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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TALKBACK #25: GMK

Postby lhb412 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:29 pm

Wow, the whole title wouldn't fit in the subject box!

This is the best film of the Millennium series. Sure we've all complained about it, but it seems to me these qualms are more about unfulfilled potential. I feel with more time and money (and allowing Kaneko to use the far more suitable Varan and Angilas) this film could have really reached the next level. It's not as good or technically proficient as any of Kaneko's three Gamera films, but the only Godzilla film from the 2nd and 3rd series that surpass it in technical quality is Biolantte.

With that extra time and money the special effects could have been better (there are some fantastic effects, but the naff ones stand out when compared to the fact that the rest of the film looks really slick and modern) and the script could have been inproved (a little clarification about how the monsters are being revived by the old man, figuring out something better than having Ghidorah revived twice - things that could easily have been adjusted had there been more time). Perhaps they could have tweaked a few glaring problems in otherwise excellent suit designs?

As for the good: this is actually something approaching a good movie! Not merely "goofy fun" or "something diverting for us fans." The cinematography is a serious step up, the characters are likeable and have various quirks that make them interesting (when's the last time we had fun side characters who, despite limited screentime, leave an impression?), there are moments when people have very natural dialogue - bringing to mind the sense that Ishiro Honda brought to these films that these are real people ...

It has a feeling of freshness absent from most of the 2nd and 3rd series films.

Perhaps the biggest problem this movie has is that it tops itself halfway through: nothing beats the Godzilla vs. Baragon fight. The ending battle has some great stuff in it, but the energy and visuals from this first monster fight aren't even close to being topped.

I still get a tad angry about the substitution of Mothra and Ghidorah in this film. These are monsters with legacies that just do not fit with this film's story. Varan and Angilas, on the other hand, are great scruffy, earthy monsters that are more believable as mythological beasts that menaced the countryside.
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Postby Legion » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:00 pm

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

That's really all I have to say for now.
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Postby ryuuseipro » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:41 pm

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


Tokyo SOS, however, was a better "final" film than GFW! And was a very strong entry, nonetheless.

That said, GMK is indeed not only the best of the Millennium Series, but the best Godzilla film produced in all of the Heisei Era! Nothing ever came close.

This film had the best FX since G84, not to mention a much superior story! Here, just like in 1954, Godzilla is truly evil and destructive, not the mixed sympathetic monster from 1984-1995. And even as an evil monster, Godzilla has a delightful Freddy Kruger sort of personality.

The only debit was using King Ghidorah and Mothra instead of Anguirus and Varan (which Kaneko had wanted). But the incarnations of both monsters have still been among the best! (Although I'd say Mothra 3 had the best Heisei-era incarnations of both monsters.) Baragon was just perfect here, and fit the story like a glove!

The cast was top-notch, too. Musician/actor Ryuudou Uzaki has the best performance in this film as the hero Tachibana. The others, including Chiharu Niiyama as his daughter/the heroine Yuri, and Hideyo Amamoto (in his final role) as Hirotoshi Isayama, the mysterious prophet. Plenty of cameos to be found as well!

This film is as tough as Godzilla movies come! I just wish it would get a better treatment than it did in the US, though.
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Postby Legion » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:00 pm

ryuuseipro wrote:The only debit was using King Ghidorah and Mothra instead of Anguirus and Varan (which Kaneko had wanted). But the incarnations of both monsters have still been among the best!


Hmm. I'm not a huge fan of the GMK Ghidora, to be honest. I'd put the Showa and both Heisei versions over it. As for Mothra, yes I do like the GMK version. It looks great. However, that would be number 3 for me, under Tsuburaya's masterpiece (I can't believe there are people who don't accept this an absolute fact) and the Tokyo SOS version.
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well...

Postby Xenorama » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:37 am

it's a middling movie. take out ten minutes and it would be a lot better. it's not really true to Godzilla's roots though, is it, being animated by spirits?

just asking is all.

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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:52 am

The best film of the Millenium series, but still not a great movie by any means. Kaneko tries to emulate Ishiro Honda, and most of the time, he fails IMO (not nearly as bad as that hack Tezuka though). There are some times when the spirit of those early 60s kaiju films is emulated rather well, but Kaneko seemed to be trying too hard at times. The characters are more enjoyable than the last few entries, but still REALLY formulaic (oh look, ANOTHER strong heroine! Another goofy boss character!). Toho's interference is really annoying here since they insist on replacing Varan and Angilas with the way overused Mothra and King Ghidorah. The script stammers all over the place (the prophet character is especially stupid. He's just a cheap way of delivering exposition and that's ALL he's there for). Kaneko gets points for trying to convey his message, but he could have tried a bit harder. Its WAY too on the nose most of the time. I think the worship of this film is kinda silly, especially since Kaneko himself considers it one of his weaker films.

