It has been some time indeed. The last post I did was a review for 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film from Michael Bay (which I seriously loved). But what has changed in my life from that point until now? Over the past few years, especially in 2012 and 2013, this site was a sort of blog for my journey in Korea, but I haven’t had many updates in that field recently.
Well, as of this post (February 2015), I am working for an international company in Daegu, South Korea. I still have one year left on my graduate school program — a semester of classes as well as my thesis defense in my final semester. Will I finish? A part of me does want to, but I feel like the decision isn’t entirely in my own hands.
I have worked with some incredible professors who have treated me very well thus far into my grad school program. Despite that I am a foreigner in a Korean university and my undergraduate course was a different major, they have been incredibly patient and kind to me, and I feel very grateful for that.
For two semesters, over 90% of all my classes and lab meetings were taught through Korean. So this was not only a new major coming at me, but this was being taught through a new language. And this was what I signed up for and what I worked hard for. And I enjoyed it. I truly did. I do — I should say.
But there were a number of factors that pushed me to make the decision I did. The biggest one being — how do you turn down an offer like the one I received? Most foreigners who step foot in Korea are limited to just teaching English or simply studying. But this was a chance where I could work for a company — a good, well known, international company with ties back to the US — in a field that largely was unrelated to anything I had studied before.
I wasn’t “unqualified” for the position, but considering my undergraduate degree was in Journalism and my master’s degree was to be in Physical Education, to be offered a job in a business related position (which is more diverse and potentially has more options), that seemed quite rare. It’s the biggest salary of any job I’ve ever had thus far. The working hours are very fair, considering the company is in Korea. I can continue to use my Korean language, but I was hired as a native English speaker with the intention of working with others while speaking in English and communicating in English.
In other words, this job didn’t have many negative elements. It was simply a choice of — do I keep studying in this laboratory and chipping away at a thesis — towards a master’s degree that would largely (possibly) be useless outside of Korea unless I complimented that with a doctorate? Or do I take this opportunity to work for a good company while still possibly finishing my degree on a part time basis? I thought and thought and thought about it, and I chose the company job.
I’m 26-years-old working for a well known company with international ties, using a second language which I feel comfortable with, and getting experience that could either help me here — or help me elsewhere in my career later.
I won’t go too much into specifics, but it’s a business related job in a company that isn’t my “dream job” by any means, but at the same time — is there really such a thing as a permanent dream job? Probably — but for the time being, this is serving its purpose well. I can save money, live comfortably, get good experience, and enjoy my life in a foreign country while I’m young.
Will I stay in Korea permanently? It seems unlikely. As I type this, I am aware I will be going home for a brief trip soon and be in the US for about 2 weeks. I really feel like my real “happiness” is there with my family there in my hometown. My friends and my old life — my comfortable, safe life — is all there. If I think about raising a family, I think my hometown is a very good option. It’s safe. The cost of living is low. The people are friendly. And I think it’s just a good place to be raised, but still have ambitions to step outside.
I really feel as though my family raised me well. My hometown, while in Virginia, is certainly closer to “Southern US” roots and cultures than that of the “Northern US” parts. My Korean colleagues always tell me that my manners resemble that of a Korean — but I realize now that my family really instilled in me this feeling that I should have a basic respect for everyone. Being polite and showing courtesy to others, even strangers, feels right to me.
I know lots of people from my hometown who don’t reflect that, but “southern hospitality” is a real thing, and I think my hometown is a great place to have a family.
But…that could be years away. I have to find the right person and to be honest, there are times when I feel like I could live forever alone. I don’t mean that in any depressing or negative way. Sometimes I just feel selfish enough that I can’t imagine giving up on my ambitions to be part of a “team” with my future wife. But I suppose when you meet the right person, it changes your mind.
As usual with my blogs, this post…is a bit all over the place.
I guess…I’m still just in this constant battle to be the best me I can be. I loved Matthew McConaughey’s speech from the Oscars a few years ago. When he spoke about his hero being himself…10 years in the future. Always. As if he would never be who he wanted to be, because the person he wanted to be was always 10 years ahead of him.
