Review 9: Son of Godzilla

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I‘ve hesitated to write this review because, of all the films in the Godzilla franchise, I dislike the campy-cute, family-friendly Minilla, the so-called “son” of Godzilla. Minilla appears in three films: Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla: Finals Wars, but the most saccharine of them is this one: Son of Godzilla. And it is, by my standards anyway, one of the worst of the franchise in many ways, not least of all in the remade Godzilla suit, but also in the cheapness of … click below for more ↓

Review 8: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep – 1966

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In 1966, the original director of the Godzilla series, Ishiro Honda, left to do other projects and left the next film — Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, aka Godzilla vs the Sea Monster — in the hands of director Jun Fukuda. At the same time, composer Akira Ifukube was replaced by Masuro Sato, and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya was replaced by Sadamasa Arikawa. Names, of course, that mean little or nothing outside aficionados of the franchise or Japanese cinema, but for Godzilla watchers, it … click below for more ↓

Review 7: Invasion of Astro Monster – 1965

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Godzilla films had already begun to move into the cultural camp mode from the second film, Godzilla Raids Again, and away from the monster-threat-to-Earth and Atomic-bomb-symbol of the first film. It was firmly planted into it by the time 1965’s Invasion of Astro Monster came along (aka Great Monster War). It’s a rollicking, madhouse of a movie. Camp — a term that entered the language in 1909 but remains notoriously difficult to define — was described by Susan Sontag in a 1964 essay as, “the … click below for more ↓

Review 6: Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster – 1964

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Toho didn’t waste any time cashing in on the popularity of the latest Godzilla movie, and released two G films in quick succession that same year (the only year to ever see two Godzilla films released). But this time, they went all-out in a throw-in-the-kitchen-sink manner because they were rushed to get the second film out. By this time, they must have realized Godzilla wasn’t just a character, but was the keystone of a growing franchise and one that could link Toho’s other monster films … click below for more ↓

Review 5: Mothra vs Godzilla – 1964

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Toho was not about to let another seven years slip by without a sequel to a successful Godzilla film, but what to do now? The last two films had all featured Godzilla battling another monster (kaiju), and since that worked for audience approval, why not do it again? But this time there would be several differences. And those differences not only resulted in another popular film, but one that is considered by aficionados as perhaps the best in the Showa series productions: Mothra vs. Godzilla. … click below for more ↓

Review 4: King Kong vs Godzilla – 1962

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What was to prove the most successful of Toho’s Godzilla films is, to me, at times one of the hardest to watch in the edited, Americanized edition, even though it included two of my favourite movie monsters. But even in the Toho version, King Kong is not the Kong of the beloved 1933 film. That Kong had majesty and flair. This one, well… read on. The film was released for Toho’s 30th anniversary, in 1962. Toho paid a huge royalty to RKO to use the … click below for more ↓

Review 3: Godzilla Raids Again – 1955

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The unexpected success of the original Gojira film led Toho to find a quick and cheap way to cash in on the popularity. And within six months, they released the second Godzilla film: Godzilla Raids Again (aka Godzilla’s Counterattack). Since most of the previous film’s crew were already working on other projects, new composers, directors, actors, and most of a new special effects team had to be brought in. And a new Godzilla suit (lighter, and more maneuverable) was made. Despite the rush to get … click below for more ↓

Review 2: Godzilla, King of the Monsters – 1956

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I admit to a nostalgic affection for the American (dubbed) edit of the original Gojira — renamed Godzilla, King of the Monsters — because it was the first film in the franchise I ever saw. It helped give me a love of monster movies I still have, more than 60 years later. At that time, I also saw a lot of other scifi and monster B-films in the ’50s and ’60s on TV, in theatres, and at the drive-in, but Godzilla holds a special place … click below for more ↓

Review 1: Gojira – 1954

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Like most North Americans, my introduction to Godzilla (aka Gojira) came later than the first (original) film. For me, it was the 1956 American edit of this film (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, with Canadian actor Raymond Burr; review to follow),  watched sometime in the late 1950s. I didn’t actually see the unedited, Japanese original until fairly recently, although I’ve known of its existence since the 1960s. After it was first released for North American audiences in 2004 (now on DVD and Blu-Ray), I’ve watched … click below for more ↓

Reviewing Godzilla Films

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To pass the time doing two things I enjoy — writing and watching Godzilla films (and, yes… reading books about Godzilla films…) — I thought I would watch each Godzilla film in order, one per week, starting with the 1954 original, and write a synopsis/review of each one, trying to look at each one from my current perspective and knowledge (no comments about being in my dotage, please). I’m also preparing myself by renewing my knowledge of the franchise in preparation for the 70th-anniversary celebrations … click below for more ↓

Musing on Universal Monsters

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I can’t recall exactly when I watched each of the great original monster films (the classic “Universal Monster” films) — Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, The Mummy, and the rest — some I saw before my teens, others in my very early teens and others throughout the ’60s. And I’ve seen them, their sequels, and many of their knockoffs since, often several times. I have numerous of the films on DVD and Blu-Ray; I sometimes watch them in the late afternoons, while Susan watches BBC and other … click below for more ↓

Books for the Kaiju Aficionado

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With possibly two new Godzilla films coming to theatres in 2023*, it may be time to refresh your memory and appreciation of the previous films in the franchise. And what better way to do it than with a brand-new book about them? And perhaps re-reading some of the content in your older book and movie collection (especially that Criterion Collection of the first 15 Godzilla films on Blu-Ray — see below — which you can start watching now to build your anticipation for the new … click below for more ↓

Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Kong

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I’m not sure if I should be elated or disappointed after watching Godzilla vs. Kong (GvK), the latest film (2021) in the Legendary/Universal, Godzilla/MonsterVerse saga. That’s Kong, not King Kong, by the way, because of a squabble over licensing rights, but, yes, it’s that Kong in person if not name. The kaiju formerly known as… Almost two hours of Godzilla and the gang onscreen, with tremendous monster fights, should be a delight for any kaiju aficionado (as readers here know I am…), and I always … click below for more ↓

The Godzilla Soundtracks

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDeU42u2s2Y Akira Ifukube. If you’re not an aficionado of Japanese film or a follower of Japanese symphonic music, his name won’t be familiar. But for millions of kaiju fans around the world, he is a legend. He composed the music and soundtracks for many of the Godzilla films, as well as many scifi and other films produced by the Toho film corporation. He has been ranked among the world’s great film composers along with people like John Williams, Ennio Morricone, and Nino Rota.* I spent … click below for more ↓

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