TALKBACK #16: The Return of Godzilla

Discuss the 2nd Godzilla film era here! Beam fights, revised versions of classic kaiju, the Heisei era was a mixed bag of fun and controversy!

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TALKBACK #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:17 pm

And my talkback threads moves to the Heisei section!

This was an enormous childhood favorite. It was avaliable at every single video rental place in town: the mom n' pops, Blockbusters, Movie Galleries, and even that rental place inside of the Super Wal*Mart. And every time I saw that cool cover I wanted my parents to rent it for me.

It's been probably four or five years since I've watched this film. I now see how truly annoying and uncalled for the inserted American scenes are. Eric Carter and co. may have been uncalled for, but it least there was a bit of fun and whimsy in those scenes. Burr looks uncomfortable, but at leats he delivers that nice ending speech.

There's been much criticism of Godzilla's characterization in this movie. Fans say he walks around looking bored, Steve Ryfle said it seemed like Godzilla was following a city smashing diagram, and Kenpachiro Satsuma said of the suit's weight and restrictiveness that he felt as though the suit was wearing him, not the other way around.

...but still, I like the monster scenes in this movie. Instead of the realistic feel I'm sure Nakano and company were after I think the FX scenes here have a bizarre dream-like feel (especially when the stratospheric nuclear blast changes the color of the sky).

And I do think "Run for you lives. Let's do lunch sometime." Is a great line.
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almost

Postby Xenorama » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:29 pm

saw it twice in the theater, the second time I was the ONLY person there, and had a hard time staying awake. not the most exciting Godzilla movie ever made.

it's pretty to look at, but it really doesn't do much for me any more. either version, tho it's nice they got Burr back.

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Postby Mac » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:45 pm

Godzilla 1984 - Holy OH GODZILLA! WHAT TERRIBLE LANGUAGE, what a snoozer. The only thing that has improved over repeated viewings is the score by Reijiro Koroku. The serious tone of the film is negated by the laughable boat investigation and any scene involving that annoying hobo. None of the main characters are interesting at all, and I was tempted to fast forward to the Godzilla bits. I’m glad I didn’t because those are terrible too. Godzilla does little more than sleep walk the whole film. The movie reeks of 80s Japanese cheese, whether it is stale directing, bland miniatures, or that stupid song at the end of the film. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how the film tries to build up sympathy for Godzilla by the time he trips in the volcano. 4/10


This was my first Godzilla film, so I guess there is some nostalgia, but other than a good score and effects, this film is boring.
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Postby Legion » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:51 pm

For me this film is a huge drag. There are a handful of good things about this movie (the score, most of Nakano's pyrotechnic work) but I've always found that this film is severely overrated by those folks who are easily hypnotized by what they perceive to be this film's incredibly dark tone. Honestly, the only reason this flick is dark is because all the special effects sequences take place at night.

The Godzilla suit definitely isn't horrible - the later suits, made with the same body molds, would build on all it's strengths. Yet the lack of shoulders makes the suit look very bottom-heavy and the sleepy ping-pong ball eyes rob Godzilla of so much life and personality. As Ihb412 said, Godzilla just stumbles around looking sleepy the entire time and very rarely unleashes an all-out attack except in those rare instances when something else is attacking him. That's a far cry from the '54 Godzilla, who seemed hell-bent on destroying whatever crossed his path.

The scripting also doesn't make sense. We're told how Godzilla is going to be gotten rid of about a third of the way into the movie and despite Godzilla being treated like a dangerous menace both the character's reactions and the musical score does it's level best to mess with the audience's emotions. Why? Isn't Godzilla the bad guy here?

People also defend the Americanization? Why? I suppose bringing Burr back was a nice callback but he has nothing to do but stand around and yammer on when he honestly doesn't have to. And everything he says is undermined by the rest of the American actors who treat the subject matter like a big joke. And while I understand why the Russians were made into villains it's still an uncomfortable change and it hurts the film.

I haven't watched this one (the American OR the Japanese version) in quite a while. But I never really have any desire to. It does nothing for me. Now Godzilla vs Biollante (for all it's flaws) is still quite a bit better.
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Postby Mac » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:55 pm

The only people who think its dark and serious are the ones who haven't seen it since childhood. Seriously, the Shockirus scene is cheesier than most seventies effects.
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Postby Legion » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:01 pm

Mac wrote:The only people who think its dark and serious are the ones who haven't seen it since childhood.


