Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Godzillapalooza #16: Godzilla 1985 (1984)

Godzilla 1985 (1984)
Monster Profile:


-HEIGHT: For the first two films of the Heisei series, Godzilla is 262 feet tall. For the remainder of this era his size is increased to 328 feet, due to a plot twist in "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah."
-MASS: 55,000 tons in the first two films, 66,000 tons for the rest of Heisei.
-SPECIAL POWERS: Godzilla's powers remain the same in the Heisei era. Super regenerative healing power and a thermonuclear atomic ray. Godzilla also has a nuclear pulse in this era, meaning he can emit atomic energy from his body which is in some ways similar to a force field.
-BACKGROUND: The Godzilla of the Heisei series has two different backgrounds. "Godzilla 1985" is supposed to be a direct sequel to the original Godzilla movie, thus this Godzilla is simply the second of his kind and slightly larger than the first. This is the same Godzilla in "Godzilla vs. Biollante". However, the Godzilla for the rest of Heisei is created as a result of time travelers from the future moving the Godzillasaurus (1954's Godzilla before he was mutated) to a different location and inadvertently created a stronger and bigger Godzilla. I'll explain this in more detail later. When in doubt, I think it's always fun to feign ignorance and pretend that it's the same Godzilla in every film, continuing his many adventures.

A shipwreck is found in which only one crew member survived. The rest of the sailors were killed by Godzilla and his... sea lice... eww. Anyway, with the Cold War being in full swing, everyone blames the Russians, but only the Japanese really know what's up. Cold War tensions get even worse when Godzilla destroys a Russian sub. Since everybody's freaking out, the Japanese tell the world that Godzilla is to blame. Steve Martin, who survived Godzilla's first attack on Tokyo, is summoned to the Pentagon to advise the US military. Godzilla comes to Tokyo and is met by the Japanese military and their new weapon, the Super X, which is a sort of flying tank that kind of looks like a minivan. The Super X actually knocks out Godzilla with cadmium missiles, but the fight's not over. The Russians launch a missile to destroy Godzilla, which is misconstrued as Cold War aggression, oh geez. Americans intercept the missile and destroy it, but the radiation over Tokyo revives Godzilla. Silly Russians and their flagrant use of nuclear energy. So Godzilla destroys the Super X, but a bright scientist manages to lure Godzilla to a volcano with the sound of birds and trap Godzilla inside. So Godzilla's raid is over for now, but he is not gone forever.

I have mixed emotions about this film. For the 30th anniversary of the original film, a big to-do was made that another movie would join the sereis, echoing the tone of the first film. In fact, Akihiko Hirata, who played Dr. Serizawa in 1954, even announced the film at a press conference wearing his character's trademark eyepatch. While the film is met to mirror the original, I fell in some ways it succeeds and in others it falls short. This movie pays homage to the first film in many ways that would be clear to any Godzilla fan, which is great. However, the Cold War theme is so irritating to me and drags the film down.

Ifukube was not available to do the score, but Reijiro Koroku actually does a fairly good job in his place. The special effects, however, are somewhat lacking in my opinion and the Godzilla suit and puppet don't look very good at all in most shots. Most scenes in which the army battles Godzilla do look pretty good though. Godzilla's shift from savior of the earth back to bad guy is nicely done and I especially like how the film emphasizes that he is a force of nature and not necessarily a vengeful creature. Including Raymond Burr as Steve Martin, or Mr. Martin in this film, was also a great touch for the American version of the film. It's not one of the best Godzilla movies, but it's not one of the worst either. A must-see for true G-fans, but missable otherwise. Unless you just love watching world leaders sitting in underground lairs, staring at maps, and sweating over Cold War tension.

Best Part: 
The scene in which Godzilla comes ashore to start his true attack on Tokyo is a pretty good one. The army is ready for him, but can't make much of a dent as he just slowly wades up to the shore. This is when a lot of tributes are paid to the first movie as well, like when Godzilla picks up a train and throws it down again and when he walks through power lines. I also love all of the scenes with Raymond Burr, playing the wise old Godzilla veteran. It seems like he's always got something really profound to say to the US military commanders who have no clue what's going on. He also gives a nice little epilogue at the movie's end about mankind trying to control nature. It's no where near as good of an ending as the '54 movie, but it's still pretty great. Here's Mr. Martin's monologue after Godzilla falls into the volcano to end the movie. Check it out.

My Ranking: #21

Up next, Godzilla gets back to fighting other monsters. This one just so happens to be reminiscent of "Little Shop of Horrors"... "Godzilla vs. Biollante"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Godzillapalooza #15: Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Monster Profile:


-HEIGHT: 197 feet
-MASS: 33,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Titanosaurus is essentially an aquatic dinosaur that can fight like a boxer. Besides physical weapons, he can also create cyclones and extremely strong winds by waving his fish-like tail.
-BACKGROUND: Titanosaurus is by nature a shy and gentle creature that escaped extinction by isolating itself deep in the ocean. However, when controlled by his vengeful discoverer, Dr. Mafune, Titanosaurus takes on the personality of the scientist. Under Dr. Mafune's control, Titanosaurus was allied with Mechagodzilla and the Simeons and was ultimately defeated by the combined might of Godzilla and the Japanese military.


