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 the_candidate » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:24 am

Like many other people in this thread, I simply cannot figure out how anyone could say that GMK is the best Godzilla film since 1954, let alone the best Godzilla film ever. There are so many loose ends in the script that it makes you wonder if Kaneko ever truly thought out his ideas. I also find the movie to be unintentionally funny, especially for a supposedly "serious" film. That old man was just awful, and so was a lot of the acting.

Also, kpa, you are seriously misinformed. I saw GMK when it first came out and I can tell you that the critical response was very mixed, and almost everyone agreed that it was a crushing disappointment when compared to Kaneko's Gamera films. It also failed to ignite the box office and actually had to be released alongside a Hamtaro cartoon flick to draw in any money. That's why Kaneko wasn't brought back for a second film, thank God. Critically, GMK didn't do any better than the Heisei films.
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Postby kpa » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:48 am

the_candidate wrote:Also, kpa, you are seriously misinformed.


Welcome to the boards, but you got a lot of stuff wrong here. It's hard to be misinformed about things I saw and heard firsthand or was told by people at Toho and/or worked on GMK.

I saw GMK when it first came out and I can tell you that the critical response was very mixed, and almost everyone agreed that it was a crushing disappointment when compared to Kaneko's Gamera films.


I never said it matched Kaneko's Gamera films, which were given longer production schedules and less studio interference than GMK.

It also failed to ignite the box office and actually had to be released alongside a Hamtaro cartoon flick to draw in any money.


GMK was paired with a Hamtaro cartoon because Toho wanted to play it safe after GODZILLA 2000 performed below expectations and MEGAGUIRUS had the lowest attendance of any Godzillla film since the 1970s (its the same reason why Mothra and King Ghidorah ended up in the film). According to Toho, kids were not connecting with Godzilla as they had in years past so Hamtaro was used to reintroduce Godzilla to younger audiences.

I'm sure Hamataro helped with ticket sales, but I don't buy that GMK needed it to (in your words) "draw in any money". After all, GxMG and TOKYO SOS were also paired with Hamtaro, but GxMG only did about 2/3 the box office of GMK and TOKYO SOS about half... so much for the power of Hamtaro.

Also, the majority of Toho's films in the Showa days were released as double features, and the Godzilla films from 1969-75 were all released in children's festivals with multiple features and shorts. Godzilla + a co-feature is more the norm than some detractors seem to think.

In Japan, GMK opened well and had generally good word of mouth. Ticket sales actually went up 4-5 weeks into its theatrical run, which did not happen with other recent Godzilla films. GMK became the highest grossing of the Millennium films. It won a Japanese box office award for 2002.

I worked for Sony Pictures at the time GMK was released in Japan, and Sony requested a print of GMK from Toho because they'd heard about the strong box office and positive buzz for the film and wanted to screen it. I know because I attended that screening.

I also attended a screening of GMK at the American Film Market as Toho's guest in early 2002. That was the only Godzilla screening I've attended at AFM where the audience applauded the director's onscreen credit. When GxMG was screened the following year, the audience was mostly quiet. Afterwards attendees made remarks such as "just more of the same".

Sony picked up theatrical rights to GMK for their Repertory division and (barring G2000 which got a wide theatrical release) it's by far the most rented of the dozen or so Toho Godzilla movies Sony owns.

That's why Kaneko wasn't brought back for a second film


Absolutely untrue. Friends at Toho told me they had offered Kaneko the next Godzilla film but he declined it because he was already signed to do another movie. I later asked Kaneko and he confirmed it, adding that he wouldn't want to make two Godzilla films back to back due to the tight schedules Toho insists on.

Critically, GMK didn't do any better than the Heisei films.


There's not much in the way of mainstream reviews, but here's a short mix of reviews, blurbs and comments that say differently than you do...

3 out of 4 stars in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide: Writer-director Kaneko was brought in to "shake up things" and he certainly succeeded with this dark, very violent epic, which reverts Godzilla to a soulless, nuclear-created killing machine. Mothra, Baragon, and even King Ghidorah are now "guardian spirits" who are awakened to stop his wave of destruction. The 25th Godzilla movie is considered by many fans to be the apex of the series, with terrific special effects and a consistently adult tone; worth seeing even for nondevotees.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86% Fresh Rating, putting it in 3rd place behind GODZILLA and MOTHRA VS GODZILLA, and ahead of any Heisei film.

