Posts tagged "Millennium Series"

Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Review)

Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

aka Gojira tai Mosura tai Mekagojira: Tokyo S.O.S.

2003

Starring
Noboru Kaneko as Yoshito Chujo
Miho Yoshioka as Pilot Azusa Kisaragi
Mitsuki Koga as Mechagodzilla Pilot Kyosuke Akiba
Hiroshi Koizumi as Dr. Shinichi Chujo
Akira Nakao as Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi
Koichi Ueda as General Dobashi
Koh Takasugi as Colonel Togashi
Masami Nagasawa as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Chihiro Otsuka as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Directed by Masaaki Tezuka

March of Godzilla 2 soldiers on with the sequel to Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.! This time, Mothra has been thrown into the mix, main characters have been ceremoniously and unceremoniously dumped, while suddenly the movie goes all sanctity of life on us. It comes out of left field, but before we know it we’re getting pelted from every direction. If we can ignore the message, underneath it all we have a pretty entertaining Godzilla film, much better than its predecessor. In addition to Mothra making a reappearance, we also get a reappearance from Hiroshi Koizumi! He reprises his role of Dr. Shinichi Chujo that he did in the original Mothra back in 1961. Having met Mr. Koizumi about two years ago, I remember he said he was happy that he could reprise an older role, and was proud of his appearances in Godzilla films. The best part is this follows the continuity of this film series, for in this reality Godzilla never attacked Japan again after 1954 until he reappeared in 1998. However, monsters such as Mothra and the Gargantuas plagued Japan, so they created Special Forces to deal with them. Thus the Mothra movie happened, and so did Dr. Shinichi Chujo. Hiroshi Koizumi has been seen here numerous times: Godzilla vs. Mothra, Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster, and Gigantis, the Fire Monster.

This is the second to last Millennium Series Godzilla film, and currently the second to last Godzilla film, period. Rumors abound a low-budget IMAX Godzilla film might happen, but officially Toho has shut down Godzilla for the time being, to renew interest. Until that day, we have to make due with what already exists, a huge library of films, and many TV appearances (some of which we are hard at work tracking down.) Such a horrible predicament!

As stated before, this is a direct sequel to the previous year’s Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, making it the second direct sequel to a Mechagodzilla film (third if you count the fact that the second original Mechagodzilla movie was part of a continuous series of films.) Needless to say, Mechagodzilla must have a good agent who is meticulous with the sequel clause. It always does him good. Mechagodzilla is again built by humans to fight Godzilla in the previous film, and is being repaired after major damage suffered in the fight. He has a few new tricks, and loses an old one due to funding cuts. Funding cuts, the essence of action films! This is also the only Godzilla movie I remember that makes a big deal about rebuilding efforts being stalled, as much of Tokyo where they fought before is still in ruins. The rest of the city is fine, and ripe to be destroyed in the next battle. Who will emerge victorious? Will Godzilla be stopped? Why do the Shobijin dislike Mechagodzilla? Will some dumb girl carry a plant around like a baby? Will the female lead be a depressed ice queen? Will the lame spirituality subplot tank the film? These questions and more can be answered in Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 9, 2007 at 10:07 pm

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Godzilla X Mechagodzilla (Review)

Godzilla X Mechagodzilla

aka Gojira tai Mekagojira

2002

Starring
Yumiko Shaku as Akane Yashiro
Shin Takuma as Tokumitsu Yuhara
Kana Onodera as Sara Yuhara
Koh Takasugi as Colonel Togashi
Yusuke Tomoi as 2nd Lieutenant Hayama
Kumi Mizuno as Prime Minister Machiko Tsuge
Akira Nakao as Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi
Jun’ichi Mizuno as 1st Lieutenant Sekine
Directed by Masaaki Tezuka

Godzilla continues his rampage, as the Millennium series continues its run on TarsTarkas.NET for March of Godzilla 2. This time, history is rewritten again, as we go to another alternate reality where Godzilla again never returned after his death for 45 years. Derivations abound, a new anti-Godzilla force is introduced, and this movie trumps everything by getting a direct sequel. It also gives us a new and improved Mechagodzilla, making the third version of that creature. Like the second version, this Mechagodzilla is built to fight Godzilla by humans, but has some noticeable differences. You see, he’s built on the bones of the original Godzilla, which weren’t vaporized by the oxygen destroyer as previously shown in the original script. I guess they just floated a few feet off camera or something during one of those bubble fade outs (or the convenient excuse: alternate reality.) Anyway, so that makes Mechagodzilla a bio-robot. Now, it is odd that this film got a direct sequel, as the human characters are some of the least interesting in a while. Some of them don’t even appear in the next installment, making you wonder what the heck happened. Well, not that much, since they aren’t that interesting. Drum that up with an unsatisfying conclusion, and you got some sort of messy Godzilla flick that only marginally entertains, at least until the title monsters actually start fighting. Both before and after, it’s a bumpy ride.