  • MECHAGODZILLA 1 (see movie #14)

A research submarine looking for the scattered remains of Mechagodzilla is attacked and destroyed by a strange monster, Titanosaurus. Whenever a small naval craft is destroyed without warning, you know the shit's about to hit the fan. Titanosaurus is under the control of his discoverer: a mad scientist named Dr. Mafune who is bitter for being shunned by society because he claimed to have found this dinosaur years ago. Like any rational person, Dr. Mafune decides the best way to get back at the world is to not only take control of this dinosaur, but also ally himself with the Simeons, who have rebounded for a second invasion attempt, and help them to rebuild Mechagodzilla. To cut a long story short, Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are set loose on Tokyo, but Godzilla shows up to stop them. Godzilla is almost defeated, but alien control over Mechagodzilla is severed. Titanosaurus is immobilized by a sonar weapon and Godzilla proves victorious over two powerful monsters, saving the world yet again. 

With a much grittier and darker look than the first Mechagodzilla movie and the return of Ishiro Honda and Akira Ifukube, this movie was the perfect ending to the Showa series and an extremely good Godzilla movie overall. The opening credits are awesome by themselves, showing highlights of the final battle from "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" with Ifukube's chilling score in the background. As you're watching you just think, "Oh snap, time for the rematch!" Every time Ifukube and his original score are involved in a Godzilla movie it ups the quality of the film so much it's incredible. In true Honda style, this movie is full of drama and plot twists, mostly revolving around Dr. Mafune's beloved daughter. 

This movie contains some of the best footage of city destruction of the entire Showa series. There are plenty of explosions and good special effects. Continuing with the last movie's theme, Godzilla is a savior of the earth, but a badass one. He is treated with awe rather than a little boy yelling: "Hooray Godzilla!" This is an awesome entry in the series and just barely misses my top 10. A fitting end to the Showa series and there's still a lot more to come. Definitely a must see for any Godzilla fan! Seeing the first Mechagodzilla movie isn't entirely necessary to watch this one, but it adds to the story a lot. See it, you'll love it!

Best Part:
As I mentioned above, the opening credits are an outstanding addition to this film. That being said, I absolutely love the part in which Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus destroy Tokyo together. The slow destruction and big explosions coupled with Ifukube's masterful score is Godzilla-perfection. This scene goes directly into my favorite battle of the movie, which Godzilla actually loses, but it's a great and creative fight. Having said all this though, my favorite part of the whole movie has got to be Godzilla's first appearance. Titanosaurus is alone attacking Tokyo and the big guy shows up to straighten him out. Again I'm mentioning the score, but it creates a masterpiece of mood as you look at the smoking city and the silhouette of the King of the Monsters appears. Check it out.

My Ranking: #13

Up next, the Heisei series kicks off and Godzilla is restored as Tokyo's nemesis... "Godzilla 1985"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Godzillapalooza #14: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 164 feet
-MASS: 44,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: You want special powers? I'll show you some special powers! The first, and might I add alien controlled, version of Mechagodzilla sports a vast array of weapons: an oral flamethrower (to mimic Godzilla's trademark breath), laser beams from the eyes, a close-range beam from the chest, and rockets from fingers, toes, knees, and throat. For defense, Mechagodzilla employs its "space titanium" armor and a projectable force field. And oh by the way, Mechagodzilla can also fly using rockets from its feet. It is literally armed to the teeth and Godzilla's most dangerous foe up to this point.
-BACKGROUND: The first (Showa) Mechagodzilla was created by the Simeon aliens from the Third Planet of the Black Hole, really creative name for a planet. Mechagodzilla's purpose was for what else, but world domination. The Simeons at first disguised Mecha-G as the King of the Monsters himself, but the real Godzilla quickly showed up and revealed its true identity. An extremely powerful weapon, Mechagodzilla 1 was destroyed in two consecutive Earth invasion attempts, but would have succeeded had it not been for Godzilla.


-HEIGHT: 164 feet (328 feet in Millennium)
-MASS: 33,000 tons (55,000 tons in Millennium)
-SPECIAL POWERS: Think of King Caesar as a Japanese lion that also knows karate. He can also reflect energy beams from his eyes.
-BACKGROUND: King Caesar is an ancient, mythological lion god who is the protector of the Azumi royal family in Okinawa. He sleeps in a mountain by a sacred temple in Okinawa and can be awakened in times of extreme crisis through a very elaborate process. If you reflect the rising sun's rays from the eyes of an ancient statue onto the cliffside of his mountain and then you sing his theme song dramatically, he'll wake up and help you out for your trouble.


  • ANGUIRUS (see movie #2)

In Okinawa, a descendant of the Azumi royal family has a prophetic vision that monsters are going to soon show up and destroy the world. It's not long before she is proven right, as Godzilla shows up and in a really bad mood and with a screwed up roar. Things get stranger when he finds Anguirus and beats the crap out of him, ripping his jaw open reminiscent of King Kong in his battle with the T-Rex. What's up with Godzilla, why's he beating up his friends? Then the real Godzilla shows up and in a sweet night battle in an oil refinery, Godzilla burns off the imposter's disguise to reveal Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla is one ass-kicking machine and is being controlled by some ape-like aliens trying to take over the world. Godzilla is forced to retreat from this battle and Mechagodzilla goes back to base for repairs. Throughout all the chaos there is a small group of humans aware of the invasion and trying to keep an ancient statue safe that is the key to awaking King Caesar who can help protect the planet. Just before Mechagodzilla shows up, they complete the ritual, the prophetess sings King Caesar's dramatic, 4 minute theme song and Caesar wakes up with an explosion. He proves to be a lackluster savior though, as Mechagodzilla kicks his butt. But then Godzilla shows up, more powerful having been struck by lightning. An epic battle ensues and Godzilla and King Caesar prove victorious when Godzilla rips off Mechagodzilla's head. The Simeons retreat for now and the world is once again saved.

