TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

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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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Dr Kain » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:10 pm

Hybrid Gojira wrote:I really hate how the monsters are not quite the focus of the film.


Uh... I'm not quite sure what you mean. The monsters are never the focus of the films. Invasion of Astro Monster is a perfect example of this.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Rody » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:11 pm

The monsters in Monster Zero feel much more influential than in FW, though. Once Ghidorah is introduced, the film's focus moves entirely to the Xilliens retrieving & wielding Godzilla & Rodan; and when the Xilliens betray mankind, the focus goes to cutting off the Xilliens' control over the monsters, thereby eliminating their offensive force. Yes, the primary conflict is the relationship between humanity and the Xilliens, but the monsters are an integral part of that from start to finish.

FW tries to use the same setup, but it's far less focused; there's too much extraneous human drama/action. The mutant sub-plot doesn't really amount to much overall, the motorcycle fight is completely irrelevant, and most of the action scenes post-betrayal come & go so quickly it all feels like a lot of fluff. On top of that, Godzilla's trek across the globe and the Gotengo's flight to the mothership feel almost completely divorced from each other.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:50 pm

DAM felt like it had less of a script and more of and outline stringing together various effects set-pieces. GFW feels like an anniversary special or an old-fashioned comic book annual; a story that has no concern with hanging together as a film and instead resolves to squeeze in as many classic monsters and callbacks amid a fizzy combination of adventure and scenes that are basically comic sketches.

It's funny, but when you think about making that kind of movie, a Godzilla movie that's basically a series of vignettes throwing as much stuff at the audience as possible... imagine what a hardcore fanboy like Kaneko or a true creative visionary like Takashi Miike would have done with that format!
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Gentleman » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:46 am

Takashi Miike doing a Godzilla movie? Now THAT would be interesting.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:00 pm

^I certainly loved Miike's two Ultraman Max episodes!
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:06 pm

With one 'new' Godzilla film behind us, a proper Hollywood version that time, and a new Japanese Godzilla film a few months away, and the Kong/Godzilla shared universe on the horizon I think it's time to sit back and reflect on just how weird a final note to go out on Godzilla Final Wars was.

Because that was very, very weird.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby jellydonut25 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:27 pm

lhb412 wrote:With one 'new' Godzilla film behind us, a proper Hollywood version that time, and a new Japanese Godzilla film a few months away, and the Kong/Godzilla shared universe on the horizon I think it's time to sit back and reflect on just how weird a final note to go out on Godzilla Final Wars was.

Because that was very, very weird.

I still maintain that there's a much more FUN movie nestled within Final Wars' overstuffed run time. Cut out the motorcycle chase for starters. Then, rather than all the Xilian subversion that kind of amounts to nothing, just reveal from the beginning that they're here as bad guys. This would improve the pacing and make it like a 90-minute movie and it'd be a lot more fun.

I still enjoy the movie overall though. I appreciate different when it comes to this franchise, since so often things can just be the same over and over (the 90s). It certainly doesn't get much more different than GFW.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:28 pm

jellydonut25 wrote:
lhb412 wrote:With one 'new' Godzilla film behind us, a proper Hollywood version that time, and a new Japanese Godzilla film a few months away, and the Kong/Godzilla shared universe on the horizon I think it's time to sit back and reflect on just how weird a final note to go out on Godzilla Final Wars was.

Because that was very, very weird.

I still maintain that there's a much more FUN movie nestled within Final Wars' overstuffed run time. Cut out the motorcycle chase for starters. Then, rather than all the Xilian subversion that kind of amounts to nothing, just reveal from the beginning that they're here as bad guys. This would improve the pacing and make it like a 90-minute movie and it'd be a lot more fun.

I still enjoy the movie overall though. I appreciate different when it comes to this franchise, since so often things can just be the same over and over (the 90s). It certainly doesn't get much more different than GFW.


