TALKBACK #25: GMK

Discuss the millennium era of Godzilla films! From Godzilla 2000 Millennium to Godzilla Final Wars, these films comprised a wide variety of styles and topics!

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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:16 am

I just don't get the worship of this movie. Even Kaneko himself says its not very good... if the guy that made the movie doesn't think too highly of it, its usually not that great.
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Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:40 am

^ Jun Fukuda hated all of his Godzilla movies too.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:47 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:^ Jun Fukuda hated all of his Godzilla movies too.


And those movies aren't that good either. I love those movies with all my heart, but they aren't great films in the slightest.
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Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:49 am

MouthForWar wrote:
Benjamin Haines wrote:^ Jun Fukuda hated all of his Godzilla movies too.


And those movies aren't that good either. I love those movies with all my heart, but they aren't great films in the slightest.


Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla are among the most well-made films in the series, especially the latter of the two.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:53 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:
Benjamin Haines wrote:^ Jun Fukuda hated all of his Godzilla movies too.


And those movies aren't that good either. I love those movies with all my heart, but they aren't great films in the slightest.


Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla are among the most well-made films in the series, especially the latter of the two.


Those are also the only 2 I would say are even above average from a critical viewpoint and in terms of story. Sea Monster is the better of the 2, but its OBVIOUS its meant to be a King Kong movie and a lot of the scenes make no sense because of Godzilla being there instead (it could have used a much better rewrite). The only thing that pushes it above average is the human characters, who really are some of the best in the series. I agree Son of Godzilla is criminally underrated. But both of them (as well as the other films from Fukuda) feel rushed, cheap and even half hearted at times, especially when compared to the other sci-fi stuff Toho had Honda doing in the 60s like Atragon, Matango or even the Frankenstein films.

I actually really love all of Jun Fukuda's Godzilla films (Godzilla vs. Gigan is probably my favorite- it has a very special place in my heart), but I won't fault the guy for not liking them. He had a VERY hard time getting those done on their tiny budgets and he wanted better things for himself. Instead he was just a shoe in for when Honda wasn't doing Godzilla movies.

Secret of the Telegion is probably Fukuda's best movie, but not many have seen it, which is a damn shame.
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Postby william newell » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:10 am

Personaly, I'd love to see the quote where Kaneko himself says this isn't a very good film...I would say more, but I don't want to be accused of having "bad taste" like some others here. I mean, after all, this is a Godzilla message board, and we all know that means only the best in film-making. Sorry for the rant, but I do get tired of people complaining about what is probably the second best film in the series, imo. At least with this film we got something for mature audiences who didn't have to be die-hard fans to enjoy it.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:23 am

william newell wrote:Personaly, I'd love to see the quote where Kaneko himself says this isn't a very good film...I would say more, but I don't want to be accused of having "bad taste" like some others here. I mean, after all, this is a Godzilla message board, and we all know that means only the best in film-making. Sorry for the rant, but I do get tired of people complaining about what is probably the second best film in the series, imo. At least with this film we got something for mature audiences who didn't have to be die-hard fans to enjoy it.


There's a lengthy interview on Kaneko's website where he talks about the whole production. I don't think he said its "not a very good film" (he hasn't disowned it or anything) specifically, but he does say over and over how hard it was dealing with Toho. He makes them sound like money hungry bullies (which would be accurate). He both hints at and flat out says that he feels the movie could have been much better with a longer schedule and the monsters he wanted. He complains about Toho throughout the entire interview. A satisfied director wouldn't say those things, especially when they are supposed to be PROMOTING the movie in question (this interview was done around the time GMK was released). Doing so is also a really easy way to get yourself in trouble with the studio.

Fact of the matter is, Kaneko's vision was hacked to bits by studio interference. Many directors have similar bitter experiences (see David Lynch with Dune or Guillermo del Toro with Mimic) and it shows every single time. I doubt it bothers Kaneko that much these days though, especially since he (and Ryuhei Kitamura for that matter) have gone on to do much better and more successful projects after their Godzilla movies.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:43 am

MouthForWar wrote:
william newell wrote: I doubt it bothers Kaneko that much these days though, especially since he (and Ryuhei Kitamura for that matter) have gone on to do much better and more successful projects after their Godzilla movies.


