Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Victory Dance

I recently watched Godzilla vs The Smog Monster, Godzilla vs Megalon and Monster Zero on local television station KHIZ three consecutive weekday afternoons. These were the old dubbed U.S. theatrical versions, the quality of which looked like a twenty year old betamax tape left outside during a Californian brush fire (Too soon?) airing on local broadcast television; all of which nicely compliments the movies' low rent charms.

Originally titled Godzilla vs Hedorah, Godzilla vs The Smog Monster has the King of the Monsters taking on a blob monster made of pollution named Hedorah, but pronounced "Heedra" in the dub. But before we get to that, the movie opens with a psychedelic intro featuring an environmentalist themed song that would that even Captain Planet would think was a bit over the top.


Hedorah starts off as a giant tadpole before crawling onto land. He then evolves into a flying manta ray, and finally turns into some bipedal creature made up of black ooze but the costume doesn't quite pull this off. He looks more like some Lovecraftian squid creature which, when you think about it, would actually have been much cooler.

I had a real problem with the dub. I honestly think I would have understood the movie better if it were in Japanese. Oh sure those hokey dubs of old Japanese monster movies might be humorous, if ridiculously overused, fodder for parody but the fun is over when you have to listen to one. It doesn’t help that what it is I do not understand is already indecipherable exposition to begin with.

Godzilla vs The Smog Monster isn't a bad movie. In fact it has some good ideas. I like how Hedorah spreads toxins where ever he goes, corroding metal and poisoning people. The death toll is surprisingly high. He even horribly scars the movie’s requisite little boy, his scientist father and Godzilla himself. Not to be outdone Godzilla takes out one of Hedorah’s eyes.

It's just too slowly paced. It’s one thing for the human scenes to be sleep-inducing but the daikaiju scenes are no more ingratiating. It’s such a dark and murky film, in tone and in lighting. Apparently Hedorah’s toxins even affect our television screens.

It might be nice to see the movie remade today. They could give the story a greater sense of urgency and better special effects to demonstrate the devastation Hedorah leaves in his trail. Then again do we really want social messages in our daikaiju films?

Still, we get to see Godzilla fly. That’s worth the price of admission alone.



Godzilla vs Megalon is a better movie though the title is misleading. It should really be called Jet Jaguar vs Megalon until the last twenty minutes when it becomes Jet Jaguar & Godzilla vs Megalon & Gigan. Jet Jaguar is the real star of the movie Jet Jaguar is a flying robot with the ability to grow gigantic. The Ultraman influences are blatantly obvious. What's the Japanese word for plagiarism?

Godzilla is barely in at all. He shows up towards the end after Jet Jaguar asks for help. And Jet Jaguar really does need the help. He's getting his metal ass handed to him by the tag team of Megalon and Gigan. The duo make such a good pair hey give each other a high five despite the fact neither of them has hands.


The main baddie is Megalon, who is a giant stag beetle with jagged rocky appendages for arms. He's being controlled by a race of ocean dwellers that happen to look just like normal human beings. I guess Sebastian lied to us about the benefits of ocean life because the land of Seatopia has been ravaged by the land lovers’ nuclear tests. The sea people have set up base on Easter Island where they plot their revenge and prance about in costumes stranger than anything else in this movie.

I suppose the sea people (and the filmmakers) felt Megalon alone wasn't sufficient so returning Godzilla baddie Gigan shows up as giant monster backup. Gigan is a lizard with a metal beak, sickles for hands, a razor blade on his stomach, and a giant pointed fin on his back. His design is so ludicrously overdone he looks like he belongs in a Nineties comic book.

The human sequences consist of a pair of men and whom I'm guessing is their son, (I wonder if they adopted or if they used a surrogate?) building and controlling Jet Jaguar. They also get into a tussle with those lame sea people villains. Whereas the human scenes in Godzilla vs The Smog Monster were boring, the human scenes in Godzilla vs Megalon are merely bizarre.

Unsurprisingly the final two on two battle is the highlight of the movie. I won’t spoil who wins, but I don’t really need to. Godzilla and Jet Jaguar make a great team, with the robot holding down the enemy as the lizard delivers the final blow.



Finally I watched Monster Zero a.k.a. Invasion of Astro Monster. The budget looks like its double that of either of the previous movies I watched, despite the fact it looks a few years older. I think this has more to do with the filmmakers’ ambition than the amount of money spent. Of the three movies Monster Zero feels the most like an epic.