GFW isn't the worst Godzilla film, but it was an insulting film for an Anniversary occasion and it had far too many 30 second fights with the addition of too many Matrix rip off scenes. If you add to that Kitamura's quote that "there has never been a good Godzilla film," it's pretty easy to see why so many people loathe this movie, self included. I think that quote alone takes it down a few notches, because Kitamura doesn't make a good Godzilla movie after ripping the franchise. He actually makes a film that's worse than all but maybe 4 or 5 of the worst films...and his movie was the 28th Japanese production at the time. Heck, he even steals ideas from the other movies that he insulted. GFW is basically a heaping pile of trash with a few moments I like thrown in every once in awhile.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:04 pm

I adore Godzilla: Final Wars in all its weird, offbeat, positively bonkers glory. It and Godzilla 2000 are easily the two Millennium Series films I've watched the most over the years. GFW is a blast to watch every time and I don't get tired of it. Is it perfect? Far from it. Is it even a coherent narrative? Barely. Are there things I would have done differently if I had made it? Of course, but I don't approach movies (or music, or any media) with that attitude anymore like I used to. I've actually seen a fan edit of Final Wars that was about 90 minutes long and missing things like the gratuitous motorcycle chase. While it was interesting and arguably better-paced, I don't have any desire to watch it again, or any other fan edit of anything. That's not the real movie that exists and it honestly just pulls me out of the viewing experience because I'm never unaware of the arbitrary cuts happening before my eyes.

I genuinely enjoy the zany story of Godzilla: Final Wars, the crazy futuristic/alternate world it presents in which humanity has grown accustomed to giant monsters as a fact of reality. I love the concept of the M-Organization with people fighting back against monsters with superpowered martial arts, handheld maser bazookas and high-tech flying warships. I love the quirky cast of characters: mutant soldiers Ozaki and Kazama, sassy biologist Miyuki Otonashi, clever reporter Anna Otonashi, the power-mad and cartoonishly deranged Xilian Commander, the ultimate badass Cpt. Gordon at the helm of the Gotengo, and Akira Takarada as both UN Secretary General Daigo and his disguised Xilian counterpart. To me, Godzilla movies are at their most entertaining when the presence of Godzilla and his monstrous co-stars supplements an already-rich cinematic experience and I would watch a movie with this eclectic cast of characters even without any giant monsters in it.

But there are monsters here… lots of monsters! While most of them don't end up with more than a few minutes of screen time individually, taken as a whole this movie has no shortage of memorable kaiju scenes. Rodan, Kamacuras, Zilla, Anguirus, and Gigan all positively shine when they're laying waste to the world's cities. Manda appears early on in a delightfully welcome rematch with the Gotengo, Ebirah's battle with the M-Organization soldiers in Tokai is definitely one of the film's highlights, and we've got Minilla tagging along seemingly just to make adolescent male Godzilla fans cringe the world over. Sure, a lot of the monster battles are short but man are they sweet. I'll take a three-minute bout involving Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, and King Seesar that culminates as a god-damn soccer match over a Heisei-style fight that lasts five times as long but never amounts to more than a beam-and-bump sparkfest. I dig the way the entire third act of the movie jumps back and forth between Godzilla and Mothra battling Monster X and Gigan as the heroes on the Gotengo face off with the Xilians on their Mothership. Finally, even though his costume isn't very mobile, I unabashedly love Kaiser Ghidorah and his dynamic, climactic showdown with the Big G.

It sure isn't high art but man do I love me some Godzilla: Final Wars.


Hybrid Gojira wrote:GFW isn't the worst Godzilla film, but it was an insulting film for an Anniversary occasion and it had far too many 30 second fights with the addition of too many Matrix rip off scenes. If you add to that Kitamura's quote that "there has never been a good Godzilla film," it's pretty easy to see why so many people loathe this movie, self included. I think that quote alone takes it down a few notches, because Kitamura doesn't make a good Godzilla movie after ripping the franchise. He actually makes a film that's worse than all but maybe 4 or 5 of the worst films...and his movie was the 28th Japanese production at the time. Heck, he even steals ideas from the other movies that he insulted. GFW is basically a heaping pile of trash with a few moments I like thrown in every once in awhile.


I'm not familiar with the source or context of Kitamura saying "there has never been a good Godzilla film," but if we're really going to critique Final Wars based on things the director has said about the Godzilla character and series, I think it's only fair that we consider everything he's had to say. Back in April 2005, Henshin!Online published a pair of interviews with Kitamura from the time of the film's Hollywood premiere in which he offered his perspective on Godzilla:
Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:My favorite Godzilla movie was Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. I think in that time, Godzilla had more power and speed, stronger than what he's been recently. I don't like recent Godzilla movies—not saying which one—but Godzilla has lost its power. So, the first thing I do for the producer, when he asked me to direct the 50th Anniversary film, is tell him that Godzilla is too weak! He has to be absolutely strong and that's what I'm gonna do! Godzilla has a taste like back in the '70s, maybe in Monster Zero, that I was influenced most by but updated to 2004.

Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:To be honest, I don't like the recent Godzilla movies. I haven't seen one in a theater for a long time, more than 10 years, but sometimes I see them on TV, and I just didn't like them. I had to be honest, so I spoke very directly to the producer and said, "I think you've been going the wrong way." The recent Godzilla movies are only for the very maniac Godzilla fans and for children, not for an ordinary audience, and I think there's something wrong with that. Godzilla is a big thing—it's for everybody, not only for the Godzilla fans or for children. They had been making the movies that way for a long time. And also, I couldn't see the director's style in the recent Godzilla movies. So, I told the producer, "I know there are some rules when you make a Godzilla movie, but it has to be my movie. I have to put my style into it." And he let me do it, more than 100 percent.

Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:My favorite Godzilla movies are from back in the '70s, like Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Back then, Godzilla had more speed and power. That's my favorite period but nobody can say which Godzilla is the "right" one. Everyone has a different opinion, all over the world, but my personal taste is the '70s Godzilla. He was stronger. So when the producer asked me to direct the next film, I told him, "Godzilla is too weak in the recent films."

Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:You can't compare Final Wars to the first film. That's something special and I do respect it. This one is completely different. You can't compete with the original film.

Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:I used to watch Godzilla movies as a kid. When I was 15 or 16, I went to the theater where they showed five old Godzilla movies in one night. I used to go there every weekend and watch lots of Godzilla movies but I never imagined I would be the director of a Godzilla movie, so I was very surprised when the producer asked me.

And when asked by the interviewer if Kitamura would like to see Godzilla fight King Kong again in the future among a handful of other potential contenders:
Ryuhei Kitamura wrote:Seriously, of course, King Kong. The last one, you know [King Kong vs. Godzilla], that one was a masterpiece.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:43 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:I'm not familiar with the source or context of Kitamura saying "there has never been a good Godzilla film," but if we're really going to critique Final Wars based on things the director has said about the Godzilla character and series, I think it's only fair that we consider everything he's had to say. Back in April 2005, Henshin!Online published a pair of interviews with Kitamura from the time of the film's Hollywood premiere in which he offered his perspective on Godzilla:


Toho Kingdom published an interview with Ed Godziszewski from which I took the quote. It's towards the end of the page when Ed is asked about which Director's approach he does and does not prefer. Here it is -

I think most of the other directors approached Godzilla a bit differently, but each of them at least respected the character and put their own spin on the character...except for Ryuhei Kitamura. I personally got a feeling of contempt for both the character and the audience from his work on Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). The fact that he proudly announced during his publicity tour that "no one has ever made a good Godzilla film before" says a lot. Really? Such blatant disrespect, especially for Ishiro Honda who created this worldwide phenomenon, is nothing short of insulting.


Link - http://www.tohokingdom.com/interviews/e ... -2016.html

For all the good things one might find about GFW, and there are some, I find most of it pretty awful. Godzilla's battles with Kumonga, Kamakiras, and Hedorah are so short, I often wonder why Kitamura bothered to include them. The plot is a mixture of previous Toho ideas and the Matrix. Outside of the opening credits, the score is awful, especially the ending theme. Keiser Ghidorah is the worst Ghidorah to grace the screen with the exception of maybe GMK Ghidorah. When you take the movie's failures with the fact it was supposed to be an Anniversary film and the quote I posted, it feels like a slap in the face. Kitamura ended up making a wannabe Matrix movie with giant monsters thrown in instead of a Godzilla film. It's a shame. GFW barely feels like a Godzilla movie to me - it's more like a sci-fi movie that happens to have Godzilla. If he spent less time on Mutants fighting in overly tight leather outfits featuring faux Neo subplots, maybe his monster battles could have been longer than 3 or 4 seconds and this movie wouldn't have sucked so much.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Benjamin Haines » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:37 am

I'm familiar with that Ed Godziszewski interview, and I've seen that alleged Ryuhei Kitamura quote (and others like it) put forth by other Godzilla fans on various message boards and social media groups even before that interview, but what is the source of that quote? Where and when, specifically, did Kitamura say it himself? Was it in a press interview published online? In a magazine? On television? That's something I'm very interested to know.