This film marked the 20th anniversary of the original Godzilla movie and Toho cut the crap and really did things right. They created arguably Godzilla's coolest enemy and and although they recycled the alien invasion theme, they added some cool new twists. The movie is full of action and the plot moves quickly. There are enough explosions in this movie to satisfy any pyro-junkie and there are plenty of monster battles (they're all awesome).

It's also a nice touch to have Mechagodzilla in the Godzilla disguise at first, that way we still see Godzilla's destructive power while preserving the real Godzilla's good guy image. Might I also add, that Godzilla saves the earth like a boss in this movie, not like in the last few crappy films of the series. Godzilla's just a total badass. He's especially awesome when he bleeds in this one. Overall this movie is such a vast improvement and breath of fresh air after the last 4 entries to the series. It's such a cut above on all levels from the other G-movies of the 70's. The special effects are awesome and as I said before, the battles are so great. This is definitely the best of the Jon Fukuda directed G-movies. If you like Godzilla at all, you simply have to see this one.    

Best Part:
Since I usually at least mention moments of comic relief in this section, I have to touch on the old grandfather character of the Azumi family (pictured right). The dude's just so goofy and dramatic; you've got to see it for yourself and I'm sure you'll get a good chuckle. In all honesty though, I would list all of the monster battles as the best part. Mechagodzilla's reveal battle in the fiery oil refinery is awesome. It really doesn't get any better than the final battle scene though. We see Mechagodzilla's

My Ranking: #6

Up next, it doesn't take long for Mechagodzilla and the Simeons to launch a counter attack... "Terror of Mechagodzilla"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Godzillapalooza #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 180 feet
-MASS: 44,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Megalon has a wealth of special powers. Besides its drill hands, which can be used for burrowing at extreme speeds, Megalon also can fly at Mach 3 and leap great distances. It emits lightning from its horn and can fire napalm bombs from its mouth.
-BACKGROUND: Megalon is the ancient protector and Deity of the undersea kingdom of Seatopia. Strange that a beetle-like monster would have anything to do with the ocean, I know, but that about sums up Megalon. It's odd to me that this movie is Megalon's only appearance in the series though, because he is a very unique and cool monster.


-HEIGHT: 164 feet (when it grows to monster size)
-MASS: 27,500 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Jet Jaguar fights like a ninja robot, employing various karate moves. He can also fly at Mach 3.5 and communicate with monsters.
-BACKGROUND: Jet Jaguar was one of the many inventions of one of the main characters of this movie, Goro Ibuki. It was not specifically designed to be a fighting robot, but its self-programming function allowed it to grow to monster size in order to defend the earth from destruction. By the way, if you want a great laugh, check out the Jet Jaguar song below from the end of this movie.


  • GIGAN (see movie #12)

"Godzilla vs. Megalon" centers around an undersea kingdom called Seatopia that gets really pissed off by all of the under-ground nuclear tests being done by the above-ground people, so they send their god, Megalon, to throw a fit and destroy earth. How nice of them, considering nobody on the surface even knew their civilization existed. The movie's protagonists are an Inventor named Goro, his friend Hiroshi, and his little brother Rokuro. Goro's prize invention is a humanoid robot named Jet Jaguar. The Seatopians decide it would be a great idea to hijack Jet Jaguar and use him as Megalon's guide to destroy Tokyo. The plan works at first until Goro regains control of his invention and tells him to go get Godzilla for help. At this point, Jet Jaguar's self programming takes over. It warns Godzilla, who begins swimming for Tokyo, and promptly flies back to fight Megalon. Realizing that their plans have gone south, the Seatopians call on their buddies from the Spacehunter M Nebula who let them borrow Gigan to help. Megalon and Gigan give Jet Jaguar a beat-down, but Godzilla shows up just in time, trotting up to the fight like a boxer about to enter the ring. This typifies Godzilla's fighting style in this movie, as has acts more like a street fighter than Godzilla for most of the battle. Godzilla and Jet Jaguar together easily dispatch Gigan and Megalon, who beat a hasty retreat and Godzilla and Jet Jaguar return to their peaceful lives.

I have very few gripes about this movie. Overall it's a very fun and unique addition to the series. The use of stock footage is still present, but nowhere near as bad as in "Godzilla vs. Gigan", and is easy to get over. The incredibly awful music of Riichiro Manabe (last heard in "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) returns, but it's much more brief and bearable. However, on the positive side, this is the first movie featuring one of my favorite Godzilla suits of the Showa series, so that's a plus. Jet Jaguar is extremely goofy and gets his ass kicked by himself, but the monster battles are so entertaining in this movie, albeit occasionally ridiculous.