And the King Ghidorah in this movie looks ridiculous.

An alright flick, but not one of the best. There's even some Heisei entries I'd take over it any day. To be honest, Kaneko's Gamera movies felt like better Godzilla movies than this one. Still, its the best in the incredibly mediocre Millenium series. This film and Final Wars are the only ones that come close to catching the spirit of the Showa films (this one the 60s films and Honda's and GFW catching the 70s and Fukuda's films), so I give both major props for that, but I really think this whole Millenium series is bland, even in the "good" entries.
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Postby KaijuHQ » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:41 am

MouthForWar wrote:And the King Ghidorah in this movie looks ridiculous.

I remember hearing somewhere that the film's suit maker (Shinada) was disapointed that Varan and Anguirus were removed and placed Varan's facial features on Ghidorah's heads. Did anyone hear that as well?
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Postby canofhumdingers » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:22 am

I've never heard that, but now tha you mention it, they DO bear a resemblance to each other...
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Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:05 pm

my thoughts on this film range all over the place...

i will say that my first impression was overwhelmingly positive...
it is perhaps the first Godzilla movie since Biollante (or maybe King Ghidorah) to feel like it has a purpose and is trying to tell a story and not just go through the motions because it's "that time of year again to make a Godzilla film"
it's got some pretty good effects, overall...or at least an infinite improvement over Megaguirus
the score (imho) is really good and adds a lot to the atmosphere
the characterization of Godzilla is well-done...he's relentless
the battle between Godzilla and Baragon is easily the best battle in the Millenium series
i actually really feel like this does a much better job of picking on the american godzilla film than G2000 did...

but on re-watching, there's some stuff that just falls flat
the old man is just a ludicrously awful plot device
the kids that drown the dog doesn't sit well with me...at all...wtf is that all about anyway? unnecessary...
stuff like when they review the film looking for the 'thing' that 'moved' i swear, ive watched this movie more than a handful of times (and just the other day) and i have no idea what they are looking at
other stuff like 'yes, when he put his hand on the glass, im sure he meant this rock' ....groan
King Ghidorah is just awful...just absolutely awful...i dont MIND Mothra that much, i mean, yes overused as a kaiju and all but not poorly utilized or anything, mothra fits well into the idea of a guardian monster (perhaps moreso than anguirus...) but replacing Varan with KG is one of the worst decisions...turning the destroyer of worlds and godzilla's ultimate foe into a good guy is such a horrible choice...the suit sucks too...
wasn't a big fan of how 'easily' (as i perceived it) Godzilla was dispatched...i mean, i know he was never really INTENDED to have super-quick healing abilities, but that's because he was CREATED in 1954...that's like saying the founding fathers didn't INTEND to include women in the constitution, it was different times people...so the idea that super-strong and (due to the heisei series) super-fast-healing Godzilla got killed by a hole in the shoulder just did NOT work for me...

the human cast actually doesnt totally suck, so thats nice

but then minus points for what is quite possibly the worst title of any Godzilla film EVER...Godzilla-Mothra-KingGhidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack???
REALLY? it's awful...
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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:50 pm

I forgot to mention that I think the whole "rocks are like CDRs" thing is f*cking retarded as well.
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Postby Shonokin » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:40 pm

GMK is by far my favorite Millennium film. It has all the problems mentioned and woulda, coulda, shoulda had Varan and Anguirus in place of KG and Mothra. But even then, it is very well directed and has some good effects work. The human drama doesn't suck and Chiharu Niiyama is cute as a button.

I too hate hate hate the Ghidorah design in this. Ghidorah as a good guy is ridiculous and I think Kaneko agreed by making his whole appearance ridiculous. He's a tiny and shiny puss. bleh.

Though it doesn't bother me that much that she's always showing up, I've never ever like Mothra. Never. So the almost blase, over the shoulder one shot of breath that blows her away is always a cheering point for me as it is about the most "realistic" outcome of having a moth fighting an atomic powered dinosaur.
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Postby Andrew Nguyen » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:02 pm

I know that I stated my opinons before about this movie but I might as well state them again.


This is one of the best Godzilla movies that we've had in a long time. Also after the two disasters of G2000 and GxM, we get a film that pretty much reminds us all about some of the darker aspects of the series. In fact for me, it served as a reminder of why I got into this whole gig and all that.

To add to this, the musical score was very impressive and that I liked it a lot more than most of the others in the Millenium series.

In terms of rankings with the first Godzilla at the top, then whether I feel like it, either GMK or Mothra vs Godzilla would be in 2nd place and then vice versa.


