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TK's Top Ten: The Godzilla Series Part 2

Posted by StuckintheSeventies423 on 3:43 PM

TK here, still stuck in the seventies, bringing you the second and final part of my Top Ten Godzilla Movies. I know it took some time for me to get the second half complete but I’ve been very busy lately with my life consuming job. I even have to work on my birthday in a few weeks so fuck my life! But whatever, I’ve worked at the same place for nearly five years so I should really know what to expect by now. Intro’s aside (see Part 1), let’s jump right in and get this thing started!

5. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

The mid-1960’s are often considered to be the Golden Age of Toho Monster flicks as they were usually producing two or three each year. They were really cranking them out with no signs of slowing down. In 1964, Toho decided to up the ante once more by making a movie that featured not only Godzilla and a single opponent but several other giant monsters as well. On top of the abundance of giant monsters, we also get the first subplot in the entire series based around aliens (though not a full scale invasion this time) and a human story with characters that seem to lift a lot from the James Bond series which was growing in popularity at this time. Perhaps the biggest attraction for this one is the introduction of Godzilla’s arch nemesis and reoccurring villain throughout the series, King Ghidorah, the first of many monsters in the series to come from outer space.

A police detective is assigned to protect a princess who’s visiting Japan only to discover that her plane was destroyed in mid-flight. At almost the same time, a meteorite crashes into the mountains and a science team is quick to investigate, where they notice the rock glowing and exhibiting strange magnetic properties. Things get stranger when the detective finds out that the princess he was supposed to meet at the airport is alive and in Japan. However, she now claims that she’s from Mars and is more preoccupied with trying to inform the masses of the impending doom that the future brings. Sure enough, Godzilla and Rodan both appear and start battling it out across Japan. Meanwhile, a group of assassins are on the trail of the princess as the detective and his dummy of a sister try to keep her safe when a three-headed golden dragon finally breaks out from the meteor in the mountains and heads for Tokyo. With Godzilla and Rodan too busy trying to destroy each other, the people of Japan call upon Mothra and those obnoxious twin fairies and the three monsters decide to put aside their differences and work together to battle the intruder from space.

There’s a lot going on in this one! The plot moves at a break neck pace as every scene leads to something bigger and crazier. I mean, dead Martians are communicating telepathically with some princess, cheesy-gangster assassins, and four monsters all for the price of one! Godzilla and Rodan have a lengthy one on one until Mothra shows up to convince the two to team up together against King Ghidorah. By the way, Ghidorah might be the coolest looking monster creation Toho has ever come up with. He’s basically a flying golden dragon with three heads that spits lightning bolts and his initial attack on Tokyo is truly devastating. Got to love the miniature effects work in this one! This movie also promotes a really good message in the fact that Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra have to put aside their personal disputes to battle a common enemy. My only complaint is that the English dubbing is probably the worst here than any other Godzilla film but those kinds of things are forgivable. Also, this is the first film where Godzilla portrays the hero as opposed to the villain. In closing this one never stops being fun from beginning to end. No clinching, no hitting below the belt, and go! Ghidorah! What did I say about hitting below the belt (you’ll see)!

4. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

After the commercial success of King Kong vs. Godzilla, Toho realized that they had a huge money make on their hands in the form of a big radioactive lizard! The winning formula had been established! Just take Godzilla and another popular monster and watch the money roll right in! So for their next outing they decided to pit Godzilla against another one of their most popular creations, Mothra! While I’m not the biggest fan of Mothra, or those two tiny twin fairies that sing to it, this film scores massive points for giving us the most menacing take on Godzilla since his debut. The Big G is seriously pissed off in this one and will go to great lengths to annihilate greedy and exploitive business men! Divine vengeance, bitches! Tag to that a pro-environment message and you get a film that’s more relevant today than it was in its original run. But for the love of God, can those twin fairies shut the fuck up for just two minutes!

After a devastating typhoon, a gigantic egg is discovered off the shore of Japan and it isn’t long before the scientific community descends on the location. However, the greedy business men of the world have beaten them to the punch and have already bought the rights to egg and are planning on turning it into a public exhibition with a small fee of course. It isn’t long before these tiny twin fairies appear and try to explain that the egg belongs to their giant pet moth, Mothra. However, the business men refuse to give up the egg. Almost on cue, Godzilla rises from the wreckage of the typhoon and starts making his way across Japan on a bee line towards the giant egg. Unwilling to help at first, the twin fairies send the aging Mothra to try and stop Godzilla but the attempt fails and Mothra is killed in the battle. Out of options, the scientists and the fairies realize that their last hope for Japan lies within the contents of the giant egg.

