Posts tagged "Manda"

Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

Terror of Mechagodzilla

aka Mekagojira no gyakushu aka メカゴジラの逆襲

1975
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Yukiko Takayama
Directed by Ishiro Honda

Titanosaurus, DirectTV pioneer

Terror of Mechagodzilla is a direct followup to the previous film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It’s also the final film of the Showa era, one of the few films to show direct continuity that would be used more in the Heisei films, and the final Godzilla work of some G-legends, Ishiro Honda and Akihiko Hirata. It also bombed horribly, helping lead to a decade-long absence of Godzilla in film form. Overall, Terror of Mechagodzilla is a mixed bag. The action sequences are some of the most violent and explosive of the older films, but they’re obviously trying to compensate from the lower budget (many scenes suddenly end up in the countryside) and the hectic explosions loose their danger after the 1 millionth giant boom.

Being a little mermaid sure is boring…

Ishiro Honda doesn’t sleep on the job, making up for the lower filming budget with some neat visual stylizing. A flashback to Professor Mafune’s descent into madness is shown via sepia-toned photographs while narration explains. Katsura’s lament that Titanosaurus is to be used as a murderous weapon is juxtaposed with other alien-controlled kaiju from prior films played on a quad-screen shot. Godzilla’s first appearance is one of the better introduction scenes in his history.

The alien command center is in some Trekker guy’s basement?

While Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla showed a trend towards more serious, Terror of Mechagodzilla straddled the edge of serious and silly. The action sequences were more destructive, but the alien villains were more comic book. The cyborg daughter is played for tragedy, but it is obvious from the beginning that it will end in a downer and we’re just running through the steps until the final act. I am willing to accept that some of the sillier aspects are unintentional, such as the alien helmets or the complete lack of concern for hunting down the aliens by Interpol even after they’ve been spotted multiple times in the same area. But I can’t deny that I feel it is there, and it clouds Terror of Mechagodzilla in a way that the prior film did not have.

Titanosaurus was tragically hit by a meteor during the filming of this scene…

メカゴジラの逆襲 (translation: Counterattack of Mechagodzilla) was first released in the US in theaters in 1978 under the title The Terror of Godzilla. The US rights were held by Henry Saperstein, who sold Bob Conn Enterprises the film rights, but also released the movie itself on TV in 1978 as Terror of Mechagodzilla. This cut is credited to UPA Productions of America, and features an additional six minutes of scenes taken from other Godzilla films and narrated to serve as an introduction to Godzilla (this sequence is detailed below), the only think cut was a brief shot of Katsura’s fake breasts during a surgery scene. By the mid-1980s, there was a new cut on tv that featured many of the violent scenes cut down, as well as not having the opening narration. There are some that say this was the theatrical cut, though I don’t know why the theater cut would have removed the violence when that seems more of a tv cut thing to do. That cut was the most widely available for decades, including the original version I saw before I got a tape of the original cut. I have still not seen the restored DVD, hence the screenshots are either from the old VHS tape or the earlier DVD.

For some reason, the humans won’t take us serious!

And as March of Godzilla 2012 continues, let’s get us to the Roll Call!

Akira Ichinose (Katsuhiko Sasaki) – Marine Biologist at the Ocean Exploitation Institute, which somehow qualifies him to have equal police rights as the rest of Interpol when he works with them to track down the mysterious dinosaur. Falls in love with a cyborg despite her repeated attempts to brush him off.
Katsura Mafune (Tomoko Ai) – Daughter of the famous Professor Mafune, who went mad. She covers for her father, telling the world he is dead. In reality, he is in league with the space aliens and is using his discovery, Titanosaurus, and his ability to control animals, against mankind for spurning him and his ideas. Katsura was rebuilt as a cyborg after she was injured in an experiment, and becomes more robotic the more the aliens due to her. Tomoko Ai went on to do a string of Nikkuatsu films.
Dr. Shinzo Mafune (Akihiko Hirata) – Akikhiko Hirata plays yet another mad scientist, except this one doesn’t have an eyepatch, he’s got crazy old man hair, mustache, and eyebrows. He hates mankind because they made fun of him. Good thing he doesn’t read YouTube comments, Dr. Mafune would explode with rage. Explode, I tell you! He teams with the aliens.
Interpol Agent Jiro Murakoshi (Katsumasa Uchida) – The main cop who is sort of in the film, though often the film forgets he’s there as it focuses more on Ichinose. But he occasionally shows up to save the day and to save Ichinose.
Alien Leader Mugal (Goro Mutsumi) – The new leader of the space aliens from the previous film. Mugal sounds like a name for a Gremlin or something. The greatest tragedy of Terror of Mechagodzilla is that the aliens never revert back to gorilla form.
Godzilla (Toru Kawai) – The biggest G of them all!
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – Picked up from the ocean floor and rebuilt with human slaves, Mechagodzilla is back to fight his fleshy foe. And now he’s controlled by a cyborg lady! And he has some sort of head under his head! It’s all weird, but not enough to keep him from being turned into scrap metal.
Titanosaurus (Katsumi Nimiamoto) – Titanosaurus is a peaceful dinosaur used by an arrogant made scientist and aliens to attack humans, and is then brutally murdered by Godzilla for his crime of being brainwashed. Some people are really into Titanosaurus! If you are Japanese, you call him Chitanosaurusu. Rumor has it that Titanosaurus was originally supposed to be two smaller creatures called the Titans that fuse together to create Titanosaurus. This idea seems to have been recycled into Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
G is for Godzooky, that’s good enough for me!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Destroy All Monsters (Review)