Keneko? Yes. However Kitamura's planned boom into the American market was thrown to the dogs after Lionsgate doomed Midnight Meat Train to dollar theaters in very few states. I think Final Wars was the man's last big hurrah.
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Postby william newell » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:34 pm

Well, Kaneko's problems with Toho over GMK are well known,no news there, and I for one would have loved to see this movie made the way he intended, but even Honda himself had reservations over Toho's practices(one example being the inclusion of Godzilla's victory jig in Monster Zero, it's widely reported that Honda argued vehemently over this scene being in the film, he felt that it was too out of place in what was an otherwise serious picture). The fact remains, however, that even with the constraints placed on him by Toho, Kaneko still managed to make the best and most successful film of the Millenium series, and for me, the best since the original Godzilla. And you can quote me on that...
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Postby DannyBeane » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:38 pm

william newell wrote:Well, Kaneko's problems with Toho over GMK are well known,no news there, and I for one would have loved to see this movie made the way he intended, but even Honda himself had reservations over Toho's practices(one example being the inclusion of Godzilla's victory jig in Monster Zero, it's widely reported that Honda argued vehemently over this scene being in the film, he felt that it was too out of place in what was an otherwise serious picture). The fact remains, however, that even with the constraints placed on him by Toho, Kaneko still managed to make the best and most successful film of the Millenium series, and for me, the best since the original Godzilla. And you can quote me on that...
I still think G2k was better :wink:
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Postby Legion » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:39 pm

william newell wrote:Well, Kaneko's problems with Toho over GMK are well known,no news there, and I for one would have loved to see this movie made the way he intended, but even Honda himself had reservations over Toho's practices(one example being the inclusion of Godzilla's victory jig in Monster Zero, it's widely reported that Honda argued vehemently over this scene being in the film, he felt that it was too out of place in what was an otherwise serious picture).


The fact is (however) that Kaneko was beaten down by committee thinking, which drastically altered the movie. The victory dance in MZ got in because of Tsuburaya's clout, and was a 10 second scene that doesn't destroy the overall movie. I'd say there's a big difference there. I can't think of any type of tampering in any era of the Godzilla series that affected the finished product as much as what happened with GMK.

The fact remains, however, that even with the constraints placed on him by Toho, Kaneko still managed to make the best and most successful film of the Millenium series, and for me, the best since the original Godzilla. And you can quote me on that...


Definitely the best and most successful Millennium film. But the second best Godzilla movie? Nah. I'd put several 60's films between Gojira and GMK, definitely.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:48 pm

Gotta agree with Mouth...I simply don't find GMK to be very good...I think I'd even prefer to watch SOS over it...

The strenghts for GMK are actually the human characters aren't too bad...ok only one of them...the gruff father character steals the show the rest of the actors and their characters are pretty darned bland...even by kaiju film standards..and for a kaiju film...the suits generally don't work and the effects aren't really that amazing...the tone of the film is also off...the color scheme used brings to mind the 60's Honda films while Kaneko tries to make Godzilla horrifying and the monster action, dark and grim...I can admit that taken as seperate pieces this film has more going for it then any other since perhaps the showa era...but as a whole I think it is just missing a few things that would give it a real spark of life

Also...I love Fukuda's films as well...it's a shame that he didn't like his own work more but he just wasn't a fan of the kaiju genre...which is probably why his films work so well...because he was a master at putting compelling human drama amidst the kaiju carnage. So I would have to disagree with you there Mouth...I think his films for what they are and taking note of what genre they are in are splendid examples of the genre...I suppose to the outsider they wouldn't be very good but alot of outsiders would say the same for some of Honda's films and we all know that's bull...
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Postby Legion » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:57 pm

I really like GMK. Overall it's the best film of the Millennium series (at least in terms of quality, if not entertainment value) by an absolute long shot, and better than many of the Heisei entries.

But I'm just going to say it: this raging, throbbing boner people have for this movie - enough to put in league with the original film as one of the absolute best Godzilla movies ever made - makes no frellin' sense to me. Movies like Mothra vs Godzilla and Monster Zero are still thought of as classics of the genre, where (barring a few exceptions) just about everything clicks. There's some great stuff in GMK, but it's flaws are large enough and detrimental enough that that it really doesn't reach the same status as some of the older films. Indeed, I love GMK until right after the Baragon battle and then in my opinion the movie loses it's way with the contrived human drama and the stop-start nature of the monster battle as Ghidora is constantly beaten and then revives.

