Mahakaal (AKA The Monster) – 1993, Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay


Hey, did anybody out there enjoy Nightmare on Elm Street? Yes? Any chance that you might wanna see it again, only this time from India? No? Too bad, here it is, Mahakaal The Monster, which is, you guessed it, an Indian made rip-off the A Nightmare on Elm Street, produced by famed film-making super-siblings The Ramsay Brothers. Excited? No? Too bad!

Mahakaal the Monster is a poem written in mullets; there’s like, one man in this entire movie who doesn’t have AT LEAST one mullet, and his hair situation is even more suspicious.


Tell me,  oh, wise one, do the carpets match the drapes?

The Plot~ When a murderous bogeyman starts to haunt the dreams of local youths, it is discovered that Shakaal, a black magic practicing child murderer who had been slain twenty years ago by an irate parent, has returned from the dead for vengeance. So, so much other shit happens in this movie also, but none of that is worth talking about. You see, Bollywood films are often three hours or more in length, and that’s a feat made possible by the addition of hours worth of total nonsense. You’ll be watching, and you’ll think, “okay, I know where we are in the story, we probably have like, 15 minutes left at most.” Wrong, how about an hour and a half? Almost none of which serves the film’s actual story, because again, these movies are padded more than Justin Bieber’s crotch.

Anyway, in terms of the plot, yeah, it’s literally just A Nightmare on Elm Street but with Indian people. If you want proof, just take a look at our dream killer, who in this film is named Shakaal:

shakaal old gregg combo

Shakaal on the left, and- shit, sorry, wrong guy…

shakaal freddy combo

There we go- Shakaal on the left, Freddy on the right.

Some deviations from the American original are worth mentioning; for instance; this time, the Indian version of Johnny Depp survives, and appears to have at least a basic understanding of Kung Fu (as do all male characters- get ready for some badly correographed fight scenes). Also, the final confrontation between our characters and Shakaal is overwhelmingly less creative than pulling him out of the dreamworld and  battling him in your Home Alone style boobytrap house, which is what happens in the American version. In Mahakaal, they just go find Shakaal in his torture pad and kill him with his own dungeon equipment, which was already set up for them and everything.

There are also major differences between Freddy Kruger, star of the actual Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and Shakaal, our Bollywood off-brand dream slasher. Freddy, for instance, sports that cool, molten flesh look because he was burned to death by the pissed off parents of Springwood, and that is not at all the case in Mahakaal. Shakaal is already horribly scarred BEFORE he is “killed,” though we’re never really told why, and he isn’t burned to death by a mob, either. In Mahakaal, when the one Indian parent ballsy enough to take the law into his own hands finally goes after Shakaal, he doesn’t kill him at all, he instead just chucks the guy into a big crate and then attempts to burry him alive. When I say “attempts to,” it’s because this crate is really big, probably four feet tall and six fit long, so, large enough for an adult man to fit comfortably inside. When our lone avenging parent tries to burry his now captured nemesis, the hole he digs is very obviously less than two feet deep.

crate 1What do you think? Deep enough?

The crate doesn’t even come close to fitting. The worst part is that we even see him kick at it in utter futility, as if he could somehow rock the crate into place and get it to fall into a hole that he never dug. It’s embarrassing.

crate 2

Oh, Mahakaal. Come on.

Being a typical Bollywood film, Mahakaal is also ripe with exotic Indian flair, including the oft spoken of zest for Romance, for which the Indian people are well known.


And there’s also music; plenty of it. Before you get too excited, no, Shakaal does not play guitar or host a rap battle, so you can forget about that dream becoming a reality right now. Our teens definitely get down, though; they launch awkwardly into several lengthy song and dance numbers, mostly about love and being happy; which might sound odd to you when you consider that you’re watching a fucking horror movie, but if you only learn one thing today, let it be this: Bollywood Films have NO problem with shifting tone constantly and artlessly, like a Hummingbird high on Cocaine. They will jump from frightening sequences of atmospheric, doom-laiden horror, to giddy, beach-party joy-overloads without hesitation or warning. They will do that over and over again, and that’s just the end of it.

Now… The music…It’s just terrible. In fact, it’s THIS terrible, but it IS still actual music, which makes it several rungs above American pop landscape on the long, gruesome ladder into the Hell’s lowest circle. This isn’t like when Nikki Minaj just Vanilla Iced Sir. Mixalot and then pretended like she wrote a song, no, these ARE real songs, however lame they might be. Mahakaal should be commended for that, but you are for sure going to hate every one of them. They’re annoying, lame, super loud, and badly produced… Getting through them is difficult.

And then we have the “comic relief….” In Mahakaal The Monster, we are constantly exposed to a character called Canteen, who is for sure, the movie’s real monster. Holy shit, dude, this guy is annoying. Like, “Steve Urkel during a writer’s strike” level annoying. The producers must have thought he’d be good for some real high-quality Hindi-Hillarity, cuz he’s in here goofin’ nonstop for hours upon hours, but I swear to you, he is the furthest thing from amusing. I really can’t stress this enough, I’d rather be water-boarded than watch this asshole clown around. If any of you were locked in a room with Canteen for over a minute, neither of you would come out alive. That’s where we’re at with him.

canteen 1Stare into his face and know despair.

And it gets worse. At one point in the film, our gang experiences car trouble after a rousing beach party singalong, and are thus forced to stay the night in a nearby hotel. Sounds like a promising horror movie setup, right? Well, it’s far too horrifying for my tastes, because when they arrive and meet the hotel’s manager, it’s just fucking Canteen with a Hitler mustache. canteen number 2Oh, shit, please, no…

Apparently this second Canteen is actually a long lost sibling, because, as Canteen #2 explains, when their father was a young buck he used to just rail and bail all over India, so now he’s got illegitimate children all over the freaking country. Let me tell you what, the apple could not have fallen farther from the tree, because Canteen will NEVER get laid, EVER. He signed up for a sex-ed class once, and it turned him down. Then, when he tried to get on the waiting list, it got a restraining order. Anyway, long story short, there are now TWO Canteens, meaning double the annoyance, which is a development so unspeakably dark that it would make Hellraiser’s Pinhead piss in his little gimp kilt.

I won’t harp on Canteen any further, because I think I’ve made my point, and anyway, there’s plenty of other things in this movie that are probably going to piss you off. From the painful musical numbers, to the alarmingly off-target attempts at humor, to the budgetary restrictions which remain evident start to finish, this film just isn’t an experience 99% of Americans are going to be able to sit through sober. The problem with that, though, is that you can’t judge Mahakaal as a movie by the reaction American have to it. Special considerations have to be made.