This movie is very campy and silly, but I absolutely love it. This is the Godzilla of my childhood, so it makes it into my top 20 of the series. I've always viewed this movie as a benchmark in the series because, in my opinion, it marks the end of the string of Godzilla movies that were just incredibly bad. And after this movie came one of the best Godzilla movies of all time, when he fought MechaGodzilla for the first time. I'd definitely recommend this movie to anyone remotely interested in Godzilla or campy monster movies. It's so dang entertaining and funny. A must see! Just don't take it too seriously.

Best Part:
All of my favorite parts of this movie are centered around the monster battles, as it should be. There are so many great moments. The first time Jet Jaguar runs up to fight Megalon, Megalon gives him this look like "WTF are you supposed to be?" Subtle, but so funny, since Jet Jaguar is so random to begin with. Godzilla fights more like Muhammad Ali than himself, but it's very entertaining. Another part I love is when Jet Jaguar throws Gigan in the air and Godzilla nails him with his atomic breath. But the very best part has to be the ultimate in campy Godzilla moments. You just have to watch this inexplicable clip below. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the dropkick!

My Ranking: #17

Up next, you ain't never seen seen an alien invasion like this one! It's one of Godzilla's most famous foes and the 6th best movie on my list... "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla"


Saturday, August 27, 2011

2011 College Football Preview: Week 1

Time to take a quick break from the Godzillapalooza and focus on a few games slated for week 1 of this glorious new College Football season! Since this is a brand new and permanent addition to my blog, I'll give you a quick run-down of the layout. First, I will always preview the same "featured teams" every week. These are teams that are either of great importance to me, my family, or my readership at large (obviously TCU is a featured team). If it becomes apparent to me that a large portion of my readers are devoted to a particular school not included in this section, I hope to be alerted so that team can be added. After featured teams come my "key games" (which are either games around the nation of high importance or that should be very competitive) and my "Game of the Week", which is self-explanatory. Once we are into the season, each preview will also include a brief recap of each team's previous weeks results. So sounds simple enough right? Nothing too out of the ordinary. Well now that the possibly gratuitous explanation is out of the way, let's get started! There's already a lot to talk about so let's jump right in!

Featured Teams

1. TCU Horned Frogs @ Baylor Bears
-Preview: An old, deep-rooted rivalry in the state of Texas that dates back to before the SWC. If I may be unbiased for a moment, I hate Baylor more than any other team in college football. Now that that's out of the way, this should be a hard fought game. Baylor returns arguably the most talented QB in their history in Junior, Robert Griffin III, whereas TCU will be breaking in a brand new QB (be it Casey Pachall or Matt Brown) and looking for leadership. Both defenses will be fairly inexperienced, but TCU looks to keep hold of their major advantage in this department. TCU has arguably the best stable of RBs in the country when healthy, and they will look to carry this offense. Overall, could be a bit of a rocky start for a young Frogs team on the road, but I still fully expect a victory.
-Matchup to watch: QB Robert Griffin vs. TCU's secondary
-My Pick: TCU wins, 21-10.

2. BYU Cougars @ Ole Miss Rebels
-Preview: This will be the toughest out of conference game for a Rebels team with a pretty favorable schedule. This is the first ever meeting between the two schools and looks to be an interesting game. Home field should make a big difference for Ole Miss, as they are 12-4 in their last 16 home openers. Also, while they are a very good team, BYU has never dealt well against teams with great speed, and the SEC is no exception. BYU is 1-3 vs the SEC and 2-7 in their last 9 road openers. Look for the Rebel victory, but this could still be a fun game to watch and BYU does have some chance of an upset.
-Matchup to Watch: Ole Miss RBs vs. BYU front 7
-My Pick: Ole Miss wins, 31-24

3. Texas State Bobcats @ Texas Tech Red Raiders
-Preview: There's not much to say about this one. It's your typical BCS vs. FCS early season matchup with the results you'd expect. Granted, Texas State will be moving up to FBS next year, but still they are not exactly on par with Big 12 competition yet. Tech is struggling to find a new identity under Tommy Tuberville and consider this another game on the road to finding themselves. Easy Tech win, unless they just don't show up, and a good barometer on what kind of team the Raiders will be this season.
-Matchup to Watch: Tech QB Seth Doege vs. Bobcat Defense
-My Pick: Texas Tech wins, 48-7

Key Games

UGA crushed Boise in '05, 48-13
1. Boise State Broncos vs Georgia Bulldogs (Georgia Dome)
-Preview: We've seen this scenario so many times it's pathetic. Boise plays a ranked BCS team early in the season in a "National Title elimination game". Whatever. Anyway, this should be a great game played at a not-so-neutral site. The Broncos know how to get ready for these big games and look to have another very good team this year anyway. Georgia on the otherhand is still struggling to regain SEC relevance. Granted, this could be the year the Bulldogs get back to where they were. They've got a very talented squad led by veteran QB, Aaron Murray and a much improved Defense. I have to pick Boise in this one based on recent history, but this should still be a hard-fought and likely close game.
-Matchup to Watch: Look to the QBs in this one and how they lead their respective teams; Boise's Kellen Moore vs. Georgia's Aaron Murray.
-My Pick: Boise State wins, 35-28