The final battle between Godzilla and a pair of caterpillars in Mothra vs Godzilla is more dramatic and carries more emotion than anything in the final battle in GMK. At least to me it does.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:19 pm

Great point Legion...right after Baragon's battle is where the film really loses me as well...I've never thought of the movie in terms of when exactly I switch off from it
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Postby KaiserGhidorah » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:34 pm

Eh, the Baragon battle was fun but my favorite scene is when G whipes out the defense forces, destroys two ships, incinerates Mothra and then attacks the newly powered up King Ghidorah. I thought that was an awesome scene.

Despite all the studio interference and the hoopla Toho put Kaneko through..... I don't believe he thought the film wasn't very good but just that he could have done so much more with it if granted the freedom to do so. Regardless, GMK stands as the best the Millineum series has to offer IMO and is one of my favorite Godzilla movies to date. I'd love to see Kaneko have another crack at Godzilla.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:39 pm

Flame of Udin wrote:However Kitamura's planned boom into the American market was thrown to the dogs after Lionsgate doomed Midnight Meat Train to dollar theaters in very few states. I think Final Wars was the man's last big hurrah.


Well since Kitamura has something like 3 films in the works in the US (including a second film with Clive Barker, who is a big name in the world of genre films), I don't quite think that's accurate. It shows that he's still a sought after director. Midnight Meat Train is one of the best American horror movies of the last decade and Kitamura's best film BY FAR, at least in my opinion, and even though it may have gotten a bad release, its already got a huge cult following and it opened the doors for him to make other movies in Hollywood. Good reviews and DVD sales helped MMT in a huge way. So Kitamura is still enjoying a fair amount of success.

The point is both of these guys have done MUCH better work after their mediocre runs with Godzilla. Kitamura came to America and is making movies here and Kaneko struck oil with the Death Note series. If I were either of them, I'd be looking back at my Godzilla movies and laughing at them.
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Postby Norman England » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:18 am

Not sure I should chime in here, but I can say that director Kaneko doesn't hate his Godzilla film. But it's also true he had his hands full trying to deal with the committee mindset of Toho. But the truth with that is that any film made within a studio system is going to have to follow their wishes to a point. There is almost no film made that is 100% the vision of its director. It was the same for Gamera, but in the case of Gamera, Daiei had lower internal standards and Gamera doesn't mean the same to Daiei that Godzilla does to Toho. So, in that way you could say that Kaneko had more freedom on Gamera, but still not total freedom. And Kaneko had to work up to G3. It's too bad he wasn't able to make more Godzilla films as his control would have only increased.
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:29 am

I loved Kaneko's 2005 Godzilla Vs. Gamera. :lol:
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:52 am

Norman England wrote:Not sure I should chime in here, but I can say that director Kaneko doesn't hate his Godzilla film. But it's also true he had his hands full trying to deal with the committee mindset of Toho. But the truth with that is that any film made within a studio system is going to have to follow their wishes to a point. There is almost no film made that is 100% the vision of its director. It was the same for Gamera, but in the case of Gamera, Daiei had lower internal standards and Gamera doesn't mean the same to Daiei that Godzilla does to Toho. So, in that way you could say that Kaneko had more freedom on Gamera, but still not total freedom. And Kaneko had to work up to G3. It's too bad he wasn't able to make more Godzilla films as his control would have only increased.


This is pretty much the right idea. I don't think anybody meant to imply that Kaneko hated GMK or even that directors ever have 100% control of a studio film (unless you're someone like Spielberg, Lucas or Scorsese). Its just that this is a film that would have turned out much better if Toho hadn't had such a tight leash on it. Daei's approach was much more laid back and less rushed and their films were better because of it. If Kaneko had continued to make G-films, there's no doubt they'd improve on GMK.
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Postby Mac » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:21 am

I really like this film, its just so incredibly ambitious. The belly on Godzilla is great too, he looks like a gluttonous, fearsome beast!
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Postby Destroysall » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:27 am

Mac wrote:I really like this film, its just so incredibly ambitious. The belly on Godzilla is great too, he looks like a gluttonous, fearsome beast!


its all the sake :wink:
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Postby walshiam » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:36 pm

MouthForWar wrote:
Norman England wrote:Not sure I should chime in here, but I can say that director Kaneko doesn't hate his Godzilla film. But it's also true he had his hands full trying to deal with the committee mindset of Toho. But the truth with that is that any film made within a studio system is going to have to follow their wishes to a point. There is almost no film made that is 100% the vision of its director. It was the same for Gamera, but in the case of Gamera, Daiei had lower internal standards and Gamera doesn't mean the same to Daiei that Godzilla does to Toho. So, in that way you could say that Kaneko had more freedom on Gamera, but still not total freedom. And Kaneko had to work up to G3. It's too bad he wasn't able to make more Godzilla films as his control would have only increased.