I think that’s a great outlook on life. It keeps you working towards bettering yourself, but keeping you humble as well. I would like that to be my outlook on life, and I think I’ve been unknowingly applying it for years.
I’m 26 now — about to be 27 in a couple weeks. I’ll be 27 years old. And to me, that still feels so young. But I see so many people at 37 years old who have accomplished so much, they take care of themselves, and they still work on improving who they are. Both physically, intellectually, mentally, and spiritually — I want to be a much better version of me 10 years from now. And I think that’s totally doable. No questions about it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Movie Review
While I would say one of the weakest points of my writing ability is initially getting to the point in a review or article — whatever I may be writing. But here, I’ll try to get right to the point.
If you didn’t watch the new Ninja Turtles movie because Michael Bay directed it (which is incorrect, he produced it), I don’t have much respect for you.
Tags: 1954, 2014, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth, 고질라, Female, Godzilla, Gojira, Legendary, Male, MUTO, Olsen, Review, Serizawa, Taylor
Before I dive into the review, let me take a moment to talk about what Godzilla means to me…
I have one older brother by about 6 years — and he is just the ultimate definition of a brother. I looked up to him and have always thought the world of him, and so when I was born, whatever interests my brother had immediately fell onto me. My brother loved the Ninja Turtles, which is why I am a lifelong Ninja Turtles fan. My brother loved soccer and played his entire life, which is why I did the same. My brother had a fascination with sharks — buying coloring books and watching Shark Week annually, which is why I did the same.
And my brother absolutely adored and loved Godzilla movies, so naturally — I did the same.
I’ve already complied my list of top 10 favorite Godzilla films into two posts. (Part 1 and Part 2) But to be honest, I wouldn’t say I really “hate” any Godzilla film. I definitely have my favorites and least favorites, but even films like Godzilla’s Revenge and the 1998 American film both have meaning to me. Are they movies I watch often, or want to see anytime soon? Maybe not in particular, but they are still Godzilla films, and Godzilla, to me, is much more than just a film franchise.
I have an impressive Godzilla toy collection and a number of VHS tapes that belong to both myself and my brother, and of course a number of DVDs of my favorite films. I almost have the complete series of the Dark Horse Comics Godzilla run — which are some of my favorite comics. When I was growing up, I was always drawing pictures of Godzilla — his silhouette coming out of the ocean. I can honestly say now I have seen all of the Godzilla films released, but even if I couldn’t see another Godzilla film, I would still love the character just as much as I ever have.
He’s really connected to my childhood, my growing up — it sounds ridiculous in some ways, I get it — and I’m probably being too sentimental, but honestly — I’m the kind of person who is probably too honest about how I feel about things, and Godzilla means more to me than just one movie.
So with that all being said…what did this one movie mean to me?
Director: Gareth Edwards
Release Date: May 16th, 2014 (US) / May 14 & 15 International
This is the first Godzilla film in approximately a decade, after Godzilla Final Wars was released in Japan in late 2004. And of course, this is only the second Godzilla film to NOT created at the hands of Toho — the studio that made all of the original Japanese Godzilla films. With TriStar making the first “American Godzilla” film in 1998, the film did well financially and while not breaking any records at the time of its release, it did well enough and put money back into Toho’s pockets to make more of their own films — because — the 1998 film was not received well by critics in the US and especially Godzilla’s creators back in Japan.
Tags: 1984, 1985, Anguirus, Ghidorah, GMK, Godzilla, Godzilla King Kong, Heisei, King Caesar, King Ghidorah, Kiryu, MechaGodzilla, Millennium Series, Mothra, Showa, VS
5. Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster (VS The Bionic Monster / VS MechaGodzilla)
I have seen this film countless times. It’s so easy for me to watch it, even with the disproportionate screen time for the kaiju. A bulk of the middle of the film just deals with the human and alien characters, but the big fight at the end is such a great sendoff. Some Godzilla films save the big fight towards the end, but end up falling short. This one really delivered.