Or the ones who don't look for more in Godzilla movies than a mean Godzilla who smashes stuff. Usually these are the same people who see things in Godzilla movies which aren't there. Or the people who need this one to be dark and downbeat otherwise the only Godzilla movies they'd like would be the '54 original and GMK.
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Postby kent » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:38 pm

I didn't care for it much when I was younger but got a bit more of the willies with this movie. The haunting score and Godzilla's never-give-a-damn attitude portrayed in the film sent chills up my spine. Of course it's no longer giving me the willies but it is an underrated film. The suit is beautiful even if the head seems a bit over-sized for the actual body. I find both the American and Japanese versions to be entertaining but I prefer the Japanese version as some plot devices were cut out of the American version that make more sense in the Japanese cut.

Definitely one of the Heisei films that's really grown on me.
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Postby canofhumdingers » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:27 am

Hmm, I'm not one these so-called "godzilla needs to be DARKK!!!!!111111" types. Some of my absolute favorites are Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla ('74), Godzilla 2000, and Godzilla vs the Sea Monster.

Yet this is probably my all time favorite Godzilla movie. Part of it is definately nostolgia, as i remember being enthralled by (what my ten year old mind interpreted as) the first "realistic" (i.e. modern effects) portrayal of Godzilla I had ever seen. I'm also a big fan of atmospheric 80's effects movies & this is probably THE most atmospheric (the fog bank surprise attack, the red sky after the nuclear blast, & the MUSIC!).

It also helps that this has long been my favorite Godzilla suit. What many have listed as flaw or shortcomings, I really like. I like the larger head as it feels much more correctly proportioned than most of the pinheaded suits that followed. (most of the popular showa suits had larger heads too, such as the '68 suit...). I also think the "weak" shoulders help this suit look more like a giant reptile and less like a man in a suit. I also really like how the largest fin is much lower on his back, near his waistline. That combined with the shoulders gives the appearance of a much lower center of gravity, which makes more sense for an animal so large. (i know, i know, getting into the physics of an animal this big is preposterous, but the lower cg just "feels" right). And the fangs are just cool. I really like how they poke out when his mouth is closed. I'm no vampire fan, but they kinda look a little vampirish... Many of these same qualities are why the Godzilla 2000 is a very close 2nd for my favorite suit.

Finally, this has long been my go-to rainy day or "quick fix" Godzilla movie. For reasons I can't fully explain, I never tire of watching the destruction scenes from this film. For several years this laserdisc was essentially a permanent fixture in my player. If I didn't have much time, but really wanted some Godzilla, I'd switch it on & skip to the nuclear plant attack or the raid on Tokyo for a couple of minutes. &, while not quiteas often, I still do.

Given the pacing and the somewhat bland characters, I can see why people might consider this boring. But the things i've listed far outweigh any flaws for me (i can admit, the movie IS flawed) & it remains my favorite Godzilla movie (& one of my favorite movies period!).

EDIT: should've mentioned that I like both edits of the film. If I had to pick one, I'd probably go with the Japanese version. But the American cut did improve the pacing a bit & I really like the ending narration and Godzilla's final scream. Even if they did add those awful Dr. Pepper placements & awful jokes about "wonder lizard" and "urban renewal"...
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:54 am

I find the Japanese version to be a little long and the American scenes in '85 wear me out, but to be frank about it

I LOVE THIS FILM!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby lhb412 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:42 am

And another thing: The fact Godzilla's dorsal fins peak from behind Godzilla's hips (ususally they do from behind Godzilla's shoulders) gives the monster and impressive look when viewed from the side.
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Postby jellydonut25 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:42 pm

FINALLY into the Heisei series.
Wierd, I've been watching these movies along with lhb's talkbacks (for the most part, I think I've run ahead of him a couple times along the way)
and, as I got towards the end of the Showa series, despite really enjoying some of those films, I pretty much have been looking forward to getting into the Heisei series since Hedorah.

and it starts, not with a bang, but a bit of a thud...
I enjoy the movie, don't get me wrong, but it's a bit TOO dark and broody for me, especially since it's dark and broody and yet there's very little of that TERROR that existed in the original film, it's more of a grim sense of fate