The quotes I included in my previous post were stated directly by Kitamura in two interviews conducted by Ira Cord Rubnitz and Biff L. Peterson at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles on November 27, 2004, one day before the Godzilla: Final Wars world premiere, and published on Henshin!Online on April 11, 2005. Both interviews can be read in full here (scroll down the page).
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:10 am

Interesting he cites GvMG and some 60s-era stuff as influences on him, when GFW falls prey to the follies of most (all?) of the post-70s Godzilla films: it tries to get SO epic (especially in the finale) that it becomes kinda unintentionally comical rather than FUN.

My two-year old is starting to take notice of the Godzilla things I have, and she's pointed to posters and played with toys and says, "Godzilla. I like it!" and dances to a video I made to BOC Godzilla with tons of Godzilla clips...

...so the other day, I figured I'd pick out a movie off the top of my head that had a lot of Godzilla action for a fairly extended time, and just randomly grabbed GMK. She CRIED. She got scared.

Today, I put on Son of Godzilla, and whenever Godzilla wasn't around (which wasn't too often, I chapter skipped a lot) she would ask "Where's Godzilla?" and she kept pointing out "Baby Godzilla" and loved it.

Keep in mind, I'm not really giving her the FULL experiences here, she's TWO, her attention span is kinda limited to pointing out Godzilla, and maybe another monster and saying, "Woah!" when things blow up. Just based on the aesthetics of the fight scenes alone, GMK made her cry while Son of Godzilla made her SUPER happy.

I feel like GFW has more scenes than maybe any other Millennium film that she'd be cool with (the fights against Kamacuras, Kumonga, Rodan Anguirus and King Caesar) where they're more fun and less "zomg! EPIK!" but that finale I think would scare her....

...so it's interesting to me that Kitamura says he's aping the 60s and 70s, when the climax of his film feels just as post-70s as any of the others.





Of course, being a toddler, she might have just been in a "mood" when I put on GMK, and might just as easily have been scared by Godzilla's Revenge at that moment, and all of this is moot.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:37 pm

Benjamin Haines wrote:I'm familiar with that Ed Godziszewski interview, and I've seen that alleged Ryuhei Kitamura quote (and others like it) put forth by other Godzilla fans on various message boards and social media groups even before that interview, but what is the source of that quote? Where and when, specifically, did Kitamura say it himself? Was it in a press interview published online? In a magazine? On television? That's something I'm very interested to know.

The quotes I included in my previous post were stated directly by Kitamura in two interviews conducted by Ira Cord Rubnitz and Biff L. Peterson at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles on November 27, 2004, one day before the Godzilla: Final Wars world premiere, and published on Henshin!Online on April 11, 2005. Both interviews can be read in full here (scroll down the page).


You'd have to ask Ed G about the exact source of the quote, but his reputation speaks for itself and I can't see the him making stuff up when it comes to Godzilla and quoting a Director from a franchise he has been so closely tied to for all these years. Regardless of all that, GFW's issues are far too much to overlook for me. This is barely a Godzilla movie. It's basically an Asylum film where they had permission to use the real characters. That's my real issue with it.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby planetxleader » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:09 pm

I was giving serious consideration to watching this again in light of the Shin Gojira trailer, wanting to pick up Toho Godzilla from where last left off, but I've kind of lost the motivation.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:33 pm

I completely forgot Kenji Sahara was in this. I also completely forgot they ripped off the dagger thing from Gamera 3.

So, movie's still a total mess with some fun bits, but they're not consistent enough to make this some sort of camp classic. I'd like it a lot more if the kaiju scenes were better done, and though I used to like seeing all the returning monsters, now I wish we had less and developed those fewer more.

... I feel like it's been taking forever to work through these Sony Blu-Rays. With this out of the way I only have Mothra II left (meanwhile, pretty sure I've gone through the Gamera trilogy twice during this time).
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:36 pm

lhb412 wrote:I completely forgot Kenji Sahara was in this. I also completely forgot they ripped off the dagger thing from Gamera 3.

So, movie's still a total mess with some fun bits, but they're not consistent enough to make this some sort of camp classic. I'd like it a lot more if the kaiju scenes were better done, and though I used to like seeing all the returning monsters, now I wish we had less and developed those fewer more.

... I feel like it's been taking forever to work through these Sony Blu-Rays. With this out of the way I only have Mothra II left (meanwhile, pretty sure I've gone through the Gamera trilogy twice during this time).


The dagger was so poorly executed I didn't even realize it was ripping off G3.

