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just watched Ghidrah, the three-headed monster today. looking forward to your review of it.

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Ghidrah is sort of the beginning where the Godzilla suit goes from awesome to stupid. The change between this one and King Kong Vs. are noticable. But otherwise an enjoyable movie, watched it a few weeks back myself.

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Definitely the best monster rally fight scene of the original series.

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The best part of Ghidrah is the monster summit with Rodan and Godzilla basically saying, "Fuck these people. We didn't ask to be here.  They made us powerful and now they fear our strength."

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Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)

 

I'm not going to lie, this movie, the next one and the two Mechagodzilla movies were my favorites of the Showa era films as a child.  Also I sort of wish that they had gone with the literal translation of the film's title: Three Giant Monsters, The Greatest Battle On Earth.  But man this movie has it all, Aliens!  Mistaken  Identity! Guns! Chases! Princesses! And let us not forget the greatest 3 on 1 handicap match since the Hardy Boys and Lita messed with Brock Lesnar!

 

I was actually really excited to see that the three leads from Mothra vs Godzilla were back in this film.  Sadly Akihiko Hirata gets more of a side role in this film. but we still get plenty of Yuriko Hoshi, so that's a plus.  And Dr. Miura becomes a running character at this point, as Hiroshi Koizumi makes his third appearance as a scientist in the franchise (second as Dr. Miura).  Also we get Bond Girl Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki in You Only Live Twice) doing her best to act emotionless as Princess Selina, who may or may not be a Venusian.  It turns out she also had a bit role in King Kong vs Godzilla, but here she takes center stage.  While the actors certainly do their part, it's the plot itself that's the star.  I mean if I was to tell you the plot of a movie was "A foreign princess avoids an assassination attempt by falling out of a plane only to resurface as a alien from Venus (or is she?) who is warning everyone of a great intergalactic threat whilst two reporters, a cop and a scientist try to save her life and get to the bottom of things.  Oh and by the way the assassins are still out to get her and this all ends up in a massive giant monster battle", your response would be "So is Nic Cage taking the role of the Princess?".  That's just how out there and awesome the plot is; when the singing twins of Mothra's island get caught up in a gunfight and that's not the craziest thing in the movie, you know it's something special.

 

But just because the monsters are secondary to the plot does not mean the monster action is lacking.  Heck the trio of heroes even get their own appearance in the opening credits!  It's interesting to note that while this is the first film to really have Godzilla as the good guy, he comes off a lot more like an animal trying to protect his territory then as the hero of children that he becomes later on.  I always liked Godzilla more as a force of nature then a white hat, which is something I really liked about the Heisei and Millennium movies; but it's cool to see it happened even back then.  Of course this film gives us some red hot Rodan action and even gives us a mini Godzilla vs Rodan fight.  I liked the showdown, it was fun to see Godzilla get annoyed with Rodan's flying antics and just start lobbing boulders to ground him; somewhere King Kong approves.  Godzilla also busts out a brainbuster on Rodan after he finds out that blasting a volcanic dinosaur with radioactive fire isn't super effective.  And then there's the scene where Larva Mothra shows up to try and talk sense in to the other two (as narrated by the twins, who apparently speak monster); which Godzilla and Rodan choose to ignore her and play the world's most violent game of hackey-sack using boulders.

 

But the star of the show is the monster with his name in the title.  King Ghidorah's suit is possibly the best looking suit to this point in the series, the effects for his electric attacks look great and he manages to beat all three monsters one on one.  Only after Godzilla and Rodan decide that it's totally not cool for Ghidorah to beat up on their whipping boy are they able to beat Ghidorah and even then they only manage to send the three-headed space dragon packing.  Gee I sure do hope they don't have to face that guy again any time soon...

