A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series

Discuss Magazines, Fanzines, and Books devoted to Daikaiju films! A Godzilla article in a Horror or Sci-Fi magazine? New Hobby Japan EX available? New G-Fan arrive in your mailbox? A Godzilla article in your local paper? Discuss it here!!

Moderator: Controllers

Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:21 am

Ok, so I got this for Christmas and I thought I'd give an update on the 2nd edition of this book.

First off I've not really had a chance to delve to deeply into this book so I won't be able to go too in depth into any of this. The second edition is an improvement on the 1st as expected...alot of the naming and proper title issues have been fixed.

I still don't feel as if enough attention is payed to any of these films...there are still no pictures, and most of the changes in each subsequent Godzilla suits only gets mentioned in a casual sort of " a new suit was used for this film" way.

A found a rather hilarious factual error where Kalat claims that pteranodons couldn't fly...unless there's been a scientific discovery lately that I'm not aware of I'm pretty sure we all assume the winged reptile could fly..

The Millenium section is ok...there's not a lot of information out there on the millinium films so there's no real competition for film facts...except there is with this new little thing called the internet, or even a back issue of G-Fan or Japanese Giants. Yes, Kalat mentions Kaneko originally wanted to use Varan and Angilias but he leaves out the lesser known original story that Kanekp had involving an astronaught growing to kaiju size. As usual with this book, some more attention to the source material and their various back stories would have done this book good...

This book does include some nice insights involving Japanese culture's different view on realism, equating watching a kaiju movie the watching the muppets in the west. He also has some thoughtful observations on the kaiju film post 9/11.

A decent book, but the absence of pictures and the hefty price tag makes it impossible for me to recommend it to anyone. If it were around 20 dollars or so I'd prob reccomend picking it up but as is for those just breaking into the fandom but I cannot justify spending that much money for a book that's so average.
User avatar
king_ghidorah
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 9917
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:27 am
Location: Ohio

Postby Legion » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:29 am

Complaining about the lack of pictures makes no sense. We have hundreds of Japanese produced books, photos on the internet and the films themselves to get our fair share of visuals. TEXT is far more important because really good Godzilla-related books in the US are very rare. Pictures are nice, but I wouldn't want to lose out on text because of it.

And criticizing the GMK chapter because Kalat doesn't mention a very early concept of the movie that few people are even aware of seems like fannish nit-picking. Come on, man. Don't be an Evan.
http://legion1979.tumblr.com/

Hello, Nice Warners! - A Thorough Analysis of Every Animaniacs Episode
Legion
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 7303
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:11 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:42 am

The pictures critique is valid...why even bother buying a book if you have to supplement it with other books that have pictures and go deeper into the subject matter :?

And I believe you validate my point there Legion...if few people know about it then it probably should have been included dont you think? Other wise it's just a fanboy wanking session of telling us all what we already know...

Oh, and don't ever accuse me of being an Evan again...just because I critiqued a book that others including yourself were curious about doesn't lower me to that level of fanboyish cult fetishism. I believe all my points were valid, and did my best to praise the book where I thought I could as well as bring to light some of its shortcomings...
User avatar
king_ghidorah
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 9917
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:27 am
Location: Ohio

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:13 pm

Legion wrote:Complaining about the lack of pictures makes no sense. We have hundreds of Japanese produced books, photos on the internet and the films themselves to get our fair share of visuals. TEXT is far more important because really good Godzilla-related books in the US are very rare. Pictures are nice, but I wouldn't want to lose out on text because of it.


The book is called "A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series." I wasn't even aware that the book was picture-free until I read this thread, because the thought of a book like that existing without any images is just absurd. If that's what makes for a worthwhile book about the Godzilla series, might as well just print out a bunch of lengthy forum posts and publish them.

Plus, from what I gather, the TEXT of this book is nothing to write home about, considering that the author didn't watch the uncut versions of the films before he wrote it, not to mention that he's got a penchant for factual errors, just like on his Ghidorah commentary. As enthusiastic and entertaining to listen to as that was, an all-text book by a guy who said that Haruo Nakajima occupied both the Godzilla and Rodan suits in the same shot sounds like a disaster.

