Thursday, July 23, 2009

G-Fest Day One: First Night at the Pickwick

Thursday afternoon we received word that we would be able to pick up our registration information that evening. It was amazing to get our hands on the official convention booklet and see everything that awaited us. I don't mind telling you my mind was racing, trying to absorb it all and figure out an optimal plan of attack. During this time we also became acquainted with Dave Nunez, who runs the raffle/fundraising end of the convention. He was very personable and especially made Andy feel welcome. In our registration packs we also found our G-Fest badges, which would become treasured items for a reason you will learn in a later post.

That night, Andy and I made our first late-night trek to the Pickwick Theater, a grand old movie palace in nearby Park Ridge, Illinois. The movie of the night was "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah; Giant Monsters All Out Attack." I was very excited to see this film on the big screen for a number of reasons. First of all, "GMK" is the G-film that pulled me back into active fandom. A few years ago, my wife kindly recorded it for me off of the SciFi Channel (she is a great satellite TV searcher) and as I started to view "GMK" I became totally enthralled. The only Millenium series film I had seen up that point was "Godzilla 2000," and that movie was hard for me to watch because of its proximity to 9/11. (More about that in a later post.) I was awestruck by GMK's style and visual wizardry, so much so that it transcended the "real world" issues that were still very much in play, and made it feel OK to watch a monster movie again.

Secondly, I was keenly interested in seeing how the incredible effects work played out on the big screen. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. This Godzilla suit is one of my absolute favorites--in conveys a mass and power and deadly intent that closely corresponds to the Godzilla of my childhood imagination. The scene where he comes ashore and knocks a construction crane over with a belligerent swipe of the hand seemed to have lept out of my grade-school daydreams and onto the screen. A scene that come soon afterwards depicts a man looking up through his car's windshield at Godzilla, and it is a perfect example of Shusuke Kaneko's expert use of street-level perspective to enhance the realism of a huge creature entering an urban setting.

Finally, I knew Andy was looking forward to the Baragon/Godzilla battle, which fortunately (due to the late hour) takes place relatively early in the film. That battle is preceded by one of the most humorous scenes in any Godzilla movie--one in which a tourist races to get her photo taken with Baragon approaching in the background, and gets a rather large surprise! The battle scene that follows is everything a G-Fan could ask for, including an extremely explosive blast of Godzilla's renowned atomic breath. Not long after that portion of the film wrapped up, Andy was fast asleep. (We came equipped with pillow in hand.) Carrying my sleeping G-Buddy back to the car and then up to the hotel room, I knew we had just experienced something special--and this was just a prelude of the fun to come!

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