Film Threat review: A superior entry in the recent series, and one of the best films in the franchise.

The American Cinematheque's blurb for the US premiere in Hollywood: Already acclaimed by fans as the most exciting Godzilla film since the heyday of the 1960's...

George Eastman House motion picture museum in NY: Godzilla returns to symbolic roots as he faces off with three guardian monsters in this acclaimed film.

And that's just off the top of my head. I also can tell you that Toho monster maker Shinichi Wakasa created the Mothra for TOKYO SOS, and the design for that film was based on the two most popular Mothra designs... the Mothra from MOTHRA VS GODZILLA, and the one from GMK.

When director Takashi Yamazaki created the Godzilla sequence for the sequel to his award-winning smash ALWAYS, he based Godzilla's design on the monster's appearance in GMK.

So we have the best box office of the recent films... a box office word... ticket sales going weeks after it opened... such positive buzz that Sony took notice in America... reviews and blurbs that repeatedly use words like "acclaimed'... the most theatrically booked Godzilla repertory film... an influence on later movies made by other filmmakers...

Yeah, I can see where I was seriously misinformed.
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Postby Legion » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:49 am

kpa, I think he's greenmachone from Toho Kingdom. The posting style and opinions are exactly the same. And if he is, he might as well fess up so we know who we're dealing with.

And as far as critical reviews go, I'm much more interested in what the Japanese think of these films, because that's far more indicative of a movie's success. And from everything I've heard GMK was the most well received Godzilla movie in Japan in decades.
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Postby the_candidate » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:52 pm

kpa, I was in Japan when GMK was released. I saw it opening weekend. The reviews were definitely mixed, and there were maybe 10 people in the theater. Conversely, when I saw Godzilla vs. Desotoyah in 1995, the theater was absolutely packed, and the movie got an enthusiastic round of applause at the end.

BTW, GMK is still in my top 10. However, I don't think it's one of the absolute best Godzilla films. You quote Leonard Maltin's review of GMK, but are you aware that he also gave Godzilla 2000 three stars?
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Postby kpa » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:59 pm

the_candidate wrote:kpa, I was in Japan when GMK was released.


I got that from your earlier comment "I saw GMK when it first came out".

I saw it opening weekend. The reviews were definitely mixed, and there were maybe 10 people in the theater.


I know several people who saw GMK in Japan and have said differently, so I wouldn't take your claim as the standard for how the film performed. If GMK was averaging 10 people per screening on opening weekend, it wouldn't have had the box office it did, won a box office award, and convinced Toho to continue the series after they had planned to end it in 2001. If GMK had been a disappointment in the wake of G2000 and GxM, Toho would not have made another Godzilla film in 2002. Toho goes where the money is.

Same with Sony. They looked into getting the film based on the word out of Japan, and what they were hearing at the time was different than what you're saying here.

Conversely, when I saw Godzilla vs. Desotoyah in 1995, the theater was absolutely packed, and the movie got an enthusiastic round of applause at the end.


Not surprised at all. The Heisei films were made during a boom time with higher box office, merchandising, and enthusiasm for Godzilla. DESTOROYAH was very popular when it came out.

For the most part, I don't think those films had legs. Their popularity has dropped over the years, and Japanese filmmakers (as well as other fans) I know say the Heisei films haven't aged well. And in the US... Sony has theatrical rights to DESTOROYAH but that film (and the other Heiseis) haven't been booked nearly as much as GMK has been.

BTW, GMK is still in my top 10. However, I don't think it's one of the absolute best Godzilla films.


Your opinion is your own, and I have no problem with that no matter what it may be.

I merely commented on your " seriously misinformed" remark, because what I've heard over the years from Toho, Sony, friends in Japan, Japanese filmmakers, as well as the box office numbers, the reviews I've read and seen, the response the film received at US screenings, how often it has been booked theatrically in the US, etc have all been pretty consistent for the last several years.

They all point the same way to how the film was received, and apparently they're all different to what you're saying.

You quote Leonard Maltin's review of GMK, but are you aware that he also gave Godzilla 2000 three stars?