2. USF Bulls @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish
-Preview: Another season, another chance for the Irish to be overrated. But this game at least gives them somewhat of a chance to prove they deserve their #16 pre-season AP ranking. The Irish are at home (major disadvantage #1 for Bulls) and HC Kelly is very familiar with with USF, having gone 3-0 against them while he was coaching at Cincinnati. In a week dominated by cupcake games though, any game that presents some challenge for both sides make my list of Key Games. If one thing can be said about this game though, this is probably one of the faster and more athletic team the Irish will face this year. Irish win without too much struggle.
-Matchup to Watch: Notre Dame Offense vs. athletic USF Defense.
-My Pick: Notre Dame wins, 24-13

3. SMU Mustangs @ Texas A&M Aggies
SMU Legend, Jerry Levias vs A&M, 1967
-Preview: I picked this game more for nostalgic value than actual quality of the game. Don't get me wrong, SMU does have a chance at upsetting the Aggies (in fact, I hope they do), I just think it's unlikely. These two SWC rivals played every year from 1919-1995 and I'd be willing to bet that the SMU faithful are very excited for this one. The Ponies haven't won at Kyle field since '83 (the cheating years) and it looks as if they can add one more year to the streak. In my Big 12 Preview, I pick A&M to win the conference, so you can understand my pessimism. Should be fun to watch though if you're a fan of Texas football and the old SWC like me.
-Matchup to Watch: June Jones' Run-and-Shoot Mustang Offense vs. much improved Aggie Defense
-My Pick: Texas A&M wins, 35-17

4. UCLA Bruins @ Houston Cougars
-Preview: Everybody loves the Texas vs California football matchup. While this one's not quite as juicy as USC-Texas, it's still cool. Plus it's always nice to see a BCS school with the balls to play on a non-BCS school's home turf. Anyway, this looks to be a much better game than last season's blowout in which star QB Case Keenum suffered a season-ending injury. This year Keenum is back and leading a great offense for his senior revenge tour, the whole Cougar team has had this game circled. Look for UH to come out fired up in front of a home crowd and redeem last season's disappointment. The UH defense needs to strengthen, but overall I expect Houston to win in a shootout.
-Matchup to Watch: I've got two: QB Case Keenum vs Bruin Defense, and Cougar Defense vs. UCLA RBs
-My Pick: Houston grabs the upset, 35-31

*Game of the Week*

Oregon Ducks vs LSU Tigers (Cowboys Stadium)
-Preview: #3 vs #4 in the first week and two explosive teams? You bet this is the game of the week! Both of these teams will be very good heading into this year and it's hard to pick a clear cut winner. Both  teams have suffered very minimal losses and keep most of last season's star players including both QBs. LSU will likely have more fans in Arlington, but if 2010's OSU-TCU game is any indication, Oregon fans aren't afraid to travel to Texas either. The winner of this game will put themselves in the drivers seat for a National Title berth. Oregons defense will likely regress while LSU's has slightly improved. But the Duck offense is a very hard one to stop, and an enormous setback for the Tigers will be the loss of their QB, Jordan Jefferson, due to his suspension. That's why I'm picking Oregon to start the 2011 season 1-0.
-Matchup to Watch: Oregon Offense vs. LSU Defense
-My Pick: Oregon Ducks win, 38-35

Monday, August 22, 2011

Godzillapalooza #11: Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971)

Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (1971)
Monster Profile:


-HEIGHT: .1 millimeter to 197 feet
-MASS: .1 metric ton to 52,800 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: In a way, Hedorah itself is a weapon becuase it's made out of polluted crap, so it's dangerous to the touch. In addition, Hedorah can fly, shoot lasers from its eyes, and fling a sulfuric acid mist and acidic sludge.
-BACKGROUND: Hedorah is one of the most elaborate and different monsters of the Showa series. Hedorah is created when an alien spore combines with Earth's overpowering industrial waste. Simply put, it is a living pile of shit. Hedorah grows and feeds off of pollution and grows through various different stages during its life in the movie. Because it's made of sludge, Hedorah is impervious to physical attacks. It can only die if dehydrated. 

The movie starts with people finding these strange and unusually large salt-water tadpoles around Japan. Dr. Yano finds out that the tadpoles are made of minerals and are not normal biological creatures. These tadpoles, of course, merge together in the ocean to form Hedorah. Hedorah takes many different forms and continues to grow as it feeds on pollution and puffs on smoke-stacks like they're giant blunts. This won't be the last drug reference in this strange movie. To put things simply, Godzilla and Hedorah fight a few times and eventually Godzilla and the Japanese military defeat the Smog monster. Godzilla finds two yellow orbs (no idea what that's about) and then flies away using his atomic breath. I know, what the hell...

As you might have guessed, the whole theme of this movie is save the earth and don't pollute. I don't necessarily have that big of a problem with the theme, but the movie is just so bad it reeks worse than Hedorah must smell. Let me start things off by saying that Hedorah is totally disgusting. His roar sounds like a smelly burp and he goes around covering everything in what looks like diarrhea and turning people to skeletons. The monster fights are awful, Godzilla just waves his arms around a lot and gets coated in sludge. And speaking of awful, the music for this film has got to be the worst of the series.