Destroy All Monsters

aka Attack of the Marching Monsters aka Kaiju soshingeki

1968

Directed by Ishiro Honda

Godzilla before that first morning coffee.

When I was but a wee lad first learning about the Godzilla experience, catching Super Scary Saturday showings of G-flicks, buying Godzilla films on VHS that weren’t showing up on tv, recording films airing on the local UHF station, I was also reading up on every monster movie related book I could read. My favorites were by a guy named Daniel Cohen*, who wrote such books as Super-Monsters and Science Fiction’s Greatest Monsters, well-read copies of which still lie somewhere in my mom’s attic. There was also another set of books at the library that were neon orange with a book each for Dracula, the Mummy, King Kong, Godzilla, and a few other monsters. The thing was, every library in the area did NOT have the Godzilla book! I was so angry! Imagine 8 year old Tars so mad he purposefully murdered his entire Oregon Trail travel party. Some say I went too far, but they say so only via their gravestone markers…

Manda and Godzilla set up their slot car racers!

But is there a point to that rambling first paragraph? Yes! You see, of the Godzilla flicks and lore of Godzilla flicks, knowledge of a movie containing all sorts of Toho monsters was spread. This mythical, magical movie, had like all sorts of monsters, including monsters I had never heard of, beat the tar out of each other and aliens attack. It was Destroy All Monsters. And it never aired on TV anywhere near me. So sad! It also wasn’t at any video store. Destroy All Monsters became a mocking ghost, forever out of reach. Until one day in college suddenly it was on VHS tape. I was like “HELL YEAH!” and bought me some Destroy All Monsters, watched it, loved it, and now don’t know where the tape is because a DVD version was released shortly thereafter. So yeah. And now I have this cool version, which has the AIP dub merged with a widescreen format custom made by some guy on the internet. Because I’m awesome like that.

Check out this curve, ladies!

Was Destroy All Monsters worth the 14 years of questing to find? Damn straight it was! Though it isn’t perfect, it is entertaining. It’s got alien invasions, an awesome monster fight finale, Akira Kubo, alien chicks in silver hoodies and capes, 1960s astromen costumes in bright primary colors, attempts to make rocket propulsion scientifically accurate, lasers, and Minya! The only thing missing from this film is Don Frye, but he pops up in another flick years later to make it all right.

Gah this water’s too cold! Back to the blanket for me!

Captain Katsuo Yamabe (Akira Kubo) – Captain of the Moonlight SY-3 spaceship along with first officer Okata. Is the designated hero of planet Earth, because he saves the day again and again and again. His sister is Kyoko.
Kyoko Yamabe (Yukiko Kobayashi) – Katsuo’s sister who has just started her new job on Monsterland the day it is invaded by aliens. What awful timing. Spends most of the film under alien control via earrings. Yukiko Kobayashi is an artist now, if I’m using Google correctly and it isn’t a different Yukiko Kobayashi.
Dr. Yoshita (Jun Tazaki) –The old UN science guy who seems to be in charge of the entire world, as he takes command of everything when the aliens invade. Jun Tazaki is in such G films as King Kong vs. Godzilla, Atragon, Godzilla vs. the Thing, Frankenstein Conquers the World, War of the Gargantuas, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.
Kilaak Queen (Kyoko Ai) – The Queen of the Kilaaks and the Queen of Fashion. This Space Lady wants to conquer the Earth and make all humans part of the Kilaak tribe. Why? Because!
Dr. Otani (Yoshio Tsuchiya) – Dr. Otani is head of research at Monsterland and is a cool guy. Until he’s mind controlled by the Kilaaks and turns evil! Then he goes all Peter Pan out a window, except he doesn’t have magic fairy dust, so he has a tragic ending. Yoshio Tsuchiya has been seen here before in Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Gigantis the Fire Monster.
I save the whales….for dessert!

