Sunday, July 31, 2011

Postcards from G-FEST 18: Explore & Roar

With about two hours to get around the Field Museum, we had no time to lose. However, Scott and Hiroyuki Watanabe were not low on energy. Sue the T. Rex featured in a number of photo opportunities, with this one being most memorable. The look on Andy's face here says it all.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Postcards from G-FEST 18: Field Fun III

As usual, Andy became fast friends with everybody he met at G-FEST, including the Guest(s) of Honor, Shinji and Noriko Higuchi. Here they are in the main hall of the Field Museum. All of our guests went out of their way to make him feel special, and, to be candid, we are still amazed that this really happened to us!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Postcards from G-FEST 18: More Field Fun

Here is a picture taken by Shinji Higuchi of Hiroyuki Watanabe taking a picture of a pteronadon and us with Robert Scott Field. If it looks like we were having a blast, it's because we were.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Postcards from G-FEST 18: Fun at the Field

I told you Friday wasn't low-key. We had the privilege of taking Special Guests Robert Scott Field and Hiroyuki Watanabe to Chicago's Field Museum for a fun-filled afternoon. The other guests of G-FEST came along in another vehicle. It was a day my family will never forget!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

G-FEST 18: Kaiju Film Festival

This year's G-FEST began Thursday, with a "double-double feature" at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, Illinois. First on the bill was "Gamera: Super Monster," which apparently received its North American big screen premiere with this showing.

"Gamera: Super Monster" is an exceedingly strange movie, but I still found it oddly enchanting. It was made at a time when Daiei Studio was closing, and it shows. New footage of Gamera is almost nonexistent, save for a couple rather static flying shots. All the monster battles (and there are plenty) consist of edited footage from previous Gamera films, which are knitted together by a nonsensical story about spacewomen and kids who use Kawasaki keyboards to save the planet. Oh, and then an evil spacewoman who finds redemption. No, seriously. But it is all done with enough heart to make it something I would willingly watch again. There are a couple of shots (one quite blatant, one recurring) that reveal a clear Star Wars influence (GSM was released in 1980).

Next up was the original "Mothra," (1961) a wondrous film that finds Toho's "dream team" of director Ishiro Honda, writer Shinichi Sekizawa and spfx master Eiji Tsuburaya operating at the peak of their creative powers. Intentional humor, exotic music, an incredible cast, crazily detailed miniature sets and one big moth add up to a moviegoing experience that is still transportative fifty years after its release.

After the dinner break, it was time for the second double feature, beginning with "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II," which benefitted greatly from being shown on the big screen. Released in 1993, this entry in the Godzilla pantheon is one that I have never seemed to connect with very strongly, but this viewing brought out its strengths. The effects work is actually quite impressive. Godzilla gets his tail handed to him by Mechagodzilla, and it seems possible that he could actually lose the duel. Akira Ifukube returns with a score that is intense and sounds fantastic in the theater. Most of the Heisei films seem about forty minutes too long to me, and this is no exception. In this setting, though, it was undeniably enjoyable, and the crowd, which had grown since the afternoon shows, laughed at the silly parts and cheered in the right places, too. There is nothing like watching a movie at G-FEST when the crowd is really "live."

Last on the list was 1995's "Gamera, Guardian of the Universe," regarded by most fans of the genre as a masterpiece, and you will get no argument from me on that point. A clear, crisp print only enhanced the meticulous effects work created by G-FEST guest of honor Shinji Higuchi, a real treat for all in attendance. The intensity of the day (combined with the shift to the Central time zone) caught up with us, and we returned to the Crowne Plaza before the movie's conclusion. But we perked up once back in the room, thanks to "G-TV," the in-house tokasatsu channel that is the unsung hero of the G-FEST experience, enjoying "Gomess" episodes of Ultra Q and Ultragalaxy.

It was great to be back on the G-FEST scene. It was a fun, exciting, yet relatively low-key day. That was good, because Friday would be anything but low-key!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

G-FEST 18: All Kaiju, All the Time

Another G-FEST has come and gone. I wasn't sure how last year's show could be topped, but it any rate, it will be fun to relive the experience here on the blog.

Three years ago we made it to our first G-FEST. We were rookies, and didn't know anyone else in attendance. This year we were truly among friends, which makes for a richer experience all around. So come along with us as we share virtual postcards from G-FEST 18, which promised "All Kaiju, All the Time," and did not disappoint!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CKC "Kaiju Chat" This Sunday

Kaiju fans who are on Facebook are invited to chat this Sunday, July 10, at 10:00 P.M. EST. Once you're on Facebook, just search for "Cuyahoga Kaiju Club" and join the conversation! This is a very informal discussion, but chances are there will be some talk about G-FEST, upcoming monster movie releases, and more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mad Scientist # 23

Our copies of the latest Mad Scientist arrived this past Wednesday. Great cover, isn't it? More about the contents in a future post. Order yours today!