By the traditional, near globally-accepted academic criteria of how cinema works, Mahakaal, and indeed most Bollywood films, are staggeringly poor examples of the medium. These movies are as definable by their constant shortcomings as they are by their cultural origin, for reals. The problem with that way of thinking is that trying to assess a Bollywood film based upon traditional Hollywood standards is a fool’s errand to begin with, and could be compared to assessing the quality of a Motorcycle based on a criteria designed to judge pickup trucks. First question: Does it have four wheels? Answer: No. Verdict: This is a shitty pickup truck. Well, maybe, but it’s still an awesome motorcycle! Similarly, it’s not fair to dog on Bollywood because it doesn’t work like American movies do. What we have here is a product designed for a specific culture who want different things from their movie-going experience, and who are we to judge?

The truth is, it’s exactly the same flaws which Americans would see as glaringly wrong with the film that are, in fact, non-negotiable requirements for a Bollywood movie. They are, in no small way, demanded by the audience, who want long, rambling story structures which meander from one genre to the next, and which offer a bold mix of comedy, action, romance, and horror. Aside from the modest budget and excruciating exposure to Canteen, there are actually very few flaws here in Mahakaal which aren’t immediately nullified when one takes into account the honest fact that this is what India wants out of a movie. I believe the phrase often used these days is that “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

So, that explains the radically unorthodox structure found in Mahakaal, as well as the awkward blend of genres, but there are still many things about this film that I cannot explain. Behold:

iron maiden2

There, on the right: What the hell is that? An Iron Maiden Polo/Sweater hybrid?!!? Why would that ever exist anywhere?!!


cheer leader bear4What is this picture she’s hanging?! A cheerleader and a bear?! What the fuck?!

So, excusing all of it’s perceived “flaws” which are, in fact, required genre conventions, what can be said of Mahakaal’s individual merits? Well, it’s pretty damn fun, actually. How wild is it that a Bollywood rip off of A Nightmare on Elm Street even exists? That’s special! And also, it’s worth bringing up that although we’re excusing the fact that Mahakaal breaks many, many rules Western cinema has established as a protective mechanism to keep your movie from sucking, if we DIDN’T excuse those Bollywood traits, Mahakaal would STILL be better than many, many American movies which DO play by our rules. Compare this thing to…. say…. Horror of the Blood Monsters, or Sucker Punch, and Mahakaal comes out in the distant lead no matter what grading scale you use. The truth is, I wish India ripped off American movies more often. It’s kinda fun.

blonde 2



ZOMBIE~ Lucio Fulci, 1979 – Italy


As of 2015, zombies are super, super boring. That well is dry, there’s nothing left to harvest, the market is flooded with garbage, and we really need to move on to something else. Let’s do werewolves for a while, or something, anything else. We can come back to zombies in like, fifteen years, because honestly, I  cannot handle Zombieland 2, you guys. Please, don’t make me do it.

Actually, it’s worth pointing out that this has happened before, this is the third time that Western pop culture has been just gaga for friggin’ zombies. It’s super ironic, zombie movies rise up, become overwhelmingly numerous, die off, lay dormant for a few decades, only to rise and repeat the cycle again. I guess everything sorta does that… But anyway, this most recent cycle has been pretty lame overall, so if you count yourself as a zombie fan, it would be a good idea to go back and check out some of the classics from previous eras. Assuming you’ve seen the three original George Romero Dead films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead,) this one right here would be my recommend for the next zombie flick you need to see. For more, check out this list I published some time ago for a couple extra recommends.

Released initially as an unofficial sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (which was called Zombie, or ZOMBI in Europe), Zombie (AKA Zombi 2) is a damn masterpiece. This was a better time for horror film in general, especially in Europe, where Italy and Spain really seemed to have the market cornered on trashy splatter films for a few years, some of which didn’t even suck. Zombie is one such film, and it truly is enjoyably gruesome, so much so, in fact, that it wound up on the U.K. Video Nasites hit list back in the 1980’s. Never fear, however, nowadays the movie is widely unavailable in it’s raw, uncut glory, so grab yourself a copy and stick it to the Queen of England for trying to keep rad movies out of the hands of the peasantry.

THE PLOT~ When a seemingly abandoned yacht drifts into The New York City Harbor, police make a grisly discovery which kicks off an island hopping adventure for a Newspaper reporter (played by Ian McCulloch) and the daughter of a missing scientist (played by Tisa Farrow.) Along the way, they’ll face many challenges, including an endless legion mindless, man-eating corpses, possessed of an unstoppable urge to kill, as well as the formidable winds of the open sea, which threaten to undermine the complex infrastructure of Ian McCulloch’s elaborate comb-over hair-do.


Looks good, bro.

The movie is awesome start to finish, but it does have several especially well known sequences in it, two of which I think are worth mentioning here. Firstly, this movie features Fulci’s most infamous eye gouging scene ever, which, believe it or not, is a pretty prestigious accolade, because Fulci really liked to fuck people’s eyeballs up in his movies. He seemed to understand that folks really got super freaked out by that sort of thing, so anytime he wanted to make an audience to squirm even more than usual, eyeball destruction was one of his favorite go-to resources. Awesome. This one is pretty gnarly, and the British censors really didn’t like it. It’s a true highlight.

That scene is pretty great, but the second sequence I want to mention is more than great, it’s the stuff of legend. I’m going to break it down for you:

So, to start with, it takes place on a boat, far out in the ocean. We have not yet found our mysterious island, so there’s some tension built into the sequence from the beginning; Will we locate our destination? Will we not? Then, for reasons I do not remember and which are not at all important, it is decided that one of our female characters is going to go for a dive, and she’s going to do this wearing almost no clothing whatsoever. I take great care not to appear sexists in my writing, but if we are being candid, a huge cross section of Zombie’s audience is going to respond to that in a pretty favorable way, so it’s for sure worth a mention. Anyway, so we’ve got our mostly naked lady swimming around in this cool tropical, ocean setting, and then holy shit, suddenly there’s a big ol’ shark zooming up on her! She’s super scared, one minute she’s just swimming around, minding her own business, and the next, a freakin’ shark shows up. So far so good, right? Well, friends, it ain’t over yet. While hiding amongst a rad reef, hoping to escape the hungry snout of her menacing aquatic adversary, our frightened scuba-diving nudist happens upon another terrifying denizen of the deep; a mother fucking underwater zombie!!! We don’t know how this guy got down here, or how many other aqua zombies might be lurking about, but we do know one thing; Zombie is a film in which there is a sequence that features all of the following elements simultaneously:

A) An attractive, topless woman
B) A fucking shark
C) A damn zombie, who is underwater for some reason.