 

As you can probably tell from how I described the monster action (as well in J.T's post) the monsters have taken on a much more human emotions and demeanor.  Doing so gives the suit actors more freedom to change things up and, I as talked about previously, was part of Eiji Tsuburaya's plan to make Godzilla a long lasting franchise.  Another part of this was to change away from Godzilla's more reptilian look and to a more rounded appearance.  As Antacular said, this was the point where the suit just looked goofy and it really wouldn't start getting better until the Heisei films.  I always used to call these movies the "CookieZilla" movies, since as a little kid I thought he looked like Cookie Monster.  But outside of that suit the effects here are on par with King Kong vs Godzilla.  This is especially the case when it comes to the super-imposed footage, which actually looks like it's all one shot in this film.  Even the puppet scenes don't look too bad, even if they are shot at a different speed then the rest of the monster action.

 

There's not much to say about the differences between the original and US cuts outside of they moved some scenes around in the US cut, which it seemed to me was done to make the police detective the main character and move away from the trio of characters in the original film.  Oh and once again they tossed aside Ifukube's score for stock music; but I'm sure that had more to do with saving pennies then anything else.

 

The bottom line is that movie was a blast to watch and made me feel like a little kid again.  This is definitely the first movie to hit the right mix of human and monster elements; with a liberal dollop of craziness to make it all come together.  This film is definitely worth your time.

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Yeah, that movie is awesome.

 

Although the Japanese title actually undersells it, given that we get FOUR giant monsters (and the greatest battle on Earth.)

 

The plot is goofy as hell, but in a fun way.  And the fight is spectacular and then some.

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It was bound to happen.  It happened to Jason, it happened to Pinhead, it even happened to the Leprechaun.  Bur before any of that it happened to Godzilla; he went into space.... 

 

Invasion of Astro Monster (1965)

 

This film marks the first time a US production company (in this case UPA) helped finance a Godzilla movie.  It would still be another five years before UPA became the sole distributor of Toho's DaiKaiju films in the USA.  They also smartly nabbed the TV syndication rights too, which made them a fair chunk of change and pretty much was the catalyst to starting the cult of Godzilla here; thanks Mr. Magoo!

 

They tried with the human interest side of things in this film, I'll give them that much.  Our story is split between the adventures of Astronauts Glen and Fuji as they explore a new planet discovered in orbit of Jupiter; Planet X.  Meanwhile inventor Tetsuo is suddenly getting a lot of interest in a sonic invention of his.  Surely these two plot points will never collide, right?  

 

Sadly Akira Takarada was the only regular to return for this film, but we do get to see Nick Adams in the midst of his run of Toho movies at the end of his career.  There was something humorous about watching him being dubbed over in Japanese when he was clearly speaking English.  To be honest this story didn't grab me at all, even though Glen trying to cope with the fact that his woman was an X-ian was kind of fun.  It just lacked the chemistry that I feel some of the other movies had.  It did however introduce us to Planet X, a group whom I'm sure we'll never hear of from again...

 

What this movie does have though is monster on monster action.  Toho decided to ditch Mothra this time out and let Godzilla and Rodan take on King Ghidorah by themselves, presumably because they only wanted one monster who's job was to bite the bad guy's tail.  We do get to see a change of scenery though as the first major battle takes place on Planet X, which was nice for a change.  Godzilla's fighting style goes even more pro-wrestling here as he pulls off Thesz press to subdue Ghidorah and then busts out some mean River-dancing in celebration.  After the X-ians pull off their sudden, yet inevitable betrayal of humanity, we get some sweet Godzilla and Rodan vs Japan action.  The funny thing is some of the Rodan footage looked familiar to me and sure enough, Wikipedia confirmed it was footage taken directly from the Rodan movie.  King Ghidorah shows up and we get a bit of glorious rampaging going on, which is sort of a taste of what is yet to come in the franchise.  After Humanity triumphs over the Planet X, we get the final showdown, which pretty much has Rodan being used as a meat shield until Godzilla hits a (literally) flying cross-body thanks to an assist from Rodan.  Wierdly enough the camera lingers on some coastal houses that just get wrecked by the mini-tsunami that happens when Godzilla and Ghidorah plummet into the ocean; which struck me as odd because it feels like there should have been a reason behind that but for the life of me I couldn't find one in the film.

