Gehara: The Dark and Long Hair Monster (Review)

Gehara: The Dark and Long Hair Monster

aka Chohatsu Daikaiju Gehara aka Long-Haired Giant Monster: Gehara

Directed by Kiyotaki Taguchi

Gehara is a made for TV short that is the brainchild of cult entertainer Jun Miura, who wrote the screenplay. Special effects guru Shinji Higuchi supervised production on the short film, and it was directed by Kiyotaka Taguchi (who also did the independent kaiju film G.) It aired on Japan’s NHK network in February 24th, 2009. It hit the internet thanks to a Japanese YouTube-like site, and thus TarsTarkas.NET was able to watch it.

Hideo Akihara (Ken Osawa) – Hideo Akihara is a slacker who finds new purpose in life investigating the new monster Gehara. Ken Osawa was in Samurai Fiction
Momoko Akihara (Mina Fujii) – Hideo’s sister who doesn’t have much to do, though it looks like she would have a bigger role in the sequel.
Tsuruko Akihara (Mitsuko Oka) – Matriarch of the Akihara clan and also doesn’t do much doing to the short nature of the film.
Professor Mikami (Shiro Sano) – Professor who explains technical details of the monster attack to Hideo and others. Shiro Sano was also in kaiju films Godzilla 2000, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and Godzilla Final Wars)
Gehara (???) – Gehara is very hairy. He is not only a giant monster, but a long haired ghost, thus killing two birds with one stone. Evolution may have killed its monster with Head & Shoulders, but here it would only prevent Gehara from getting dandruff!

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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


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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Godzilla 2000 (Review)

Godzilla 2000

aka Gojira ni-sen mireniamu


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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