1967) [REVIEW] | ♫ It’s The True Mystery of The Universe ♫

Yes, with a “G”.

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.

Continua a leggere “Gappa The Triphibian Monsters (1967) [REVIEW] | ♫ It’s The True Mystery of The Universe ♫”

Garuda (2004) [REVIEW] | Harvey Birdmon

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.

Continua a leggere “Garuda (2004) [REVIEW] | Harvey Birdmon”

Varan The Giant Monster/ Varan The Unbelievable (1958) [REVIEW] | Kaiju In The Middle

Sorry, i wasn’t able to find a copy that didn’t have the hardsubbed american title.

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

Continua a leggere “Varan The Giant Monster/ Varan The Unbelievable (1958) [REVIEW] | Kaiju In The Middle”