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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TALKBACK #28: Godzilla Final Wars

Postby lhb412 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:52 pm

The best way to describe this film is the way MST3K described the film Future War: "This isn't really a movie. It's more of a movie loaf. It's made of various real movie parts chunked in form."

This movie is a mess - a nightmare of shifting tone where slick production values in one scene become '90s Ultraman quality special effects in the next. But it's hard for me to truly hate the movie because it knows how stupid it is. It's as if the filmmakers just threw in a bunch of ideas and things they thought would be cool to do and did them regardless of how it would sit together and then filled up the cracks with jokes. It's not good at all, but I don't hate it.

Gordon and the Xillian leader steal the show with a one-two punch of deadpan non-acting and cheerfull over acting, respectively.

It's good to see many of these monsters back after so many years, but becuase there are so many we never get to spend a lot of time with them and most are regulated to one or two cool moments in veritable cameos.

I don't like that we can't see Godzilla's eyes most of the time. Even on a rubber suit the eyes are important for emotional connection to the character.



Epilogue
I finally did it: all 28 movies chronologically, and what I learned was that nothing beats the original series of films directed (mostly) by Ishiro Honda and Jun Fukuda. There is fun to be had with the 2nd and 3rd series, but they are terribly uneven... and as a whole not very good.

But let's wish Toho - and Godzilla - luck! May Godzilla one day rise to his former glory!
:)
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:11 am

I don't know what I've said in the Final Wars: Five Years Later thread, but I'll try not to repeat myself. First I think that I actually dug that we can't see Godzilla's eyes in this film. The shadowed look kind of worked for me, especially near the end.

This movie is so flawed and insane that on some level I absolutely adore it. The creature designs look pretty cool and most are executed fairly well, minus Kaiser Ghidorah...which is silly. Eh, it's a bit late and I just finished watching it again. Perhaps I'll have more coherent thoughts later on.

I will say that even upon seeing it years ago at the Pickwick I noted that it was disappointing but still entertaining. As I grow older I simply note the entertaining part. It's a weird scifi/fantasy/parody/homage/kaiju party. I just don't think that, at the time, I knew what the party would be like. I think I was expecting a super awesome destroy all monsters update that would be in line with GMK and S.O.S. I'm still pleased with what we got, I just wish we had ended the 50th on a higher note.
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good

Postby Xenorama » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:15 am

I liked it, I must be destroying the fandom. though I do tend to watch the 90 minute fan edit I have, works a lot better.

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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:48 am

Is this post even necessary? This movie has been talked to DEATH, even in a fairly recent topic... oh well, I guess the talkbacks wouldn't have been complete without it. I like this movie and actually think its a lot of fun... but then again, I say that about so many other junky films that nobody else will watch.

I'm tired of talking about my opinion of this movie, so I'm just gonna state my basic opinion by trying to be as basic, yet thorough as I can. Good cheesy fun. But people pick on this for being too stupid and too sloppy, but things like Megalon are just fine and dandy. How Kitamura is the devil for saying things like he doesn't like the newer films, yet Jun Fukuda's disdain for the genre is fine... I don't get it and I never will. Not liking the film is one thing, but the majority of the criticisms it gets could be leveled at most of the other films in the series... shoddy FX? Check. Lack of plot/plot holes? Mega-check. Shamelessly aping trendy Hollywood films? Check. Bad acting? check. Bad writing? MAJOR check. But these have pretty much been constants in the series since the 70s, but its like nobody seemed to care until now. People just pick and choose it seems. I chalk this up to 2 things... the hype this movie had as a "50th Anniversary" film (whatever that even means) and nostalgia for the older films (but hey, its OK for those movies to be bad, but not this!)

No Final Wars is NOT a good movie, but neither is like 60% (maybe more) of this series... these movies are fun and imaginative and that's why I watch them, just like you watch a Friday the 13th movie for stupid deaths, decent gore FX and nudity. GFW is a freight train of insanity, which I why I like it. That's also why I can watch Godzilla vs. Megalon pretty much any day of the week. I find something like that to be much more rewarding as a viewer than the rehashed plots and techno-babbly over-expositional nonsense of most of the films from the 90s-00s. I'd take the humans having fight scenes (even if they are trendy Matrix knock offs) over guys standing in a room and OVER explaining the film's science and monster's biology or shoving a moral message down my throat any day of the week.

Now what Toho SHOULD have done if they wanted a 50th anniversary celebration movie is make a good SOLID flick with 3-4 monsters in it. More than that is simply overkill because some monsters are gonna be glorified cameos, and the monster/human scenes will always be lopsided. Heck, I'd rather see Kitamura's original treatment for the film where Godzilla was the only monster in it. Of course Toho's money driven sensibilities were offended by such an idea and instead we get 13 monsters and a mish mash of weird sci-fi action and an illogical plot... but that's also why I like it. Also, if they wanted this movie to be some kind of celebration of the series, they should have given it a MUCH longer production time. It was done in something like 5 months, and that's crazy for any movie, let alone the final entry in a series. Its obvious that Toho just wanted to rush it out the door instead of thinking about its quality. Toho in general needs to realize one thing... LESS STUDIO MEDDLING AND MORE PRODUCTION TIME.