Too bad the remaining three films would not follow in GMK's lead.
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Postby TerranigmaFreak » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:33 pm

I really enjoyed the movie. I don't want to analyze it too much. The plot pulled me in, and the monster battles were entertaining. That's all I could ask for in a Godzilla movie.
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Postby Shonokin » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:42 pm

Godzilla vs Baragon is one of the few Kaiju battles* that I really felt bad for a monster. Baragon really was a trooper who got his butt handed to him. Great battle.

*Also Anguirus vs Mecha Godzilla, it's pretty sad to see Anguirus get so completely abused.
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Postby zekend01 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:46 pm

I agree with quite a bit of what has been said already, and I lean HEAVILY towards the positive side. This is a great film for the casual viewer. Godzy is just f'in badazz, and the scope of battle and urgency were actually fresh-feeling for a change (at this point in the franchise time-line anyway). The effects were consistently the best of any Godzilla movie, and better rendered cinematically than SOS IMO (the jittering camera photography when Godzy moved, fired his AWESOME ray, the start of GREAT sound effects for the franchise, ETC.).

I do wish the end battle had been a little shorter, and I'm not a fan of KG in this movie (I thought Mothra was rendered well for the most part, and Baragon takes all). Some of the themes left me feeling confused: the old man weirdness (Kaneko was a spook-film maker I guess), the rocks, the three disappearing trees/spines of KG in the woods, and why does Godzilla just kind of float to the bottom of the bay after KG's last assault? He was still a threat I guess.... I always kind of thought that's when the vengeful spirits were driven from him, and he was just a regular Kaiju again, and ergo vulnerable to attacks that led to his demise.... But again, NOT clear.

Oh well. Gonna watch it again soon.
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Postby Reaper G » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:40 am

I've tried to justify Ghidorah's role in this film as a young monster, a la "Rebirth of Mothra 3", that was overtaken by the earth spirits (or whatever).
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:57 am

This film has consistently remained my favorite of the millennium series. I love the monster designs, and I dig the story. Despite all of the problems I've heard brought up about GMK Goji I still love the suit and how menacing he looks.

This film also marked the beginning of my becoming more active on MZ. I remember making my first account back when Megaguirus had just been released, and I followed the progress of this film with great interest. Heck, I ended up watching this movie before Megaguirus via a friend's tape of questionable origin. It's just a great film, but it's a shame the dub/dubtitles on the Sony dvd suck so much.
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Postby heroforhirerob » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:34 pm

I like this one too, though it isn't perfect. It is entertaining enough to be better than the rest of the Millennium Series...easily..and WAY better than the god awful Final Wars. Like others, my biggest gripe is King Ghidorah. He doesn't look great...and his multiple revivals are a bit much. Also, Godzilla doesn't quite fit a supernatural like origin as much as Gamera does. The FX work is quite nice, but nothing in the film comes close to the Shibuya attack in Gamera 3. Baragon steals the show and it's a shame he's used so briefly. Overall, a very watchable film..and I've seen this more than any other movie of the era for that reason.
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Postby KaiserGhidorah » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:43 pm

This is one of my favorite Godzilla films if not my favorite and by far, the best of the Millineum series. I really enjoy it. I wish Kaneko would be given another crack at Godzilla.
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Postby Rodanex » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:37 am

This is a solid, entertaining movie that is easily the best of the millennium series. I still think it's highly overrated though. I can't for the life of me see how anyone can consider this to be the best G-film since 1954. Personally, I consider Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, and Godzilla vs. Biollante to be better films.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:43 am

Rodanex wrote: I can't for the life of me see how anyone can consider this to be the best G-film since 1954.


Are there people that really think that? That's just downright silly.
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Postby Legion » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:55 am

MouthForWar wrote:
Rodanex wrote: I can't for the life of me see how anyone can consider this to be the best G-film since 1954.


Are there people that really think that?


Yes.
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Postby jellydonut25 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:34 am

Legion wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:
Rodanex wrote: I can't for the life of me see how anyone can consider this to be the best G-film since 1954.


Are there people that really think that?


Yes.

Worse. There are people that consider this the BEST Godzilla film ever.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:37 am

It's an alright movie but Mothra and Camel Ghidorah ruin it for me. It would have been amazing had they used Varan and Angilas, they seem tailored for the part and just replacing them at the last minute was retarded on Toho's part. Not only the characters but the execution of the suit's were really a step back. What made this movie good in my book was Godzilla's role as well as Baragon's. They both saved this movie IMO.

and yeah, Ghidorah's head sculpt was meant to be a loose homage to Varan, not very wise.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:58 pm

You know when this first came out I almost wrote this whole film off. Probably because of Ghidorah. The design didn't bother me, what bothered me was his diminutive size and role as a good guy.


I also feel that anyone who thinks this is the best film since 1954 needs to be struck repeatedly with a stack of dvds consisting of Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidrah, Monster Zero, Destroy All Monsters, Hedorah (so sue me), and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 74.
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