More than anything I wanted a What's Up Tiger Lily styled version of FW. Cut it down, have fun with the dub and let loose.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:23 pm

I'd like to add that Don Frye is totally a highlight, though. He seems to be trying to make the movie work by sheer force of his personality.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby MekaGojira3k » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:48 pm

lhb412 wrote:I'd like to add that Don Frye is totally a highlight, though. He seems to be trying to make the movie work by sheer force of his personality.


That's really the best description of that performance.

I also think this film, more than any other, is really dependent upon mood. It and Destroy All Monsters are always neck and neck and it just depends upon how I'm feeling as to which I enjoy more.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Rodan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:48 pm

MekaGojira3k wrote:That's really the best description of that performance.

I also think this film, more than any other, is really dependent upon mood. It and Destroy All Monsters are always neck and neck and it just depends upon how I'm feeling as to which I enjoy more.

Choosing this or Destroy All Monsters would be a really self-flagellating exercise for me. As much as it seems wrong to choose this over anything Honda, Tanaka, Tsubaraya and Ifukube were involved in though, I'd probably pick Final Wars for a rewatch. At least it's energetic and unique.

People have made comparisons to the '70s movies, or a superhero comics crossover here, but the lens through which I can really "appreciate" it is focusing on Kitamura taking his Hong Kong/American shlock action inspirations and layering them onto a Godzilla movie. It makes a lot more sense once you've seen clips of his Versus. And in that regard, I can at least get behind it as a genre experiment.

That doesn't make it a good movie or one I particularly want to revisit, though. Just one I can admire on some level even as I dislike it. I think it's technically the second "best" Millenium film next to 2000, too, just by virtue of feeling closest to actually executing its goals.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby GFan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:02 pm

Watched this yesterday for the first time in years... for me it's still the biggest "mixed bag" Godzilla film EVER. Parts of it I love for the hyper over-the-top zaniness and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach... then parts of it I absolutely loathe for being so cringe-inducing, and absolutely terrible [the Matrix, ID4 and Return of the Jedi rip-off scenes, the REALLY bad English lines].

Random thoughts...

My favorite thing from this movie? Godzilla. I adore the FW suit design and the way this incarnation of Goji is portrayed. He's intelligent, well-versed in fighting other monsters, and hates everyone. It's the first time since ToMG that Godzilla can physically fight other monsters to good effect.

I love most of the Showa-era homage/cameos/etc... except Minilla. He just feels so out of place in this movie (both the design and execution). I would have vastly preferred a good ole Godzilla-turns-around-and-returns-to-the-ocean ending.

I'd really like to hear the original audio of the pimp/cop scene. It must have been like dialog from a Tarantino movie.

Don Frye is awesome.

I think every Godzilla fan on Earth agrees the motorcycle chase scene should have been cut from the film.

I would have been perfectly happy with a Godzilla vs. Monster X & Gigan movie.

Someone who speaks English should have gone over the parts of the script anytime a character is speaking English.

I've never watched a movie were I kept saying "I love this movie" then "I hate this movie" in such rapid succession.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby Specium Ray » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:33 pm

I agree with every criticism against this movie, but Don Frye's scenes always make me smile.
I also love it for legitimizing "Zilla". Toho made it canon, the crazy SOBs!
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby eabaker » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:33 pm

I absolutely do not get why people consider Don Frye a highlight of this movie. I've become a lot more forgiving of GFW over the years - more willing to accept it as an interesting historical footnote, I guess? - but Frye's performance is one element I just can't get over.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby klen7 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:28 pm

I think its the camp factor, like a William Shatner performance.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby O.Supreme » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:30 pm

TBH I have not seen this film in years. But I'd love to see if there is a fan cut, maybe about 80-90 minutes (about the length of most Showa films), where most of the human plot is removed...That would I think improve this film immensely.
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Re: TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby canofhumdingers » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:25 pm

eabaker wrote:I absolutely do not get why people consider Don Frye a highlight of this movie. I've become a lot more forgiving of GFW over the years - more willing to accept it as an interesting historical footnote, I guess? - but Frye's performance is one element I just can't get over.


It's the same reason people like Jesse Ventura in Predator. It's utterly, ridiculously macho tough guy stuff combined with laughably stilted acting. Which many people find tremendously fun and entertaining, just as we find guys in foam rubber Monster suits smashing miniatures and duking it out so fun.

Also, Frye is one cool and fun guy in real life which makes his movie performance even more fun for those who've met him.
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