Certain scenes, Godzilla looks AMAZING (reveal scene, power plant, Tokyo Bay, Mt. Mihara and some others) and certain scenes, he looks AWFUL, dopey and slow (there's that scene where he appears to be STUCK in a tangle of highway bridge and power lines...)

overall, the movie is just like the suit itself, very uneven in conveying itself

still, I get goosebumps watching the movie during the approach to the volcano...Godzilla's head slowly begins to appear through the wavy lines of heat, the music in this part is unbelievably AWESOME...this is also a point during the movie at which the dopey, glazed over looking eyes really FEEL right. He SHOULD look a bit hypnotized by what's going on here

Personally, I think I prefer the American version. A bit better pacing and IMHO, the dubbed lines of the bum/criminal guy are better than the subbed ones "Don't act like a bigshot, heck you just got the town!" is awesome.

I agree with the poster (forget who) who said that ultimately, this is a VERY atmospheric film (possibly the MOST atmospheric Godzilla film) and that's the level that it works on for me, the score really does a lot to make this film work

Not a bad comeback film at all, I like the tension between Japan, USA and Russia about using nuclear weapons, granted it kinda dates the film, but it's a pretty sweet representation of the tension of that time period and I thought it was a really good way to bring Godzilla in - making US think Russia was screwing with them and vice-versa
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Postby king_ghidorah » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:14 pm

lhb412 wrote:And another thing: The fact Godzilla's dorsal fins peak from behind Godzilla's hips (ususally they do from behind Godzilla's shoulders) gives the monster and impressive look when viewed from the side.


Just watching that the other day and yes! 100% agreed!

This film is a favorite of mine along with Raids Again...always assumed that they were fan faves ( I also assumed that Megalon and Godzilla's Revenge were on the other side of the spectrum, at least I was right there) but for me this film works...

What it does that no other Godzilla film since the original does is to put Godzilla into a some what real world...this film seems that it could happen, the tone, the characters (ok, not the technology) everything just seems to mesh together in a way that feels less cartoony. I suppose this is also the problem with this film....it's not very fun and Godzilla himself is kinda anemic and weak...more like a lost animal who occasionally lashes out when attacked as opposed to a fierce reminder of the atom bomb.

I can't wait to start discussing some Hesei films now...I've been thinking alot about them recently...I loved them when I first discovered them as a kid...the camera shakes when Godzilla falls in G vs KG! Bio Goji was instantly recognizable to me as THE Godzilla...no camp...this was the Godzilla that we were always meant to see! ...Wow...can't believe that's never been done before and it looks incredible!..Then I became apathetic towards the series...just sorta meh (I remember my brother asking why everything always had sparks coming out of it...I had no reply to it...just kinda accepted it) Finally I hated them....boy, that Rodan kite sure looks lame...but now I'm begining to see them as dated fun again...gonna have to go back and watch all of these now.
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Postby G2KMaster » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:19 pm

I love this film. Easily in my top 5. Sure, SFX is alittle akward and the US version is missing all of the good parts of the "wether to use h-bombs on Godzilla" debate, but the film is IMHO awesome and the end is very nice. The only other films to have the same emotional impact like that has to be Gojira, Gvs.D, maybe GMK, and G3.

Only real complaint I have is too bad Akihiko Hirata did not live to be in this film (was to play Hayashida, but died due to lung cancer right before pre-production, so I have heard). And the cybot Godzilla. While a nice advancement for Teruyoshi Nakano, it was not very pleasing.

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Postby Kaiju Nexus » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:35 pm

One of my top favorites. Though the American scenes are lackluster, the brilliant opening title visuals and ending credits song are far superior to the originals.

Godzilla is as close to a nuclear weapon manifestation as he's ever been in this film. Cold, emotionless, devastating. He is an unstoppable and terrifying depiction of death incarnate.

The Super-X was the first of its kind and truly an inspired creation. The acting is great and the score is one of my favorites.

Just a great Godzilla film all around.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:37 pm

Yes! THe title card is the best in the series period! The fire and the music, just perfect combo!
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Postby Legion » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:40 pm

The end credits are the one big advantage that the American version has over the original version. The "Goodbye Now Godzilla" song (sung in Engrish no less) is painfully bad.