I’ve heard many fans name this one as their personal favorite of the entire series and while I can easily watch this one any day of the week I’d be lying if I said this one was my all time favorite. But that doesn’t stop this one from having all the elements of a true Godzilla movie. Like I said, Godzilla’s back and badder then ever! Although he does come off a little clumsy at times, like tripping and slamming directly into one of those big Japanese castles that always seem to get destroyed! But when the army gets in his path, that’s when the Big G takes no prisoners. When will the military realize that tanks just aren’t going to cut it anymore? The human characters are probably the most believable and realistic of the entire series with no spies or aliens to be found here! This is just a great movie from beginning to end that features one of Godzilla’s most unusual entrances (rising from the ground instead of the sea). If you’re unfamiliar with the series, I recommend you check this one out first.

3. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)

By 1965, Godzilla’s worldwide fame was reaching its peak. American audiences couldn’t get enough and this encouraged several American producers to form production deals with Toho in order to make films that would be better suited for international audiences by providing more money and a token American actor in the cast. As a result, Toho produced some of its best work during this time including such oddball classics like Frankenstein Conquers the World and War of the Gargantuas. But none could be odder, weirder, or more spectacular than Godzilla vs. Monster Zero which acts as a direct sequel to Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. So for those of you keeping score at home, that would make Monster Zero the one and only King Ghidorah. This film also marks the first appearance of the “new wave” dressed alien race that has come to take over our world using giant monsters. Last but not least, we have American actor Nick Adams who hams it up as the tough guy American and appears to be having a load of fun here. Tag on a great supporting cast, some interesting subplots, and a few brilliantly staged monster battles and you have a film that rivals the greatness of Mothra vs. Godzilla.

A two man spacecraft lands on a mysterious new planet which has entered our solar system, code named Planet X. The two astronauts end up discovering that the planet is inhabited by an intelligent alien species with a strange sense of style that has been forced to live underground because of a monster that allegedly wiped out all life on the planet’s surface. The monster is revealed to be King Ghidorah (Monster Zero to the aliens) and they try to strike a deal with the astronauts. If we allow them to use Godzilla and Rodan to stop Ghidorah then they will give us the formula to a miracle drug that will cure all illnesses on the planet. After handing over Godzilla and Rodan and witnessing the first monster battle on another planet, the alien’s miracle drug is revealed to be a farce and it appears they are preparing to take over the Earth using Godzilla, Rodan, and Ghidorah (who was under their control the whole time) for its most valuable resource, water. With no real defense against this threat, the scientists of Japan set forth a master plan based on several weaknesses they’ve observed in their enemies from the stars.

Starting with a trip to an unknown planet and ending with an epic showdown between three monsters, this one was always one of my favorites since I was a little kid. Of course, this is the first film in the series to feature a fully fledged alien invasion which would become a common characteristic of these films. The getups that these guys wear are unbelievable in their silliness but the fact that they lack all emotion and look the same adds some slight menace to them. Too bad their flying saucers look like toys and that feeling of menace is gone once you see them. Seriously, give these guys a Star Destroyer or something! We get Godzilla and Rodan (no Mothra this time) once again teaming up against the dreaded King Ghidorah and we get to see the first and only monster battle of the series to take place on another planet. Godzilla’s gradual turn to Earth’s savior continues here (what’s up with that dance?) even though I guess you could say he became a villain again when he was briefly under the alien’s control. Themes of love are prevalent in this one as our American astronaut falls in love with one of the alien women which only allows for some of the cheesiest lines ever delivered! Strap yourself in because we’re going to Planet X!

2. Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954-56)

In 1954, a Japanese movie producer came up with an idea for a science-fiction movie that combined the same spectacle as King Kong with the real life horrors of the atomic bomb. Finding themselves pressed for time and money, they came up with the rather ingenious idea of building a miniature replica of Tokyo and sticking an actor inside of a rubber monster suit in order to simulate the monsters destructive nature. However, the suit weighed nearly two hundred pounds and the actor could only go for a few seconds before almost passing out. Initially released in Japan in 1954 as Gojira, the film struck a chord with audiences and became a huge financial success. Two years later, an American producer picked up the rights to the film and decided to slightly alter the film in order to make it more palatable to American audiences. He did this by keeping the majority of the original film intact but added a few new scenes featuring American actor Raymond Burr playing a reporter who is waylaid in Tokyo during Godzilla’s attack. The American adaptation (dubbed Godzilla, King of the Monsters) downplayed the anti-nuclear themes of the film but was arguably one of the first films in America to depict the people of Japan in a sympathetic light after the Second World War. Overall, both versions are great but I will be reviewing the American version since this is the one I grew up with.