Humanity discovers a new planet in the solar system and dub it Planet X. Two astronauts are sent to explore it, because after all don’t we always send astronauts to study every planet we discover? One of the astronauts is gaijin Nick Adams. I guess in the original version they dub over his voice in Japanese, which sounds slightly more entertaining than having all the other characters dubbed in English. The other astronaut is upset about his sister dating a guy he doesn’t approve of. You think a guy going to an alien world would have better priorities. This guy he doesn’t care for is a gawky inventor with horn-rimmed glasses. It is comforting to know some stereotypes transcend cultures.


On Planet X they find a race of aliens who just happen to look just like us earthlings, except they take their cues from Corey Hart and wear their sunglasses at night. The people of Planet X are being constantly attacked by King Ghidorah. How the three headed dragon ended up on the alien world, I have no clue. The aliens make a deal with the humans. They take Godzilla and Rodan off our hands to battle King Ghidorah, and in exchange they’ll give us the cure for all human diseases. The humans agree and Godzilla makes short work of King Ghidorah and celebrates with a little dance.



It is of course a trap. King Ghidorah was under the aliens’ control the whole time and now they control Godzilla and Rodan as well. They then use this trio of monsters to try to take over the earth. Of course what the aliens don’t count on is that the inventor has created a device that emits sound that completely screws wit the aliens signal. He may save the world but his girlfriend’s brother still thinks he’s a nerd. The sound harms the alien much the same way as in Mars Attacks and the humans defeat their would-be conquerers. With the aliens gone, the monsters go back to their old ways and wail on each other some more.



Granted I’m glossing over much of the plot. For example Nick Adams falls in love with a woman who is an alien spy in disguise. He realizes this when he finds that all women on Planet X look exactly alike. All women are the same? Someone has issues. These Godzilla movies all have fun and weird and ideas, and while they are an acquired taste everyone deserves to see a flying giant lizard.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Road Map of Pain

The long fabled Alien slash Predator hybrid creature (or "Predalien" in layman's' terms) has made its long awaited debut. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see a picture, if you don't mind the spoiler.

Every time at around this year I start watching a lot of horror and monster movies. If you can't figure out why I recommend consulting your calendar. I watch movies throughout the month but mostly within this past weekend. Included in my sporadic marathon is a trio of Godzilla films that I was planning on reviewing for the blog. Unfortunately the unending length of the review and my unending procrastination don't quite gel. However now that I've mentioned it I'm obligated to post it eventually. Hopefully I'll get it done before All Hollow's Eve.

I've watched a lot of movies besides the Godzilla movies; too many to list here. I will mention a few. First Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein is terribly overrated, mostly because of Abbot and Costello. The quips are forced and you can usually see them coming a mile away. I'm not sure which one is Abbot and which one is Costello but one isn't that funny and the other contributes nothing in addition to being unlikable. Another one of the movies I watched was The Frighteners. I've seen it before but now I've changed my opinion of it. It is not a good movie. It's a friggin' great movie. I can't tell if Jeffery Combs' character is terrible or brilliant. Either way he's awesome in it. I need to get the DVD.

Speaking of the ol' digital versatile disc, Spider-Man 3 comes out on DVD on Tuesday. I have no idea which store exclusive version I will be buying. Target has a three disc set but the third disc sounds lame with a bunch of YouTube-esque clips of people playing with Spider-Man toys. Wal-Mart's bonus disc sounds more interesting but it only comes with the single disc edition of the movie. Ditto Circuit City's free soundtrack which is a good deal otherwise. Best Buy will have masks and a trick or treat bag which is appropriate considering the timing. Suncoast and f.y.e will have three different ten inch figures. If I could I'd buy them all.

FYI live action Hollywood adaptations of Akira and Ikki-Tousen are in the works. The former sounds like a bad idea. The latter is undoubtedly a bad idea.

Here's that promised spoiler. As excepted he has his mother's (or is it father's?) hair.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nerd Alert

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reggie Fils-Aime is Mr. Skullhead

It's time for another Good Idea Bad Idea.


Good Idea: Including Sonic the Hedgehog as a playable character in Super Smash Bros Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.

Bad Idea: Delaying Super Smash Bros Brawl from next month to February 10th, 2008.

Good Idea: Pushing up the release date of Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games from November 20th to November 13th.