You’ve got this great scene of the woman on the beach singing to King Ceasar to waken him from his slumber while MechaGodzilla is slowly approaching from afar. Thankfully, Caesar is awakened in time…to put up a bit of a fight until Godzilla arrives and it becomes a proper handicap match. MechaGodzilla actually almost wins, but thanks to Godzilla’s temporary (and totally logical) magnetic powers, he locks MechaGodzilla in a headlock and twists MechaGodzilla’s head off completely — an iconic Godzilla moment.
But enough about the final fight, I just really think as a film for its time — it was well put together. You could make the argument that the human drama is rather campy, but that’s subjective. It’s hard to explain why a Godzilla fan might like one Showa film over another because all of them suffer from the same complaints to some degree, just some more than others. I feel that this film has a good balance, and it features some of my favorite kaiju — Anguirus and King Caesar, and of course Godzilla and MechaGodzilla.
MechaGodzilla’s first appearance was successful enough to bring about the sequel “Terror of MechaGodzilla” which came out a year later, and is generally more well received than this one, but out of the two I prefer MechaGodzilla’s first appearance here.
If for nothing else, the King Caesar worship song is just fantastic.
4. Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S.
I was so pleasantly surprised with this film. I love all of MechaGodzilla’s designs from all three eras of film, but I was so disappointed with Kiryu’s (The Millenium Era’s MechaGodzilla nickname amongst kaiju fans — meaning “metal dragon” in Japanese) first apperance in Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla — which came out in Japan in 2002. When I saw the sequel — Tokyo S.O.S. — I thought it would be more of the same, but it was a huge improvement. The story following the human plot was much more tolerable, and the kaiju scenes were so much more enjoyable.
The biggest surprise for me was how much I loved Mothra in this film. Mothra normally has never been one of my favorite kaiju. Truth be told, I always felt a bit of resentment for the kaiju because it made multiple appearances, when the kaiju I normally liked like Anguirus or Rodan seemed to take a backseat to Mothra’s popularity. But this film — I don’t know if it was Mothra’s sleeker design — or how the Mothra twins were handled in a slightly more serious way — I found myself really enjoying Mothra’s presence here. It’s role felt significant, and I liked the idea that Mothra (as a sort of protector of Earth) disagreed with how Kiryu was essentially a cyborg-Godzilla of the original Godzilla corpse.
There’s also a brilliant scene a child in the film recreates Mothra’s symbol with a number of school desks to summon the kaiju. This scene in particular could have been so campy, but it’s one of the coolest and most memorable scenes from all the Millennium films for me.
3. Godzilla / Mothra/ King Ghidorah: Giant All-Out Monsters Attack
This film dances around on the list of my favorite kaiju films all the time, and it’s always near the first spot. Simply put, if someone was skeptical about watching a new Godzilla film, this would be the one I would recommend. It’s so well done on so many levels — and probably has the most well put together soundtracks of any kaiju film.
Normally, I like my Godzilla to balance on the line of hero and villain, but this film puts him in the role of a hellish demon kaiju. He has no redeeming values. There’s one scene in particular which is now famous (or infamous) where Godzilla is destroying a city, walking past a hospital with a screaming patient in her bed. Godzilla seemingly passes by and the patient breathes a sigh of relief, only for the tail of Godzilla to come swinging into the building, bringing it down on itself. I remember showing the scene to my older brother — another lifelong Godzilla fan — and I could see how visibly uncomfortable the scene made him.
Godzilla is literally the enemy to everything, and the roles are reversed in such a way where Mothra and Ghidorah are saving mankind — or maybe nature is a better word for it.
The special effects for the time were fantastic, and they still hold up today. I think this will certainly be a Godzilla film that ages gracefully, and the story is so intriguing — revolving around an ancient legend of “guardian monsters” who come to fruition in a world that reacts in a way where the viewer feels almost equally as terrified.
If someone put me at gunpoint and asked me to say which Godzilla — from a film critic’s standpoint (one I’m not entirely sure of) — which Godzilla film is the most well put together? I would pick the 1954 original…or this one.