After the success of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Toho was set to just redo popular monsters. As one of the most popular and classic monsters was the robotic double of Godzilla, here he is. And so we got the third movie entitled Gojira tai Mekagojira. But it’s cool, as instead they renamed it Godzilla X Mechagodzilla for the US. You see, the X makes all the difference. The prior Gojira tai Mekagojira was simply titled Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, despite the fact it was unrelated to the original Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Terror of Mechagodzilla is the sequel to the first, making this all confusing. All those facts and titles making your head spin? Well, that’s funny, because the original Mechagodzilla spun his head as a weapon and….

Okay, enough of that, let’s focus on THIS movie. Problems or not, it is what is playing in the DVD player. So we are stuck with it. We seem to get that a lot here. Maybe I should fix the DVD player, so it stops playing stupid movies….Nah, then how would I update the site? In addition to the Japanese version, we also got the English dub, which makes some of the characters sound over-dramatic, and still uses the Kiryu name. The clips will be from that version, so you don’t have to read subtitles. But before the movie, we must meet the cast!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 2, 2007 at 1:04 am

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

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

aka Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju sokogeki

2001

Starring
Chiharu Niyama as Yuri Tachibana
Ryudo Uzaki as Admiral Taizo Tachibana
Masahiro Kobayashi as Teruaki Takeda
Shiro Sano as Haruki Kadokura
Eisei Amamoto (Hideyo Amamoto) as Professor Hirotoshi Isayama the Prophet
Mizuho Yoshida as Godzilla/Gojira
Akira Ohashi as King Ghidorah
Rie Ota as Baragon
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack aka GMK aka Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju sokogeki aka Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: The Giant Monsters’ General Offensive (the literal title) has a reputation of being one of the better entries in the series. This couldn’t be further from the truth. GMK is one of the worst entries, in my opinion THE worst film of the whole series. Biollante? Megalon? The Smog Monster? They are three Citizen Kanes compared to GMK. Director Shusuke Kaneko became famous for making the highly regarded modern Gamera films, and was given a chance to make a Godzilla film. His original concept would have been far superior, but Toho screwed around with his monster choices, and that combined with stylistic touches I don’t really care for ended up melting into a nasty soup of disflavor. We shall go over some of the origins of the film before we get to the story, and deal with the problems in their appropriate areas.

Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguilus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack would have been a neat film. It would have eliminated one of my major criticisms of this film, the complete role reversals of several established monsters. It also would have provided a reappearance of Varan after many years (last seen briefly as a ratty costume in Destroy All Monsters), Anguirus returning (who hadn’t been seen since Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla), and Baragon (who made it into the final film.) Varan was actually director Shusuke Kaneko’s favorite monster, but he ended up keeping Baragon in the final product, and changing Ghidorah’s face to resemble the old Varan costume. Also, rumor is the Gotengo from Atragon would have also appeared (it ended up reappearing in Godzilla: Final Wars, alongside Anguirus) and lots of maser tanks (the tanks with the satellite dishes that shoot lasers.) But as Varan and Baragon were not box office bankable, something Toho was more worried about after the failures of Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; and after Kaneko’s own friends had no idea who Anguirus and Varan were (I don’t know if they knew who Baragon was) he decided to drop them in favor of the pushed by the studio King Ghidrah and Mothra. This provided a small wrinkle storywise. Okay, a huge wrinkle. The plot of the film is about Godzilla attacking, being the souls of the dead from World War 2 out for revenge. Japan would then be defended by three guardian creatures, which were weaker than Godzilla but teamed up their power. Since Mothra and King Ghidrah can both hold their own against Big G, they had to modify them a bit to make them smaller and weaker looking. Also, that meant Ghidrah was a hero for the first time ever, something I do NOT agree with. The monsters end up not being much of team players, with only Mothra doing things to help anyone else.

So now Godzilla, instead of being treated like a force of nature, is now a malevolent force of destruction. He doesn’t even have pupils anymore, to give him a more sinister look. I kind of find that annoying, but it fits in with the intended storyline, so I let it go. He also has a hunched back and pot belly, which is a tad harder to let go. Hit the gym, Big G! As a film in the Millennium series, it is free to rewrite continuity however it sees fit. Still, some things shouldn’t change, like character allegiances. The success of the film prompted Toho to continue making a few more G films, so some good came out of it. Just because I like it the least doesn’t mean I won’t watch it, but when given a choice between chocolate and chocolate with peanut butter, you take the C&PB every time. Plus, I lied earlier, this cannot be the worst Godzilla film, as thanks to this and Godzilla Final Wars, the American Godzilla is now part of the canon, making it the worst film. Hopefully some enterprising young student makes their own fan film of Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguilus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, with which we can live on vicariously until Toho decides to start pumping out more Big G films again.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 26, 2007 at 6:57 pm