And it’s a real shark! It might even be a real zombie, honestly, I wouldn’t put it past them. And they fight! You should all be ordering Zombie Blu Rays off of right now, even if you already own Zombie on Blu Ray. If you’re not, it’s safe to say that you and I will never truly be able to understand one another, though I am willing to try. This is, almost definitely, the single best use of the motion picture medium ever in human history, and if you cry a little bit the first time you watch it, please, don’t be embarrassed, that’s a perfectly natural reaction.

Plus, the rest of the movie is also super, super awesome. Zombie is a high water mark from the “Yes I’m grumpy, but I still give a shit” phase of Fulci’s career, so the production is quite competent, and even artfully executed at times. It features excellent photography, impressive special effects (for the late 70’s), a boss-ass theme song, and more than enough graphic, zombie related violence to please any seasoned horror fan who hasn’t already seen this movie two thousand times (assuming that someone like that even exists.)

Really, the only thing about this full blown super-classic that I can say which isn’t straight-up, glowing praise is that I have shown the film to lots of people before, and I am sometimes surprised when it fails to hold their interest. For many mainstream, American cinema-goers, the pacing and trappings of Euro-cinema can often prove challenging in unexpected ways. If you’re not used to this style of film, you may find yourself getting bored, though I cannot fathom how. For fans of Euro-sleaze, however, Zombie carries my highest recommendation, and I even encourage less seasoned zombie enthusiasts to give it a try. Truthfully, if you think you like zombies, you should WANT to see this.


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Attack of the Beast Creatures!!!

Attack of the Beast Creatures ~ 1985, Michael Stanley


Attack of the Beast Creatures is:

A) Not very much fun to re-watch
B) Not very much fun to write about
C) Notorious.

That’s a bad combo, from my perspective, but I’m gonna try and power through this one anyway, since I’m essentially obligated to by the Film Nerd’s Code. Which is all secret, so don’t ask about it.

The truth of the matter is that not a hell of a lot happens in this movie. It’s ridiculous, and I guess sorta fun to watch, but Attack of the Beast Creatures is also nothing more than a straight forward, A-to-B monster flick with essentially no subtext to analyze whatsoever. The plot concerns a life-boat full of well-to-do Americans who wind up shipwrecked on a mysterious Island somewhere in the North Atlantic. Upon reaching these grim and foreboding shores, there is immediately dischord amongst the castaways, most of which is generated by a single grumpy old bitch named Mr. Morgan. Morgan later becomes the group’s resident liability when he suffers a debilitating leg injury, and is also a total sack of assholes.

Shaken by their time at sea but still hoping to be rescued, the group establishes a sort of base-camp on the beach and splits up to look for food, shelter, and water. One of our thirsty explorers heads off into the forest on just such a mission and quickly stumbles upon what looks to be a standing body of fresh water, which is good, since, you know, humans drink water and stuff. BOOM, guess what, doofus, that ain’t water, it’s flesh melting acid that looks exactly like water! Now you’re melting to death! Yeah, apparently Beast Creatures Island has little acid lagoons and ponds all over it, so locating drinkable water that doesn’t go all Hennesy Viper on you when you drink it is instantly bumped up to priority one. At least, until the damn Beast Creatures show up.


The Beast Creatures are, no surprise, the film’s real claim to fame- these little guys are famous for being some of the most feebly attempted movie monsters of the entire 1980’s. They look like cannibal themed treasure trolls which were probably purchased in bulk from a dollar store, and they can barely even move. They scurry around and gobble up people like terrestrial, humanoid pirahna, and are also apparently intelligent enough to practice some form of idol worship, but their most noteworthy contribution to the human experience is just that they looks fucking ridiculous. Without question, seeing a large group of adults clutching these toy figurines to their bodies and pretending that they’re being eaten alive is nothing short of hilarious, and realistically that’s the highlight of the movie. Thank you, Beast Creatures, the ways in which you have chosen to suck has brought much laughter and mirth to a world burdened with harsh, cruel realities, and we appreciate the much needed distraction you have provided.

CEb-U4CGkKGrHqEOKnEzw9fVWQBNR3WVG5Zw0_3What’s actually more shocking about Attack of the Beast Creatures is the various ways in which this movie doesn’t suck. The script is short on subtext, yes, but certainly much more coherent than what you might see in comparable, more respected films (like Pieces, or anything by Jess Franco, for instance), and a lot of the dialogue is well written and surprisingly naturalistic. Even some of the acting and photography is decent or better, so Attack of the Beast Creatures kinda feels like a full length version of a first-term film-school assignment, where the over-achievers are randomly grouped together with future drop outs to create a project, with radically unbalanced results. Some people here did a good job…. Others certainly didn’t. The end result is a strange beast indeed.

The music is an oddity too, it sucks for reals, yet contributes to the film’s atmosphere in a way that is more successful than almost any other single factor in play. It sort of sounds like the Magnum Opus of some dude who auditioned for Gary Numan’s backing band but couldn’t make the cut. It’s almost good, what we have here is a lush, haunting synth oddyssey that runs more or less the entire length of the picture, and feels appropriate for the spooky, erie vibe the movie is going for. I think it works, it almost feels like an ultra dumbed-down version of the score for Werner Herzog’s Aguirre: der Zorn Gottes, which is, admittedly, a really bizarre comparion to make, but here we are. I kinda want it on my iPod, and it feels like what Nicolas Winding Refn was probably jamming to in ’85.tumblr_m1w49dG27w1qi7zhio1_500

This movie has a reputation which is too deeply ingrained and widely dispersed to be in anyway effected by what I say here, and if you were ever going to watch this film, your opinion wasn’t going to be influenced by my review one way or the other. You know the drill, this movie took a running jump at “scary” and landed in “hilarious,” but it’s plenty fun all the same if you’re into that kind of thing. Worth watching if you and your friends dig the DIY MST3K experience, but if you’re a more centered cinema enthusiast, Attack of the Beast Creatures would probably just fuck up your night.