2. Godzilla 1985
Nature has a way sometimes of reminding Man of just how small he is. She occasionally throws up terrible offspring’s of our pride and carelessness to remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake, or a Godzilla. The reckless ambitions of Man are often dwarfed by their dangerous consequences. For now, Godzilla – that strangely innocent and tragic monster – has gone to earth. Whether he returns or not, or is never again seen by human eyes, the things he has taught us remain…
Words from Raymond Burr’s character (the journalist Steve Martin) in Godzilla 1985.
I certainly appreciate his character. Burr was a fantastic actor, and while some kaiju fans might feel like his addition is rather forced and awkward, I completely disagree. His scenes felt very organic to me as a child, and while it’s obvious to me now that they were placed in, I can’t help but feel the importance they have. Not just in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but also the 1985 film. It was such a nice nod for them to bring him back, and even though he didn’t have much screen time, he closes the film out with the speech above. As a kid, I just felt like Steve Martin was a real Godzilla expert in the world of Godzilla.
This film…is criminally underrated. It’s notable for being one of only two Godzilla films from Toho that just feature Godzilla — no enemy kaiju. I am quite pleased that the new 2014 Godzilla will feature other kaiju for Godzilla to combat, but there’s something special about the 54 and 84 films because of their sole focus on Godzilla as a threat. While the 1954 film had the Oxygen Destroyer to take care of Godzilla, this film used a combination of the Super X and a bit of nature with the explosions near the volcano to bury Godzilla again.
Godzilla, possibly more so than any other film since the original, is treated like such a terrifying threat — on a global scale. Whether you watch the 84 or 85 version, the entire world is focused in on Godzilla’s return to Japan, and it’s so well done.
Which is another reason I love Burr’s inclusion. He just ties it all together so well, and he’s once again the best western actor in the film. Even if all he does is offer his bold input to the US military and watch the attack on Godzilla from afar, as a kid — I thought it was so cool to see his inclusion.
To be honest, this was another one of the first Godzilla films I had seen, so I was so curious to know who this guy was and why he was so important. After going back years later and seeing the original, it makes Burr’s role that much more special. It’s such a shame he passed away in the 90s. I would have loved to see him make a cameo in Godzilla 2000 — or possibly even the TriStar film.
The film — to me — just doesn’t do much wrong. It really captured the time period with the Cold War and the tensions of a nuclear threat.
I find explaining why I love this film isn’t so easy. So I’ll make it easy. It might have the greatest soundtrack — and single main theme. I’m not saying it’s better than the famous “Godzilla March,” but it can certainly compete with it.
Just listen —
1. King Kong vs. Godzilla
Whenever I ran across the question of my favorite Godzilla movie, this movie — from the time I was little even until now — has unquestionably come to mind first. After reading these two posts, you’ve probably read things like, “I watched this when I was young,” at least a dozen times now, but this movie sums up my childhood love for Godzilla.
The exact cover below was the one on my VHS cover that I still own to this day.
When you really think about it, the fact that this movie happened at all is incredible. Considering how the licensing of King Kong is always in such a mess, it’s amazing that Toho and Universal could come together to let these monsters actually fight in a movie that deserves praise.
The movie is just so good, and I really love the plot layout. The movie is set up in a world where both monsters exist believably. A group of Japanese businessman working for a broadcast station are sent to the relatively uncharted Faroe Island in search for a berry with narcotic abilities. As the group arrives, they hear legend of a monster on the island — who is of course none other than King Kong. You’ve got some good bits of humor with the Japanese characters and the local islanders — who are far removed from the modern day technology (a radio — for example). They search for Kong throughout the evening but have no such luck, and a giant octopus appears on shore and attacks the village. Being a giant monster, this draws Kong out of the jungle and he defeats the octopus, and a ceremony is then held with a juice from the strange berry that puts Kong to sleep — setting up the businessmen and their crew to transport Kong back to Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Godzilla — who is hidden away in an iceberg — awakens and attacks a nuclear sub, soon thereafter making his way towards northern Japan. It seems like an inevitable fight between Kong and Godzilla will undoubtedly take place — but the Japanese government orders Kong to be taken care of, and his raft (connected to a massive ship) is detonated with dynamite. However, the explosion only awakens and angers Kong, and he takes off towards Japan on his own will.