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Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (Review)

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

aka Gojira tai Megagirasu: Ji shometsu sakusen aka Godzilla vs. Megaguirus: The G Annihilation Strategy
Godzilla vs Megaguirus
2000

Starring
Misato Tanaka as Kiriko Tsujimori
Shosuke Tanihara as Hajime Kudo
Masato Ibu as Motohiko Sugiura
Yuriko Hoshi as Yoshino Yoshizawa
Toshiyuki Nagashima as Takuji Miyagawa
Tsutomu Kitagawa as Godzilla
Minoru Watanabe as Megaguirus
Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
Godzilla vs Megaguirus
Godzilla fights a giant bug! Sound familiar? Because most of this movie is, and has been done before much better. There are a few nice scenes, but for the most part the movie is just a pale imitation of its forbearers, a legacy it can never hope to be part of. The second film of the “Millennium” series (Shinsei series), where the story can ignore continuity at will to make things however they want. Sure, that allowed this movie to potentially do some neat things, but in the end, they just floundered with them, and the whole thing fizzled.

Godzilla attacks the mainland periodically, but as they only follow the first film, Godzilla can attack whenever they want him to. Godzilla’s main foe is Megaguirus, who is one of the lamest monsters. So far, the Millennium series does have one point of continuity: they all created crappy new villains for Big G. Eventually they just gave up and went back to reusing older monsters, for much better effect. Until then, we have to deal with this Megaguirus. Megaguirus is a large, prehistoric dragonfly. Sure, prehistoric dragonflies were lizard-looking giant monsters who never had to flap their wings. They probably fought Anguilusaurus all the time during the time of the Fire Monsters. Megaguirus’s little henchbugs are the Meganula, who are the smaller, only people sized prehistoric dragonflies, which have a wingless and mature winged form. They like to snack on tasty people.
Godzilla vs Megaguirus
Good ideas, bad execution, tired story. A few good points, outshadowed by the many bad. Not the hallmarks of a film you want to see, but at this point we have no choice, for the DVD is bought, and the play button has been activated! Read more…

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 19, 2007 at 12:38 am

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Godzilla 2000 (Review)

Godzilla 2000

aka Gojira ni-sen mireniamu

1999

Starring
Takehiro Murata as Professor Yuji Shinoda
Hiroshi Abe as Mitsuo Katagiri
Naomi Nishida as Yuki Ichinose
Mayu Suzuki as Io Shinoda
Shirô Sano as Professor Shiro Miyasaka
Directed by Takao Okawara

The first of the Godzilla Millennium Series of films, where all previous continuity was thrown out again, and writers were allowed to make things however they bloody well wanted. This was also the first Godzilla film produced after the horrifying 1998 US Godzilla, with Matthew Broderick and the most useless giant monster ever. So, it was with great joy that in 1999 Toho made their own Godzilla film, to make up for the terrible, terrible mistake they made in letting that moron Emmerich get his grubby mitts on their franchise. Now, when Godzilla 2000 premiered in theaters, I dragged my best friend and off we went, opening night. A grand total of eight people were in the audience, including 7 with Y-chromosomes (one guy managed to bring his girlfriend as well as his best friend.) The low theater count was an omen of things to come, as the following 90 minutes of mediocrity were less than a satisfying evening. Still, it was more enjoyable than Emmerich’s effort, but then so is soaking your genitalia in boiling cooking oil!

Godzilla 2000 featured a revamped Godzilla costume, and the first fully CGI Gojira Godzilla during some swimming scenes. Thankfully, all the rest of the shots are full man in suit. G2K also features some neat composite shots, with zooms and background renders, that really puts Godzilla in a real-world environment. He looks more like he’s really in the background or in the cities in this film than any before it. Sadly, the people plot is uninteresting, and the villain is even more uninteresting. Orga, the evil monster who doesn’t even get his named mentioned on screen, first shows up as a spaceship before he turns into a goofy jellyfish, then finally some freaked out version of Godzilla. Many of the opponents of Big G have evolving forms, especially in the Heisei and Millennium Series of films. But many of them also suck, thus why Toho played it safe for the last Millennium films and went with tried and true monsters.

The casts are some of the most important parts of the films, and even if they are dubbed you can still gauge the strength or weakness of their acting. The cast here is filled with several actors who are better than the roles they have been stuck with. Toho decided to have some fun with the dubbing, the American version makes several scenes more embarrassing, even altering the perception of some of the characters and the actors playing them. The worst line in G-History will be uttered later in the film, so stay tuned!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm

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