Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Destroy All Monsters

Taking place in the future aka the year 1999 - so futuristic, right? - all the world's evil Kaiju creatures have been corralled up and are detained on a single island that has been dubbed Monsterland. Godzilla and his son are here, as well as other beasts such as Rodan, Baragon, and Mothra...who has reverted to a caterpillar form? With a clever use of electric force fields and gases, the beasts cannot leave the island but are able to feast on the marine life that swims close enough to the shores - so life isn't too bad for them. And then suddenly, there's a problem.

Happy little Kaiju playing on their island!

The communications center in charge of overseeing that Monsterland is secured, suddenly loses power! The force fields are down, the gases are no longer being released, and the Kaiju are on the loose! But what's really weird is that the rampaging beasts don't just head for the mainland to dole out destruction, they travel! Mothra wiggles its way to Peking, Rodan attacks Moscow, and Godzilla ravages New York City - why these specific places? What is going on? The answer is simple: aliens. And I'm not even joking. 

Oh no! Godzilla is going to destroy New York!

A race of aliens has come to Earth and infiltrated the Monsterland communications center with the purpose of advancing the human race into a more peaceful state of living. The aliens are controlling the beasts and sending them to destroy the world's largest cities as a sign of their power - because how else do you convey that your way of living is more peaceful if you DON'T send giant reckless monsters to tear cities apart? Obviously the Japanese people cannot stand for this - it's their duty to keep the Kaiju contained! But before they can get the beasts back to their island, they must first defeat these aliens before serious damage is done to Earth. 

Get lost you lady alien scum!!

Once more, another good Kaiju movie but I am openly disappointed with this one. I know that not all of the Godzilla movies so far have focused solely on the King of Monsters and his battles with fellow Kaiju beasties but this movie, I felt, steered a little too far off the beaten path. Sure, they had to defeat the aliens but I don't feel like this movie gave me enough of a Godzilla fix as I was hankering for. Yes, there was an abundance of Kaiju - many of which haven't been featured in Godzilla movies - but these aliens take up too much precious destruction time. But in terms of sci-fi movies, this is still a pretty cool one. And also a pretty brutal one - we actually see bullet wounds in this movie! Avert your eyes! With 18 more Godzilla movies left in this Grand Godzilla Gala it really makes me cringe to think how many more are going to be relying on aliens to pad the plots. Ugh. Go back home spacemen! I want more Kaiju action!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Son of Godzilla

Around the time of Mothra vs Godzilla, I started getting worried about the pathway that the Grand Godzilla Gala has taken. I feel like I have entered a series of very goofy Godzilla movies and some of them have left me with a bit of a deflated feeling. I love Godzilla! But I don't want to see the King of the Monsters getting scrimped on his killer SKREEEEONK or his precious screen time - less bizarre alien stories and more building smashing! Yes, I'm talking to you Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. And while I've been more and more skeptical with each passing movie, THIS ONE HAS CAPTURED MY HEART!! I wasn't prepared for it...but I am unbearably pleased with what I have seen.

In a totally unrelated matter - do you like my Godzilla shirt? 
If so, check out where to order your own at the end of the post!

Goro Maki (Akira Kubo) is a journalist on the trail of his next hottest story. He's been dropped off by a plane on a tropical island that appears as though it's simply a plain old island, but Goro knows more. A group of scientists have congregated here to begin working on experiments in weather control, a technological advancement that could potentially be more dangerous that any nuclear weapon! But since these scientists have set up shop on the island, the radiation that they've been working with has greatly affected the environment. For example, there are crazy huge praying mantises stalking around in the jungles. YIKES! But so long as they stay in the camp then they won't be eaten.

