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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: RODAN (1956)

Working our way down the big list, today’s film is Rodan (1956).

James, my son, will type first:
When I saw it, I noticed that in the airport tower, a plane was landing, right? It rolled forward and went backwards and forwards again! I thought it was so weird! 
And plus, Rodan, when he flew, he sounded like a jet, and again, weird :(?? X2 
So, about the beginning with the bugs, the beginning wasn’t even a Rodan movie. But those bugs were everywhere!! They also know how to hunt!! 
:(! (so were all going to die?) Yes, unhappy face. 
For awesome effects and mutated bugs :0 (Ahh!!! ) Stop screaming screaming face!! Anyways, i give it 4.1 atomic breaths of awesomeness!!
So now the emoticons are talking. Can’t say I’ve seen that before.

My turn:
Tohoscope. Oooooh. Color! Ahhhhhhhh. 
Rodan certainly has a great look and sound. James is right, though. In the beginning, there’s nothing Rodan-like about the film at all for quite a while. Giant Meganula larvae are eating miners and that’s fun enough. Then comes the reveal: the larvae are just food for newly hatched giant pterosaurs. 
These first few kaiju films seem to want to ground the monsters in some sort of reality. Gojira is a dinosaur theropod; Anguirus is an ankylosaur; Rodan is a pterosaur; Varan, as we’ll see, is a giant “varanopode” (pre-Triassic lizard). It’s a nice thought, but I don’t think it’s a necessary one. 
Fun trivia: in Japan, Rodan is “Radon,” a name kind of derived from “Pteranodon.” It was changed in the US to avoid confusion with the deadly gaseous element. 
With two Rodans attacking Kyushu, there’s lots of good model fun. I particularly love one moment where we see people, inside model windows, “running” past as destruction levels the street and the building around them. (It’s in the trailer below.) And Ifukube’s doing the music, so you know it’s good. 
Here’s something new I’ve noticed, though. This “Kaiju Movie Challenge” will be our third time through all of these movies and I’m beginning to more easily recognize actors. Not really a big deal, except … Toho really seems to like certain actors. Akihiko Harata, who played Dr. Serizawa in Gojira, is back. He’s in fourteen Toho kaiju/tokusatsu films. Kenji Sahara, who plays the lead miner, Shigeru, in Rodan, is in a mind-bending twenty-one of the films on our list! Now, look. I’m glad you liked the guy, but c’mon.
Rodan. Introduces a great monster and steps up the film quality and effects work, too. 4 out of five atomic breath blasts.
And here’s the trailer for Rodan:

Up next, The Mysterians.

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