Thanks for the heads up, king_ghidorah. I was considering picking this second edition up sooner or later. Now I won't be wasting my cash.
Image
User avatar
Benjamin Haines
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 5436
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby gila-monster » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:31 pm

The book is called a critical history, not an illustrated history. Pictures aren't mandatory in a book that is essentially essays on all the films, and then some. Also, I wouldn't imagine paying for the rights to use any useful pictures would have been worth it for something like this, as the price of the book would go up not only because of the pictures, but because of extra pages. However, I am a bit sceptical on picking this up, simply for his notoriety for error.
gila-monster
Godzilla Jr.
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:01 am
Location: Canada

Postby MouthForWar » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:33 pm

Some of the best books on the genre (like Galbraith's "Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films") are picture free. Even Steve Ryfle's "Japan's Favorite Mon-Star" is LARGELY picture free, and that's probably the best book ever written on the series.
User avatar
MouthForWar
Controller
 
Posts: 14691
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:01 am
Location: Livonia, MI

Postby Legion » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:57 pm

MouthForWar wrote:Some of the best books on the genre (like Galbraith's "Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films") are picture free. Even Steve Ryfle's "Japan's Favorite Mon-Star" is LARGELY picture free, and that's probably the best book ever written on the series.


THANK YOU.

You want pictures? Go buy a Japanese book. There's tons of them out there. But why are these books so frustrating? Because the text is all in Japanese. I'd rather have an English-language Godzilla book with nothing but informative text than one that compromises text for photos.

Seems silly to complain about it.
http://legion1979.tumblr.com/

Hello, Nice Warners! - A Thorough Analysis of Every Animaniacs Episode
Legion
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 7303
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:11 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:16 pm

Holy hell, did I ever claim that the sole reason you should not buy this book was for the lack of pictures!? No, I didn't. It'd be nice if some of you would actually read my original post before so willingly jumping to Legion's defense.

The reasons I listed for my reccomendation for not buying this book were the the large amount of errors it had, the lack of attention that each film recieves in this book, the insane price tag, and yes...the lack of pictures!

The pictures were but a small part of my critique of this book, honestly, left as is but priced around the 15-20 dollar range I'd say buy the damned thing, there are a lot mistakes in it but for a kaiju beginer it's a nice start and an improvement on the 1st ed.

Comparing a book like this, to a book like August's for instance really shows you what this book is lacking, and it's not just the pictures, it's the presentation, the attention to detail, the amount of well known facts as well as stuff for those of us who already know the fandom...oh, and it's about half of the price too...

The flip side of that is something like Age of the Gods...a great book with almost no pictures but you know what, I don't complain because it's well written, researched and it is a treasure trove of information...

So, continue to attack me all you want but I was only trying to provide a brief review for those interested in maybe buying this, ya know, trying to help some of you...I love how well that goes over on this board, it never fails...
User avatar
king_ghidorah
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 9917
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:27 am
Location: Ohio

Postby kpa » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:49 am

I haven't seen the latest edition of Kalat's book so I can't comment on the text. But on the topic of photos, Toho charges a LOT of money to use their pics, which puts them out of the budget for most genre books like this one. And even if the publisher could afford to pay the fees, Toho won't do business for unofficial or unauthorized works. And if a publisher gets past that hurdle, Toho has limits on what photos they'll approve for publication... that's why the same pics turn up over and over again even though Toho has many more in their archives.

Some books try to get images from the American distributors, use photos the authors took themselves, or go with advertising art. But Toho can still sue, and frivolous or not that's something a publisher like McFarland will most likely want to avoid.

So anytime I hear about an American book devoted to Godzilla/Toho FX movies like Kalat's, I assume it will not have photos unless there's an announcement otherwise.
Keith
Image
User avatar
kpa
Monster 01
 
Posts: 3273
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 5:39 pm
Location: CA

Postby Drax » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:26 am

Aside from a few typos and the odd time I disagreed with the author, this was a wonderful intellectual discussion on the films and the cultural influences that moulded the films into what they became, based on contemporary zeitgeists.

You guys looking for production histories and pretty pictures are reading the wrong book; Kalat's essays are juicy reading for someone interested in approaching Godzilla films from a critical theory perspective. I only managed to read the first chapter of In Godzilla's Footsteps because I had to return it to the university library, but I think I'll just buy it. I love collecting these pieces of knowledge dancing.
"Your views are as narrow as your tie."
- Bernard Herrmann
User avatar
Drax
Godzillasaurus
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:24 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia.

Postby TripMasterMunky » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:41 pm

Can't believe some of you are complaining about there not being any pictures in the book haha. You buy the book for the author's insights in his or her text. Not whatever images they found on Google.
J>E Translator. I like Japanese video games, giant monsters, and more. よろしくお願いします。
User avatar
TripMasterMunky
Godzilla
 
Posts: 782
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:04 pm
Location: USA

Postby Gohi » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:24 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:
Legion wrote:Complaining about the lack of pictures makes no sense. We have hundreds of Japanese produced books, photos on the internet and the films themselves to get our fair share of visuals. TEXT is far more important because really good Godzilla-related books in the US are very rare. Pictures are nice, but I wouldn't want to lose out on text because of it.


The book is called "A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series." I wasn't even aware that the book was picture-free until I read this thread, because the thought of a book like that existing without any images is just absurd. If that's what makes for a worthwhile book about the Godzilla series, might as well just print out a bunch of lengthy forum posts and publish them.