Yup. I'm sure either of us could go through the Maltin book and find several reviews we disagree with. If you want to debate any of the reviewers on the merits of their reviews, knock yourself out... but it won't change the point that GMK has been widely praised over the past 8 years. The Maltin book wasn't the only review or comment I quoted, and there are many others that give GMK particularly strong marks for a Godzilla movie.
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Postby Legion » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:06 pm

kpa wrote:
I merely commented on your " seriously misinformed" remark, because what I've heard over the years from Toho, Sony, friends in Japan, Japanese filmmakers, as well as the box office numbers, the reviews I've read and seen, the response the film received at US screenings, how often it has been booked theatrically in the US, etc have all been pretty consistent for the last several years.

They all point the same way to how the film was received, and apparently they're all different to what you're saying.


You know as well as I do that this particular poster doesn't care what you have to say, Keith. Just remember, Kaneko's career has suffered greatly since GMK while everyone has been knocking on Kitamura's door since GFW. greenma...I mean the_candidate said it, so it's true.
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Postby kpa » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:15 pm

I know, but I was kinda' enjoying greenie's "I was in Japan so ignore all those other facts" argument. It was amusing for a few minutes. Now on to other things... :D
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Postby Legion » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:17 pm

In order to get this thread back on track I'm just going to repost what I said at the very beginning of this thread:

While I like Tokyo SOS, this is the only film that truly makes the entire Millennium series worthwhile.
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Postby KaiserGhidorah » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:03 pm

As I stated before........this film is one of my absolute favorites. I wish Kaneko would come back.
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:48 pm

KPA is seriously misinformed. Comedy gold. :lol:
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Postby DannyBeane » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:54 pm

I prefer G2K to GMK but this one is definately the most cinematic looking Godzilla movie of the millenium series.
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Postby Legion » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:55 pm

kiryugoji04 wrote:KPA is seriously misinformed. Comedy gold. :lol:


Elsewhere this same (departed) member pretty much called August Ragone an idiot.
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Postby Andrew Nguyen » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:55 am

Ay caramba, what in the hell is the guy who is making those comments smoking.

(shakes his head in sorrow at the sight of some of the members).


And if you were wondering, those comments were dealing with the comments made by the_candidate.
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Postby heroforhirerob » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:21 pm

Legion wrote:In order to get this thread back on track I'm just going to repost what I said at the very beginning of this thread:

While I like Tokyo SOS, this is the only film that truly makes the entire Millennium series worthwhile.


I'll agree with this generally. Most of the Millennium Series fell flat for me. Not god awful or anything(though FW comes close), but nothing gripping or memorable about them. Most of them only got 1 or 2 viewings for me total. They seem sterile somehow...hard to explain easily...but GMK had feeling..even if I didn't like all the concepts(G's supernatural origin for one). SOS had some nostalgia feel...but GMK trumped it there too really.
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Postby Dr Kain » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:52 pm

To me, this is by far the greatest Godzilla movie ever made. It's pacing is top notch, as it is full of drama and action and neither one lingers long enough to get annoying. The characters are likable and you really end up caring for them (something I have never done in any other Godzilla movie), and while I do wish Yuri would have drowned or been eaten by Ghidorah, it would have felt tragic had she or her father died. The story pulls you into the world by showing you what a terror Godzilla's original attack did on Japan in the 50s. Not to mention the kick ass monster designs, and most of all, they make Godzilla look like the most terrifying monster of all time. It is like Nightmare Gamera all over again. Another thing I love is how everything crumbles realistically. I mean when Godzilla blows up Ghidorah, you see the bits of his body. When planes get blown up, you see their wreckage crash into buildings and such. Lastly, it has my favorite Godzilla score of all time, as Otani's score really puts the terror in Godzilla's look.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:53 pm

Dr Kain wrote:To me, this is by far the greatest Godzilla movie ever made.


Wow, they do exist!
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Postby canofhumdingers » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:16 pm

Dr Kain wrote: The characters are likable and you really end up caring for them (something I have never done in any other Godzilla movie).


WHAT?!?! Surely you can't be serious! Not even the love triangle or the orphaned island boy in the original?? Not even the astronauts in Monster Zero? Come ON!
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Postby Tyler E. Martin » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:48 pm

canofhumdingers wrote:
Dr Kain wrote: The characters are likable and you really end up caring for them (something I have never done in any other Godzilla movie).


WHAT?!?! Surely you can't be serious! Not even the love triangle or the orphaned island boy in the original?? Not even the astronauts in Monster Zero? Come ON!


Seriously humdingers, everyone with half a brain knows that the old prophet dude is way more compelling than Serizawa could ever hope to be. (<-- joke)

But to each his own, I guess.
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Postby Dr Kain » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:36 am

canofhumdingers wrote:
Dr Kain wrote: The characters are likable and you really end up caring for them (something I have never done in any other Godzilla movie).


WHAT?!?! Surely you can't be serious! Not even the love triangle or the orphaned island boy in the original?? Not even the astronauts in Monster Zero? Come ON!


Honestly, no. Most of the time I can care less about the human characters, as I watch the movies to see giant monsters causing havok and battling each other. I can definitely say that I have never connected with the characters as much as I did with the GMK cast. Hell, to this day I wish every character in Godzilla 84 was killed.

Wait, okay, I guess I lied, as I did like the Saudi agent from Godzilla vs Biollante.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:20 am

Kain loves offending people with good taste, so it doesn't surprise me that this is the movie he connects. Shusuke Kaneko himself would be offended by those comments. At least the original Gojira had characters that seemed written and had complex relationships with other humans. The only interesting character in GMK is the girl's dad. The other characters in GMK have nothing to connect with. They just go through the motions. Please what do these boring lead characters have in this movie that gives off any humanity? They walk from set piece to set piece and stumble around things while everything exciting happens somewhere else. One of the main factors that makes the original Gojira such a classic is that it was a monster movie with REAL people in it. The characters' relationships were so rich and palpable that anybody could relate to them. NO other Godzilla movie has ever even come CLOSE to having such great characterization. Honda dropped us right in the middle of the situation THROUGH those characters' relationships.

Also, the old prophet is one of the most terribly written plot devices in the series.
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Postby william newell » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:14 pm

:roll:
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Postby H-Man » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:41 pm

MouthForWar wrote:NO other Godzilla movie has ever even come CLOSE to having such great characterization.


I'd certainly say Mothra vs. Godzilla comes pretty close. And although the characters aren't very well-defined, the castaways in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster are some of the most likable and realistic characters in the history of kaiju eiga, IMHO.
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Postby Rodanex » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:51 pm

Cody Himes wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:NO other Godzilla movie has ever even come CLOSE to having such great characterization.


I'd certainly say Mothra vs. Godzilla comes pretty close. And although the characters aren't very well-defined, the castaways in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster are some of the most likable and realistic characters in the history of kaiju eiga, IMHO.


I'll agree with that. I'm also quite partial to the characters from Godzilla vs. Gigan.

But I do agree with Mouth that none of the characters in GMK are interesting (except for maybe Admiral Tachibana) at all. G2K had better characters, in my opinion.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:33 am

Rodanex wrote:
Cody Himes wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:NO other Godzilla movie has ever even come CLOSE to having such great characterization.


I'd certainly say Mothra vs. Godzilla comes pretty close. And although the characters aren't very well-defined, the castaways in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster are some of the most likable and realistic characters in the history of kaiju eiga, IMHO.


I'll agree with that. I'm also quite partial to the characters from Godzilla vs. Gigan.

But I do agree with Mouth that none of the characters in GMK are interesting (except for maybe Admiral Tachibana) at all. G2K had better characters, in my opinion.


Yeah I almost wrote the entire cast off, but now that you mentioned the Admiral I think he is the most interesting human character in that film. Yet, he's not really the human we spend the most time with. I guess it's because I just dug how he was written and his past with Godzilla. Could have been given more room to do more if the film just focused on him, but without his daughter and her scooby gang they wouldn't have uncovered the mystery of the yamato monsters thing...and then nothing would have happened as portrayed in the film.

Eh, I guess it's okay as it is.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:31 am

Ok I have do admit, I completely ignored the goings on with the thread and am starting fresh.

With that said. I would have been a huge fan of GMK. That is if it wasn't GMK.
Angilas and Varan were made for this story and to simply replace them with a space monster and the god of Infant Island and just pretend like the previous forty years of character establishment never happened was just a slap in the face to this fan.

I think it even hurt me more that the crew actually wanted the original treatment to happen so bad that Yamabe tried his darnedest to get as much influence of Varan in Ghidorah as possible which in the end made him look like a three headed, winged camel.

I like the movie, but wow, it could have been SOOO much better with Varan and Angilas.
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