In the waters of the South Pacific, ships have been disappearing from the face of the Earth with the only survivors found bearing strange burns on their skin. American reporter, Steve Martin, stops in Tokyo to visit his college friend Dr. Serizawa when he gets swept up in the investigation of the disasters at sea. On a small island that was greatly affected by the testing of atomic weapons, Godzilla makes his first appearance and it isn’t long before the creature is spotted in the waters of Tokyo Bay. The creature soon makes landfall and the entire city is evacuated as man and its machines are trampled under the feet of the scaly fire-breathing juggernaut from sea. Only one scientist may have the power to destroy Godzilla but does he really want the public to know about this devastating new weapon he has created? The fate of mankind’s survival rests on the decision of a brilliant yet tormented scientist.

The great thing about the first film in every franchise is that they manage to stand on their own. After this one, we honestly didn’t need any sequels. I’m glad they made them anyway but this one is damn near perfect. As I mentioned somewhere back in part one, Godzilla looks especially scary in black and white. In fact this style helps eliminate and mask a lot of the phoniness of the miniature effects as Godzilla is blended seamlessly into the background as panicked citizen’s scurry through the foreground. Despite cutting a lot out from the original version, most of the characters and their storylines remain intact giving us the most sympathetic cast in the entire franchise. American actor Raymond Burr’s scenes are also cut into the film very well, keeping the illusion that he’s actually on set with the Japanese actors even though he isn’t. All in all, this is one of the all time classics of the giant monster genre that became popular in America during the 1950’s. Godzilla’s extended attack on Tokyo is the real highlight here as you will literally see an entire city become engulfed by a sea of fire. CGI has nothing on this one my friends!

1. 1. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

We’ve finally made it! The number one spot on my top ten for the Godzilla Series is occupied by none other than Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla! This one is my all time favorite, hands down! Being produced at the time when the franchise was probably at its lowest in terms of the kiddy appeal and shrinking budgets this one delivers the swift kick in the ass that the series so desperately needed. The aliens are back, the espionage shit is back, multiple monsters are present, and we are introduced to one of Godzilla’s deadliest opponents to date! That’s right this is the film debut of Godzilla’s mechanical twin, Mechagodzilla. The plot of this one is wild and the pace moves along rather quickly as all hell begins to break loose on Earth after several prophecies of an ancient culture begin to come true.

When the shrine of an ancient lion god is uncovered, several ancient prophecies predicting the end of times at the hands of a giant monster begin to come to true when Godzilla suddenly reappears in Japan. However, there’s something different about this Godzilla as he attacks its former ally, Anguirus. Godzilla continues to wreak havoc in Japan as a team of scientists and archeologists try to figure out the purpose of the statue. Unfortunately, these Planet of the Apes looking aliens are also interested in acquiring the statue and things begin to turn deadly. Soon enough, another Godzilla appears and fights the new one in a spectacular night sequence in an industrial area where the new Godzilla is revealed to be a giant robot. The scientists are also being shadowed by several secret agents and it isn’t long before they figure out that the statue will reawaken the monster god King Caesar, something the aliens were trying to prevent. So King Caesar returns to life and stands up against Mecahgodzilla only to find himself completely outmatched. That is until a certain big green lizard shows up looking for some payback!

I love this one! It’s absolutely all over the place with plot twists and turns occurring at every possible second. The characters are solid, the villains are slightly menacing, and the Interpol agents add a lot to the whole mash up as well. Who would’ve known they were still capable of writing this kind of stuff after the countless kiddy movies that came before. This one is a real return to form for the series. They obviously had a little more money to work with on this one and the miniature effects are the most impressive yet. There’s also a fuck ton of explosions in this one! I mean, Mechagodzilla alone is basically a walking pyrotechnic display! We are treated to some of the most impressive visuals of the entire series not to mention the abundance of monsters. We have Godzilla, Anguirus, Mechagodzilla, and King Caesar. King Caesar is nothing to write home about as he possesses no real power. His appearance is more of bonus if anything. No doubt, this is one hell of a fun movie and I will be watching this one for a long time to come!

So there you have it! I consider these to be the best of the best in terms of the Godzilla franchise. I had to get this half of the list done quickly because I’ve been too damn busy lately but we finally did it! Stay tuned for my next addition to blog TK’s Seriously Awesome Movies, where each week I will review a seriously awesome movie.

I have to go to work now, see you all later!


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