But as it is, this movie, to me, is like the Super Inframan of the new millennium. As someone who watches movies just for the pure fun of watching movies, crazy stuff like that is up my alley. Its campy action packed fun with a good sense of humor and even though it doesn't hold up as well on repeated viewings, its fun for the occasional watch. But of course I'm one of the 4 people ever to really like this movie, so my opinion probably isn't going to be "valid" to the more stuck up people looming about.
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:19 pm

Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:
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Postby Legion » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:19 pm

kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Me too. And that's all I'm going to say in this thread.
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Postby kent » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:52 pm

I'm like Mouth where I watch movies purely for enjoyment. Sure, I can appreciate the artfulness of films, too, but I why do people watch movies in the first place? To be entertained.

Yeah, there's a lot going on with the movie and, I'm sure, if I watched it with a more careful eye, I'd see MANY problems with it. If a movie can become an escape from reality for me, then it has succeeded and gets five stars in my book.

Sure, I would've liked to have seen many of the monsters have more screen time, but for what we got, I enjoyed it.
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Postby KaiserGhidorah » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:45 pm

As I stated in the other thread......I was thoroughly entertained, had a blast seeing it at Gfest - overall, a fun flick.
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Postby william newell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:34 pm

Well, as I stated in the other Final Wars thread, I don't hate this movie as much as others I know, and since in the other thread I voiced the things I didn't like, in this one I'll talk about the things I did like. I did enjoy how Godzilla was represented, as a total butt-kicker. I also enjoyed the cast to a large degree. For me the standout was the lead X'illian. I found his over-the-top portrayal quite entertaining. I also really liked the score(I know I'm definately in the minority on this) and felt that it fit this film well. The suits I found to be a mixed bag. I really liked Gigan, Anguirus, and Godzilla(actually, as a friend of mine stated, it's to bad that they didn't just go with a re-make of Godzilla vs. Gigan). Rodan and Ebirah came off pretty good as well. As to why I think that some hate this to the degree that they do, I think it boils down to budget and director autonomy. To my knowledge, this film had the biggest budget of any G film and Kitamura was given more freedom than any other director. For me, the enhanced amount of money put toward this film certainly didn't end up on the screen, and while Fukuda may not have liked Godzilla or the Kaiju genre(I could be wrong on this as the only statement I've seen from him is that he didn't think his particular films were all that good, so please excuse me if I'm incorrect on this point), he still didn't let his contempt make it to the screen and did the best with what Toho allowed. And yes, I do believe that Kitamura's dislike for the genre was plainly visible, especially in how the"kid with the toys" was represented. Not a very favorable representation of collectors out there, imo. Anyway, as to the film itself, I personaly find it fairly enjoyable up to where Ozaki does his Matrix"stop the laser blast" scene, that's where I end up losing interest. So to sum up my opinion, not the worst film in the series, but, once again, for the money and freedom given, it should have been a lot better. Just my thoughts, for what they're worth...
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Postby Tyler E. Martin » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:53 pm

Legion wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Me too. And that's all I'm going to say in this thread.


What these guys said.
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Postby Andrew Nguyen » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:07 pm

Tyler E. Martin wrote:
Legion wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Me too. And that's all I'm going to say in this thread.


What these guys said.



What you've all said.
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Postby takuGuy » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:26 am

kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Yeah, I just watched it again for the first time in a few years, and it's still a bloated, creatively bankrupt mess of a Matrix homage.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:36 pm

revenge of gmk0taku wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Yeah, I just watched it again for the first time in a few years, and it's still a bloated, creatively bankrupt mess of a Matrix homage.


Everything Kitamura makes is creatively bankrupt mess of Martix homage.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:25 pm

Flame of Udin wrote:
revenge of gmk0taku wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Yeah, I just watched it again for the first time in a few years, and it's still a bloated, creatively bankrupt mess of a Matrix homage.


Everything Kitamura makes is creatively bankrupt mess of Martix homage.


Have you seen Midnight Meat Train? It pretty much contradicts everything Kitamura was known for up to that point. Not a Matrix reference or action cliche in sight. Its actually a really well crafted and mature slow burn of a horror film. His best movie by far and one of the better Clive Barker adaptations. I actually think its one of the best horror movies of the last decade.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:55 pm

MouthForWar wrote:
Flame of Udin wrote:
revenge of gmk0taku wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:Call me stuck up, then. I hate this movie.

:kitty:


Yeah, I just watched it again for the first time in a few years, and it's still a bloated, creatively bankrupt mess of a Matrix homage.


Everything Kitamura makes is creatively bankrupt mess of Martix homage.


Have you seen Midnight Meat Train? It pretty much contradicts everything Kitamura was known for up to that point. Not a Matrix reference or action cliche in sight. Its actually a really well crafted and mature slow burn of a horror film. His best movie by far and one of the better Clive Barker adaptations. I actually think its one of the best horror movies of the last decade.



Also check out Azumi. Both were written by somebody else, and I think that has a helluva lot to do with how they play out. Azumi and Midnight Meat Train are pretty decent films for what they are. Then compare those to Versus or Godzilla: Final Wars which make you think somebody managed to convert craziness into celluloid.