RECOMENDED DOUBLE FEATURE: Attack of the Beast Creatures and Piñata Survival Island.


Godzilla (2014)!!!!

Godzilla – 2014, Gareth Edwards – USA


It’s been ten years since Godzilla has been in a movie, and sixteen years since he’s been in an American one. It’s weird, clearly America and Japan have a big time love affair with one another’s pop culture, but throughout history, anytime one of these two Nations attempts to remake the opposite’s intellectual property in their own image it has been a complete disaster, with the aforementioned Godzilla film from ’98 being an excellent example. We took something beautiful, and we gave the world shit. That crime can never be lived down… But, as always, no matter how heinous the sin, when there is money to be had, somebody will make a grab for it, and so with an insatiable desire for cash in their hearts, Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures went ahead with yet another major American studio adaptation of one of Japan’s proudest cultural icons- Godzilla. The most memorable thing thing that came out of this was that we got to hear Japanese people fat shame Godzilla. It’s true, he had put on a few pounds.


To be fair- he’s been asleep for a decade.

Frankly, this movie is not a masterpiece. I don’t think it was ever going to be, American mainstream movie-goers don’t have a lot in common with fans of Kaiju cinema, and any attempt to please both parties was always going to fail. Additionally, I can’t help but wonder if director Gareth Edwards was indeed the right man to helm this project. I’m not saying I don’t think he’s great, I loved Monsters, but I imagine that the real reason he was offered the job was because he had made a film “about giant monsters.” Honestly, to say that having directed Monsters makes you a logical choice to direct a Godzilla film is a dramatic oversimplification of both properties. But whatever, let’s jump into this.

First of all, movie goers were pretty much sold on this movie with the notion that Brian Cranston was gonna be the star. Naturally, this seemed like a good idea, Breaking Bad had been extremely popular, so people were for sure gonna want to see as much of that hot Cranston action as possible. I know I did! That’s exactly why it was pretty disappointing to actually watch the movie, because the moment the second act came around Cranston was freaking toes up, and it’s like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty all over again. After that, we get conned off on our real central character, Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is the son of the Cranston character. While Poppa Cranston was a scientist; Lil’ Ford is a solider, which is a problem. He’s not a solider like past characters in the Godzilla cannon have been soldiers, he doesn’t pilot Mechagodzilla or represent some anti-monster task force, instead Ford feels like his profession was chosen simply to make him the one constant in a long string of soulless action sequences, which are a non-negotiable pre-requisute for big budget American cinema. The best thing his solider status does for the film is that it gives us a character who is estranged from every person in his life, either emotionally, or simply because he jobs demands that he be far away from his family. This jaded, American veteran perspective is extremely valid, and it does represent a growing cross section of the country, but it’s not universal, and in the end, Ford is impossible for us to identify with in any realistic way because of how unfazed he is by everything that happens to him. There’s just not enough to the character, he has no depth, he’s just a cypher who hops from action scene to action scene without any substance to back up the explosions. Cranston, or even Ford’s wife (played by Elizabeth Olsen) would have been much better central characters.

Also, anyone who compained that Gamera the Brave didn’t have enough monster content in it better never say a word in defense of this iteration of Godzilla; because guess who isn’t in this movie enough?


This guy!

We spend way more time with the Mutos, Godzilla’s weird, common-law married monster opposition. I’m really not crazy about these monstersr, to me they really don’t feel at home in Godzilla’s universe. They look too… American? They look like the monster from Cloverfield, or maybe even something from Pacific Rim. They’re lacking some vague, indefinable quality that gave the old Godzilla gang it’s appeal, and I’m just not very taken with them. I also hate Godzilla’s portly, stub nosed redesign, but whatever, I guess.

The technical work done on Godzilla is predictably excellent, but only if what you’re looking for is a super slick, digital Hollywood production. This is the first and only Godzilla movie ever made with CG that doesn’t look like complete shit, so I guess that does count for something, but I was always more fond of the big, clunky suits and practical effects anyway. I would have been infinitley more excited if the Jim Henson Company had been brought on to make this the Citizen Kane of puppet and suitimation films, but that’s a personal thing, so you may not have similar reservations. This Godzilla is well shot, well edited, and all the acting is great, so I’d say that if we’re being objective, there really isn’t much in regards to the film’s technical execution that I would wag my eternally disaproving finger at.

I think that the only real way to look at this film objectively would require you to just ignore the sixty years of baggage attached to the Godzilla name completely, because truthfully, this is something new that just can’t be lumped in with what we’ve seen before. That’s good and bad, though; throwing out all that continuity might seem like it would take the pressure off, but in doing so we also get rid of every reason we have to love Godzilla, and that’s a crippling blow. The fact is, I really don’t think this movie could exist if it was a stand alone film, and if this thing wasn’t piggybacking on the nototriety of Godzilla’s proud past, we for sure wouldn’t have a sequel on the way like we do right now. I just don’t think it brings enough to the table, it isn’t the non-stop thrill ride America wants it to be, nor the introspective, character driven journey Edwards probably wanted to make, nor even the wall to wall Japanese monster extravaganza longtime kaiju fans want. If we’re being honest, I think Godzilla is smack dab in the middle of all of these ever so distant points, and unfortunately, in this game, sometimes when you only achieve 50% of A,B, and C, it sorta feels more like you didn’t achieve anything at all.

But it’s fine. Hell, Toho just announced that they’re working on a new Japanese made Godzilla franchise which will be entirely independent from what is going on in the Legendary series, so these American movies don’t really help or hurt Godzilla in any way. Besides, if Big Green survived what happened to him in ’98, he really is invincible.


GZ back


GODZILLA: FINAL WARS ~ 2004, Ryuhei Kitamura – Japan


In 2004, Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, Toho released Godzilla: Final Wars. It was meant to be a finale of sorts, after which good old Godzilla would take some time to chill out. In an effort to celebrate the long running franchise, Final Wars works like a celebration of the entire cannon, and in a way, it’s almost a remake of every Godzilla movie simultaneously (mostly Destroy All Monsters), but it’s kind of a damn mess.

The plot is as follows: It is the future; blah blah blah who cares; the plot isn’t worth hashing out. Again, it’s that same old alien invasion story Toho has used over and over, but it’s really just a means to justify Godzilla fighting as many monsters as possible, and he really, really does. There are some dumb aliens in the mix, as well as a bunch of “mutants,” whom we’ll be talking about later.