A few days have passed and Goro has successfully annoyed his way into the hearts of everyone at the camp, and now the moment of truth is about to arrive. They are going to run the final test on the weather changing apparatus! Well, let's hope its the final test. At first everything goes according to plan...but when one of the balloons doesn't detonate properly it shifts the weather and creates a violent storm over the entire island which causes temperatures to soar sky high! And what's worse still is that the added radiation in the air has caused the giant praying mantises to grow even BIGGER, so naturally they've earned a new name: Gimantis. The scientists scratch their heads in frustration and attempt to get back to work while Goro continues to explore the island...and that's when he notices the three Gimantises on the island picking at a huge pile of stones. What is going on??

What did these creeps find now??

At the center of the stones, the Gimantises uncover a large egg. WHICH BEGINS TO HATCH! Goro prepares to see the birth of another Giamantis but is instead met with the birth of a baby dinosaur...or to be more specific, a baby Godzilla! That's right, Godzilla has a son! And when the cries of his baby being attacked the Giamantises reaches his ears, Godzilla emerges from the sea and battle ensues between himself and the unwanted bug assailants! Once defeated, Godzilla goes about his fatherly duties and tries to teach his baby son how to walk, roar, and spout atomic fire breathe. But all is not left to be quite so peaceful on this island.

So much for the father-son bonding moment...

Goro, his newly acquired female companion Saeko (Bibari Maeda), and the scientists need to get off this island before they're crushed by these giant beasts. But how do they leave unnoticed? They begin formulating a plan to try and patch up the weather changing technology so they can create a weather-based diversion and sneak away in an inflatable raft. And their plan succeeds because Godzilla and his baby end up having to fight off more Gimantises PLUS an enormous spider beast called Spiga - the King of Monsters will do anything for his baby!

Don't make daddy mad!

This movie was cheeeeeeeesy but I loved that! The baby Godzilla in this movie kind of looked like a dwarf Godzilla ailed by Downs Syndrome, and he made noises like a braying donkey. The acting in this movie was bizarre, but unlike my experience with Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster the subtitles were aligned with the movie so I knew exactly what was going on. Even if there were billions of cheeseball moments between father and son ha ha! I recommend this for those who are definitely in the mood for a cheesier Godzilla movie, but with some sweet moments. Because radioactive lizards can be so tender and nurturing sometimes. Tomorrow's Grand Godzilla Gala viewing will be of Destroy All Monsters... I only hope that the cheesiness either stays on par with this cutie patootie movie, or the G-Man starts getting serious about destruction again!

 And before I end this post, I need to post a giant THAAAAAANK YOOOOU to John of Comic Book Quest and to Patrick Alan Towers!! I purchased a KILLER Godzilla shirt from John and Patrick added a handwoven sketch of Godzilla to boot! YAY!! I feel spoiled and happy - if you're looking for killer comic and Kaiju gear, hit up and check out their awesome selection of shirts and collectibles. And check out Patrick's Instagram and drool over his insane artwork! Thanks again guys, you're the best!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster

Today is a day where I need to give thanks where it is due, and that is to my beloved Manfriend John. When I first came up with the concept of marathoning Godzilla movies, he was 100% behind my decision. When I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to acquire some of these movies, Manfriend John was the one who stepped in and downloaded the movies I couldn't rent on Amazon or buy at my local DVD haunts. He is also the one who helped me come up with the Grand Godzilla Gala name! So I owe so much of this venture to him - THANK YOU MANFRIEND JOHN!! I promise I'll make you Godzilla cupcakes or cookies once this is all done. Want to know something funny? I've made him watch so many Godzilla movies that he hates them now ha ha! Do I feel bad? NEVER!! ALL GODZILLA, ALL THE TIME!

Manfriend John has been a huge supporter of this venture, I can never thank him enough :)

Searching for his brother Yata who was lost at sea, Ryota (Toru Watanabe) and a group of his friends climb aboard a sailboat in the local harbor to find him. But the boat ends up already having an inhabitant: a smarmy, uncooperative thief who agrees to go on this journey with them. While at sea, a raging storm churns up monstrous waves...and something even more monstrous. A GIANT LOBSTER EMERGES FROM THE SEA AND SMASHES THEIR BOAT! Yikes! But thankfully the waves push the shipwrecked search party toward a tropical island in the middle of the ocean where they'll hopefully be able to find solitude and rescue. But they will find no such thing.

