Growing up with Godzilla and other giant monsters

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When I was like 7-9 Channel 20 out of DC showed Abbott and Costello movies every Saturday around lunch time and I watched those fairly often. Like the Fall when I was 9 they switched it up and started showing monster movies instead. Some times it was Universal horror and on occasion some grade Z 50’s or 60’s film (this was the late 70’s) but often enough Godzilla, or Mothra or Rodan or a combination of them and others would show up in badly dubbed versions for my delight. This was my introduction to these monsters and these films. It was a grainy black and white TV (when didn’t buy a color set until 1983) and I often had to argue with my mom to see it and she thought I should be outside soaking up the sun instead of watching Godzilla flatten buildings. Channel 20 kept this format for about three year and I saw as many of these films as I could during this time. No one else really showed Godzilla films after that. It wasn’t until I got a VHS player that I was able to enjoy these films again. People laugh at the characters and the films or rather people who don’t know any better do that. My love for these characters has been with me for over 30 years and I still enjoying watching and discussing these films when I can. This weekend when I take my kids with me to see Godzilla it will add another chapter to my love for these characters. Good, bad or in between seeing Godzilla on the big screen with my family is something I am very much looking forward to. So even though channel 20 may have been just filling in time on their schedule all those years ago I thank them for getting me started with my love of Godzilla.

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Mecha G’s Monster of the month

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“Feel my wrath, know my anger, be devastated by my….” Oh, hey there. It’s me Mecha G and it’s time for the monster of the month and it is….

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Godzilla the so-called King of monsters. He has been around for decades both destroying cities (yay) and helping people (boo). His appearance and his powers have changed over the years. Let’s look at some of his battles.

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Here he is cheating like a dirty skunk.

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Here he is about ready to get his bumpy tail kicked by a superior adversary.

He does have some good points, his body shape is fantastic for flattening cities although he would be cooler if he were made of metal and shot missiles out of his fingers. Whoops, have to get back to my work at hand. “Run while you can you pathetic humans but I will wipe you out!”

*The views expressed by Mecha G are not always those expressed by us pathetic humans.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

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1995

Seven things I liked about this film…

1-It ends the Hensei series on a high note.

2-The previous film Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla was pretty rotten so I was glad this one saw the series rebound

3-I normally prefer Godzilla when he is just downright mean, but getting him sympathy when Junior get hurt here actually works.

4-The Super X 3 vehicle looked pretty cool.

5-Normally people in Godzilla films only serve to annoy me, but in this film they worked into the plot better than usual.

6-By this point in the series any new monsters were not always the greatest so we saw a lot of of the old standbys, but Destoroyah was a nasty customer

7-Godzilla once angered was more brutal than he’d been in some time. Which was a positive because it lead to a rough and tough fight.

I just saw this one for the first time maybe two years ago and really enjoyed it. It was big, brutal, loud and kept me in it for the whole film. That last part is something that doesn’t always happen with me for these movies.

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Terror of Mechagodzilla

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1975

So we get some flashback to the previous outing with MechaGodzilla kicking this one off. Some government guys are looking for some scientist. Something about a dinosaur popping up, causing chaos, blah, blah, blah get on with it. Some aliens from the turd planet or maybe third planet, not sure about the dubbing but anywho these foil wrapped aliens want to control this dinosaur Titanosaurus and have this dino team up with the recently refreshed, revived and redone Mechagodzilla (yay) to fight Godzilla. You know by this point these films were about the monster battles. Well they kind of always were and this point they made no attempt to really hide that fact although the actors piddle through tired dialog trying to pad the running time. Eventually we get some monster fighting. There’s some wrestling, laser eyes blasting, tail wind action, city stomping and all kinds of good stuff the humans interfere (boo) and help Big G win (cheat, cheat). The baddies are done in and Big G trods off into the water. Roll the credits.

The negatives-Too much Titanosaurus and not enough Big G and Mecha G. By this point the series had become about monster fighting for the kids which is both good and bad. The plot is very thin at best.

The positives-It’s Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla plus a dinosaur or sorts so that’s a huge plus. The action was steady and plentiful once they finally got to it.

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Mothra vs. Godzilla (AKA: Godzilla vs. the Thing)

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1964
*Note-I watched the English dubbed version for this review.

Who’s in this? For the sake of time I’m going to skip this section this time. Plus this is the conclusion of Monster Battles week so that’s what I want to get at.

What’s this about? After a rough typhoon a huge egg shows up on shore. The media shows up too, but before you can say “giant omelet” a rich dorky type goon buys the egg from locals. So now he only needs 11 more and big old carton, well maybe not. Our reporter/hero/time filler characters mull over the egg buyer as possibly buying the egg for someone else. Then these little woman show up, no not of the Louisa May Alcott variety (thank goodness), but more of the “now that they are here we know that Mothra will eventually show up” variety. These woman explain that the large egg came from their island and during that rough storm was washed over to these shores. Now they want the egg back because if it stays where it is giant larva will come out of the egg and cause destruction and we don’t want to see monsters destroying Japan in one of these films, oh, wait. The Shobijin (those little woman) have no luck getting the egg back. Hold everything because Big G emerges from the beach shaking a bunch of dirt off of himself. Now maybe something will eventually happen. Somewhere around this point people are talking blah, blah, blah. Yet Godzilla is on a rampage and Mothra is called upon to protect the giganto egg from the big rubber suited lizard. Alright, about time bring on some puppet vs. guy in a monster suit action. Mothra goes at it with everything as she attacks Big G’s head from above, then uses some wing flapping action to make a brutal wind force. Big G won’t be sidetracked as he goes after the egg like a fat dude at breakfast time. Mothra gets Godzilla by the tail and tries to drag him away. The flying puppet seems to be putting a whooping on lizard puss and goes for the kill by dropping yellow powder which may be as nasty as yellow snow, but Big G lets out a spray of his burning breath and Mothra goes down and out for the count. The military tries to shock the spiked back star will to no avail of course and then they get their tanks melted by Godzilla’s toxic breath plus the bad greedy dorks from the beginning get theirs around this time too, take that puny humans! Hold on there not so jolly green giant because that egg is hatching and out come two Mothra larvae and they are raring for a fight. One bites big G right on the tip of his scaly tail yeaowwwww! Then they spray silk crappola at the mean old lizard and he stumbles and falls into the water splashhhhhh! The Shobijin and the larvae cheer hiphiphooray and head back home. Roll the credits.