Monster Roll Call!

Godzilla – Godzilla rules monster island, and is then brain controlled and sent to destroy New York. After being set free, Godzilla figures out who the real bad guys are and blows up the alien base.
Minya – Godzilla’s son is here, proving once again why he is the awesome son. He even delivers the finishing blow to King Ghidorah. How many monsters can claim that?
Mothra – Mothra is only in larva form for Destroy All Monsters, probably because the rotting Mothra moth costume last seen in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster had deteriorated into a big pile of moth goo.
Rodan – Rodan is a flying jerk who thinks the best way to save the whales is to save them for supper! Oh, and he helps save the Earth after he’s not mind controlled.
Anguirus – Anguirus shows how brave he is here by charging in full speed ahead to take on King Ghidorah. Hooray for Anguirus!
Manda – Manda takes a break from the land of Mu to hang out on Monsterland for a while. See this Manda in Ultra Q as well
Baragon – Baragon is around. Yep. It’s surprising Baragon is in this movie, as the suit was currently being hacked to pieces for use in Ultraman. But they managed to glue him back together for a small cameo.
Gorosaurus – Gorosaurus isn’t just a background monster, he trashes France and does some butt-kicking of King Ghidorah himself! A refugee from King Kong Escapes, Gorosaurus would disappear (except for stock footage) until showing up with a badly decaying monster suit on Ike! Godman, and then on Godzilla Island.
Speiga/Kumonga – Speiga has returned from the dead to be a spider and spit some web. So don’t be hatin’ this spider jerk, because for once he’s sort of good. But he still sucks, so screw ’em!
Varan – Varan flies around in the background of the big fight, then suddenly gets a huge closeup during the final flyby of the film. Oh, Varan, why are you so unbelievable? Varan’s solo other movie appearance has three different versions (Japanese, English, Japanese TV) so it’s like Varan was in four films!
King Ghidorah – King Ghidorah returns, once again under control of some crazy alien race, this time the Kilaaks. Oh, King Ghidorah, why do you keep whoring yourself out to the highest bidder? Have some respect for yourself, you’re a “king” for goodness sakes!
Fire Dragon – Hey, you ain’t a real monster! I want my money back…
Moonbase Mission Control stole it’s color scheme from TarsTarkas.NET!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 18, 2011 at 2:12 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ultra Q – Episodes 5 and 6 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 5 and 6

Pegila Has Come! and Grow! Turtle

1966
Episode 5 Pegila Has Come! directed by Samaji Nonagase
Episode 6 Grow! Turtle directed by Harunosuke Nakagawa

Once again we dip into the world of Ultra Q, the Japanese TV series. A precursor to the Ultraman series, Ultra Q features many giant monsters that our plucky heroes have to deal with. Previously we have gone over Episodes 1 and 2, and then Episodes 3 and 4. Now we tackle the next two episodes! In addition to the 28 episodes of Ultra Q, a movie was produced in 1990 titledUltra Q: Star of Legend. A follow up series aired in 2004 entitled Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy as well as a radio drama called Ultra Q club (episode guide here.)

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. Before it became Ultra Q, however, it was known as Unbalance. As it became less Twilight Zone and more monsters, the name turned out to be a problem, but luckily a sports move called the Ultra C was gaining popularity, and thus Ultra Q was coined. Several artifacts of the original concept remain, including the very Twilight Zone-ish main title theme, as well as a narrator (but one used less frequently.) Several episodes would be somewhat independent stories that barely featured the main characters, and still other episodes would have ambiguous endings.

Thanks to recent Region 2 DVD release, these shows are now available to a whole new generation. However, they aren’t available to me in their entirety, as there are no English subtitles! But that’s where making up what we don’t understand comes in. Plot synopses and visual clues help us get the gist of the episodes, but the subtle parts we are just winging. That actually makes the show a bit better, as if we found out something was lamer than we though we might not like it as much. We don’t need no stinking subtitles!


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous kaiju career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer for the Daily News who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Hiroko Sakurai went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, in Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and in Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own. Not in either of these episodes.
Dr Ichinotani (Ureo Egawa) – After not being in the first two episodes, Dr. Ichinotani makes his first appearances here. Originally he was to serve as the Rod Sterling-type narrator, but when the show was refocused to be less Twilight Zone he became the wizened Professor who helps the heroes deal with the random rampaging monsters. Looks like a Japanese Wilford Brimley. Not in either of these episodes.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 20, 2007 at 4:43 am

Categories: Television Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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