Godzilla and Kong meet for the first time in a showdown where Godzilla gets the upper hand thanks to his nuclear breath.
One thing leads to another (I won’t spoil the entire film), but Kong gains an ability himself to counter Godzilla’s long range attack, and the two are equals — set in mortal combat.
This is a film that I just have to watch the original English dub, because it’s so connected to me. Thanks to the amount of times my brother and I watched it, we know the film almost entirely word-for-word. As a kid, knowing who both Godzilla and King Kong were at such a young age, this movie was just the pinnacle of kaiju films — something that all the others had to be compared to. Even though I have changed my mind about it being my favorite from time-to-time, it always returns to the top spot after time passes. I just think no Godzilla film will have the impact this one did on me.
Of course it could have been better, but all things considered I think it’s still an incredible film that is just enjoyable from start to finish. And just for the record, since I had the US VHS release — I couldn’t accept that Kong had defeated Godzilla. If for that reason alone, I really hope to one day see this film get a remake.
Well — there you have it! My top 10 favorite Godzilla films of all time. As I finish typing this up, the Godzilla 2014 film was released in Korea this morning, but I’ve been in class all day, so I’ll have to wait until tonight to view it. Maybe that will change everything? I’ll have to come back and do a revision if that’s the case. And hopefully I’ll get around to doing a proper review for the film as well!
In light of the upcoming Godzilla release (just a few days away) I thought I’d try to make a post about my favorite Godzilla films. It’s actually quite hard to come up with a top 10 list for me, partially because ranking them is difficult. At different points in my life certain films have meant more to me. But while I can say I have seen each of the Toho films (and the 1998 TriStar film), I have only seen some of them once. I’ve tried to go back recently to watch a few specifically to freshen up my memory, and it’s helped me complete the list, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I change my mind again after the new film comes out.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to say that I was able to create a list — and while I debated about having them in no specific order, I decided to give them a placement for the top 10. And while you’re at it, go read my good friend Brett Cook’s post about his top 10 favorite kaiju films. (Part 1 & Part 2)
It should go without saying, but just to clarify — I’m not saying these are the best films in the same sense that every film should be judged, but just the ones that I like the most (right now), and I’ll give my reasons in more detail below.
I should also say that Godzilla, as a genre in itself, is quite unique in the sense that I think most Godzilla fans love the idea of Godzilla more than any actual film. What I mean is, Godzilla himself is so iconic that even when I was young and could only see the same 3 or 4 films on VHS tape over and over again — and I know in my heart some of those films aren’t worth watching again and again — I still loved Godzilla. I just loved his appearance, his presence, his roar, his potential — everything. He could be a hero or a villain. On the surface, my love for Godzilla and all of his movies was just that he looked so cool, and seeing a giant monster fight another giant monster is just a fun formula for a child of any age.
I guess what I’m saying is — sometimes, it’s hard for me to go back and watch certain Godzilla films, because all I find myself doing is just skipping through the human drama and only watching the scenes featuring Godzilla or another giant monster. Is that the case all the time? For all the films? Absolutely not — but most people watch Godzilla films because of the King of Monsters himself, so I think it’s only natural to feel the way I do. Maybe I’m just justifying my feeling that as I get older, watching some of the films isn’t quite as fun as it used to be — or I find myself wishing for more, but I think part of the reason is my expectation for the new film is quite high.
But I digress, I’m getting off track again. I’m a lifelong Godzilla fan. I was born into the fandom, thanks to my older brother who was popping in the VHS of Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster when I was a newborn in diapers fresh out of the hospital. Just as my little brain was growing and learning, some of the first images I saw on the television screen were Godzilla and Ebirah playing tennis with giant boulders. From that moment on, I was hooked.
Unfortunately, that film didn’t make the cut, but it definitely has a special place in my heart and I would love to watch it again soon.
Now — onto the top 10.
