Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beta Capsule Reviews: GMK & Gamera

September 5th was the first time since G-Fest 16 (see photo on left) that Andy and I watched Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack (I love the elegance of the Japanese title: Daikaiju Sokogeki). Once again I was struck by the overall look of the film, and was confirmed in my opinion that GMK stars the most fearsome Godzilla of them all. I like the cast and the way the father/daughter relationship at the center of the story is portrayed. The build-up to and execution of the fight between Baragon and Godzilla is expertly done. To me, GMK totally succeeds as an "alternative universe" Godzilla story. In that regard it reminds me of the Superman comics that told stories that "may or may not ever happen."

1995's Gamera: Guardian of the Universe just might be the best kaiju movie of the 1990's. That is no disrespect to the Godzilla movies of the same era--it's just that Gamera is loaded with stuff that makes me pump a fist in excitement. Director Shusuke Kaneko re-imagined Gamera's origins, as he would later do with the monsters of GMK, but no matter; the main attraction is the occasionally endearingly clunky, more often brilliant effects work. Included in this briskly paced tale are "tips of the cap" to the original Gamera's flying style (as a whirling turtle-shell saucer) and the "dinosaur scat" scene from Jurassic Park. The best part about Gamera: Guardian of the Universe is that it marries new school special effects with the ebullient spirit of old school kaiju eiga. When this film was released, it was a genuine surprise to many, and fourteen years later it is still a joyride.

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