Archive for Kaiju

Art of Godzilla KOTM

Posted in Kaiju, The King of Monsters with tags , , , , on June 4, 2019 by MONSTERMINIONS

This came in today via Amazon. Lots of conceptual art, including 41 pages (out of 192) featuring or depicting Monster Zero. Personally I liked the Rodan and Mothra designs. There is one drawing depicting a Titan that looks a lot like Gigan.

Godzilla and Friends

Posted in Kaiju with tags , on November 9, 2012 by MONSTERMINIONS

Kinda quiet around here…

5 Underappreciated Giant Film Monsters

Posted in Kaiju with tags , on June 2, 2012 by MONSTERMINIONS

We all know about King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera, The Cloverfield Monster and Majin The Monster of Terror.  Wait, perhaps you’ve never heard of Giant Majin?  Here’s my short list of  5 underappreciated giant monsters and associated films.

  • Meganulon / Meganula / Megaguirus (Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, 2000).  These are three developmental stages of a dragonfly-like Kaiju that test Godzilla’s patience.  At one point in the film swarms of Meganula cover Godzilla.  I love the final design of these monsters. Here’s conceptual art (above) for the Meganula.  When we think of Godzilla’s adversaries we usually think of Ghidorah or the Smog Monster, but Megaguirus is one of my favorites.

  • Reptilicus (Reptilicus, 1961). This isn’t a bad film, but poor Reptilicus will never win the “authentic monster of the year award”. Yet there’s something charming about this acid-spitting leviathon from Lapland.  Along with Troll Hunter and Terror in the Midnight Sun (1959), Reptilicus is my favorite Scandinavian monster film!

  • Majin (Daimajin, 1966). There are 3 of these films from DAIEI. The first one is the best. A giant stone god comes to life to protect exploited villagers. The production values, score, acting and special effects are all top notch. I like how the Giant Majin looks annoyed at the underlings, knowing he can squish them like bugs.
  • Dogora (Dagora, the Space Monster, 1964). Dogora or Dagora? Without a doubt this giant carbon-consuming space jellyfish is one of the most unusual creations from the fruitful minds of Toho. Dogora appears as both a marionette puppet and a cell-animated creation. Here’s some conceptual art.
  • Giant Preying Mantis (The Deadly Mantis, 1957).  Of the Universal-International films, most people will pick Tarantula (1955) as their favorite giant bug flick. My main gripe about Tarantula are the projected live action images of the spider.  I prefer the Giant Mantid, which is one of Universal’s coolest creations. I love how the mantid roars…
Well, just a short list.  I better get some air and enjoy the summer. I’m blogging way too much.  I might have to pop in a Corman flick tonight. Ah, they don’t make ’em like they used to.

S. Galbraith IV, 1994. Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, McFarland & Company, Inc.

Criterion Godzilla DVD (2012)

Posted in Kaiju with tags , , on January 29, 2012 by MONSTERMINIONS

Criterion’s 2-disc DVD edition of Godzilla is a first for several reasons. It’s the first time both the original 1954 Japanese print Gojira and a restored Americanized, Terry Morse / Joseph E. Levine 1956 version Godzilla: King of the Monsters have been released together in the same packaging for home viewing. It’s the first time “King of the Monsters” has been restored (although it was available on the Toho packaged DVD set). It’s the first kaiju films to be released by Criterion. It’s the first Godzilla film to be licensed for release by Toho to Criterion (although there are several other Toho/Kurosawa films in the Criterion catalog). The 2-disc set also offers the first audio commentary on the ’56 film, and the DVD set provides the first ever glimpse and analysis of various matte shots used in the films.

A few year’s back I was fortunate to have seen a newly restored print of Gojira at the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. I was floored. This was not the narrated Raymond Burr film I watched so many times as a child. This film made me think. I realized that director Ishirō Honda had fashioned a commentary on the horrors of nuclear war.

Gojira was eventually released by Toho in both a restored print on DVD and Blu-ray. I own both and the quality is good. So why release the film again? I’m not really sure, but the forthcoming remake by Monsters director Gareth Edwards (2014) probably factored into Toho letting Criterion take a stab at restoration and packaging. Criterion’s prints of both movies look wonderful, but I felt at times the night scenes in Gojira appeared to be a bit too dark. Eventually I’ll break down and purchase the blu-ray to confirm. My TV is an early cathode-ray HD variety and does not allow for optimal viewing, so I confess the print may be fine.

I like the supplements, especially the audio essay The Unluckiest Dragon about the irradiated Japanese vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru and the featurette on the optical effects (that alone was worth the upgrade from the Toho DVD release). David Kalat’s commentaries are informative also, but I preferred his work on Criterion’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

One very minor quibble. The packaging is awesome, with a booklet essay by historian J. Hoberman and a fold-out Godzilla! But us monsterminions know better! That’s not 1954 Gojira! That’s an imposter! That’s a whole ‘nother Gojira!

ArtRage Kaiju

Posted in Kaiju with tags , on November 26, 2011 by MONSTERMINIONS

I love the ArtRage Application for the iPad. Here’s a little render I put together this afternoon. I was going for an interpretation of Godzilla, but this kaiju is more like a variant of Varan.


Destroy All Monsters (Blue-ray)

Posted in Kaiju with tags , on November 14, 2011 by MONSTERMINIONS

I’m not blown away by the new Destroy All Monsters Blue-ray disc from Media-Blasters.  The print is so-so.  I can’t see much improvement from the “50th Anniversary of Godzilla” DVD of DAM, which also included a nice CD Soundtrack.  On this new disc, there are 5 audio options, including two English dubs, a commentary by Kaiju experts Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle, and multi-channel Japanese tracks.  Some of the supplements are cool.  For some reason I like the 8mm film presentation.  DAM is one of my favorite Toho monster flicks and it features a spectacular march by Akira Ifukube and 11 Kaiju!  But you have to look quick to spot Varan.