Tag Archives: Godzilla

My Thoughts on: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

As my quest to see more of King Ghidorah continued, I decided to watch Invasion of Astro-Monster, another film to feature a certain three-headed flying space dragon (I love saying that). This is the second film to feature King Ghidorah and while I did enjoy it, I didn’t like it as much as Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. The story is set in the near future and sees humanity make first contact with an alien race, the Xiliens, on Planet X (a previously unknown moon of Jupiter). Claiming to be under constant assault from King Ghidorah, the Xiliens beg for the use of Godzilla and Rodan to keep their small planet safe. It seems like a straightforward situation and a reasonable request, but this is a Godzilla film and nothing is quite what it seems.

One of the things that sticks out to me right away are the Xiliens themselves. Even if I hadn’t read the film summary beforehand, I would’ve been immediately suspicious of the Xiliens, simply because of their appearance. From their stiff mannerisms, to the fact that you can’t see their eyes, everything about these aliens screams “Do not trust them!” Therefore, there’s very little surprise when the double-cross occurs. The other giveaway? That first fight between Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah is over way too quickly.

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Another detail that I found more awkward than anything is the presence of Astronaut Glenn (Nick Adams) in the story. I hope this doesn’t come out wrong, but it was more than a little jarring to look at the movie and suddenly realize there’s a non-Japanese character in the mix (the ONLY such character, I might add). Maybe I just found it awkward because all of Glenn’s lines are dubbed in Japanese, it’s just something I wanted to comment on.

I did find the monster action to be quite satisfying, though I was also sad when Godzilla and Rodan were left behind on Planet X. You could literally feel the monster’s sadness at realizing they’re being left in a strange place. Again, it amazes me that these monsters could wring such feelings out of me considering they’re men in rubber suits (more or less).

As I mentioned before, Invasion of Astro-Monster is an enjoyable film, with plenty of monster action for everyone. However, it’s just not as good as other Godzilla films that I’ve seen. Let me know what you think of Invasion of Astro-Monster in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Ever since I saw King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters earlier this year, I knew that I would have to check out the original Godzilla films (aside from the original, which I’ve already seen), and at the top of my list was Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the film that introduced the three-headed flying space dragon to the Godzilla story. For whatever reason, I’m just drawn to this particular monster, even before I knew who he was, pictures of King Ghidorah stood out to me.

That’s just one reason I ran out and picked up the Criterion collection of Showa-era Godzilla films (expect a number of those films to be reviewed in the coming days and weeks). The very first film I saw down to watch was Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, and I was glued to the screen from start to finish. The film, like many Godzilla films I’m coming to find, features a number of monsters, including Rodan, Mothra (in larval form), and of course, King Ghidorah in his film debut. The story starts when a mysterious meteor shower comes to Earth, dropping a bizarre meteorite deep in the mountains, one that seemingly affects gravity, it later cracks open to reveal the titular monster.

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At the same time, a foreign princess is presumed murdered in a bombing, only to show up in Japan claiming to be from Venus and making dire predictions about the fate of the world. I admittedly had trouble accepting the Venusian storyline part of this movie, but it does make for an interesting plot device.

Of course the most important thing for me in this movie was the monsters themselves and oh my goodness I got all I wanted and more. Before watching this film, the only monster I’d seen in the original Japanese films was Godzilla himself. This was my first time being Rodan, Mothra, and of course King Ghidorah in their original looks and I loved it all! Well, almost, I actually like Rodan’s appearance in Godzilla: King of the Monsters more than I did here, but that’s more of a nitpick than anything else.  King Ghidorah blew my mind with how real he looked as he flew and moved.

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I also really liked the Shobijin, the twin fairies that can summon Mothra with their (beautiful) singing. I really liked that they speak in unison and that they’re so tiny. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting them to be small, but since they are fairies, it does make sense. Their song for Mothra is beautiful.

The point I’m trying to make is that Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is a really good Godzilla film. It has plenty of monsters, Godzilla gets quite a lot of screen time, and the final battle between Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah is really good given the nature of the special effects being used. I’m continually astounded by how real these creatures look given they’re all portrayed by men in suits! If you want to dive right into the Showa-era films, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster isn’t a bad place to start!

Let me know what you think about Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

*Warning: some spoilers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters follow

Holy sh*t. I say again, holy sh*t! Do I ever have some thoughts on Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

First off, let me say that I was initially not a fan of the MonsterVerse, I can admit that. Godzilla (2014) was okay, and Kong: Skull Island (2017), while better, still didn’t sell me on the concept of a world where Godzilla and King Kong co-exist. And then I saw the first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and I found myself completely buying in. The idea of seeing legendary monsters like King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra realized in American cinema was so exciting that I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out. This film rocketed to the top of the list of films I had to see this year. Listening to the soundtrack last week only increased my excitement. And having seen it, I have to say…I absolutely love it!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters provides all of the kaiju action you could ever want. The battles between King Ghidorah and Godzilla in particular were incredible to watch. I didn’t understand why Ghidorah needed motion capture until last night, when I realized each of Ghidorah’s heads has its own personality (which makes the monster even more fun to watch). I also like how the major kaiju are introduced in the film, with each having a scene set aside for their proper introduction. What makes it even better is that with each introduction, the film provides backstory that explains how we know the names of these creatures.