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What a drag being Godzilla.

The negatives-Like a number of these type of movies you have to wait a little while to get to the action.

The positives-The effects are what they are, rubber suits, puppets and toy tanks. However this is two of the top giant monsters going at it fairly early on in the series. Silly? Maybe, but it’s a fun film with enough monster fighting going on to make it worthwhile. I first saw this years ago probably on a little black and white TV, but I enjoy just as much now as I did then. Nothing happens that easy in the film, the excitement is decent and it wraps up well enough. If you like these films you certainly like Godzilla, but I’ve always had a strong liking for Mothra too. I like the parts about her being worshipped and being called upon plus a giant moth was a fairly unique idea.

There you go. Hope you have enjoyed Monster Battle Week!

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Get the mothballs!

Godzilla vs. Biollante

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Toho

1989

Who’s in this?

Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla

Kunihiko Mitamura as Kazuhito Kirishima

Yoshiko Tanaka as Asuka Okouchi

Masanobu Takashima as Major Sho Kuroki

Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa

Toru Minegishi as Lieutenant Goro Gondo

Koji Takahashi as Doctor Genichiro Shiragami

Toshiyuki Nagashima as Director Seiichi Yamamoto

Ryunosuke Kaneda as Seikun Okouchi, Azuka’s Father

Kazuma Matsubara as Super XII Coordinator

Yasunori Yuge as Prime Minister

Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla

What’s this about? I watched this film three times and like most Godzilla films when characters are rambling on I am thinking “blah, blah, blah stop with this nonsense and bring on Big G”. Much of this movie leading up to the monster fights plays out like a B grade action flick with some Miami Vice reject type greasy thugs tossed in, but it moves alonmg well enough. Apparently the last time Big G was in town destroying buildings and stuff he scraped off some of oily hyde. A group of American soldiers try to get the scrapings (what an assignment)  because they contain Godzilla DNA, but someone else wanted it too and they took it by force. There’s a sub plot going back and forth with different people trying to get these samples while they shoot at each other and try to look cool in a late 80’s kind of way. From there we go to the scientists as we can tell they are science folk because they stand around and look thoughtful as they gaze into the distance. Dr. Shiragami is the main man of science here and he has been doing experiments with Godzilla’s cells. Eventually a big old flower headed thingie blooms out of a nearby lake oh and it shall be called Biollante. Then the flower headed thingie opens and Biollante starts calling out to Godzilla. This sounds like a dolphin with nasal congestion. Plus calling Godzilla to you is never a good thing …unless you’re watching this film and are ready for some monster action. The Super X II is sent to deal with Godzilla. It’s a remote controlled flying ship that looks kind of like an old style electric razor. Of course this ship is no match for Big G. Our most favorite lizard comes in closer and does battle with the giant flower headed Biollante. After much screeching, splashing and powerful breath blasts and it looks like the large plant is down for the count. The G man goes off to the nearest nuclear reactor to re-charge. The scientists babble on some more- who cares you are not Godzilla. Big G gets some missiles shot at him and another round with the Super X II. The science side (boo) try to shoot bacteria into the mightiest monster of all time with apparently no effects. The eggheads conclude that G’s body temperature is too low, I always knew he was one cool customer. If only they could shove him into a giant microwave oven or something like that, but actually the science dudes try to get him on these microwave plates that will heat Godzilla up kind of like a slice of pizza and then the bacteria will place. Before all that can happen a new more monsterous Biollante shows up, this one is more like Godzilla with teeth rough skin but it still plant qualites. They scream and fight while everyone else looks on. Godzilla looks like he is on the ropes (no,no,no). Then he shoots his atomic breath in Biollante mouth, yes fight dirty if you have too. This movie has been tiring on the mighty monster and he takes a header into the water after stumbling to get there. Biollante evaporates into animated sparkles and Dr. Shiragami sees the image of he daughter in the sparkles. Dr. Shiragami walks towards the sparkles “ew, pretty, sparkly” then ka-wham he gets shot by an evil agent still trying to get his greasy paws on the Godzilla cells. There is a chase and a final fight, bang-pow good guys win. Godzilla makes his way out into the water and roll the credits.

Stats-
Number of times that Godzilla falls into the water-three at least, what a clumsy oaf
Number of buildings that get demolished-Not enough of them probably
Number of people with nothing to do but stand at stare at flower headed biollante- At least 150 or so.

The negatives? Parts of the film were a little hard to follow during the first viewing.

The positives? Godzilla being mean, fighting rough and dirty. What more could you ask for? This was overall a pretty good chapter in Godzilla’s long history. The action is solid, the humans are good enough, the settings are fine and the effects are good given the time and budget constraints.