Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, from 1995, was literally advertised in Japan with the slogan “Godzilla Dies”. But even if you didn’t know that going in, it’s a film that positively oozes fin de siècle gravitas and sincerity and gloom, making it very clear that whatever the story the film intends to tell, it will arrive at a point of intense, permanent change, and perhaps not for the better. (As for why […]

I must offer two apologies, one of them to a real person. That being Okawara Takao, the director of Godzilla vs. Mothra and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, the 1992 and 1993 entries in a franchise that was still going strong as you please when he stepped away for a year to make Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon in 1994. I have on multiple occasions accused Okawara’s directorial vision of being unusually […]

So, 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II isn’t a sequel to 1974’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (that was, of course, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla). Toho decreed that to be the official English title solely as a way of making it minutely easy on us poor anglophones to distinguish between a pair of movies that aren’t so easy to tell in Japanese, either; the difference there is that the character 対 is replaced […]

Pay close attention: there we have Mothra vs. Godzilla, a 1964 film that for most of its life was better-known in English-speaking territories as Godzilla vs. the Thing or Godzilla vs. Mothra. Here we have Godzilla vs. Mothra, a 1992 film that for most of its life was better-known in English-speaking territories as Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth. But we’re going strictly by Toho’s official titles here. I […]

Even by the standards of a movie franchise whose immediate prior entry featured an 80-meter dinosaur spitting beams of nuclear energy at a giant carnivorous rose that was cloned from the dinosaur’s own DNA, the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is really peculiar. Not, entirely, peculiar and bad. And I do not regard as a problem the single thing most often cited as a damned flaw in writer-director Ohmori […]

The important part first: BioGoji, the Godzilla suit featured in Godzilla vs. Biollante, is my all-time favorite design of the iconic creature. It’s not flawless – like all of the VS Series Godzillas, it has chunky thighs that suggest that too much devouring nuclear sites and not enough time jogging is taking its toll (but hey, he was in his 40s at this point, cut him some slack). Though the […]

I hope you don’t mind if I immediately bog things down in a semantics discussion, because I’m going to do it regardless: The film with which Toho’s classic monster Godzilla made his first appearance of the 1980s, nine years after Terror of Mechagodzilla made so little impression and sent the franchise into mothballs in 1975, has one of at least three different titles, depending on what country you’re in and […]

From just about any angle you want to approach it, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla is heavy with Significance for the Godzilla franchise. For one thing, with 28 total Japanese movies and one semi-official American production released in the monster’s first 59 years, this fifteenth film finds us at the numerical halfway point. But that’s for the accountants. More importantly for the movie itself, it was the first Godzilla film directed […]

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, from 1974, was among the first Godzilla pictures I ever saw, so I was never till now in a position to appreciate what a massive shift in the series it represented. In particular, what a jaw-dropping change it meant for director Fukuda Jun, whose four preceding Godzilla projects had all been largely frothy, juvenile affairs with far too much emphasis on James Bond-style thriller mechanics. The optimist […]

1It’s impossible to say that 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon represents the flaming-out of the Godzilla franchise, or dropping off a cliff, or any other colorful metaphor you like for a movie series just plain giving up. After all, it came out just a year after Godzilla vs. Gigan, a movie which doesn’t leave very much space for any more plummeting. And surely we have not forgotten Son of Godzilla, or […]

After having been quite horrified by the outlandish weirdness (even by the standards of Japanese pop culture!) of 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, series producer Tanaka Tomoyuki had one demand, and that was for the next year’s movie to be a sane and normal Godzilla movie like all the other Godzilla movies. And by God, but that’s exactly what he got: Godzilla vs. Gigan is about as derivative as the franchise […]

We can pussyfoot around, or we can be frank: Godzilla vs. Hedorah, from 1971, is the god-damn weirdest of all Godzilla films, and it puts in a superlative argument for being the god-damn weirdest giant monster movie that Toho ever put its name to. This is a truth largely unrelated to judgments of good and bad – Godzilla vs. Hedorah essentially transcends such judgments, anyway. It was the first and […]