Plus, from what I gather, the TEXT of this book is nothing to write home about, considering that the author didn't watch the uncut versions of the films before he wrote it, not to mention that he's got a penchant for factual errors, just like on his Ghidorah commentary. As enthusiastic and entertaining to listen to as that was, an all-text book by a guy who said that Haruo Nakajima occupied both the Godzilla and Rodan suits in the same shot sounds like a disaster.

Thanks for the heads up, king_ghidorah. I was considering picking this second edition up sooner or later. Now I won't be wasting my cash.


He never said that. He said that Haruo played Rodan in Rodan's picture, but they replaced Rodan with a different actor in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Sure, maybe he had some factual errors in his commentary, but it was far better than I was expecting.
Gohi
Baby Godzilla
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 3:17 am
Location: MN

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby kiryugoji04 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:44 pm

Been wanting this for a couple of years ever since getting to flip through a friend's copy and finally managed to get one reasonably cheap when my girlfriend and I were at his house last week and discovered he accidentally purchased two copies somehow! It's not perfect but it's an erudite, well-articulated take on the material. Even when I don't 100% agree with some of Kalat's criticism, I love reading books that take a more scholarly (and net-positive!) approach to the genre. I really enjoy the deep dives into the minutia of the films' productions, even if sometimes I wish those dives were deeper still. The old criticisms of the book being completely devoid of photos make sense if you really wanted this to be a single, end-all Godzilla book, I guess(?), and while that was one of the main aspects that made me avoid many of these excellent books as a child/teenager, as an adult(?), I now see that as unrealistic to me given the expense of licensing stills from Toho. It's also, to me, unnecessary. As a deep-dive, scholarly addition to a much more comprehensive library, it's fantastic.
Artisanal Practical Effects & Kaiju Content @Xenofauna
kiryugoji04
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 7724
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2003 4:50 pm
Location: Atlanta, Jawjuh

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby lhb412 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:13 pm

I should really pick this up. Loved Kalat's articles when he wrote for the TCM blog (including some new Godzilla-related ones), as well as his commentaries for Criterion's Godzilla release.

As is, the only in-depth book on the series I've read is Ryfle's book! It'd be great to have a big, genre-encompassing book now that kaiju movies are more popular than they've been in decades.
User avatar
lhb412
Millennium Godzilla
 
Posts: 15502
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:11 pm

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby kiryugoji04 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:36 pm

lhb412 wrote:I should really pick this up. Loved Kalat's articles when he wrote for the TCM blog (including some new Godzilla-related ones), as well as his commentaries for Criterion's Godzilla release.

As is, the only in-depth book on the series I've read is Ryfle's book! It'd be great to have a big, genre-encompassing book now that kaiju movies are more popular than they've been in decades.


Yeah, I would really love some more deep dive material on the Ultra series and Gamera series, as well as more on the non-Godzilla Toho movies. Kalat's book goes into some of that and it's generally satisfying material but I think there's definitely room for more, even if it would probably need to be couched in more Godzilla material to get published.
Artisanal Practical Effects & Kaiju Content @Xenofauna
kiryugoji04
Meltdown Godzilla
 
Posts: 7724
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2003 4:50 pm
Location: Atlanta, Jawjuh

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby lhb412 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:56 pm

My dream for an English language kaiju book is... two books: one a coffee-table style thing full of stills, concept art, etc. with input for Toho, Kadokawa, Tsubruaya and anyone else; the other just a big fat book of articles and essays on various subjects with multiple contributors.

In my mind the books would be companions to each other, with the first laying out the chronology, studios, the big names behind and in front of the camera, and other meat-and-potatoes facts whole the second book is about going in-depth on things: info on the making of the films, interviews, criticism...
User avatar
lhb412
Millennium Godzilla
 
Posts: 15502
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:11 pm

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby Gman2887 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:15 pm

lhb412 wrote:the other just a big fat book of articles and essays on various subjects with multiple contributors.


Man, I'd love that. And I'd love to collaborate with others on something like that. What a wonderful idea.
Image
User avatar
Gman2887
Burning Godzilla
 
Posts: 2154
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:11 am
Location: Behind You

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby lhb412 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:39 pm

Just received Kalat's book as an early birthday present and in the half hour I've had it in my hands I've jumped to different parts and I can already say that I love it.
User avatar
lhb412
Millennium Godzilla
 
Posts: 15502
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:11 pm

Re: A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Se

Postby lhb412 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:07 am

FYI, the paperback version of this book has come out recently. It's real good!
User avatar
lhb412
Millennium Godzilla
 
Posts: 15502
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:11 pm

Previous

Return to Godzilla in Print

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests