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TALKBACK#18: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan

TALKBACK#18: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

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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Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:22 am

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Postby Dr Kain » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:13 am

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Postby RaymondBurr » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:57 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:42 pm

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Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:36 pm

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Postby H-Man » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:56 am

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Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:58 am

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Postby H-Man » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:14 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:23 pm

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Postby Giants6025 » Mon May 21, 2012 11:17 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Mon May 21, 2012 11:17 pm

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Postby Giganfan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:16 pm

I was compelled to revisit Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah today, which meant I had to dig out my old, widescreen, English sub-titled vhs from storage. As of today, it is my only quality print of this movie, and saying that Sony really phoned in their dvd release from a few years back is a tremendous understatement. They did a completely lackluster job with these movies, and I can only hope that one day the entire Heisei Godzilla series is released properly, with pristine quality, widescreen editions and atleast some competent sub-titles, because the dubs are truly atrocious. On a side-note, I feel that despite the aspect of being somewhat dated and decidedly not of the caliber of some of the Showa Godzilla movies, the Heisei films (atleast a few of them) are worthy editions to the Godzilla legacy. I still enjoy them, and I have grown up considerably over the last few years (in response to a post that somebody made earlier in this thread, I don't recall who at the moment, I think it's a little unfair to say such a thing. Respectfully, of course to whomever I'm responding to, for I don't wish to instigate an argument, I just feel differently is all).

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to the movie. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah has always been one of my all-time favorite Godzilla movies, partly out of nostalgia, but also in appreciation of what it has to offer. I can happily report that, despite it's many plot flaws and a few minor embarassments (minor, atleast to my eyes), my position has not changed much. Kazuki Omori's film is still at the top of the heap for, for a number of reasons. First off, I've always liked the basic structure of this movie. It sort of reminds me of the way Godzilla versus The Sea Monster is framed with most of the first half dedicated to establishing characters on plot devices, while the last half is non-stop monster action and mayhem. I think that Omori atleast succeeds in creating a certain mood that works, even though the story admittedly has a few glaring holes and some of the character motivations aren't all that clear (for example, if Emi was so concerned with Japan's future, why does she go along with the plan of creating King Ghidorah to basically hold the entire country for ransom?). If this film didn't have a good cast, I would agree with everyone that these scripting inconsistencies would sink the entire story. But the principle players all give good performances here. Isao Toyahara, Anna Nakagawa, Katsuhiko Sasaki and especially Yoshio Tsuchiya all make this thing work for me, and I also feel that Kazuki Omori does a fine job of establishing a believable basis in reality in which his science fiction comfortably operates.

The special effects and the music are also top-notch, in my opinion (notice, I'm doing my best to maintain a subjective position here; in as long as I've been posting at online message boards, it has been my goal to avoid starting unnecessary flame wars; we're all here for the same reasons, and there's really no point in getting nasty). Bringing Akira Ifukube back was a wise decision, because somehow it just doesn't feel genuine without his iconic compositions. Much has been said about his Heisei work being predominantly recycled themes from many of his classic scores. Let me ask you this; given the man's age at the time, and the fact that Ifukube was never really a traditional film composer anyway, and also that there has to be only so many ways to write music for a monster movie, much less multiple movies with Godzilla, can you really blame him for being repetitious? Many great artists have re-used some of their best material. Hey, if it worked before, why not? His score for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is loud, it's muscular, it evokes a sense of tragedy where the action requires, it creates mystery for the scenes establishing the Futurians and it adds tensions and urgency to the battle scenes. I especially like the revamped battle theme that was first composed for King Kong vs. Godzilla. I personally love hearing Ifukube's classic Godzilla music performed by modern orchestras, and recorded with new technology.

