Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Discuss the original series of Godzilla films! From "Terror of Tokyo" to Puppy-faced Super-hero, the Showa Era had something for everyone!

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Which are your favorites?

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
14
22%
Son of Godzilla (1967)
12
19%
Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
12
19%
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
6
10%
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
19
30%
 
Total votes : 63

Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby tbeasley » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:15 pm

Awhile back I made a thread on Ishiro Honda's Godzilla films after the original, now it's time to look at Jun Fukuda's entries in the series. In total he directed 5 Godzilla films (the 2nd most after Honda at 8 ), from films set on tropical islands to Godzilla's time as an atomic superhero. Which are your favorites?

I have an interesting experience with his films because I grew up with more of them compared to Honda's work. The first Godzilla film I ever saw as a toddler was either Ebirah or Son of Godzilla, and I remember watching Gigan and Mechagodzilla on repeat. Godzilla was very much my hero growing up. If other kids had superheroes like Batman or Spider-Man, mine was a giant monster. Without these films (and repeats of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon) I don't think I'd be the fan and person I am today so I owe a lot to them.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby lhb412 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:45 pm

Fukuda is a pure action/adventure director (as opposed to Honda's weightier themes and more sci-fi/disaster focus), and I'm always amazed by his skill in creating rollicking films while the resources he was given were ever shrinking. Even his most barebones films, Megalon, is a lot of fun.

Son of and vs. Gigan are my favorites. Son of Godzilla is a gem of a movie that's probably the best non-Honda Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Gigan is the ultimate campy 'superhero Godzilla' movie... and for a third? I'll go with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which is his most iconic film in terms of monster action, but I think more wanting in terms of human characters (which is why it's behind the other two).
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby DannyBeane » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:47 am

1. Gigan
2. MechaGodzilla
3. Sea Monster
4. SOG
5. Megalon
I enjoy all his films though.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Benjamin Haines » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:21 pm

Imagine how much less diversified the Godzilla series would have been without Jun Fukuda's contributions. The entire Showa Series would consist of Ishiro Honda's movies plus one each from Motoyoshi Oda and Yoshimitsu Banno. That would be it.

Fukuda's Godzilla films feature several instances of direct human-kaiju contact. Sadamasa Arikawa was the special effects director for the two '60s films and he had life-size props for Kumonga's leg and a Kamacuras claw for the actors to dodge and fight on the sets, plus Godzilla and Minilla interacting with characters face-to-face and Ebirah scarfing down people who enter the water. That kind of one-on-one contact between people and kaiju doesn't happen as much in Honda's Godzilla films. Even with the minuscule budgets in the '70s, Godzilla vs. Megalon still had Jet Jaguar bridging the gap between people and monsters.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is my favorite of Fukuda's entries. Gigan is a close second and both Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla are also high on my personal list. I think both of the '60s films he directed are underrated. They're as imaginative, refined, and successful in their efforts as the Honda films surrounding them. I recognize that Mechagodzilla is a lower-budgeted production with its fair share of plot holes but everything about that movie just clicks for me. It's a really effective adventure caper with a lot of creative cinematography, a fun cast, and a unique score by Masaru Sato.

Speaking of Sato, he did the music for three of Fukuda's films and the scores he provided really stand out from each other. That's another thing I like about Fukuda's movies: they're not repetitive. Sea Monster and Son both take place on remote Pacific islands but they have totally different premises, with completely different characters who are on the islands for entirely different reasons. Godzilla's role in each story is also very different even though he's a default protagonist in both films, taking on the the truly menacing creatures on the islands even as his presence threatens the people there. That Kong-like role of Godzilla's makes sense for Sea Monster because of the whole script change thing but Son of Godzilla is an interesting kind of 'Kong adopts a son' type plot that utilizes Godzilla but retains the Kong-standard island setting and overgrown animal opponents.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby lhb412 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:13 pm

^Never thought of Son of Godzilla still echoing Godzilla's Kong-like role from the previous movie, but you're right.

You also hit the nail on the head with Fukuda's films making the Showa series so much more varied and dynamic.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Psycho Soldier » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:38 am

I voted for Sea Monster, SOG, and Mechagodzilla.

I appreciate Sea Monster and SOG for their tropical island settings as much as anything else about the movies themselves. (I do still like most things about them.) None of the other films in the series spend enough time on theirs for my tastes. The islands help to create a sense of adventure, but the sense somewhat dissipates when the action returns to Japan, even if just for a little while. For comparison's sake, consider any Tarzan story where the action moves from the jungle to civilization. That's not to condemn the films that do likewise (or else I'd have to disavow Mothra vs. Godzilla, among others), but I'd like to see another director return to this kind of island setting and stay there until the end credits. They should bring, of course, a sense of fun and adventure with them.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby klen7 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:12 pm

DannyBeane wrote:1. Gigan
2. MechaGodzilla
3. Sea Monster
4. SOG
5. Megalon
I enjoy all his films though.