It feels kinda disjointed and hurried. There is so much freaking homage in here that it almost just feels like watching a sitcom a clip show episode most of the time, which is not what you want from a glorious, 50th anniversary finale to your proudest franchise. The special effects suffer in the same way most modern Godzilla movies do- cheap, crappy CG and terrible composite effects, but the worst thing about the movie  is the emphasis on its human, and “mutant” characters. We spend a lot of time with them… And that time is a grab bag, sometimes its good, sometimes its really, really terrible.

Let’s look at the good; basically, aside from all the rad monster stuff, the coolest part of the movie is this guy:

gfw76Captain Gordon… He kinda looks like Stalin, mostly because they dress him exactly like Stalin for some reason… but he also kinda looks like Sgt. Slaughter, or a bad ass Mario, so that’s sort of a mixed message, but the fact remains that holy shit is he cool. Our lame ass mutant characters bust him out of military jail because they need his leadership to save the world. He’s really awesome, and he’s the captain of a sweet flying/submarine/drill type ship borrowed right out of Atragon, which is one of the better Showa era homages in the entire flick. That’s all good stuff…

…And then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have these guys….

gfw54“Mutants.” they suck so bad. These guys are part of the Earth anti-monster defense initiative or something. I have no idea in what way they’re better than normal people, but they’re supposed to be vaguely super human somehow, while remaining incredibly cliche and disinteresting. They’re like some profoundly lame Matrix/Ultraman combo deal, and they take up far too much screen time. I hate them a lot, for real, I’d have taken the G-Graspers over these idiots.

Also worth a mention, the big, stupid, Roland Emmerich version of Godzilla pops up in this movie, too. It tromps around and is promptly murdered by the real Godzilla, which takes less than a minute, and is a great thing that we all know needed to happen. I didn’t expect any sort of closure on that one, so this feels like a nice treat. Of course, I could have done without the unlistenable Sum 41 song that plays over the scene, but we have mute buttons, so it’s still good.

So, is it a good movie? Kinda. It’s probably going to make most Godzilla enthusiasts happy. I found myself enjoying the effort taken to pay respects to Godzilla’s older films, and all the monster fighting sequences are well done and entertaining. Also great; after relentlessly flip flopping on the Nature of Godzilla, I feel like this movie finds a good balance by casting him as humanity’s last ditch guardian by default, a looming threat that we all dread, but which is at the same time, our only hope for survival. I think this is a logical extension of the metaphor, given that GZ was originally meant to symbolize the horrors of atomic warfare. It’s a safe assumption that, if facing alien invasion, we might come to feel the same way about nuclear weapons that we do about Big Green in this film, so it feels appropriate that he has again found himself as a stand in for the bomb. Godzilla: Final Wars does a good job with that idea.

….BUT it isn’t a classic. As a finale, it feels appropriately epic, but we’ve traded a lot of character development for more for slick action sequences this time, and I’m never in favor of that. It’s simply too cluttered, and too all over the place, but if what you’re looking for is giant monsters fighting and little else, this for sure will give you what you want. I just think it would be wise to expect more from Godzilla, because his potential is enormous.


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Godzilla: Toyko S.O.S.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. – 2003, Masaaki Tezuka – Japan
tokyosos Wow! I had some low expectations for this one, but Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is actually pretty solid!

The formula is good; Toho said “Hey, let’s make a Godzilla movie, but let’s have it be more like Top Gun, only without all the blatant homo-eroticism.” So they did. And it was cool! The air force setting really helps to keep our human characters interesting, they all have something going on that feels less stale than characters from other films in the series. We also have a dude from the original Mothra movie popping in as a secondary character in this one, which is done pretty well and helps the movie feel connected to the Showa era in a fun way.

As is tradition with post Showa era Godzilla flicks, Tokyo S.O.S. picks and chooses which film continuities it observes, this time serving as a direct sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, but also acknowledging Gojira, and Mothra. In this continuity, Mechagodzilla is a man made weapon designed to take down Big Daddy G, and constructed partially from the skeleton of the monster from the original Godzilla film. Mothra and her tiny, magical, unison speaking fairy girls are not cool with this. Apparently, using the corpse of a slain monster to create the world’s most fearsome war machine is kinda pushing it, from an ethics standpoint, and Mothra wants a proper burial at sea for Godzilla senior, pronto. That’s trouble for we humans, though, because it would mean dismantling Mechagodzilla when we still desperately need him to defend our oh, so stompable human bodies from all the beast rampages we keep experiencing. Mothra respects that, so in order to sweeten the deal, she promises to protect mankind from Godzilla if we comply with her wishes, but also to kill us all if we fail to comply. Mothra is not good at negotiating. But anyway, it’s a good thing we called her bluff, because later in the film Godzilla kicks Mothra’s ass and without Mechagodzilla to save us we’d have been totally f’ed.

So, it’s pretty good. The monsters are well done, the human stuff is cool, and the whole movie is well made. There is an apparent desire to rely on practical effects and costume monsters over CG this time, and damn, keep it comin’, Toho, because Godzilla and Mothra look great. Probably the worst effect in the movie is the composite job used to make Mothra’s envoy look tiny, but even that is fine. We’ve seen that effect suck for 50 years now. We’re used to it.

Tokyo S.O.S. is yet another solid achievement for the Millennium Era, and, like it’s immediate predecessor, I’d call it one of the best post-Showa Godzilla movies yet made.  recommended for fans of the series.


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Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla – 2002, Masaaki Tezuka – Japan


Not Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla, or even Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla II, nay, this here is Godzilla AGAINST Mechagodzilla, a rad Kaiju jam coming out of the heart of the Millennium Period. This little movie is one of the best post-Showa era Godzilla films yet, and maybe the best movie of any era to feature Mechagodzilla, although most Godzilla fans would probably count that as some form of weird, monster movie blasphemy. I stand by my statement, and I accept your ire.

Controversial Mechagodzilla claims aside, this is indeed an excellent flick that takes time to focus on the little things, and it’s also the only Millennium era Godzilla film to establish a timeline which wasn’t totally abandoned immediately; this movie actually has a direct sequel, the also excellent Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.! Right on, guys!