There are so many parts of this move that are just completely weird and make you wonder who exactly the target audience is supposed to be. Where do I begin with the weirdness? There's tons of random, LSD induced cartoons placed throughout the movie and odd scenes with no sound or that don't seem to have anything to do with anything. There's lessons about galaxies and physics that make you go "Am I seriously watching a Godzilla movie right now?" Weirdest of all has got to be during Godzilla and Hedorah's first fight: this dude is drinking in a psychedelic club and all of a sudden he hallucinates and starts seeing fish heads on everybody. What the HELL?? Then before you know it, Hedorah's diarrhea goop flows in and out and covers a poor kitten in sludge. WHAT?! You've got to just watch this movie to truly appreciate the utter confusion. The movie's concept has potential, but God it's just so beyond strange, and not in a cool way, just a "WTF?" way. Shoot go ahead and check it out though, just for the shock value.

Best Part:
How am I supposed to seriously pick a best part of this movie? It's pretty much neck-and-neck with "Godzilla's Revenge" for the worst of the series (excluding of course, the 1998 American Godzilla). There's this one part when I was watching through the movie that I thought I'd like, but proved to be very anti-climactic. Some hippies and teenagers are having a bonfire party thing when Hedorah shows up. So I'm thinking "Haha sweet, Hedorah's gonna crash the party on some tree-huggers." But no, Godzilla shows up, and the two monsters just kind of have an old West stand-off while everyone watches and the horrible music plays. WAY later some of the hippies decide to try and fight and throw fire at Hedorah, who proceeds to throw diarrhea in their eyes and kill them. So I guess that's kind of satisfying... Ugh, this movie's just so bad. Just for poops and grins, here's a clip of the ultimate WTF moment from the Godzilla series and this film. I give you: Flight of Godzilla! Dear God...

My Ranking: #27

Up next, things get slightly better, but the recession of awfulness continues with... "Godzilla vs. Gigan"

Godzillapalooza #10: Godzilla's Revenge (1969)

Godzilla's Revenge (1969)
Monster Profile:


-HEIGHT: 190 feet
-MASS: 25,300 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Gabara has the ability to generate electricity from his hands, but he can only shock victims when he touches them. No projectile lighting here.
-BACKGROUND: Gabara is without a doubt the weirdest of all  of the Godzilla enemies. He looks like  a strange mix between a house cat and a toad and has a cackle that makes you want to slam your head into a brick wall. Theoretically, Gabara only exists in the dreams of a young boy and represents all of the bullies in his life. Within this boy's dream world, Gabara lives on Monster Island and bullies Minya.

"Godzilla's Revenge" revolves around a young boy, Ichiro, who is a big Godzilla fan. He gets bullied a lot and even kidnapped by escaped fugitives, but his escape is that he imagines he's on Monster Island where he talks and plays with Minya. Minya talks and he sounds like a moron, so already this movie continues to take bad turns. Minya is bullied by Gabara, just like Ichiro, and Godzilla teaches Minya to fight back (eventually Godzilla gets credit for beating the living crap out of Gabara). Ichiro takes the lessons of courage he learns from his imaginary friends, helps the police catch the criminals and beat up the bullies who tortured him. What's weirder is that after the seizure-inducing fight between Ichiro and the bullies, the bullies really like Ichiro and like become his best friends. That about sums up the movie. Whatever.

Oh my lord. As far as Toho goes, this is the worst of all of the Godzilla movies. And it came right after one of Toho's ultimate Godzilla creations. In the immortal words of James Rolfe, "This movie is the wet core of the smelly dog terd... There's nothing more sad than a grown man all alone, wallowing in his sorrows, watching Godzilla's Revenge." And that's exactly how I feel. Even the title makes no sense, there is never a single attempt at revenge, at least not by Godzilla, in this whole movie. This is when the series really started to be geared towards kids, so I guess this is a better one to watch when you're younger, but even then it's just awful.

All of the monster battles in this movie, excluding the ones with Gabara, are copied and pasted from "Son of Godzilla" and "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster". Really? I mean I guess when you're real little you don't notice these things as much, but it's always bothered me. There's really not much else to say about this one. I guess it teaches a good lesson, to stand up for yourself and have courage. But it's just so weird. This movie really marks the climax of weirdness for the Godzilla series. Check it out if you're a big G-fan or just want to lose a few brain cells, but otherwise save yourself the trouble and skip it.

Best Part:
If there is a best part of this movie, I guess I'd have to say it's Minya's final battle with Gabara when Godzilla gets involved. It's actually kind of funny and Godzilla really kicks some ass. At one point Godzilla grabs Gabara by the arm and throws the annoyance over his shoulder like a bad wrestling move. It's satisfying because you're just as irritated with Gabara and his cackle as Godzilla and Minya are. I love it when Minya jumps on the seesaw-like rock and catapults Gabara into the stratosphere. "Homeward Bound" anyone? Here's a youtube gem I found: Godzilla's Revenge in 5 seconds...

