Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Godzilla Showa Series, Some Thoughts

I just finished completing the Showa series of Godzilla films. For those who don’t know, the Showa series consists of the Godzilla films made before the 1984 “reboot” The Return of Godzilla, or Godzilla 1985 as it’s known in the States. There’s 15 of these movies, and it was great watching them in chronological order to see when things first started popping up, like Godzilla turning good (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster) and when the series started going downhill (Son of Godzilla). I’ve always loved Godzilla, and unlike a lot of Godzilla fans, I have only seen the Showa films, since these were the ones being aired on marathons when I was growing up, and the ones I purchased as budget VHS sets when they came out. To celebrate this series, I’m going to throw down some lists. Enjoy!

The 5 Best Godzilla Films (excluding the first one)

King Kong vs Godzilla

Ditch the shitty American version and seek out the original Japanese film. The American film is mangled beyond recognition, and the original stands out as a great satire.

Mothra Vs Godzilla

The final battle between Mothra and Godzilla isn’t that great, but everything else about this film is. Probably the best-looking Godzilla film in the series, and the fantasy elements of Mothra mix well with the brute monster mayhem of Godzilla.

Godzilla vs Hedorah

A Godzilla “art” film. This one’s great because Hedorah is actually a threat, and you see people suffering because of him. There’s fun random animation thrown in between scenes, and when Hedorah starts sucking smoke from the factories, it’s disturbing. The ending kinda lags, but this is a shockingly good film for late in the series.

Monster Zero

This film is a lot of fun, and Nick Adams is terrific as your typical hard-nosed 60s spaceman. The aliens are deliciously dickish and look great as well, plus you have Godzilla and Rodan teaming up to battle King Ghidorah.

Godzilla vs the Sea Monster

I mainly like this one because of how well it ties together both Godzilla and Mothra’s stories near the end, and how Godzilla is used as a weapon again the villains. The Red Bamboo kidnapping people from Infant Island and using them as slaves is nice and disturbing, and even though Ebirah’s just a giant shrimp, he also has personality.

The Worst Godzilla Film: Godzilla vs. Megalon

When I watched this movie I really wanted to be objective about it, since everyone pegs this as the worst Godzilla film. That reputation is well-deserved. In addition to the film just being an overall piece of shit, the most egregious thing about it is that it seems to serve only as a masked pilot for The Jet Jaguar Show, a shitty Ultraman rip off. However, I liked how Megalon looks, almost in spite of how horrible everything else about this movie is.

The 6 Biggest WTF Moments in the Showa Godzilla Series

(Dishonorable Mention) Godzilla Raids Again: The Racist American Dubbing

The dubbing of this film is so shockingly bad, I almost expected the voice actor to say “I rikey vely much!” at some point.

Monster Zero: Godzilla dances a victory jig.

Godzilla vs Hedorah: Godzilla can fly now, and looks like a shrimp.

Godzilla vs Gigan: Godzilla and Anguilas talk to each other (in English).

Godzilla vs Megalon: Godzilla’s awesome new tail slide into Megalon.

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla: Godzilla transforms himself into a gigantic magnet, which is only slightly less retarded than that issue of Spider-Man where he all of a sudden has powers of “chest expansion” to break some chains.

Terror of Mechagodzilla: Robot Katsura’s exposed breasts during an operation. That one I REALLY wasn’t expecting.

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