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Snow Monster (Review)

Snow Monster

aka 大雪怪 aka Da Xue Guai
Snow Monster 大雪怪
2019
Written by Sheng Fan Zhang and Pian Jia Leng
Directed by Huang He

Snow Monster 大雪怪
NetFlix isn’t the only streaming platform pumping out a ton of their original movies to drive up views, China has several big streaming companies and they are all creating their own content in a bet to win sole control of views. Streaming platform Youku has greenlit a ton of original content, but the films of interest to us are several that are basically SyFy Channel original movies! They got giant snakes, giant alligators, sea monsters, the list goes on and on. But most importantly, they have Snow Monster, which is pretty much King Kong in snow demon form. Also there are ice sharks! Yes, Snow Monster fights the ice sharks! This is some of what we call pretty amazing stuff.

The Snow Monster himself is not a gorilla or even an ape. It appears to be a huge furry satyr, complete with a long tail. The fur is snow white, the hands only have three fingers and a thumb, the legs are bent like goat legs, and the head is adorned with two large goat horns, one of which is partially snapped off. The monster himself is a mix of guy in suit and CGI depending on the scene needs, but more often than not he is just a guy standing there reacting to what is going on. This makes it sort of charming in a low budget cinema sort of way.
Snow Monster 大雪怪
Of course there are no English subtitles, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! The plot is pretty easy to follow, the monsters don’t need to talk, and while we have all seen this before, and it’s fun to see it again done different with the shadow of the original sprawling over it. Part of the film has the same trouble the Peter Jackson King Kong did, in that we spend a bunch of time running around with monsters that aren’t the giant monster of the title. I don’t know how much planning you need for a Snow Monster movie but there are like 25 people credited. If this keeps up with the other Youku films I got on the docket than I will keep you posted, otherwise I would advise getting a job as a film planner as they seem to be giving them away! I identified who I could in the cast, but as I don’t know what the names of the characters they are playing are, I’m just going to refer to them by their real names. Since this is a harder to find movie (unless you are specifically looking for it), this will be more of a recap review.
Snow Monster 大雪怪
Snow Monster does keep the monster in the winter wonderland where it exists instead of having a sequence where it is brought back to the city to cause trouble. That’s obviously a cost consideration, but it also points to the reality of transporting a gigantic monster out of a hostile environment and then into an urban environment without their being any sort of issues, something most of the Kong films just handwave away.

Snow monster, snow sharks, monster birds, a random dinosaur skeleton that seems put there because there were big skeletons in Kong: Skull Island except those were Kong’s family and here it makes no sense unless Snow Monster’s dad was a tyrannosaur. It’s Snow Monster, baby!
Snow Monster 大雪怪
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 2, 2020 at 8:12 am

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In the Shadow of the Moon (Review)

In the Shadow of the Moon

In The Shadow Of The Moon
2019
Written by Gregory Weidman and Geoffrey Tock
Directed by Jim Mickle

In The Shadow Of The Moon
In the Shadow of the Moon is a fun little time travel murder mystery that gets too convoluted for its own good. In 1988, three seemingly random people drop dead, blood and their brains leaking out of their face. Officer Locke (Boyd Holbrook) manages to insert himself into the case as part of his bid to make detective. His partner Maddox (Bokeem Woodbine) is less enthused about the extra work, and brother-in-law and current detective Holt (Michael C. Hall) doesn’t want his sister’s husband messing up his first big case. Soon it is evident the dead have all been attacked, and a mysterious woman (Cleopatra Coleman) is responsible. After a chase she winds up dead, but who she is or how she ended up with a police service revolver bullet in her hand despite no officer shooting that night remains a mystery.

The only problem is she shows up again 9 years later alive and killing again, and will keep reappearing as an increasingly obsessed and isolated Locke attempts to solve the mystery of who she’s killing and how she’s doing it. Things are best when we don’t know anything and are caught up in what is going on. There is a clue in the very beginning, but it becomes obvious really fast what is going on and why, and once you figure that out all the rest of the twists unravel in your mind and it just becomes a waiting game for them to happen on screen.