GodzillaVsMechagodzilla_B1_photostyle_Japan-6-500x573THE PLOT~ Akane is a determined, but emotionally damaged woman who channels her dismissive outlook on the sanctity of life into an successful career in the armed forces. Tokumitsu is a brilliant scientist, and a pioneer in the field of DNA computer technology, which will probably be instrumental to Skynet when the Machines rise up to kills us all. Hayama is his daughter, and her mom is dead, so naturally she’s going to make a big deal out of that. The three are brought together as part of a project to create Kiryu– the modern day Mechagodzilla, using the recovered skeleton and DNA of the original Godzilla, which was killed by the oxygen destroyer back in 1954.

See, in the world of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Japan has indeed been plagued by various monster attacks throughout the years- Mothra and one of the Gargantua monsters are singled out as having existed within this continuity, and additionally, the original Gojira is, as always, cannon here as well, but unlike in the Showa era, after the first Godzilla is defeated, a second one does not turn up for many, many years, not until now, as a matter of fact. Much to the government’s shock and horror, this big ol’ lummox proves to be resistant to the various lasers and anti-monster weaponry which has been developed over time to defend Japan, and so in desperation to save their skins, the idea to create Mechagodzilla is hatched by the top minds in the country.


Evidently, someone thought this would be a good idea.

But it’s a rocky road- this giant, Godzilla shaped W.M.D. is highly controversial when it’s proposed and unveiled, and it does go haywire and decimate a city or two at first- but that’s all part of the game when you work with skyscraper sized, cybernetic war machines, you really have to do it baby-steps style. In the long run everything is ironed out, and most exciting of all, Tokumistu may actually end up getting laid out of this deal, which is colossal. Plus, while they don’t really defeat Godzilla at the end of the film, Japan does manage to successfully run him out of town for the first time ever, which is a real turning point in the crusade against giant monsters everywhere… Win!

Like Godzilla S.O.S., Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla balances a nice Top Gun vibe with it’s monster mayhem, and they do a really good job on both fronts. This is, in every way, a far cry from the lame G-Graspers and purple spikes of Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus, which was also directed by Masaaki Tezuka. Damn, dude, what happened? Your last movie totally sucked! Well, this guy has clearly learned a few things since his last foray into the Godzillaverse, and it shows, GAMG is filed with editing and photography that feels much more artistic and effective than the bland craftsmanship we sometimes see in these films, and honestly, it’s appreciated. Godzilla deserves to be treated with respect, and a talented director behind the camera goes along way in making this film feel worthy of the legacy.


Another great touch that helps push this film up over the hill is how well scripted it is. When watching a film in a language you don’t understand, you have to accept that the nuances of the social relationships you see on screen are going to mostly be lost on you. Additionally, you can’t really fault the dialogue on the basis of what you read in the subtitles, but you can still kind of get a feel for when things are being done really well, or exceptionally poorly. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla takes extra time to put small details in place and invest in dialogue where most recent Godzilla films don’t. The exchange between Tokumitsu, his daughter, and the representatives from the anti-monster bureau (or whatever it’s called) where they keep referencing Professional Baseball is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. It’s such a nice little detail, and it shows care where other movies may have just assumed that these relationships didn’t matter. It’s the ease with which we can invest in these more established personalities and relationships that really helps to make the world of GAMG one worth revisiting, and I wish more kaiju films took the time to nurture these small details.

The cast in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is also excellent. The acting and characterization is great, particularly Akira Nakao’s turn as the Prime Minister and Kou Takasugi’s stern, authoritative performance as Colonel Togashi. Again, I don’t speak Japanese, so a lot of this shit is gonna remain shrouded forever in mystery for me, but in the case of these two actors in particular it feels pretty apparent that they’ve done a great job. The rest of the cast is also good from what I can tell, but even without a grasp of the spoken language, the physicality of Nakao and Takasugi sells their characters in a way that would be hard not to praise. They’re assets to the film without question.

The effects are, as is maddeningly typical at this point, a mixture of fantastic practical effects, and humiliatingly poor CG. The worst offender, in so far as digital effects are concerned, is probably Mechagodzilla’s lame ninja flip in his last battle with Godzilla- it’s embarrassingly lame both in concept and execution. However, the suits look just fantastic, and these digital fails tend to roll off the back of a viewer who has waded through a decent number of these pictures by now. Even so, it’d be nice to see a decent investment in CG from Toho, either that, or a film which just didn’t use computer generated effects at all. This middle ground is undesirable.

Overall, I’m very, very pleased with this one. It’s an excellent effort from the studio behind almost fifty years of kaiju classics, and it further establishes the Millennium era Godzilla films as superior to the much troubled Heisei era series. Recommended!


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Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack ~ 2001, Shûsuke Kaneko – Japan


Poor Godzilla seems to be in a constant state of reboot. That’s apparently how it’s gonna be here in the Millennium era, just reboots as far as the eye can see. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Which shall henceforth forever be abbreviated as GMK because I never want to type that nightmare of a title again) we have again abandoned all previous Godzilla continuity save for the original 1954 film, with one surprising exception; the 1998 American made Roland Emmerich film. They keep that in cannon simply so that they can explicitly clarify that that fucking monster was NOT Godzilla. Awesome. Anyway.

The story is as follows: Godzilla hasn’t been seen since ’54, but Japan remains spooked. Apparently, they’re right to fear Godzilla’s return, because lo and behold- here he is, back, and hellbent on stomping Japan off the map for good. The fate of the country rests on three ancient guardian monsters who come to save the day; Baragon (who apparently wasn’t worth a spot in the title,) Mothra, and King Ghidorah. No idea where these asshole guardian monsters were in ’54, but in the end they can’t really get the job done this time either, so mankind is forced to step up to the plate at the eleventh hour with some sort of new super weapon and take out Big G forever, just like they did last time. You can’t rely on Guardian monsters for shit these days.

GMK carries along with it a reputation of being one of the better recent entries in the Godzilla franchise, and to a point, I agree. The production is mostly very competent, the monster effects are well done, especially Baragon, but occasionally Godzilla’s rubbery hide will fold in a way that seems too puppet like for the new millennium, and we should be doing better than that by now. If we had better costumes way back in The Labyrinth, then I really can’t pardon this today. Also, there are composite shots and CG effects all over the place that look like complete garbage, so as usual, Toho needs to put more of an investment in it’s digital effects department if they want to use them so friggin’ often.