What this does prove is that Kitamura does okay when given guidelines. Give him free reign and a hand in the writing job....then the kitchen sink goes flying. Also plot somehow gets tossed out and we end up with messes like Final Wars and Versus. Versus being a tad bit different since there's no history or fandom behind it. That's the terrible thing about Final Wars. The only way to legitimately enjoy the film, or so it seems, is to say "Why yes I enjoy this godawful mess of a film simply because it is a godawful mess of a film."

I've tried applying the lens of a parody to the film and even that doesn't stand up very well. It is, a mess. A mess full of Don Frye and giant monsters and western scifi homages that just came at one of the weirdest points in the franchise's history. I think I'm just repeating what has been said a billion times before, so I'll end this at that.
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Postby Shonokin » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:15 pm

I think David hit on something. A 90 minute edit would probably improve it a lot.

I saw this in the theater and the audience loved it. As a group participation piece it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it at the time. As time has gone on, I've watched it twice since then and with each viewing like it less and less.

I think a part of what annoys me is that IMO Godzilla himself is the only one in the Godzilla universe who should be swaggering around acting super cool and self important and completely bad-ass. Human and aliens alike should fear him.

All the primary humans/aliens in this are swaggering bad-asses and that's 100% too many.
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:28 pm

As for Kitamura's other films, I own and enjoy AZUMI, ARAGAMI, SKYHIGH, SKYHIGH: Face, and Ultimate VERSUS. None of them are the best movies ever made by a long shot but all of them are infinitely more entertaining to me than Final Wars. And hell, I even like the stylizing and posturing so prevalent in all of them. I like the vast majority of Final Wars ON PAPER but the execution is beyond terrible.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:44 pm

Kitamura is a very talented and capable director and aside from the massive misstep of GFW, he's been getting better with each film he makes. Midnight Meat Train is the product of a MUCH more mature director than the one that made Versus and GFW. Final Wars was simply him and Toho themselves biting off much more than they could chew.

As far as Final Wars go, I think the late, great Guy Tucker wrote what I think is the most accurate review of the film: http://www.tohokingdom.com/reviews/tucker/gfw.htm - Actually I generally found Tucker's reflections on the films in the series to be the ones I identified with the most... too bad I never got to get his book :(
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Postby Shonokin » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:58 pm

I think the posturing and posing works in stuff like VERSUS, which I think is a great movie (though a little over-long) and the mental/verbal pre-duel posturing in Aragami blew me away and is my favorite Kitamura flick to date. That stuff just doesn't work so much in a Godzilla movie.
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Postby msweets13 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:46 am

Like others have said, this movie has been talked to death. I might finally try to watch it from beginning to end in one sitting without stopping it after the first 15 minutes or so. I just don't know if its possible.

Overall GFW is kinda fun for riffing, but thats about all. Every time I watch it I get bored. How does that happen in a movie with 13 monsters, Don Frye, and kung-fu?
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Postby heroforhirerob » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:38 pm

msweets13 wrote:Like others have said, this movie has been talked to death. I might finally try to watch it from beginning to end in one sitting without stopping it after the first 15 minutes or so. I just don't know if its possible.

Overall GFW is kinda fun for riffing, but thats about all. Every time I watch it I get bored. How does that happen in a movie with 13 monsters, Don Frye, and kung-fu?


I think you nailed it. It IS boring...despite(or maybe because of) the everything but the kitchen sink mentality. My biggest gripe is this just doesn't feel at all like a Godzilla movie...in much the same way GINO didn't. I don't particularly care for Godzilla Raids Again or Megalon, but both of those still feel like G films..far more so than Final Wars.
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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:40 pm

There's a lot of bad things about GFW to criticize it for, but I think the fact that it doesn't follow the same formula as the other recent movies is one of the more respectful things about it. It dared to be different, which is why I like it. GMK dared to be different also, and its no coincidence that those are my favorite films of the last series.

GINO is a different case because that movie had not one thing to do with Godzilla.
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Postby Legion » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:09 pm

MouthForWar wrote: GINO is a different case because that movie had not one thing to do with Godzilla.


Baffles me how many people won't accept this rationale because the monster's name IS Godzilla, therefore it IS Godzilla, whether fanboys like it or not.

Screw those guys. It's not Godzilla.
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Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:39 pm

Legion wrote:
MouthForWar wrote: GINO is a different case because that movie had not one thing to do with Godzilla.


Baffles me how many people won't accept this rationale because the monster's name IS Godzilla, therefore it IS Godzilla, whether fanboys like it or not.

Screw those guys. It's not Godzilla.
I mostly agree except for the fact that the first 40 minutes or so of the movie come INCREDIBLY close to a decent vision for a Godzilla movie...but as soon as the creature itself shows up on screen, all of that build-up is left by the wayside in favor of ACTION
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Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:28 am

I just watched this movie, and it's awesome. There's so many things in there to pick up on for Godzilla fans. It's such a fun movie. Whoever's idea it was to make this movie a drinking game, "OH GODZILLA! WHAT TERRIBLE LANGUAGE!" you.
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