10. Godzilla 2000
While technically the second Godzilla film I was able to see in theaters (counting the TriStar 1998 film), this was the first REAL Godzilla film I ever had the chance to see in theaters. And that’s not just a dig at the American film, because I don’t hate that one, but this was a Toho produced piece of work, and it was so cool. Personally, I love this Godzilla design over all the others. It’s so extreme — it just represents that time period so well. The end of the 90s were so edgy and over the top, I loved the way he looked. His dark green skin. His massive purple fins. His bright orange atomic breath. And he had slimmed down compared to the bulky Heisei (80s/90s) Godzilla, but was still a muscled up threat compared to the creature that eventually came to be known as Zilla or GINO (the TriStar Godzilla, of course).
The film mostly puts Godzilla front and center, with a lot of iconic images taking place every time he hits the screen. The film was such a response to the American film, and while it does fall short in other aspects of what makes a traditional film good, this just easily is one of my favorites just because of what it represented. The American film had made quite a lot of money for Toho — enough so that some of that money went on to help produce the films in the Millennium series. But it just wasn’t what fans wanted, and Godzilla 2000 (released outside of the US — which was incredible when you think about it) really tried to establish who the real Godzilla is.
Even the human drama is quite bearable, revolving around a father and his daughter, plus the research about Godzilla’s regenerative abilities. The film doesn’t take itself as seriously as it could have, but that’s just another reason I love it. Orga (Godzilla’s foe in this film) doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but I applaud Toho for creating a new villain to work with in this reboot that would launch the Millennium series of films.
9. Godzilla vs. Destroyah
The final film of the Heisei series has been well received by Godzilla fans, and was a proper sendoff to the series of films that ended up being Godzilla’s most critically acclaimed run. This film especially embodies what made the 90s films so great. Godzilla looked especially menacing as he entered his burning state, glowing hot red and orange as he was apparently about to self destruct and do damage on a massive scale.
Destroyah — as an enemy kaiju — is a great threat on so many levels. It’s origins tie back into the original Godzilla film as it came from the Oxygen Destroyer — the original invention that killed Godzilla a decade before — and it has reemerged in a sense to take out Godzilla again in his final days. It looks so evil and terrifying, like a foe that would really give Godzilla a lot of trouble — and it definitely does. The story in this one has so much more to do with the monsters rather than some human plot. That seems like such an obvious choice, but you’d be surprised at how many Godzilla films almost play side-story to something the humans are doing, but this film feels like everything is focused on Godzilla.
Godzilla and Destroyah have an incredible battle in Tokyo in the final act of the film, also involving Godzilla’s son — who is killed in action by Destroyah. Godzilla keeps taking down Destroyah again and again, but Destroyah continues to come back bigger and stronger. Godzilla — seemingly so overcome with grief at the loss of his son — unleashes hell on Destroyah with his most powerful atomic blasts. Destroyah is finally taken down, and Godzilla begins to self destruct in his final moments. With some help from the G-Force, his reaction is contained, but nonetheless he still dies. However, the radiation in the area is all drawn into one point — Godzilla Junior. Junior – as an adult, reborn and renewed, and in seemingly with the spirit and energy his father had.
It’s a rather beautiful ending that sends off a message that Godzilla will never truly die. Like it has been stated it so many of his films, he is a force of nature, and it will always find a way to take course.
8. Godzilla vs. Megalon
This film is special for a number of reasons. While it’s not so necessarily a favorite of many kaiju fanatics, it holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first Godzilla films I had seen when I was so young. For whatever reason, this film in particular’s VHS release managed to circulate well — and I would daresay that when people say they saw a Godzilla film when they were growing up, there’s a good chance it could be this one. For myself, my friend Brett had also seen and loved this film when we were the same age, so it was an element of our friendship, and while we could both admit it had flaws, it has a charm about it.
Godzilla had basically taken the role of “hero” unquestionably by this point in his film career, and this film culminates that. I think of all the films where Godzilla is supposed to be a protector of the people, this one might do the best job in portraying that.