 

We do get a FWTWSGFSTT sighting in this movie; and it's a hall of famer!  This is the first film that they bust out the Maser Canons (or at least a progenitor of them) to stop the monsters and allow the audio attack (so we know where they got the idea for Macross 7 from) to break the X-ians control over them.  The most shocking thing is that it sort of works, it causes them to get all seizure-y and causes Godzilla to bust out his jig before collapsing.  I'm pretty sure that'll be the last time we see those bad boys be effective,

 

There's really not to much to say about the US version, other than it was a whole seventy-one seconds shorter.  Of course they replaced most of Ifukube's score to save money and Nick Adams spoke English again, but that's about it.  I wonder if they had someone overdub Nick Adam's voice, that would be amusing.

 

I didn't have my stopwatch out, but Invasion of Astro Monster certainly felt like the most action packed movie in the franchise (for now..).  Maybe it was the changes in scenery of the fights and/or the variety of monster combat that took place, but it certainly made the action worth checking out.  Just don't expect much out of the plot and you'll be fine!

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If memory serves, they recycled some footage from Ghidrah as well, in the fight sequences.  But my memory does not always serve.

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So...has Classic Media given any hint that the movies they have the rights to will be on Blu-Ray anytime soon?  

 

Best Buy has them for $4.99 on DVD and all I want are Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, so if the Blu-Rays are not coming out soon, I'll just get these.

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Ah, it's a Godzilla franchise thread. Before I made my other post in the upcoming movies thread, I thought this was just for Godzilla 2014 discussion. Anyway...

 

Toho is going to do their own Godzilla movie, which will be a follow-up to last year's Godzilla movie, and they'll probably continue making Japanese Godzilla movies.

 

I'd be down for an American Godzilla flick, followed by a Toho one, followed by an American one, rinse, repeat.

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El Rey Network is going to have a huge Kaiju Marathon starting on Christmas Eve.  First two movies out of the gate will be the original cuts of Gojira and Godzilla.

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See, I'm not crazy for pushing Godzillamas.

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See, I'm not crazy for pushing Godzillamas.

 

El Rey Network gives you the gift that keeps on giving.  

 

You've already done the 24 Hours of A Christmas Story thing.  Time for a new tradition.

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All last December I was pushing Godzillamas over Christmas.

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I'm fine with a channel showing Godzilla flicks on a 24 hour loop on Christmas if there's also a channel doing that for Christmas Vacation and another channel doing that for Die Hard.

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I'm totally down with Toho using their take of the US movies to make their own; it'll be fun to contrast how Toho and Legendary handle their movies.

 

Also I am all-in on Godzillamas; it's the most wonderful time of the year!

 

I really need to get back on track with reviewing these films, sadly time has not been on my side.

 

Well that and Vs Ebirah sort of drained my will to live while watching it.

 

*EDIT*  If you are looking for a good Godzillamas present for a comic fan, I totally recommend the Godzilla: Half Century War comic.  Not only is James Stokoe's art amazingly detailed; it was the story I was hoping Godzilla 2014 would have been.

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Maybe we can get Fox news on board.

 

xil.jpg

 

Keep the X in XMas.

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Yeah, he's disturbing looking (mostly in a good way I think.)

I love that this is happening with the American series also running.

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Yeah, it is unsettling in a good way.  I think it is sad and the end of an era, but the move from the Godzlilla, friend of children, look of the 80s to the Godzilla, engine of doom, look of today is going to pay off huge.

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That new Godzilla movie looks like a scary good time.  I would love to see the Japan version untouched when it hits the states.  Just put subtitles and let the good times roll.

 

And I'm so happy to have a DVR, it took a helluva lot the past two years with El Rey's Godzilla marathon.  Still sitting on some from last year I need to get around to.  But I can say nothing will ever top the original.  That movie hit all the right notes for me.  You had people to care about, Godzilla fucking shit up and it was glorious.  If they can give characters I care about for the new one this might come awfully close to being my all-time favorite.

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