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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review: WRATH OF DAIMAJIN (1966)

If you're just joining me, my son and I have compiled a list (check it out HERE) of about 70 films, primarily Japanese, in the kaiju/tokusatsu genres for us to watch and review before the new Godzilla movie comes out next May.

Today's movie is the last in Daiei's "god monster statue Daimajin" trilogy.  Released like the first two in 1966, this one's title is very confusing.  Like the second film, it depends on where you see it and a couple of the variations are the same as the second film: Wrath of Daimajin, Return of Daimajin, Revenge of Daimajin and Daimajin Strikes Again are but a few.

I'll kick it off this time:
I don't get the poster for this one.  Obviously, someone in the art department confused elements of film two (parted waters, exploding island) and film three (snow, hawk, sword). 
 Understandable considering the way they cranked these out in a single year. 
I'm happy to report that this film is not a carbon copy of film one.  Film two suffered mightily for that. 
Unfortunately, the formula has been replaced with four annoying kids on a quest.  Ugh.  Daiei really seems to love annoying kids (see Gamera franchise). 
The film opens with a mostly unseen Daimajin wrecking stuff, but there's no rhyme or reason to it.  Later we learn that some men from a small village had been caught by an evil warlord and put to work.  The kids decide to hike across a mountain to get them.  Ridiculously, as we've seen so often of kids in this era of films, they end up being more resourceful than the adults in pursuit.  There's prayers to Maijin, the bad guys kill the heretofore unseen messenger of Maijin, the hawk, and the statue awakens. 
I will say that most of the Maijin's attack is great, again.  Fantastic model and suit work, loaded with menace and Akira Ifukube's score.  And, as my son will gladly report, he finally pulled out his sword and used it to great effect. 
I had hoped that, perhaps, the third film would have featured Maijin versus another statue god.  I mean, not everyone in Japan worshipped the same statues, so why not have a couple of them fight?  That would have been cool.  Alas. 
Daimajin Strikes Again ... gains a bit for not recycling film one's plot; loses a bit for using annoying kids.  3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Now here's James:
Well, describing wise, these kids were trying to save their dads, so they had a huge adventure to save them, but finally, ffiinnnaaallllllyyyy, he used the sword, and it was the best way to show the sword, too!! 
So, rating wise, i'll say,...5 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness! 
The trailer:

Next time, Son of Godzilla.  (Yes, Minya.)

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