My Ranking: #28

Up next, the WTFs continue with... "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Godzillapalooza #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 115 feet
-MASS: 8,800 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Gorosaurus only has physical weapons reminiscent of a carnivorous dinosaur. However, Gorosaurus does have the ability to do a two legged kangaroo-kick and burrow underground as well.
-BACKGROUND: Gorosaurus is an unusually large therapod dinosaur originally discovered outside of the Godzilla series on Mondo Island, where he fought King Kong. In the Godzilla series, Gorosaurus became one of the many monsters contained on Monster Island and allied with Godzilla.
-BATTLE RECORD (G-Series only): 1-0


-LENGTH: 492 feet (increased to 984 feet for Millennium series)
-MASS: 33,000 tons (Millennium increased to 66,000 tons)
-SPECIAL POWERS: Python-like constricting abilities. Manda is also an adept swimmer.
-BACKGROUND: While many portrayals of Manda resemble a mythological Chinese Dragon, it is by all rights a sea serpent that also has small arms and legs so it can move on land. As you might expect, it is the Deity and protector of an ancient Kingdom, known as the people of Mu who appear in the movie "Atragon". For the purposes of the Godzilla series, Manda is confined on Monster Island with the other Showa monsters.
-BATTLE RECORD: Manda never actually fights another monster in the G-series. Only people.


-HEIGHT: 82 feet (98 feet in Millennium)
-MASS: 275 tons (11,000 tons in Millennium)
-SPECIAL POWERS: Unlike the two above monsters, Baragon has a wealth of special powers and yet he is barely featured in this movie, but that's another rant. Baragon is most famous for his tunneling ability, but he can also breathe fire and has superior jumping skills. Not to mention he has a sweet horn on his nose that glows.
-BACKGROUND: Who knows what Baragon is; he is described as a dinosaur that escaped extinction by burrowing underground, but have you ever seen a dinosaur that looks remotely like this? Myself and many others love Baragon, but despite being a fan favorite, Baragon seems to get no respect at all from the makers of Godzilla movies. Baragon makes his first appearance outside of Godzilla in "Frankenstein Conquers the World" and is seemingly killed only to be revived and make a few appearances in the G-series. He lives on Monster Island and makes cameos in the Showa series. In "Destroy All Monsters", he is blamed for the destruction of Paris, even though he actually had nothing to do with it and barely appears in the film at all... again, no respect. Baragon returns with a pretty important role in "Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah..." However, the "powers that be" still didn't have the decency to include him in the title. Freaking jerks.
-BATTLE RECORD (G-series only): 0-1


-HEIGHT: 164 feet
-MASS: 16,500 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Varan only fights with his claws and other physical weapons, but his real power is the ability of gliding flight by stretching out his skin flaps like a flying squirrel. Varan can also swim.
-BACKGROUND: Following the theme of monsters added to "Destroy All Monsters", Varan originally appears in his own movie: "Varan the Unbelievable". In that film he is worshipped as a cult Deity, driven from his underwater home by pollution, and repelled by the Japanese military. For the purposes of Godzilla however, he's just another celebrity inmate on Monster Island.
-BATTLE RECORD: Varan never fights in the G-series.


  • RODAN (see movie #5)
  • MOTHRA (see movie #4)
  • ANGUIRUS (see movie #2)
  • KUMONGA (see movie #8)
  • MINYA (see movie #8)
  • KING GHIDORAH (see movie #5)

"Destroy All Monsters" represents the ultimate attempt by Toho to round up all their monsters to date and place them in an enormous, all-star monster mash for a resounding finale to the Godzilla series. As we well know, this did not end up being the last Godzilla movie by any means, but it does make for a great, classic Godzilla film. The year is the distant future of 1999, and mankind has managed to build bases on the Moon and confine all the world's monsters on Monster Island for scientific observation. Who else would screw up this perfect situation than, you guessed it, a race of alien invaders. To put things simply: the aliens, called Kilaaks, free and take control of all of the world's monsters and unleash them onto the worlds major cities. Rodan attacks Moscow, Gorosaurus levels Paris, Mothra is loosed on China, and Godzilla destroys New York. Before long all of the monsters, including Manda, attack Tokyo. Soon the people realize that the monsters are under alien control and attack the Kilaak control center on the moon. With the moon base destroyed and the monsters freed, it looks like the world is saved, but from another secret base beneath Mt. Fuji the Kilaaks call upon their greatest weapon yet: the intergalactic marauder King Ghidorah. Now, for those of you Godzilla fans that remember "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero", Ghidorah is pretty easily dispatched by just Godzilla and Rodan alone. So despite the Kilaaks' confidence, Ghidorah stood no chance against Godzilla and his nine monster buddies. A monster rumble of epic proportions ensues and Ghidorah is absolutely annihilated and actually dies. Peace is restored to earth and the monsters return to their lives on Monster Island.

The dream-team of Japanese monster movies, Honda, Ifukube, and Tsuburaya, rejoined their powers for the ultimate tour de force of the Showa series. What could be more spectacular than rounding up 11 of their most famous monsters? This film had an unusually large budget and the creators used it well. The plot is nothing that extraordinary, but seeing so many different monsters attacking recognizable locations is a real treat. The movie is worth watching for the final battle scene if for no other reason. The fight is arguably one of the Showa series' very best and it's footage is recycled shamelessly in "Godzilla vs. Gigan", but that's a conversation for later.

"Destroy All Monsters" delivers everything you'd expect from a Showa era Godzilla movie. The plot leaves a tad to be desired, as it's honestly not the best of their "aliens try to take over earth using monsters" theme, and sometimes you wish the monsters were shown a bit more (*cough cough* Baragon) but overall it's a great flick. The scenes of city destruction are great and, like I said before, the final battle is reason enough to check it out. This movie just barely misses my top 10, but served as the inspiration for one of my favorites of all time! 