If you ask me, Koichi Kawakita gets a bad rap these days, and while there is plenty in his overall body of work that is simply unforgivable, he has still given the world of Godzilla fandom much to salivate over. He was an old pro who worked under Tsuburaya in the sixties, and while he may not have had the progressive, artistic mastery of his mentor, he still possessed a solid understanding of his craft. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, minus a few warts, Kawakita staged some of the best effects work in the entire Godzilla series. I must be the only damn person that I know of who actually likes his King Ghidorah design. No, it is not the masterpiece that is Tsuburaya's creation, but it is clearly the most remeniscent. One has to admit that they stuck pretty close to the original design, from the golden scales, to the majestic wings. One look at this design, and you can tell without question who it is supposed to be. The only differences are in the mace-like, spiked tail-ends and the faces and horns of each head. It's regrettable that they didn't retain his original roar, but I saw this movie at such a young age, it never bothered me then, and it certainly doesn't now. Atleast the lightning rays he fires are accurate, though a bit beefed up which works fine. At the very least, the Kawakita Ghidorah looks infinitely better in action than the one in GMK, and atleast as impressive as the one in Mothra 3. Personally, I've never gotten what was so "grand" about that one, or why everyone likes it so much. I mean, the skin is all wrong, the necks are too thick and the horns look like deer antlers!

There is much more that I like about this movie, such as the fact that Godzilla looks bad-ass and Mecha King Ghidorah is one of the most inspired creations of the post-Showa era of Godzilla movies, but I feel I've gone on for long enough. The fact of the matter is this, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is not only one of my all-time favorite entries in the Godzilla series, and easily my pick for the best of the Heisei series, it is also one that i would make a case for as being one of the best in the entire twenty-eight film series. Yes, there is a difference between what one personally likes and what is perceived as a quality production, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah succeeds on both fronts, atleast from my point of view. It's not perfect by any means, and I understand why many don't like it, but I just think it has alot more going for it, and the good truly out-weighs the bad.

One thing I cannot defend though, are those damn Dorats lol! I mean, seriously?!!
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:17 pm

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Postby Giganfan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:11 pm

No worries, Mekagojira. I totally get why this film is so problematic for alot of fans. I think the thing that I like the most about Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is Kazuki Omori's willingness to show us what Godzilla must have looked like before he became an irradiated monstrosity. It took courage, if you ask me, to tool with the mythology like that. In retrospect, he doesn't really change Godzilla's origins so much as he adds to it. I mean, who is to say what really happened to bring about the creation of Godzilla? This film offers a nice "what if" scenario, and takes it seriously. I will, however, concede that the Lagos Island sequence is plagued with some awful matte work of the Godzillasaurus stomping down on the American soldiers. And M-11 "running" through the jungle is so bad, I just cannot help but laugh! Fortunately, the whole sequence is saved by a cool-looking Godzillasaurus, a couple beautiful Ifukube pieces and some of Yoshio Tsuchiya's finest moments on screen. I think the inclusion of the Yasuaki Shindo storyline is what gives the movie it's emotional weight. And nobody could have played that character better than Tsuchiya. Easily, one of the best actors in any Godzilla movie, playing one of the best characters in any Godzilla movie.
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Postby Giganfan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:34 pm

I watched this movie twice today, back-to-back, for some reason. What the hell, right? What better way to get through a hang-over while relaxing on a Sunday afternoon than watching Godzilla movies lol! As a result, some more thoughts are warranted.

In response to the criticism of the bad American acting, I do agree, these guys are truly awful. But the way I see it, inept occidental actors have always been a part of Japanese tokusatsu movies, going back to Harold S. Conway and George Furness in the late fifties and early sixties. With the exception of Robert Dunham, if you want some REALLY horrible U.S. "thespians", check out the Japanese cut of the original Mothra. That one hurts, for being such an otherwise great movie. So yeah, I've always felt that they were kind of a "juiced-in" hallmark of these movies. I've just trained myself to roll with it, I guess. They're good for a laugh, anyway. The "actors" that play Wilson and Gerenchiko at the very least have a competent way with the language, and they're effective villians, in a corny, goof-ball, pulp kind of way.

To my taste, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is one of Godzilla's finest showcases. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a great film though. In my mind's eye, it's good enough from a basic filmmaking standpoint, and so long as it plays to the strengths of what a great Godzilla movie is supposed to be, then as far as I'm concerned, that's all it really needs to accomplish. I don't mind saying this here, but a great Godzilla movie does not mean that it's also a "great film". We all know what these movies really are, or atleast we should know. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not putting these movies down in any way, I'm just trying to put things in perspective insofar as I view them. To be honest, I wouldn't even include Ishiro Honda's best films among the greatest ever made, though they are great nonetheless. In the entirety of the tokusatsu genre, if there were any movies that I would consider to stand above and beyond the rest and give props as serious works of filmic art, in one way or they other, they would be Honda's original Godzilla, The Mysterians, Godzilla vs. The Thing in either version, the un-cut Matango...maybe the original versions of Rodan and Mothra '61 and Gamera 3. That's it. Now, that's not to say that the best of the rest are by any means bad movies. On the contrary, I think everything from Ghidrah, to Frankenstein Conquers the World, from Gamera 2 to Godzilla versus The Sea Monster succeeds as surpemely entertaining, escapist productions, made by extremely talented professional filmmakers. And as a die-hard fan of this genre, I find it difficult sometimes to let the flaws detract from something taht otherwise works so well for me. Of course, that's not always the case though. If something is so bad, then you just can't ignore it. Most of the problems with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah stem from sloppy screenwriting, some imperfections in the effects department and some unintentionally funny moments. I grant all of that to the film's detractors, but all I'm saying is that these flaws, however major or minor do not detract from what I consider to be a great Godzilla movie. Yeah, I said it, and I'll say it again. I consider Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah to be a great Godzilla movie, because it contains everything a great Godzilla movie should have, a terrific Ifukube score (notice, I mentioned Ifukube first; I think it sometimes becomes lost on people just how instrumental he was in making these movies what they are), a conscious effort on the part of the filmmakers in connecting the symbolism of the character to history of Japan, an engaging story that works to the benefit of the monster action (something that would be sorely lacking in most of the following Heisei movies) and some truly spectacular effects sequences showcasing Godzilla and his adversaries in all of their glory. It really is a sight to see Godzilla in mortal combat with King Ghidorah and his mechanical up-grade. Given the sheer bulk and massive size of both kaiju costumes, it really is astonishing to me that Kawakita was able to stage such exciting battle sequences. Ken Satsuma and the stuntman in the Ghidorah suit must have been in hell the entire time. For the monster fights alone, sometimes I'm actually surprised that there are many fans that actually hate this movie. But as I've stated before, I do understand where they're coming from.

I'm a fan of all kinds of movies. Old movies, new movies, black and white, color, silent, sound, American, foreign, etc. You name it, I'll give it a shot. I watch Turner Classic Movies on a consistent basis. Movies are just my thing. I'm also a HUGE fan of Godzilla movies, and most anything related to them. I guess I feel a special kinship with Eiji Tsuburaya because he was known to have been the type to always look for the good things in a movie, no matter how bad it may be. That's how I feel, which makes me think that I probably wouldn't be able to make it as a film critic. I'm not all that well-versed in the studies of film as an art-form or as a craft, much to my regret. All I know is what I see, and how I feel. I've watched plenty of films over and over again, and I've read alot of books on film. I love talking about movies every chance I get, and at the very least, I do my very best to do them justice. In regards to Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, I hope I've done just that.

I know I've rambled on for quite a bit over the past few posts, and I apologize if I sound redundant. If some of you have taken the time to read my thoughts, I want you to know that I really appreciate you're patience, and truly value any insight you may have. Please feel free to share you're views, as I look forward to hearing from you.

Okay, I've finished waxing-poetic for the day :D :!: :?: 8-) :wink: Have a nice night, to one and all!
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Postby Gwangi » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:42 am

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:30 pm

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Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:08 pm

Gills.

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:13 pm

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Interestingly enough

Postby Showa Mothra » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:20 pm

This is actually a pretty decent movie, with the exception of some special effects shots and the crappy time travel scenario, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is pretty enjoyable! I have learned to appreciate lately and almost enjoy it as I do The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante. One last thing, the Big G here looks totally buffed out. Too bad in he want from being a "stud" (yes, I'm going to use that term) to barely being able to walk upright with his morbid obesity (slight exaggeration but you get the point). Also, after this installment is when the Heisei Godzilla series goes to hell.

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Postby The Real McCoy » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:52 am

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:58 am

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Re: Interestingly enough

Postby jellydonut25 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:03 pm

Gills.

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:16 am

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Postby mbozzo » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:31 pm

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