Bad Idea: Wasting our time with a video game about Mario and Sonic jumping over hurdles and throwing javelins. This is not what I waited sixteen years for.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overkill


I think Transformers is going to beak a record for most store exclusives available when the DVD is released next Tuesday.

Albertsons: mouse pad

Best Buy: Cliffjumper and Optimus Prime Robot Heroes figures & Megatron lithograph. They'll also have metallic Ratchet and Megatron figures sold separately.

Blockbuster: Transformers MP3 player

Borders: booklet on the making of the movie

Circuit City: gift card for downloadable online content & baseball cap

Fred Meyer: t-shirt

Hastings: reversible beanie

Sears / K-Mart: LED flashlight

Target: Transforming Optimus Prime case & comic book

Transworld stores: steelbook case

Wal-Mart: Transformers Beginnings DVD narrated by Peter Cullen

I pity those who would attempt to collect them all. Even a supermarket chain is getting in on the action. Also I'm surprised the Optimus packaging (pictured above) is so big. It's taller than the action figures.

Update 10/12: Click here for pics of the Target, Circuit City, and Best Buy exclusives. Click here for pics of the Wal-Mart exclusive.

Update 10/15: More exclusives added.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This Am Not Terrible Blog



I Bizarro'd the header. Enjoy. Bizarro would, but then again his tastes are slightly left of center.

Update 10/11: Well that lasted about a day. Old header is back. Sorry but the soulless look in eyes of the anime girl versions of Spongebob and Patrick was freaking me out. Rita's no looker either. Click here to relive the horror.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Judging a DVD by its Cover

Let's take a gander at the artwork for some upcoming DVDs. You can't judge a book by its cover but these are DVDs so that doesn't matter.


It's not at all consistent with the previous Die Hard movies, but taken on its own it's pretty good. It's also much nicer than the single disc version.


The composition on this one is terrible. The characters' placement just seems so random. And shouldn't they be facing the opposite direction? Voldermort is totally going to attack them from behind.


The logo for this, the fifth or sixth release of The Princess Bride, is an ambigram. It looks the same if you flip it upside down. It's a really cool effect and helps makes the artwork really shine.

Eh, it's just so plain. The donut stain in the logo is a nice touch. Still I'm underwhelmed. It doesn't even get points for minimalism with Spider-Pig and the reviewer quote on the side.

Haul-o

Okay unfortunately for me this is not my haul. This excellent collection of Halo merch belongs to a good friend. I'm just sharing these photos on his behalf. Included in all this is a copy of Halo 3 itself, two bottles of Game Fuel including one in a special edition aluminum bottle, the Halo edition Zune, a Slupee cup, and a replica of Master Chief's helmet and the ultra elaborate package it comes in. Full details are in the second photo which include captions. I am wallowing in envy.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Haul-leluiah

I did some serious hauling in the past week. I picked up two Transformers movie figures and three Star Wars figures. Some of the stuff I stumbled across is considered somewhat hard to find. I hadn't seen any of these figures in person before except the Stormtrooper. I'm not used to being lucky.


I've geeked out about Arcee before so it's neat that I actually found one. Any piece of Bumblebee merchandise seems to be popular, considering the large role he played in the movie and the deluxe Camaro Concept Bumblebee is the best toy of the character. The store also had a Longarm that I reluctantly passed up because I'm holding out for a future version with a broken Bumblebee and a little Megan Fox behind the wheel.


At a different store I got some Star Wars figures. I've been buying Star Wars figures for a long time but these are the first Stormtrooper and Snowtrooper figures I've ever owned. Plus I also bought Boba Fett in cartoon colors from the Star Wars Holiday Special. The Fett Man was the best thing to come out of that legendarily bad special. The second best thing was former Honeymooner Art Carney making terrible Han Solo puns.


On Tuesday I received the third volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Limited Edition. Yuki is on the cover this time and as far as extraterrestrial witches go she's looking cute. Here's some comparison pics with the previous volumes.

I've Been Battle Damaged


No those aren't popped zits. They're wounds from airsoft pellets. I got hit in the face and neck, as well as the arm and chest. I had never used airsoft guns before and was feeling a bit apprehensive about it. I was terrible at it and got hurt but had a tremendous amount of fun doing so. Seriously it was a blast.

In other news I'm working on big update. Stay tuned for some haulage.