This is pretty much the right idea. I don't think anybody meant to imply that Kaneko hated GMK or even that directors ever have 100% control of a studio film (unless you're someone like Spielberg, Lucas or Scorsese). Its just that this is a film that would have turned out much better if Toho hadn't had such a tight leash on it. Daei's approach was much more laid back and less rushed and their films were better because of it. If Kaneko had continued to make G-films, there's no doubt they'd improve on GMK.

I don't buy into this "if Kaneko only had more time" theory. The pressures that Tsuburaya, Honda, Fukuda, Ifukube, Sato and others had to go through to put out multiple pictures in one year far outpaced, outproduced, and out performed anything done at Toho since. Between '64 & '66 they were poppin' these films out one after the other and created some of the best monster films by far.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:32 pm

walshiam wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:
Norman England wrote:Not sure I should chime in here, but I can say that director Kaneko doesn't hate his Godzilla film. But it's also true he had his hands full trying to deal with the committee mindset of Toho. But the truth with that is that any film made within a studio system is going to have to follow their wishes to a point. There is almost no film made that is 100% the vision of its director. It was the same for Gamera, but in the case of Gamera, Daiei had lower internal standards and Gamera doesn't mean the same to Daiei that Godzilla does to Toho. So, in that way you could say that Kaneko had more freedom on Gamera, but still not total freedom. And Kaneko had to work up to G3. It's too bad he wasn't able to make more Godzilla films as his control would have only increased.


This is pretty much the right idea. I don't think anybody meant to imply that Kaneko hated GMK or even that directors ever have 100% control of a studio film (unless you're someone like Spielberg, Lucas or Scorsese). Its just that this is a film that would have turned out much better if Toho hadn't had such a tight leash on it. Daei's approach was much more laid back and less rushed and their films were better because of it. If Kaneko had continued to make G-films, there's no doubt they'd improve on GMK.

I don't buy into this "if Kaneko only had more time" theory. The pressures that Tsuburaya, Honda, Fukuda, Ifukube, Sato and others had to go through to put out multiple pictures in one year far outpaced, outproduced, and out performed anything done at Toho since. Between '64 & '66 they were poppin' these films out one after the other and created some of the best monster films by far.


Yes, but those were different times and different film makers and Kaneko himself has said he would have liked more time with GMK. His Gamera movies showed what he could do with more time and they were better for it. You're forgetting that guys like Tsuburaya and Honda were TRAINED to work with Toho's Roger Corman-esque "super fast and cheap" aesthetic... Those movies turned out that way because those guys had so much experience with that work ethic. That way of shooting films was basically a lifestyle for them.

Kaneko didn't have to deal with those restraints on the Gamera films, which he had so much more time and creative control over. He wasn't working on "Toho time" regularly like Honda and Tsuburaya were, which is why comparing 60s Toho and their veteran film makers to 2000s Toho and a guy making his FIRST Godzilla film doesn't work. Different times, different guys... apples and oranges. Kaneko has said he felt the film was rushed compared to the Gamera films. He said that's just "Toho's way" and that's how they do things. And if the man himself thinks he could have done more with more time, who are we to say he's wrong?
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Postby Gojilove » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:24 am

I'll admit to drinking some of the Kaneko kool-aid. Because I still feel that the Gamera Trilogy is one of the finest executions of the kaiju genre.

And I really do love this film, I think part of the reason is that it feels like they were reaching for more depth than they had with the other Millennium films. I personally feel that some of the Millennium films were more of Toho trying to prove that kaiju films could be relevant in the CGI generation, than actually making good films.

I love the entire concept behind the movie, they made Godzilla a legend again for the first time in what seems like ages.

Did they pull off everything seamlessly? of course not. The movie will never be in the same breath as the original, Is it my favorite? Not at all, but its still a very enjoyable movie.


I will say this, I still think the ending is both cheesy and dumb. We don't need any Tall Tale Heart references.
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Postby walshiam » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:00 pm

^^That's all fine and dandy but to me, he just didn't pull Godzilla off as well as he did Gamera.
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