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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964).

I'll go first:
You remember several films back when I sniffed out the beginning of the "goofy" phase when they started to pandering to kids?  Remember how I was wrong?  Well, I'm getting that scent again.  This film might be the real beginning of the kid pandering.  It's hard to say why ... maybe the kids screaming for the Twins on that TV show, the occasional double takes and "shaking it off" moves the monsters did, some of the fight scenes, the monster "conversation" ... maybe I'm imagining it. 
Four monsters (not three, as stated in the Japanese title for the film: Three Giant Monsters: Earth's Greatest Battle) wollop on each other in this one.  Godzilla, natch, King Ghidorah, of course, plus Rodan and Mothra.   
The model work for Ghidorah's attack is fantastic and the fight between it and Godzilla (and the bridge that gets destroyed) is also mighty good.  Puppets were used a few too many times for my taste and the footage was occasionally sped up ... Godzilla Raids Again should stand as an example of why you don't do that. 
I don't have much to say against the film except for the lame human element.  As usual, a weak character story can make a good film tedious.  This time, we get a princess, targeted for assassination, who becomes a space prophetess thanks to some selective alien amnesia.  There's the requisite reporter intrigue, criminals, scientists, etc.  There was just too much time spent on these people.  Get back to the monsters.  
I found it odd that the Fairy Twins were doing the Japanese talk show circuit like Steve and Edie, or George Gobel or something.  Strange.  Also a bit odd: the conversation between Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla.  Thankfully, it wasn't as downright goofy as the scene in Godzilla vs. Gigan when we actually hear them talk (or see speech balloons). 
Ghidorah's fantastic entrance is worth the watch.  His attacks are devastating and it's a fitting introduction to the franchise's most enduring villain (excepting GMK, of course).  And Ifukube's music, often a reworking of themes used in Varan, is phenomenal. 
(I won "Spot Serizawa" this time.) 
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster ... 3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Now my 10-year-old son, James, chimes in:
I thought it was awesome! First time seeing Ghidorah, you know. So, they're making Godzilla movies for kids for the the very first time, because in a scene, the monsters agreed to be friendly D: (WHAT?!) I KNOW, RIGHT!  The puppets they used were funny and Ghidorah's fight reminded me of a part of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. 
Anyways, I'll Give it 3.8 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness! 
Here's the trailer:

And here's the Pee-Wee's Big Adventure scene James referenced (no video, unfortunately):

Up next, kaiju of a different sort: Frankenstein Conquers the World.

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