Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

 GODZILLA, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Tuesday's Overlooked Film  Comments Off on Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Nov 042014

It’s been months since I last wrote an entry to this blog meme.

I don’t know if anybody noticed, but yesterday marked the sixtieth birthday of Godzilla AKA Gojira. The first Godzilla film premiered on third of November in 1954 in Japan, and I helped organize the showing of one of the later Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, at the Finnish Film Archive screening here in Turku, Finland. It was shown on 35 mm film, in a Cinemascope picture.

The film is a hoot. It’s very, very hilarious. It’s fast-paced, it never slows down, which is a normal handicap for bad and campy pictures: they are slow. There’s always something going on in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla even though none of it makes sense. Cigar-smoking space invaders in silver suits? Check. A huge cyborg pretending to be Godzilla? Check. An ancient Japanese god living inside a cave? Check. A woman singing praise to the said god on a beach with a nice orchestrated background? Check. A mysterious Interpol agent masquerading as a freelance journalist in a long coat trying very hard not to look suspicious? Check. Mysterious gangsters turning into monkeys when they die or even get hit? Check. Name it, and you probably have it in the film.

Highly recommended, lots of laughs guaranteed. More Overlooked Films coming up at Todd Mason’s blog here.

Get Ready…This is For Real!

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Jul 032013

Booyah! This is the best Pacific Rim trailer yet! Apparently, it’s not testing well with mainstream audiences, who see it as a “Transformers rip-off.” I feel very sad for anyone whose pulse doesn’t race in anticipation of witnessing giant robots battling giant monsters on the big screen. Poor devils.

Godzilla Vs. Biollante!

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Nov 292012

Next week, Echo Bridge entertainment will be releasing one of the two remaining Godzilla films not yet available in the U.S. on DVD and Blu-ray: 1989’s Godzilla Vs Biollante.

I’ve already preordered my Blu-ray copy, and I’m hopeful that Echo Bridge put in a little extra effort on this title, seeing as they generally specialize in cheap, no-frills “budget” releases aimed at the K-Mart and Wal-Mart consumer. Little things like audio-visual quality and presenting movies in their correct aspect ratios tend to be unimportant to them – at least, based on some of the EB titles I’ve seen.

Still, they’ve done okay jobs on some of the other films they’ve licensed from Miramax, and the advance word on this disc is fairly encouraging. It’s supposed to be in the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and includes the original Japanese audio (my preference) as well as the English dub. There’s supposed to be multiple subtitle options and even a couple bonus features. I’m hopeful, and eager to add this one to my kaiju eiga library.

Now if only someone would manage to clear the U.S. video rights to Godzilla 1984/1985 – preferably both the original Japanese cut and the American edit released by New World in ’85 with Raymond Burr reprising his role from the American version of the first Godzilla film in 1954.

Go Go Gorgo

 Comics, GODZILLA, Movie Classics  Comments Off on Go Go Gorgo
Nov 092012

One of my favorite monster movies is Eugène Lourié’s, Gorgo. The third of Lourié’s triptych of giant monster flicks (following The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and The Giant Behemoth), 1961’s Gorgo is a terrific entertainment, with good performances, a solid script. and excellent “suitmation” (man-in-suit) creature effects and miniatures.

The film tells of an English salvage vessel crew that captures a thirty-foot tall reptilian creature off the coast of Ireland. They dub the beastie “Gorgo” and haul it to London and put it on display. Unfortunately, despite his primeval proportions, Gorgo’s just a baby, and it’s much, much larger mother of a monster is coming to retrieve her purloined offspring… and all the King’s forces are no match for her maternal fury.

I watched the film again a couple weeks ago on the DVD released by VCI Entertainment back in 2005, and while the movie held up to my fond memories of it, the audio-visual quality was atrocious. Colors were faded and blurry, contrast was terrible, and there was a fair amount of wear and tear evident on the source print. To add insult to injury, the 1.78:1 widescreen transfer wasn’t anamorphically enhanced for 16×9 displays. Fortunately, I’ve heard rumors that VCI will be remastering the title in HD from new, much-improved source materials for a new release sometime in 2013. I really hope that’s true.

Not only was Gorgo a movie star, but Charlton Comics published an ongoing tie-in comic that chronicled the juvenile lizards further adventures. Several of these stories were drawn by the legendary comics creator Steve Ditko. IDW Publishing has announced a special hardcover collection of these tales, to be released in February, 2013.

Here’s their solicitation copy:

The genius artist Steve Ditko is a towering monster of awesomeness, and so is the character he chronicled… GORGO! If you love Godzilla – and who doesn’t – you’ll love Gorgo, who ravages London, New York City, and HOLLYWOOD! Gorgo goes head to head with the British Navy, atomic bombs, Communists, and aliens from the planet Corpus III! This is the complete Ditko Gorgo, 200-pages of comics, including six pulse-pounding covers all drawn during the height of Ditko’s prowess concurrent with his Spider-man and Dr. Strange creative explosions. Scripts are by the fan-favorite writer Joe Gill. Introduction by Eisner award winner Craig Yoe with fascinating insight into the comics and the monster movie that inspired them. Every page is lovingly restored and the book is a large format hardcover to showcase the monstrous Ditko art.

 I’m almost certainly going to want to get this book, even though I only remember Ditko drawing a couple of the Gorgo comic books. I didn’t think there would be enough material to fill 200 pages…

In any case, it looks like 2013 might be Gorgo’s big year.