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Another thing I like in this film are the Easter eggs that refer back to the original Japanese films. There’s a reference to the Oxygen Destroyer from the original 1954 film, and, unless I’m mistaken, there’s an oblique reference to the twins that are connected to Mothra in multiple films.

Now, with that being said, the film does have its flaws. One of the biggest issues for me are the plot points dealing with the Hollow Earth. I understand, for the most part, what they’re going for with this concept, but I also feel it hasn’t been explained enough. Furthermore, if you went in to Godzilla: KOTM without first seeing Kong: Skull Island, the Hollow Earth theory will be completely new to you, when actually it’s first mentioned in Kong. Now, if I understand the information revealed in the credits correctly, the Hollow Earth is going to be more explored in Godzilla vs. Kong, however I feel like some of those revelations are going to come too late for some and should have arrived in their own separate film, or in THIS film. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, while THAT underwater scene with the Hollow Earth was really cool to look at, I needed more exposition as to how all of that could exist where it does.

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Another flaw that bugs me the more I think about it is Charles Dance. Given how incredible the actor is, I feel like we didn’t get as much of him in the story as we should have. Yes, he has a few good scenes, but I thought there would be a lot more. Also, I really don’t like that his plot arc is essentially left hanging. Did he get away? Did he die with his associates? We don’t know because the movie doesn’t tell us (and as far as I know, he’s not cast in Godzilla vs. Kong). Apart from that, I liked the human story in this film. I agree it’s not the fanciest story ever told, but then again, it’s a Godzilla film, it doesn’t have to be fancy to work.

Overall, despite its flaws, I really enjoyed Godzilla: King of the Monsters. As I suspected, the music elevated certain scenes to epic levels of greatness. I really hope that there will be more films in the future that feature Rodan, Mothra, and the other kaiju now that they’ve been properly introduced. I also think this is the film that finally cemented the MonsterVerse as a solid concept.

Let me know what you think about Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Kong: Skull Island (2017), my thoughts

Film Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

The official soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now available. The music for the third installment in the Monsterverse (following Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017)) was composed by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead). This film sees the world under assault from a series of titans, including Rodan, and the seemingly almighty King Ghidorah. It will ultimately be up to Godzilla to prove himself the alpha monster and take his place as King of the Monsters.

Regarding the score, Bear McCreary had this to say:

“For Godzilla, I chose to incorporate and adapt the legendary Akira Ifukube’s iconic theme, and for Mothra, Yuji Koseki’s immortal ‘Mothra’s Song,’ both being classic themes from the franchise’s origins,” McCreary explained. “I hoped to form a connection between Ifukube’s uniquely brilliant style and the aesthetics of modern blockbusters.”

Additionally, “director Michael Dougherty used the term “Monster Opera” when describing the magnitude and importance of the score to the storytelling.”

I definitely get the sense of “Monster Opera” when listening to McCreary’s score for this film. The music overall creates an epic sense of scope that matches what I’ve seen of the monsters in the previews thus far. The music proclaims what we’ve long known: Godzilla: King of the Monsters is going to be an epic clash on every level.

McCreary does a masterful job incorporating Ifukube’s iconic theme for Godzilla into the score. It’s played relatively straight in the main title, but then McCreary…heightens it, if that makes sense, by incorporating a variety of instruments, remixing the theme to help it reach even greater levels of grandeur. The original theme reappears throughout the score, and I love that McCreary took the time to musically tie this Godzilla film back to the original, as if to say “this is a true successor to the original Godzilla, the music say so.”

Aside from the tracks that include McCreary’s take on the original theme, “Rodan” is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks in the score. I’m not sure if this is Rodan’s theme or simply music associated with his appearance in a scene (there IS a difference), but I love this music anyway. I think this track exemplifies just how dangerous Rodan and the other titans are. McCreary incorporates loud trumpet blasts that I suspect might be mimicking the sounds that Rodan makes (that is a complete guess on my part, I haven’t seen any of the original kaiju films that have Rodan in them so I’m not sure what he sounds like). And if nothing else, these trumpet blasts symbolize the danger that Rodan represents. This music is loud, it’s blaring, it practically screams “Oh my god, RUN!”

And then there’s the music associated with Ghidorah, the monster I’m most looking forward to seeing apart from Godzilla himself. I can’t name these particular tracks because it might lead to some spoilers, but the music that makes up Ghidorah’s theme and is otherwise associated with him left me completely enraptured. I swear McCreary has incorporated into the music a sense of motion that mimics Ghidorah’s three heads moving and twisting about. I am very excited to hear this music in context once the film comes out.

Overall, this is a fantastic film score. For the sake of avoiding potential spoilers I’m not covering the entire soundtrack but believe me when I say this soundtrack latches onto you and doesn’t let you go until the end. Some tracks are fraught with tension, and in others you can almost feel the monsters stomping about as the music plays. Even though the film doesn’t come out until next week, I’m convinced that McCreary has created a score that will seamlessly intertwine with the action to create a spellbinding story. You should definitely listen to this soundtrack when you get the chance, it is one of the best I’ve heard so far this year.

Once you listen to the score (and see the film), let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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