The island - known as Devil Island - is home to a factory and fleet of hostile military men all busting about and guarding the buildings. Looking for answers, the group sneak inside and find that the lab is secretly manufacturing nuclear bombs! Oh no! They need to be stopped before our search team gets caught! But how? Unbeknown to the military men, there is a cave on the island with a secret of its own - a slumbering Godzilla! If they can wake Godzilla, they can distract the military men and hopefully make their escape. But then there's still that pesky lobster thingie named Ebirah hanging out off shore waiting to destroy anything comes into his territory. Great. But the slaves of Devil Island might be able to provide some helpful insight.

Hiding from the enemy!

The tribal people from the infamous Infant Island, which happens to be neighbors with Devil Island, have been captured by the military men - known as Red Bamboo - and are being used as slaves. The natives are kept underground and work tirelessly to smash yellow potato/apple things to produce a yellow goo that repels Ebirah from coming to the island. But these people also have a secret of their own. Mothra is no longer a baby caterpillar - it's full grown and the natives have been praying tirelessly to bring her back to them so she can take them away from the evil Red Bamboo and out of harm's way of Ebirah. Maybe together, Ryota and his friends can join forces with these people to escape. And hopefully Godzilla and smash the crap out of Ebirah's head in the mean time!

Is anyone else singing Rock Lobster in their head while watching these fight scenes? 

THIS MOVIE WAS WEIRD. I love Godzilla, don't get me wrong but the monster in this movie has creepy yellow glass eyes that make him look like he's thinking sarcastic thoughts all the time. And whenever something intense goes down, this bizarre circus-chase music plays. So strange... But the worst part was that THE SUBTITLES DIDN'T ALIGN WITH THE MOVIE!! There was a good 30 second delay between the movies and subtitles so I couldn't understand what was happening until the action was practically over. But it was still amusing to align the text with images that made no sense - I'd say that alone makes this movie worth watching! I'm pretty sure I'm buried in the hokier of the Godzilla movies now, guess I better fasten my seat belt because I don't doubt that weirder things are in store for me!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Invasion of Astro-Monster

This was a movie with a very inaccurate title! So far in the Grand Godzilla Gala, the only movie I've had an issue with over the title was Godzilla King of the Monsters and that's only because I was scared it was just the 1954 movie. That's nothing major. Now THIS movie could have benefited from a much better title, like GODZILLA IN SPACE! Let me explain why...

So much love for this movie!!

Astronauts Glenn (Nick Adams) and Fuji (Akira Takarada) have been assigned on a mission to travel out into the vast landscape of space to explore a newly discovered planet that has been dubbed Planet X. The two astronauts blast off into space and fly toward the mysterious planet, which is located behind Jupiter. But once they travel behind Jupiter, ground control loses communication with them and Glenn and Fuji are on their own. Upon first landing on Planet X, they notice that the temperature is fairly warm. But the next thing they realize is that they are not alone!

Keep your eyes peeled Fuji!

A group of kindly and cooperative spacemen ask for an audience with the two men, and they decide to agree since the aliens have taken their shuttle underground. The head spaceman, who identifies himself as the controller of Planet X (Yoshio Tsuchiya), is desperately seeking the help of the men of Earth. A large monster, whom they've dubbed Monster Zero, has been reigning terror over the planet which has driven the spacemen to live underground and hide from the beast. And after viewing images of the monster, Glenn and Fuji are shocked to discover that it's Ghidorah! But what could the people of Planet X want with the people of Earth when they couldn't even defeat Ghidorah on their own? Simple. They want Godzilla.

The people of Planet X need a serious Kaiju intervention!

The controller of Planet X asks kindly if the people of the planet cane go to Earth, transport both Godzilla and Rodan back to the planet, and use them to duke it out with Ghidorah. Naturally, this isn't something that Glenna and Fuji have control over so they agree to return to Earth and replay the wishes of Planet X to the Japanese government. Of course, the people of Japan are more than happy to send Godzilla and Rodan into space and space ships immediately arrive to begin the transportation and take the beasts to Planet X. But as quickly as this civil understanding started, it abruptly comes to an end. It turns out that the controller of Planet X only desires to take over planet Earth and destroy all of its people! And using special mind control, they've now manipulated Godzilla and Rodan's brains so they'll aid in the hostile take over of Earth! Oh no! Who will save Earth from the wrath of outer space now? Seriously. Who?

Ghidorah, Godzilla, AND Rodan are controlled by aliens?? Oh dear...

I have no complaints about this movie, in fact it was everything that I had hoped Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster would be - aliens plotting to take over the world and giant mutant monsters fighting. So simple and so great! I loved the cheesy space aliens, and the fact that there is only one American in this entire movie...which means that everyone else in the movie must speak English. At least, that's the way it was in the English version of the movie. I think that this is my favorite Godzilla movie to date, but I could be speaking too soon since I still have over a dozen more to go. Let's see what Monday's movie: Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster, has in store for me! Have a great Easter weekend everyone, and don't forget to keep watching Godzilla movies this weekend!

The King is a big fan of cuddly Easter bunnies

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

A little bonus tidbit from my past: when I was about 7 years old I fell in love with dinosaurs. I loved reading about them and playing with my brother's super cool dinosaur figurines. But there was one dinosaur that was different from the others, even though he kind of looked like a T-Rex. Because he was different, he became my favorite...and it wasn't until the very first time I saw King Kong vs Godzilla that I learned this "dinosaur's" true identity - looks like I was destined to love Godzilla from my youth!

My childhood friend decided to pop in for some Ghidorah tonight!

Something kooky is going on with Earth's atmosphere. In the middle of January, Japan is experiencing one of the most intense heat waves its ever had - which includes the summer season weather too! Scientists are working hard to find an explanation, and while searching for the answer they are also conferring with the "space men" about what is to come - yes, apparently the Japanese converse with aliens on a regular basis these days. Another anomaly that has rocked Japan since the heat wave came in has been an increase in meteor showers, and the landing of a rather large meteor in the countryside has drawn a group of astronomers to its side to find answers. But it turns out that this meteor holds more than just answers to the intense winter heat.

The astronomers have set up camp a safe distance from the meteor so they can study it from afar, but there's something strange going on. For example, the meteor seems to be growing more and more with each passing day. It also emits random magnetic pulses..and sometimes glows red. Weird, right? But while this meteor is under observation, strange things are happening inside the city limits. A woman who claims to be from Mars warns large crowds of people that horrible things are about to happen to planet Earth and that the people must act quickly to avoid them. And she's right, because suddenly Rodan - the giant pterodactyl monster - unearths itself from inside of a crater and takes to the skies!

It's a bird! It's a plane!'s definitely a bird..

While a giant prehistoric beast flying over major cities is definitely cause for alarm, he barely has time to inflict any destruction because GODZILLA RISES FROM THE SEA!! Our Kaiju King has great instincts though because he follows Rodan's flight path...which leads directly to a new foe! It turns out that the meteor wasn't really a meteor, it was an egg. And hatching from that egg is the three-headed, fire-breathing, winged beast named Ghidorah! Godzilla and Rodan are now facing off against the seemingly unstoppable Ghidorah, but maybe there's a way to stop him. And that is how the fairy twins from Mothra vs Godzilla come into play and devise the plan to bring the baby Mothra/caterpillar to the mainland so that the three of them; Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan - can take down Ghidorah and save the city! But can the three Kaiju get along and work together? It's time to call upon that good ol' trusty super power: FRIENDSHIP!!

Godzilla, baby Mothra, and Rodan are going to tear Ghidorah to pieces!

This movie was straaaaaaaaange! It has some weird transitions that kind of reminded me of made-for-TV movies, and some of the animation used for Ghidorah was creepy and all kinds of wonky. But more than that, I felt like the plot in this movie was just too much - there was so much to keep track of! Between having 4 monsters duking it out, there's also the weather issue, the aliens running amok, and now this Himalayan Princess is involved too?? If some of the plot points had been dropped, this movie would have been killer and I would have loved the wonky animation and the alien add-ins! But it was just too much in too little time. Come on Toho, get it together! But I will say this: the fight scenes were SUPER VIOLENT AND AWESOME!!! Maybe there's hope still for the plot of tomorrow's Grand Godzilla Gala viewing of Invasion of Astro-Monster. Check back tomorrow for all the, hopefully, exciting details!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mothra vs Godzilla

Great news Invaders, readers, and those new to CineBlog - I AM RETURNING TO ZORCH RADIO TONIGHT!! YAY!!!! I have missed being on the show so much, now I finally get to give you the skinny on all the trashy movies I've been watching lately, and this is a great one! And there's more exciting news regarding the Thursday Night Wrecking Pit, Real Punk Radio's steady evening of Psychobilly radio programming. Tonight, Dan from Gone Mental will be broadcasting a whole TWO HOURS tonight!! But don't worry, once Dan has had his Psychotronic fill for the night Zorch Radio will be taking over the airwaves immediately afterwards so don't shut off that Internet radio dial early! And it all starts at 6pm PST tonight!

Gone Mental from 6-8pm PST and Zorch Radio from 8-10pm PST

During the grand opening of a beautiful new public beach on the Japanese coast, an amazing and bizarre discovery is made. An enormous egg is seen bobbing in the water just off shore, and by enormous I mean that it's about the same size as a 3 story building! Reporter Ichiro Sakai (Akira Takarada) and his photographer Yoka Nakanishi (Yuriko Hoshi) are amazed and don't hesitate in preparing a big story about the discovery and what science will do with it...but then they learn that the head of Happy Enterprises, a major Japanese corporation, has bought the egg and plans to profit off it. How horrible! But science losing the egg is one thing, it's true owner is far more distraught at the loss however. 

Two tiny little women (Emi Ito and Yumi Ito) approach Ichiro and Yoka pleading for their help. These tiny women are no more than a foot high and are dressed like precious little flowers, and they have quite the extraordinary tale to tell. The little ladies came all the way from their home on Infant Island, a primitive island where nuclear testing had been done for many years. On this island live many strange and amazing creatures, including the enormous moth-like creature named Mothra. And that enormous egg, just so happens to belong to Mothra. They need it to come back to the island because Mothra is their guardian, and this egg is Mothra's heir. Without it, the villagers will be left helpless! But when the reporters beg for Happy Enterprises to release the egg, they are instead propositioned to sell these tiny women!

How could you deny those sweet little faces? 

Leaving the offices, the little women are distraught and return home to Infant Island on the back of Mothra. But the reporters don't want to give up - it's not fair that some big wigs will feel so sympathy when it comes to leaving an island without it's protector and its prodigy! But soon they've got bigger problems than restoring the egg to it's mother - GODZILLA HAS RISEN FROM THE EARTH AND IS ATTACKING JAPAN ONCE AGAIN!! Unsure of what to do, Ichiro and Yoka travel to Infant Island and beseech the help of Mothra to defeat Godzilla. At first the villagers all say no...but Mothra has other plans and flies to the mainland to take on the giant beast! But when Mothra is left critically wounded, it is up to the people of Infant Island and their power of prayer to coax the baby Mothra from it's egg and to finish the job it's mother started. But will two twin baby Mothras be strong enough to take down the King of the Monsters?

Back away from that egg Godzilla!

This movie was fun on so many different levels! I loved the fast-paced battle scenes between Godzilla and Mothra, and the scenes on Infant Island brought back fond memories of King Kong vs Godzilla. But I need to admit that I'm starting to get worried. We're now starting to enter the colored era of Godzilla movies and I felt like Godzilla's SKREEONKS are getting monotonous...does this mean a decline in the quality of the Godzilla legacy? I sure hope not, but only time will tell! Make sure to check back in tomorrow where my Grand Godzilla Gala viewing will be of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster! And also remember to tune in tonight to the Thursday Night Wrecking Pit, and to Zorch Radio where I will give you my live interpretation of this movie during the Trash-Tastic Minute!

Volume 1 of the Godzilla Collection has been completed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Godzilla, King of the Monsters

I had a little bit of a heart attack when I was getting set to put the DVD into the player. First off, the 1954 Godzilla disc and this disc looked pretty identical in regards to color and font. And then when I looked more closely at the discs, I saw that BOTH OF THEM had the titles 'Gojira 1954' and 'Godzilla, King of the Monsters!'. Did I make a horrible mistake? Did I fail to notice that these movies are the exact same thing with different titles? Am I going to be laughed out of the Kaiju community?? Well, I was only half right! While this movie IS the same thing as Gojira 1954, it's still different. Allow me to explain:

See why I panicked? 

Steve Martin (Raymond Burr) is an American journalist from Chicago on his way to Egypt to follow a hot story. While his plane is on layover in Tokyo, Japan he is taken into a back office and questioned by the Japanese airport security. The officer wants to know if he experienced any discomfort or strange goings-on during his flight...which Steve Martin didn't, but being a reporter know he must know. What is happening? Reluctantly, the officer explains that a ship off the Japanese coast completely disappeared in a blinding flash of light and no one knows why. And being the savvy investigative reporter that he is, Steve Martin extends his hand in the investigation.

Of course he's a knowledgeable investigator - he has a pipe!

Search parties are sent out to look for survivors of the missing ship, and to hopefully gain some insight into what happened. But any survivors that were found died of shock and excessive injury from strange burns found on their bodies. The search for answers takes government officials and Steve Martin to a small island off Japan's coast that claim to have witnessed a monster rise out of the sea and take the ship down into the depths. Unsure of what to make of this information, the troop spends the night on the island hoping for better luck in the morning. But many didn't survive the night. In the dead of night, a violent rain storm engulfed the island and then something else... a ferocious shriek filled the air and many of the buildings were crushed and smashed to the ground. What could have caused this destruction? The natives all said the same thing: "GOJIRA!!". The next day, some of the surviving islanders came back to Tokyo with Steve Martin and crew to be questioned about what happened during the night.

Investigations proceed, islanders are questioned, and then something incredible happens: physical evidence is found. Enormous dinosaur-esque footprints are found in the mud of the brutalized island! But while measurements are being taken, something better than footprints is witnessed: THE GIANT BEAST GODZILLA HIMSELF!! Rising over 400ft tall and bellowing his high-pitched SKREEONK, all the disappearances and destruction make sense now! But now they need to figure out how to keep the beast from causing more damage, and potentially killing hundreds of thousands of people. And they need to come up with a plan soon, Godzilla is lurking in Tokyo's harbor, and it's likely that nothing can stop him.  But maybe there's a secret weapon hidden within their midst that can take this killer Kaiju back to the bottom of the sea!

Good luck trying to stop this brute!

WOW. Just...WOW!! This movie was so much fun and I enjoyed every second of it! Basically, this movie is just the original 1954 Godzilla movie but with an English dub and inserted scenes with American actor Raymond Burr. It was a pretty clever way to bring Godzilla to America, I think they did a pretty seamless job. Well, minus the fact that some of the Japanese dialogue translated horribly. Although, I enjoyed the consistent butchering of the word 'phenomenon' ha ha! I would say that if you're looking to get into the earlier Godzilla movies but aren't one to watch movies with subtitles this would be your best introduction. Tomorrow begins an exciting transition into the Grand Godzilla Gala: the first of the 'Godzilla vs...' movies! YAY!! I can't wait to see Godzilla take down the winged beast in Mothra vs Godzilla - don't miss out!

Two down, another 24 to go!