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
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.
While parodies of giant monster movies aren’t that uncommon, rarely they are made as full lenght features, even more in the last decades, it’s easier to see movies about the making-of monster movies in the past, sometimes even going as far as narrating the circumstances (often a bit fictionalized) of movies that were never made, like Nezura from Daiei, which was canned and eventually led to the company creating Gamera, the fanged turtle friend of all children.
This is one of the more recent attempts, in this case lampooning the Showa era Godzilla films, and i’m surprised i had to discover this while surfing certain catalogues, you’d think more people would be covering a Godzilla parody made in the year the King Of Monster was supposed to fight King Kong again, but apparently no. Sure, it was an indie project made on a low budget, but still…
While this is one of the more recent movies as far as giant monster movie goes, it also already slipped into semi-obscurity. Quite odd for a giant monster movie with Anne Hathaway, you’d think that would have turned more heads and be talked about, if nothing else as a curiosity, how many Korean-American monster movies are pitched as “Godzilla meets Lost In Translation”?
The plot follows an unemployed writer (Anna Hathaway), struggling with alcolism and an abusive colleague that want to control her, and how one day she unwittingly manifests a giant monster in Seoul. As it turns out, the monster directly replicates her movements and gestures, and when she realizes it, things get more complicated as her abusive colleague also becomes able to conjure a giant entity out of thin air…
You know Reptilian, the South Korean 1999 movie also known as Yonggary, despite not really being a remake of the South-Korean Yongary: Monster From The Deep?
We’re not talking about that. It’s pretty well known for its unfinished crappy CG for the monsters, the laughably stupid dialogues and its clear attempt at copying Godzilla… the 1998 Roland Emmerich american remake Godzilla, that is.
It’s a cult sensation, one i feel it’s pretty well known to genre fans, so i would argue there’s not much point going over it again. And i won’t, not today.
What is less discussed is Dragon Wars: D-War, despite also being a Korean monster movie from director Shim Hyung-Rae, and pretty much a continuation of Reptilian, as in a second attempt to make a proper Korean monster movie for home and abroad.
As the long awaited Godzilla VS King Kong finally is set to it theathers pretty much everywhere (where theathers are open, not a given due to the pandemic), it’s time to celebrate, with a selection of giant monster movies reviews to showcase mostly lesser known titles or movies that nowadays are not as well known as they once were, despite still being remembered by genre fans.
Sorry it’s not a month of non-stop reviews this time. Enjoy!
Arrow Video keeps being a shining beacon of light in a world where companies are planning to stop making physical media all together, so they can hold properties hostage on another streaming service with no guarantee film and series will always be there, or there in a matter of months, for that matter.
This time they bring us a collection that will make kaiju fans furiously ejaculate, and for good reason, as there wasn’t any complete collection of the beloved Gamera series, there were some boxsets for the North American market, but nothing complete, and here in Europe TM we got it far worse, Italy especially, as they brought only 5 five of the Showa Era, often calling Gamera “The Great King” and retitling the movies to imply it’s Godzilla or King Kong, with craptacular marquee artworks to boot.
In 2013, the first season of the Attack On Titan anime was launched, and effectively made the already successful manga series by Hajime Isayama (started in 2009 on Bessatsu Shonen Magazine) a worlwide phenomen, the anime/manga series that gets big and becomes a sensation even outside of the already invested cultural circles and subcultures, like Death Note did before, resulting in anime/nerd/geek cons flooded with dozens of cosplayers in the guise of the young soldiers and their desperate struggle at gigantomachia in a fantasy Western Europe, for some years to come until the next big series that people won’t shut up about for a time.
While this means bugger all for The Asylum, as they really don’t belong in the “animesphere”, they clearly noticed the popularity of Attack On Titan (or SnK, if you really care), and find an oblique way to chomp at the popularity crumbs of both the anime series, AND to double-dip on the far more popular love letter to mecha anime and kaiju movies, Pacific Rim, which they already “mockbustered” a year later with Atlantic Rim. To really make this the perfect matrioska of creative compromises, they decided to realize this marketing manouver in the shape of a new Mega Shark movie. Continua a leggere “Mega Shark VS Kolossus (2014) [REVIEW] Attack On Titan Shark”