Speaking of mysterious deaths, the writers just go and fridge Locke’s wife by having her die in childbirth, which he misses part of due to the time traveling killer. Locke’s estrangement from his family as the years go on mean we drop most of the supporting cast that hasn’t died by other means, forcing Boyd Holbrook to largely carry things on his own. While he isn’t bad, sometimes it good to have more people to interact with for a film instead of it just being a succession of things that happen to Locke.
In The Shadow Of The Moon
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 3, 2020 at 8:31 am

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Godziban Episode 21 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#12「飛べ!未来へ向かって」(Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Godziban Episode 21 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#12「飛べ!未来へ向かって」

aka ゴジばん
Godziban title English
December 31, 2019
Written and directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi
Godziban
King Ghidorah makes his grand entry into the Godziban story line proper and causes a whole heap of trouble! Keep in mind King Ghidorah’s puppet has been seen in the stage play that was put on in the special event episode, but that is not entirely canon to the current story line even though it could easily fit in before the actual show as where Mothra came from. So maybe it is canon. It’s canon! If Santa Kaiju can be canon, this is canon. Canon!

Not only do we got King Ghidorah, but there are some other new faces in this episode, which turned out to be the final Godziban episode. Of the season? Of all time? We will wait to see. Until then, it looks like March of Godzilla 2019 in 2020 has come to an end. But don’t fret, because March of Godzilla 2020 will be starting up soon enough! Godzilla marching will never die as long as they keep producing more and more Godzilla stuff to keep marching on!

Go! Go! Godzilla-kun
Minya is still taking care of Baby Rodan, giving him food and trying to get him strong. He’s basically doing for Rodan what Godzilla-kun was doing for him in earlier episodes. Godzilla-kun and Little stop by (Little tossing a folded leaf around like a paper airplane) to check on the pair. Little asks about flying, and Godzilla-kun thinks about flying using his atomic breath to power it (like in Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster) and then laughs as he dismisses the concept!

But the message is clear…Minya must teach Rodan how to fly. Even though Minya can’t fly! So expect a lot of puppets falling to Earth!

Next we see Minya and Rodan at the top of a big cliff. Minya demonstrates flying by launching the paper/leaf airplane off the cliff into the sky. Rodan tries to fly…and hovers for about a second before dropping like a rock. Minya runs down to go get him and carries Rodan all the way back up the mountain. Minya is a pretty good dad, but he should be, as he had a pretty good dad himself. That’s been consistently one of Godzilla’s best traits.

Rodan tries again, fails again, and Minya hauls him back up the cliff again. Rodan is apprehensive about trying again. Minya is trying to encourage him when suddenly they hear the cries of “Dorat dorat dorat dorat dorat!” Yes, the Dorats are back, who you may remember tried to eat Baby Rodan’s egg last time we saw them.
Godziban
The Dorats are still jerks, and are back to eat Rodan now that h’es big enough to make a full meal for the trio. They try to float the Baby Rodan away, but Minya grabs him. So they start blasting Minya with electricity! Again and again until eventually Minya is scorched and collapses. Rodan begins to panic and desperately tries to wake him. The drama going on here!

Then the fear becomes blinding white hot rage as Rodan takes flight and smashes through the villains, knocking them around as he swoops and soars among their ranks, causing them to all crash into the ground. Minya is back awake with Rodan returns, and they are both happy at the victory and Rodan’s new flying ability.

The Dorats aren’t going to go away that easily. They get mad and decide to get even, thus they merge into King Ghidorah! It’s a truly massive King Ghidorah, larger than all the other puppets on the show combined! King Ghidorah floats in the sky as Minya and Rodan shake in fear, then King Ghidorah blasts them with the electric breath rays. Good ol’ Minya still protects Rodan despite now being blasted with even more powerful blasts than before. The two are helpless…until Godzilla-kun is there!
Godziban
Godzilla-kun charges…despite King Ghidorah being 20 times his size! He is not detoured by being blasted, Godzilla-kun jumps and grabs onto the neck of King Ghidorah’s central head! He tries chocking and scratching it, but the other two heads clamp on to Godzilla-kun’s head and tail and tosses him into a cliffside.