Best Part:
I feel like I've made this pretty clear already, but my favorite part of this movie is the final battle in which all the monsters of earth beat the living shit out of King Ghidorah. There's no other way to put it, they just destroy him, pardon the pun. Anguirus bites his neck, Gorosaurus drop kicks his back, Mothra and Kumonga spray him with web, Godzilla does his usual ass-kicking as well as stomping on one of Ghidorah's necks, and Minya delivers the final blow suffocating his middle head with a smoke ring. It's great! You can tell Honda and Tsuburaya really had fun with this one. I really wanted to find a video to show y'all, but there happens to be none on youtube that are worth a crap. So you'll just have to go find the movie and see for yourself. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. 

My Ranking: #12

Up next, things get unbelievably awful. The streak begins with... "Godzilla's Revenge"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Godzillapalooza #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Son of Godzilla (1967)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 43-59 feet
-MASS: 1,980-3,300 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Blows radioactive smoke rings, but can breath Godzilla's trademark atomic ray when under extreme duress. Under rare circumstances, Minya can also shrink down to human size (i.e. "Godzilla's Revenge" and "Godzilla: Final Wars").
-BACKGROUND: The identity of Minya's birth parents is debatable, but it's generally accepted that he is Godzilla's adopted son, primarily because he doesn't look very much like Godzilla at all. Godzilla discovers Minya shortly after he hatches on Sollgel Island and saves him from a group of Kamacuras. The two are inseparable from then on, at least for the next two movies following this one. 


-HEIGHT: 164 feet
-MASS: 3,080 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Kamacuras has nothing in the way of beams or rays. Rather it has all the weapons of a regular preying mantis such as flight, spiked claws, and mandibles.
-BACKGROUND: Kamacuras, a.k.a "Gimantis", where an unusually large species of preying mantis living on Sollgel Island. The original species was already a staggering 2 meters tall, but when doused by a radioactive rainstorm accidentally created by the U.N. weather control experiment, Kamacuras ballooned to 50 meters in height (164 feet). Many were killed by Godzilla and Kumonga, but few remained contained on Monster Island and one was employed by the Xilian aliens bent on world domination in "Godzilla: Final Wars".


Kumonga in "Godzilla: Final Wars"
-HEIGHT: 148 feet
-MASS: 8,800 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Kumonga's powers are essentially the same as that of any spider. She has a poison stinger and can shoot a powerful web from her mouth, much like larval Mothra.
-BACKGROUND: Kumonga is an enormous, subterranean spider discovered on Sollgel Island and later confined on Monster Island. There's is not much else to say about Kumonga's origins other than it is likely that the radioactive rainstorm was to blame for it's large size.

A United Nations research team is conducting weather-control experiments on the remote Sollgel Island, when reporter, Goro Masaki, drops from the sky because he senses a good story. The team accepts his prescence out of necessity and before long they have bigger fish to fry. The team's first attempt at freezing the Island goes terribly wrong and creates a radioactive rainstorm which mutates many of the already abnormally sized native creatures. With Kamacuras and Kumonga terrorizing the expedition, Goro meets a native girl, Saeko, who leads the team to safety in her cave home. Later, Goro and Saeko discover an egg that hatches Minya. Goro declares it looks like a baby Godzilla, but really Minya looks more like a cross between Gary Coleman and a green pillsbury doughboy, and at birth he looks especially weird... more like a slimy frog with scrawny limbs. So anyway, Minya hatches and gets attacked by three Kamacuras, but Godzilla shows up, lays the smack-down, and adopts Minya. Throughout the rest of the movie, Godzilla protects Minya and teaches him valuable skills. Before they leave the Island, the U.N. research team conducts their experiment one last time, this time with great success. The Island freezes under a flood of snow, and in possibly the most heartwarming moment in the series, Godzilla holds his freezing son as the snow falls around them.

Let me start off by saying that this movie is a bit weird and features by far the worst looking Godzilla suit of the series, in my opinion. The music is goofy as crap, but matches the mood of the film. It's very kid-centered and focuses on Godzilla more as a loving parent to a playful child than a menacing force of destruction.

While this is not my favorite Godzilla movie, it is by no means the worst and has its good points. The insect enemies, though not the most creative in the series, are well executed and look good in the film. Many of the scenes in which Godzilla interacts with Minya one-on-one are actually very entertaining. Godzilla teaches Minya to breath his atomic ray and fight enemies. It's an endearing Godzilla movie, but by no means the best. Give it a look though.

Best Part:
As I said before, the scenes which include Godzilla and Minya interacting are easily the best of the movie. Probably my favorite is when Godzilla is trying to sleep and Minya starts playing jump rope with his dad's tail. Minya is clumsy, tripping and stepping on Godzilla's tail, and every time Godzilla looks at him like, "What the hell are you doing? I'm trying to sleep." Haha, good stuff. Also the end scene, were Godzilla pulls Minya out of the snow and holds him close is a very good one.

My Ranking: #25

Up next, the ultimate All-Star Monster Mash and Toho's original finale for the series... "Destroy All Monsters"