Anyway. The tone is fairly consistent, and there is a clear attempt to recapture the grim menace Godzilla used to exude, which I can get into. Toho really seems interested in getting our big green boy back to his Atomic Bogeyman basics, so this time around they really make it a point to highlight human deaths as a result of Godzilla’s rowdiness. Unfortunately the tone is kept fairly light so these causalities don’t feel tragic enough to really get that point across. By and large, the Heisei era managed to communicate that particular message a lot more effectively, but GMK is still superior to those films by a wide margin.

What GMK does best, I think, is balance fun monster battles with grounding scenes of human drama and exposition, which is a phenomenal achievement. We spend just enough time with our humans on the ground to pull the narrative together, but not enough that we feel bored. In general, this balance is extremely difficult for kaiju films to strike, so I theorize that for this reason GMK stands out as being especially good, even amongst viewers who aren’t film savvy enough to recognize that this balance is what they’re responding to.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, however. GMK is a competent and enjoyable movie, but as a Godzilla film, it’s struggles in weird ways. It’s kinda like the Jason Goes To Hell of the Godzilla series, strong for casual viewers, but potentially difficult for longtime fans. We see in GMK new ideas that I would argue are playing too fast and loose with these characters, and Godzilla himself is stretched, conceptually, to the point of nearly coming apart at the seems. Essentially, this time around, all these monster are fueled with spirit energy, because from the looks of it, Toho has completely lost faith in science altogether. That’s fair enough, but while the Guardian Monsters are all gassed up on your run of the mill, ordinary Japanese spirits, Godzilla’s monster engine runs exclusively on pissed off Japanese World War II ghosts, who have possessed him with the intent of getting revenge on a modern day Japan which they feel has betrayed the values they fought for, and it totally has. I’m really not sure how I feel about any of that, especially since there is at least some evidence to suggest that Godzilla is, in effect, a zombie in this film, which I am absolutely not down with. Worst of all: (SPOILER ALERT) The film climaxes with Godzilla being blown up, and after victory is declared, we see a large, still beating Godzilla heart sitting at the bottom of the ocean, just waiting to like… Grow a new Godzilla, or something? I don’t know, but it’s very much reminiscent of Jason Goes To Hell’s most objectionable component, and also it sucks and I hate it.. (END SPOILER ALERT)

I think the worst thing about GMK, however, is the K. King Ghidorah, in this film, is like, the ultimate Earth Guardian Monster, the last champion for the human race, standing against Godzilla in a battle to save us all, and that, my friends, is horse shit. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I grew up with the Godzilla films, and in my day, there was no more sneaky, evil, treacherous asshole of a monster that King Ghidorah, alien dick head sent from Planet X to screw us all. Every time he shows up, he’s like, Godzilla’s ultimate nemesis, and he’s always the baddest of bad guys. Are you now, GMK, expecting me to do a complete 180 and root for this slimy, three headed douche bag? Oh, think again. I am not prepared to for that. I’d rather Godzilla kick his ass and then eat every human on Earth than flip flop on my staunch Anti-Ghidorah stance. That, in a nut shell, is the biggest problem with GMK, it’s just taking a lot of liberties with a pretty concrete and established universe, and not all of the ramifications are going to sit well with you.

That having been said, most fans seem to be pretty much fine with it, for whatever reason, so maybe these things don’t matter so much after all? What do I know, I guess. It’s still a pretty solid entry at the end of the day, and it beats the hell out of Godzilla Vs Spacegodzilla.


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Godzilla Vs Megaguirus– 2000, Masaaki Tezuka – Japan


Now, two movies into the third established era in Godzilla’s film history, Toho churns out Godzilla Vs Megaguirus, and in all honesty, this feels like one of the least noteworthy entries in Godzilla’s entire cannon. It doesn’t possess extreme highs or lows, I’d call this one Godzilla at his most monotone. Oh well… At least there aren’t any aliens. Here we go.

THE PLOT~ Toho again rewrites the history of it’s most beloved franchise with Godzilla VS Megaguirus; this time around the events of 1954’s Gojira played out a little differently. Apparently, the Oxygen Destroyer; the machine which was used to kill Big Green back in his first big screen appearance, was never invented, and so in this timeline, the original Godzilla is still around, stomping, smashing, and generally causing a ruckus. Luckily, his raids on Japan appear to be very few and far between, and are concentrated only on areas where nuclear, or other mass power operations, are being conducted. Japan is therefore able to minimize Godzilla’s rampaging by doing away with it’s more dangerous energy based projects, which it does begrudgingly. Anyway. Whatever. Moving on;

So, still not happy with the situation, Japan mounts numerous efforts to kill Godzilla; the most recent of which is the G-GRASPER unit. Yes, G-Grasper. It sounds, to me, somehow creepily sexual, but I’m not really sure why. No matter what, it’s a stupid name, although it might suck less in Japanese. Couldn’t tell you. Anyhow. So, these folks develop a new weapon meant to destroy Godzilla forever, essentially, they create a miniature black hole, into which Godzilla can be pulled, never to return, hooray. I guess the black hole then disappears? There’s conflicting information on that, so I’m not really sure, but it freaking better disapear, if the damn G-Graspers that it was totally cool to just have a friggin’ Black Hole in the middle of Tokyo then they all should be thrown in jail. But again, I digress;

Logically, the first time they test this new weapon, they instantly create a swarm of horrible, giant dragonflies completely by accident. Wonderful! many people are killed. These dragonflies are a huge problem, and they couldn’t have come at a worse time, because check it out, Godzilla’s active again! So, of course, the kaiju big bugs attack Godzilla and like, suck his radioactive dino blood or something, and then return to feed that blood into the gnarled carapace of their even more horrible monarch insect; which then mutates into Megaguirus, an even bigger, even worse dragonfly. I wonder where this is going?

Why, to a giant monster battle, of course! Godzilla and Megaguirus meet up and slug it out, as is their custom, in the middle of the city, and the G-Graspers bumble about making almost no contribution to the situation at all, until the eleventh hour. You see, the damn G-Graspers still seem to think that a black hole launcher is a fine thing to use, even though the only time they have ever tested it they created a race of giant, man-killing dragonflies. “I’m sure that was a one time thing,” the G-Graspers think, as they race to kill Godzilla forever, by using this terrible weapon they have created, but first, they wait for him to save all of their assess by killing Megaguirus, who you may remember they stupidly created themselves by using that exact same weapon a few days ago. Honestly, the G-Graspers are all stupid dicks.