Godzilla-kun gets up, still determined to fight even though it is fruitless and he’s going to die. But behind him…Minya and Rodan got every other kaiju in town with them! Little, Baby Mothra, Anguirus, Baragon, even Gorosaurus, Manda, Kumonga, and Varan who we’ve not even seen before on this program. Somehow Minya and Rodan got new characters to join the show in order to help their friend. That’s some pretty effecient help! This is amazing!!! It’s Godziban: Endgame! Or Destroy All Monsters, yes yes, but that means I can’t make my jokes!

They all charge at King Ghidorah….and then it ends.

Godzilla-kun talks directly to the camera to thank everyone for watching the show. We are either taking a series break or this is the end of the line, but we go out on something amazing and this show rules so hard I hope it continues. Either way it is an amazing journey.
Godziban
We end with the full version of the theme song playing to some of the highlights of the season while drawings by Onigiri and シウ*単行本発売中 flank the action.

Here’s hoping there is more Godziban in our future, whenever that may be! Until then, March of Godzilla 2019 in 2020 concludes, but keep on marching, people! Okay, I lied, there will be one more March of Godzilla 2019 in 2020 article, because I’m going to make a character guide for the show, but as that is a guide and not an article we gotta say goodbye here! (and there might be a few movie reviews in between depending on how lazy I am in posting the backlog of completed reviews!)
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 19, 2020 at 9:01 am

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Godziban Episode 20 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#11「メリゴジ ゴジラが聖夜にやってきた」(Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Godziban Episode 20 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#11「メリゴジ ゴジラが聖夜にやってきた」

aka ゴジばん
Godziban title English
December 24, 2019
Written and directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi
Godziban
Have a Merry Godziban Christmas!! (We got to this weeks late, but who cares!) March of Godzilla 2019 in 2020 continues with the special Christmas episode of Godziban, which like all Godziban episodes are strange and awesome!

We got Christmas graphics! We got Kaiju Christmas! We got kaiju in antlers and red noses, we got kaiju in Santa clothes, we got trees, we got presents, we got joy, we got Megalon upset at all this joy. These are done by the artist who does the Jet Jaguar shorts, who I believe is Onigiri though there are some other artists credited on the show (and the graphics we see at the end of the episode are obviously in a different artist’s style!)

Go! Go! Godzilla-kun
The three Godzilla Brothers read about Santa Claus. They discuss it a bit and then realize that someone is leaving presents for kid fans of kaiju, ShoGoji must know something. So they go spy and find ShoGoji loading presents into a sleigh!

ShoGoji admits it and invites the brothers to help pack presents and prepare for the journey to give gifts to children. Baragon and Anguirus are also there, dressed up as reindeer with fake felt antlers and big red noses. The Godzillas all dress up in Santa suits with hats and coats.
Godziban
This is all canon, people. 100% canon. Godzilla is Santa. It is real! How can it be real? May I remind you of The Santa Clause? When Santa dies, the killer becomes the new Santa. Thus, ShoGoji killed Santa, and became the new Santa! Complete with his magic cane!

ShoGoji then starts to tell a story, it’s about the girl way back in the original GEMSTONE contest pilot! The young girl who wanted a pet and found the Kamatte Godzilla left alone in a box, which she then picked up and loved. It turns out her parents didn’t love it as much as her and banned it from the house, so the girl had to keep the poor pet in an abandoned building nearby with a lot of straw and a dog house. She named it Kamachi and would bring it food, but one day it was very cold, and Kamachi DIED!

Yes, Kamachi is dead! They killed Kamachi! They killed a child’s pet! Losing a pet you love is traumatic, and here it is, in Godziban form. How many shows do you know that feature a beloved child’s pet die? The kid is obviously upset that her beloved pet is dead. There are shots of the girl crying and holding her dead pet as she walks despondantly through town, while children are at their homes having Christmas fun (and there is a big K on the Christmas tree because they are worshippers of Kaiju, not Christ!)

The dichotomy is amazing! Also amazing is there is this entire kaiju-worshipping background religion happening that is just flavor to the story and not the actual story! This is great world-building, of course children growing up in a world with real monsters would love monsters more than usual. Monster rule!