Never really could get very excited about the opening credits in either version though. I much prefer the opening titles to Godzilla vs Destroyah and Tokyo SOS.
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:14 pm

lhb412 wrote:And another thing: The fact Godzilla's dorsal fins peak from behind Godzilla's hips (ususally they do from behind Godzilla's shoulders) gives the monster and impressive look when viewed from the side.


Yeah I like it too. There is a symmetrical aspect to it. From the tip of his head to the end of the tail, the large dorsal plate falls right in the middle of that line (at his hips). I like that it was balanced like that.
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:30 pm

zekend01 wrote:
lhb412 wrote:And another thing: The fact Godzilla's dorsal fins peak from behind Godzilla's hips (ususally they do from behind Godzilla's shoulders) gives the monster and impressive look when viewed from the side.


Yeah I like it too. There is a symmetrical aspect to it. From the tip of his head to the end of the tail, the large dorsal plate falls right in the middle of that line (at his hips). I like that it was balanced like that.


You know what? Forgive me guys and girls, that was wrong and I need to point it out: It isn't to the end of the tail that determines the line, but rather the larger SET of fins before they kind of taper into one standard size as they run to the end of the tail.

Whew. I had to go look at my GODZILLA 1984 Kaiyodo kit I built up to confirm that claim! Sorry! :oops:
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Postby king_ghidorah » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:15 pm

[quote="Legion"]

The scripting also doesn't make sense. We're told how Godzilla is going to be gotten rid of about a third of the way into the movie and despite Godzilla being treated like a dangerous menace both the character's reactions and the musical score does it's level best to mess with the audience's emotions. Why? Isn't Godzilla the bad guy here?

quote]

Thats what Godzilla is...that's what makes him, him..it's his duality...his role as both the victim and the monster...the same type of moment occurs in the original film when Godzilla is viewed just minding his own business as serene music plays in the background and as he starts to die the music becomes almost tinged with sadness...the same can be said for the original King Kong....

While Godzilla 1985 can hardly be said to be in the same league as these other two films...it's aiming for the same type of moment and in the American version, with Raymond Burr's baritone voice gravely giving Godzilla his last rites I have to say that as a kid I cried more than once at this moment. Godzilla's scream is one of the saddest and most pitiful moments that I have ever witnessed on film...
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:24 pm

Something that confuses me was where the hero reporter guy was trying to drill through a lock (to no avail; the bit broke off and at least sliced his arm) so his crew could get the heck out of that building, only later to be able to climb down the fire hose in the stairwell with his girlfriend after the scientist and Kenny got out via dramatic rescue with the military chopper.

What's up with THAT? Even the manga doesn't fill in the missing pieces. They were trapped on, like, the 22nd floor, and later they're on their way out with assistance from the bum!

Sloppy, I tell you!
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Postby lhb412 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:43 pm

^They were trying to get to the top of the building so the helicopter could land there. Instead, the helicopter found them at their floor and was able to get the professor, but due to the wind (or something) they said they had to go and told those two to go down to the street for another copter to pick them up - which, going by the fact that they're in a copter to watch Godzilla fall into the volcano, did happen.
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:51 pm

I'd say that's it. Thank you sir :)
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Postby lhb412 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:03 pm

^Oh, I see your avatar as a peice of Godzilla art featured in a Dark Horse comic.

I liked those little one-off drawings, pin-ups. It's really neat to see Godzilla drawn by Mike Mignola and Paul Chadwick.
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Postby zekend01 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:17 pm

Yeah, it was kind of on a whim. Ironically I snagged this one from the back pages of the trade paperback '84 adaptation! I liked it because it's pretty lighthearted. I'm a bigger fan of Art Adams' stuff myself, yessir. :D
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Postby ryuuseipro » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:32 pm

That's a very good illustration! (I got the same Dark Horse Godzilla portfolio from my big brother on Christmas of 1988, from when he went to CreationCon.)

But as cool as your avatar is, you need to reduce its size (there's a reason all of our avatars have been reduced), or at least let the mods handle that for you.

I'll post my opinions on G84 later on, save that it's the best of the VS Series, FX-wise.
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