The plot introduces a new kaiju, Megalon, worshiped by a cult from an undersea civilization, who rises onto the surface to wreak havoc. Megalon just starts to tear everything in site apart. And Seatopia (the name of this undersea civilization) contacts Gigan to come and help Megalon in his path of destruction. Megalon and Gigan begin to cause chaos like never before, teaming up to bully Jet Jaguar — a newly introduced Ultraman-look-a-like who is the creation of a Japanese scientist (the best kind). JJ manages to contact Godzilla — who is off just chilling and minding his business — and asks him to help not get his ass kicked anymore. Godzilla and Jet Jaguar team up in the tag team of the century to take on the dastardly duo of Gigan and Megalon. But Godzilla takes his sweet time swimming so JJ gets beaten all to hell for a while, which is so entertaining.
Rock Stars. If you don’t put the tag titles on them, it would be the biggest disgrace in booking history.
I could summarize the plot, but honestly — if I could recommend any Godzilla film in particular from the Showa era, it would be this one.
A lot of people use the term “fun” to describe watching a film, but it is absolutely true in this case. This film is just so much fun.
7. Godzilla (King of the Monsters / Gojira)
Putting a film this fantastic so high (or is it low) on a top 10 list seems criminal — I know. Don’t get me wrong, I love this film and I realize its significance. This changed everything. This basically revolutionized the giant monster movie franchise, and I say that realizing the significance of films like King Kong as well. While the original Japanese release is certainly the most meaningful, I personally like the American version with Raymond Burr. That may be because — well — I am American, and out of all the foreign actors to show up in a Godzilla film, Burr’s Steve Martin character is without a doubt the best one. He really ties it all together, and the version without him is just as special, but if you put both copies in front of me, I would go with the US version.
There’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t been said much before. To be honest, only recently did I realize that when this film was made, the Japanese government had placed a censorship on the media of talking about the nuclear bombings. Anyone can see the obvious relationship this film has with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I wasn’t aware it was basically illegal to make a film about the issue. That just makes it that much more special.
It’s an absolutely terrifying film that really just drives home what a threat Godzilla is. There wasn’t such a reaction from the military in this film, or at least in the sense that Godzilla was absolutely unstoppable. This was all about destruction, and even when he had taken care of all potential threats, he just kept burning and stomping.
This film certainly means a lot to me, but in some ways, I feel like comparing this particular film to some of the others is like comparing night and day. And I don’t meant that as a negative thing, either. This film is a classic, and out of all the Godzilla films, this can stand right next to some of the greatest movies of all time — without question.
6. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (II)
This was a film I wasn’t able to first see until a few years ago. Even though I grew up as a passionate Godzilla film, sometimes finding the DVDs or VHS tapes of the films wasn’t always easy. Only within the past 10 years or so have all of the films become widely accessible, and this was a film I always wanted to see.
I love all of the films from the Heisei era because of how well-connected they are, and there’s a certain level of quality to them. The films from that era are often complimented by giving Godzilla the proper recognition he deserved. They all (to a degree) took themselves seriously, and Godzilla’s role was well established.
Out of those 90s films where Godzilla pits himself against another monster, this is my favorite. I’m not sure where to start.
From a visual standpoint, I just really appreciate how clean and gorgeous this movie is. There are so many memorable fight scenes. The scene of Godzilla and Rodan fighting in the ocean and on the island where Godzilla Junior is born is one of my favorites. And I loved the initial fight between MechaGodzilla and Godzilla. It just seems so well choreographed. MechaGodzilla really takes it Godzilla, just cleaning house — but Godzilla manges to paralyze MechaGodzilla by reversing the energy from the cables piercing Godzilla’s body. Then — the fight of MechaGodzilla against Rodan, where Rodan gets blasted into the upper portion of a skyscraper.
I’ve only seen this movie a handful of times but I can recall the fights so well. I think I really wanted to love this film, and I just did.
And the soundtrack is another great point. In particular, the theme that plays during Godzilla and Rodan’s interactions, which is really nothing more than a well-timed mixture of Godzilla and Rodan’s individual themes, but somehow the odd mixture turns out great.
Considering how good ALL of the films from the 90s really were (even SpaceGodzilla was quite good, even though his film is my least favorite from the era) — I think everyone who has seen them all has their own particular favorite, and you could make the argument that each one of them is stronger than the other in certain categories. For me, this one is my personal favorite, and it still feels relatively new and special to me.
That’s it for first half. I’ll have the second half up relatively soon — I’m sure!