I think this is pretty much what i would put. Aside from SoG, these are the films i grew up on moreso than the Honda films. Gigan and MG'74 are franchise top 5 films for me.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:16 pm

Megalon has REALLY fallen off for me in terms of enjoyment over the years but his other films are all in my top ten. Sea Monster is my jam though, and I'm not ashamed to admit it goes ahead of Gigan and SoG almost purely due to nostalgia and being the first Godzilla movie I ever saw. SOMETHING has to break that three way tie.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby H-Man » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:09 pm

For me, it's:

Godzilla vs. Gigan
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster
Godzilla vs. Megalon
Son of Godzilla

But like everyone else here, I really enjoy all of them.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Gojira07 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:06 pm

1. Gigan
2. MechaGodzilla
3. Son of Godzilla
4. Sea Monster
5. Megalon

If found that Megalon was probably the Godzilla movie I watched the most as a child - so I've grown tired of it, even the MST3k is rough for me to get through.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:00 pm

1) Sea Monster (nostalgic fave because it was the first G-film I ever saw :D , and it's just a fun castaway adventure movie as well as a cool monster flick. >international dub - not so much.)

2) Son of... (first time I ever cried in a kaiju film, when freezing little Minya couldn't keep up with Dad in the deep snow, kept stumbling and pitifully reached up and cried out for help.) :cry: :cry: :cry:

3) MechaG (A terrific zappity-pow Gfilm on par with most any of Honda's efforts.) :mrgreen:

4) Gigan (so-so, but those creepyass cockraoches haunted my nightmares for some time as a tyke) :lol:

5) Megalon (just... no) :P

*** Special mention of thanks to composer Masuru Sato for his awesome musical contributions which helped further separate these movies from Honda's/Ifukube's stuff.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby lhb412 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:09 pm

I love how in comparison everyone's listings tend to be all over the place... aside from Megalon tending to be near the bottom.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Giganfan » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:19 pm

I have to be honest, I find Jun Fukuda's Godzilla movies to be more entertaining than Ishiro Honda's. That's not a knock on Honda by any means, it's simply that Fukuda's films are more fun to watch, at least for me. That's why, when it comes to "Godzilla directors", there is Ishiro Honda and Jun Fukuda, and then there is everyone else. These two did it first, and they did it the best.

I think everyone here knows of my affinity towards Godzilla On Monster Island, however, when it comes to which of the five goji-flicks directed by Fukuda is his best, most, unique, the most enjoyable, etc. it becomes more difficult to decide, because all of them have something special going for them. I think that Godzilla Versus The Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla are not only the two best films that he did, I feel they are two of the best Godzilla movies, period. Personal sentiments aside, Godzilla On Monster Island is the most "un-Fukuda" of the bunch, as Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted him to craft a more "traditional" Godzilla movie, in the wake of the bizarre Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. With all of the stock-footage, and the Ifukube stock-score, it plays more like a "Godzilla's Greatest Hits" on-the-cheap than anything Fukuda might have done. I still enjoy it more than any other Godzilla movie, with the exception of one.

Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster, I feel, have the signature "look" of a Jun Fukuda film. Fast editing, anonymous thugs on motorcycles, secret agents, chase scenes, wildly colorful, weird music, etc. Cosmic Monster is clearly the most solid of the two, and while Megalon is clearly the cheapest-looking of all the Godzilla movies, Fukuda still manages to prove what a crafty veteran he was, because that movie could have easily been much worse.

So when it comes to Jun Fukuda's Godzilla movies, I break it down like this...

The Best - Godzilla Versus The Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla

Personal Favorite - Godzilla On Monster Island

...however, for the sake of this discussion, I choose Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster as Jun Fukuda's most solid and entertaining Godzilla movie, with Godzilla vs. Megalon getting and honorable mention.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Giganfan » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:21 pm

By the way, the three I voted for are Monster Island, Megalon and Cosmic Monster.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby Geno » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:58 pm

Son of Godzilla and Ebirah get the votes for me. Nothing he made after came close to these two. Son of Godzilla is an extremely underrated film that has a ton of heart, while Ebirah is a well made action flick.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby jellydonut25 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:57 am

Geno wrote:Son of Godzilla and Ebirah get the votes for me. Nothing he made after came close to these two. Son of Godzilla is an extremely underrated film that has a ton of heart, while Ebirah is a well made action flick.

I'd argue Mechagodzilla is close...

...and Gigan is BETTER.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby DannyBeane » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:03 pm

jellydonut25 wrote:
Geno wrote:Son of Godzilla and Ebirah get the votes for me. Nothing he made after came close to these two. Son of Godzilla is an extremely underrated film that has a ton of heart, while Ebirah is a well made action flick.

I'd argue Mechagodzilla is close...

...and Gigan is BETTER.
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this is how I feel. The only fukuda movie that's not in regular rotation for me is Megalon... and that's mostly because of the Manabe score.
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Re: Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films

Postby eabaker » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:04 pm

I gave my votes (chronologically) to Ebriah, Son and Gigan.

Ranking those three by my personal preferences, it would probably go:

Son
Gigan
Ebirah


Son is probably in my top 10 for the series as a whole, an enjoyable, good-natured movie with a really strong ensemble, a good pace, colorful visuals and some really neat images of the monsters.

Gigan is one for which I have a lot of nostalgia (seeing it on TV, as Godzilla on Monster Island, had a big impact on me as a little kid), I find the lead cast pretty charming, and I love the way that manga is used as a motif.

Ebirah never really stood out to me, it's sort of a forgotten G-flick in my head/heart, but the older I get, the more I enjoy it. It's an effective little action/adventure story, and the monsters are the icing on the cake.
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