The sleigh rushes to Earth as the child collapses crying in the middle of some sort of walkway late at night. The images of Godzilla-kun, Minya, Little, and ShoGoji dressed in Santa costumes appear before her. They all bow and she thinks she’s freaking out and seeing things. Godzilla-kun introduces everyone, and then ShoGoji uses his magic cane to zap Kamachi’s body. It is brought over to the kaiju and revived and grown bigger!
Godziban
Kamachi is back alive! The kid can hug Kamachi again! At least for now, Kamachi has to go live with the kaiju. The Godzilla give the kid a gift before they depart.

Next we get a montage of the kaiju appearing in random bedrooms of kids who are kaiju fans and gifting them presents. Even Hedoji and Hedochi get in on the gift giving action! And are dressed as Santa! This is canon, btw. The Smog Monster gives gifts to children. After the monsters have handed out all of their gifts, they wish everyone a Merry Christmas! So you better have had a Merry Kaiju Christmas in 2019! Or whatever holiday you celebrate.

At the end we see the kid and her gift, a Kamachi keychain! Kamachi will be with her always.
Godziban
The final content is a different graphic toon with the Mothra twin fairies and the Mothra larvae also dressed as Santa, and the evil triplet fairy and Battra wearing purple Santa outfits. Grown up Mothra is in the picture as well despite not making an in-puppet appearance yet, but it counts enough to be added to our character list one I get around to making it!

The credits are new as well for the second week in a row, it is the kids from the Christmas story we saw earlier dressed in Christmas costumes all doing the Godzilla-kun dance! Including the young actress who played Kamachi’s owner and was the original doer of the dance for the closing credits. This show is pretty darn fun, and fully embracing the weirdness makes it amazingly memorable.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 10, 2020 at 9:57 am

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Godziban Episode 19 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#10「GvsG/僕はゴジラくんだ!」【ゴジばん】(Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Godziban Episode 19 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#10「GvsG/僕はゴジラくんだ!」【ゴジばん】

aka ゴジばん
Godziban title English
December 13, 2019
Written and directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi
Godziban
Part of the title of this Go! Go! Godzilla-kun is called GvsG, so you know what that means! Gorath will fight Gamera!

Wait, I’ve just received word from the Judges that this is not the case. Gamera will not fight Gorath. Refunds will be given to all those who prepurchased tickets minus the unrefundable service fee. The service fee exceeds the cost of the tickets, so you will be charged $33.00 for each refund. Thank you for your patronage!

Go! Go! Godzilla-kun
Little is just strolling along with Gigan appears! Gigan does his usual shtick about wanting to be the best monster of them all. Little is so enamored he grabs onto Gigan’s claw! He asks Gigan an question and flashes his huge sparkly eyes at Gigan, who has to really struggle to strike Little. But he does! Noooo!

Little is not detoured by some physical abuse and quickly returns to grabbing Gigan’s claw. Gigan smacks him again! Noooo!
Godziban
A beaten up Anguirus and Baragon crawl to where Godzilla-kun and Minya are sleeping. They explain what is going on before they pass out. We see Godzilla-kun’s eyes snap open. Pretty cool shot that also mirrors classic Godzilla shots.

Gigan smacks Little again! I’m no big fan of Little Godzilla, but this is complete overkill. Time for Gigan to Giget smacked! Godzilla-kun arrives! Gigan mispronounces his name, and it looks like Godzilla-kun has promised not to fight.

Gigan smacks Godzilla-kun!

Then Gigan smacks Godzilla-kun again!

Gigan smacks Godzilla-kun a third time!

Gigan declares him pathetic and begins to leave, but Godzilla-kun just has his anger boil over, his plates glow and he blasts fire in the air! This gets Gigan’s attention, just in time for Godzilla-kun to do a spin and tail attack, knocking Gigan across the field and into a mountain (leaving a Gigan-shaped hole in the rock!)

Gigan gets up and charges at Godzilla-kun! But Gigan runs over a hole and falls into the Earth, and a rolling Anguirus rolls over the hole and covers it up! Gigan is now trapped beneath the earth by the two characters he beat up last episode! Revenge is sweet and using your special powers to defeat a bully is even sweeter!
Godziban
Everyone laughs at Gigan, who rants underground! One day he might pop up again, but for now it’s the power of teamwork!

While it was fun seeing Gigan as a jerk, this was obviously a single story that was stretched out to two episodes. Still, the filler was all perfect Godziban material, so it all turned out fine in the end.