Godzilla VS Megaguirus continues the ‘Zilla tradition of wagging a stern finger at the folly of man’s arrogance by further criticizing our lust for power and violence. This message is not subtle, in fact, it’s painfully overt- the last time we created a monster, it was because we, as humans, dared to use atomic weapons, which were, at that time, the most powerful weapons on Earth. Now, we’ve created a weapon even more powerful than that to try and clean up our mess, and what happens? Boom, more monsters. The statement is pretty cut and dry; we can’t solve our problems by introducing more problems. No more horrible weapons. They further push this message with Godzilla’s zest for attacking Nuclear, and plasma energy reactors, making Godzilla VS Megaguirus a straightforward sermon on the evils of hubris, and that is literally the first lesson these movies ever tried to hammer through our skulls. I suppose that isn’t a problem, really, but Godzilla VS Megaguirus’ retreading of such well worn territory feels like a mark against it because it also fails to do it in a way that feels new or interesting, and it doesn’t really go anywhere else, thematically, either. There are other Godzilla films which are even less dimensional than this one, but most of the time they still managed to have more heart, and remain more likable. Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is hurting for likability. It’s hurting bad.

Firstly, the human characters in Megaguirus are nothing special. They bored me, they’ll bore you, and honestly, I don’t like them. The romance the film offers up feels unnecessary, and I absolutely don’t care about it. Most of the G-Grapsers remain underdeveloped, which is a missed opportunity and the bad guy is never really bad enough, he just kinda made a bad call. I really don’t think it’s fair for the G-Grapsers to hold that against him, considering the fact that this entire movie happened because the G-Graspers themselves are so incompetent that they accidentally created a species of giant, man eating dragonflies. That’s a real “He who without sin cast the first stone” type situation right there.  Also lame; Megaguirus himself. For sure, he’s nothing special, he comes off as sort of a B-Squad Battra, which, damn- a step DOWN from Battra? How undignified.This film is just so disappointingly lukewarm.

Easily, the worst problem with Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is the shittiness of the special effects. Most of the practical effects are fine, the suits look decent enough (Although I hate the Godzilla redesign- especially his purple-for-no-reason spikes) but there is a lot of unbelievably bad CG in this thing. Like, horrible CG. And there’s so much! It’s a real shame to see such inadequate, cheap effects used on what could be called Japan’s most cherished cinematic export. Godzilla deserves better, and the digital effects in this film are not worthy of any movie, let alone a Godzilla film that was made in the year 2000! It’s really disappointing to see him treated so poorly, and for me, this shitty CGI just kills the picture completely.

Of the things Megaguirus actually does well, perhaps its finest accomplishment is that it somehow manages to briefly recapture the spirit of Godzilla’s Showa days, albeit in sporadic, all-too-brief segments, and those scenes are genuinely enjoyable. I felt some of this when the dragonfly swarms made their first assault on Godzilla, but it’s felt nowhere more than during the final battle between Godzilla and Megaguirus. This final confrontation is both brutal, and at the same time, somewhat playful, and even humorous. To me, that felt very reminiscent of Godzilla’s Hero-Phase in the later Showa films, which is awesome. There are parts of the fight that lose me, but overall, it’s easiest to look at Godzilla during those sequences and imagine that this is the same monster you saw clobber Gigan decades ago, which is absolutely the best praise I can give to Godzilla VS Megaguirus. Even so, this is but one positive attribute, and it doesn’t save the picture.

The last thing I want to mention; I think MAYBE they were trying to be funny, but the end of this movie is amazing, in a bad way. It’s a freeze frame cut, and in my opinion, it’s tied with George Romero’s Bruiser for the title of “most lame and akward ending/last frame of a movie ever.” Go watch it, it is puzzling, and it sucks real, real bad. So, whoever directed this; don’t do that, dude. It’s bad. You did a bad job.


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Godzilla 2000 – 1999, Takao Okawara – Japan


The world of Godzilla 2000 is one where the debate over whether or not Godzilla exists is over. Here, he has become an accepted part of life. Researchers study Big Green the same way they might study earthquakes, tornadoes, or really any natural phenomena, and while there remains a strong urge to destroy him, there is at least some portion of the scientific community eager to contain Godzilla somehow, for scientific purposes. Neither side seems to get their way, however, as always, he remains unkillable, and uncontrollable.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, mankind has unwittingly awakened an ancient, extraterrestrial life form that had been snoozing at the bottom of the ocean for millennia, and when this advanced life-form gets hostile, we again find ourselves totally unable to fend off our would-be destroyer. We’re basically worthless, when you get down to it, so once again it falls on the rough, greenish shoulders of Godzilla to bail our asses out, even though we launched like, a thousand rockets at him just yesterday… And that’s the movie!

Up until about the halfway mark I was pretty convinced that I was watching the best Godzilla movie in a very long time. This one marks the beginning of the Millennium Era, the third recognized period in Godzilla film continuity, and It starts out very, very strong, with many of the regrettable traits brought into cannon during the Heisei absent completely. Which is awesome, I love Godzilla, and I want to like the Heisei era films, but they made it pretty difficult sometimes. This film, on the other hand, is much easier to get behind, it feels higher budget and more serious than what we saw out of Big G’s last several escapades, and I feel like the spirit of the Showa era is felt ever so briefly here and there, although that could have been the hysterical relief brought on by not having to deal with any more psychics or hard, shiny, plastic monsters.

G2000 opens with a pretty neat scene; we have some Godzilla tracking enthusiasts hoping to catch a sight of the big guy in their custom outfitted Kaiju jeep, and guess what; they totally do. The whole sequence is cool, and very well done, even if it does try to borrow a bit from Jurassic Park, and even Twister. It somehow feels so fresh and real, and the way this movie tries to sell you a world where there is an apparent attempt to adapt to and understand Godzilla is just so different from what we’ve seen before. This is one of G2000’s many positive qualities, however, it ain’t all waterslides and puppy dogs, this movie has some serious flaws that really begin to gang up on you over the course of the film. The single worst problem out of the whole batch is a debilitating lack of balance, which is probably the most common flaw in all of Kaiju Cinema; as is so often the case, we end up spending way too much time with characters that we just don’t care about, and even when we finally get to the good bits, it somehow feels boring because of how little we give a shit about this world to begin with. It’s just too little too late, and the giant alien monster that Godzilla has to fight is also decidedly lame. That doesn’t help.

Regardless, the strength of the first half of the movie is enough to make this one stand out in my mind, and overall, I like the film. It’s a good enough start to a new era, and Godzilla fans will likely have a pretty good time with it.


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