Hedoji
Hedoji and Hedochi are walking by what look like gigantic mossy trees (did they go to Kashyyyk? Endor? Middle Earth?) Hedochi asks a question which causes a bunch of internal strife in Hedoji before he can answer. Hedochi even says more before Hedoji finally answers. Eventually Hedoji reasons out an acceptable answer, but Hedochi easily counters it! Hedoji freaks out so much the visual turns into photo negative!
Godziban
New closing credits???? New dancers to the Godzilla-kun song! Two actresses in mod style clothing having fun doing the dance! They’ve been on the show before, one was the office woman who had Kamatte Godzilla as a pet (Rino Shimomura), the other was one of the warrior girls who fought over Kamatte Godzilla (Marie Katsura)!

Godziban still having fun, and next episode is a doozy! Until then, March of Godzilla 2019 in 2020 continues!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 8, 2020 at 8:41 am

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Godziban Episode 18 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#9「宇宙から来たあいつ」(Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Godziban Episode 18 – Go!Go!ゴジラくん#9「宇宙から来たあいつ」

aka ゴジばん
Godziban title English
December 8, 2019
Written and directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi
Godziban yams
Don’t you hate it when you are just having a normal day eating baked sweet potatoes and then some jerk comes along and declares he is going to challenge you to a fight? Gigan is that jerk, and he arrives in Godziban land with a mission to prove he is the best around. Unfortunately for everyone, what Gigan wants to be the best at is beating everyone else up!

This episode also has the beginnings of the Christmas graphics that will continue through Episode 20, which is the full Christmas episode that is 100% in style with Godziban in tone while also bringing the Christmas cheer. Until then, just think of Gigan as a precursor to Christmas, like he’s an Elf on the Shelf or something but instead of reporting back you child’s misdeeds to Santa and normalizing a life of surveillance, he’s just a jerk. Just like the Elf on the Shelf!

Go! Go! Godzilla-kun
The Godzilla brothers are practicing roaring, but after some discussion about goals in life, they decide to take a break and roast some sweet potatoes with Godzilla-kun’s atomic breath so they can all enjoy the tasty treat. That’s what’s good in life, roasting food with your own innate super powers and sharing them with your family.

This is all canon, by the way, Godzilla-kun and his brothers eat roasted sweet potatoes that they cook themselves. 100% canon, no takebacks! While they are chowing down a meteor appears in the sky crashing down on Earth/whatever planet this is! But that’s no meteor, it’s a Gigan!
Godziban
Gigan bangs his claws together to show how tough he is…

Baragon is having fun digging in the dirt (and now speaks with a fancy new voice!) Gigan shows up and introduces himself. Baragon is happy to meet a new kaiju and talks about his digging skills and asks about Gigan’s skills. But Gigan is just interesting in fighting people and claws Baragon! Noooo! Poor Baragon!

Anguirus is busy practicing rolling into a ball back and forth, but now Gigan arrives here with the same set up, introducing himself and preparing to attack. Anguirus introduces himself as well, unaware of the danger, but soon Gigan stabs him where Anguirus doesn’t have armor and lifts him up! Noooo! Poor Anguirus!

The Godzilla brothers have finished their food and Godzilla-kun and Minya promptly fall asleep, leaving only Little awake. Gigan sees Baby Mothra, but talks to himself and thinks Mothra is far too pathetic of a kaiju to even bother fighting. That’s probably a good decision for Gigan, as we’ve seen time and time again in this series, Baby Mothra would have cleaned his clock! Gigan goes to continue looking for a challenge.

To Be Continued…

Gee, who could the challenge be? And how quickly can Godzilla-kun beat this guy up? Luckily there is only two parts to this story, so you just have to wait until the next episode to see all the action! Until then, we got smog monsters roaming the planes and dispensing wise sayings….
Godziban
Hedoji
Hedoji and Hedochi are just standing around in a foggy wasteland with Hedoji sharing wisdom about Gigan without any prompting from Hedochi. Hedochi still gives a zinger at the end! Hedochi is too smart to not have the last laugh when the format changes.

Another Godziban comes to a close until next time, and March of Godzilla continues to march on through 2020 until we’ve caught up with Godziban!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 6, 2020 at 8:11 am

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