Pacific Rim Uprising Review

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I remember watching the first Pacific Rim a while back and enjoying the concept of Kaiju vs Robots. The film had a relatively low budget so you couldn’t see large portions of the fight since it was at night but the whole thing was pretty epic. It was a solid film and I was certainly ready for the sequel. This film looked to increase the action based on the trailers so I was definitely all for that. It’s a solid sequel and one that almost matches the original film.

It takes place 10 years after the first film where the heroes closed the rift and saved the world. The world is ready to move on to automated drones so it appears like the pilots are about to be phased out. Are drones really a practical alternative though? They seem to turn evil in every sci-fi film. Meanwhile, we have our new main character. His Dad may have been leading the charge against the enemy but this guy just wants to have a bunch of parties and stay out of the action. Unfortunately he attempts to follow a thief so that he can steal the stolen items but he is apprehended by the cops and forced back into the program. A dark Jaeger appears at the summit he is supposed to protect and this begins the most climactic fight of his life. Can our heroes save the world one last time?

The action definitely lived up to the marketing which is nice. All of the fights take place during the day so there are no shortcuts like having most to obscure the robots. The two battles between Gypsy Avenger and the evil robot are excellent. Even if Gypsy does seem outmatched when it comes to the mechs, the humans know actual hand to hand combat which is finally important. After all, you would expect that to give you a big advantage in a fight right? Martial arts amp up your normal attacks so why it when inside a mech suit? The climax battle is great as well with the 4 Jaegers against the 3 Kaiju. Admittedly the Kaiju don’t look nearly as impressive as in the first film and only one of them appears to be able to fight back.

Still, they do get to roar quite a bit and I can always get behind that. Being able to absorb kinetic energy is always a great ability as well. Either way, the action scenes are definitely the highlight here and remind you of exactly why we needed a new Pacific Rim. I also do find it ironic that the Jaegers seem so much more streamlined and efficient then the Transformers. The Jaegers can still be a little slow at times, but they can maneuver through right windows and have a good array of abilities. They are really only limited by the pilots. Unlike the Transformers they aren’t constantly tripping or falling over. Granted, they can be knocked down rather easily by the Kaiju, but they get right back up.

The soundtrack isn’t bad but it isn’t memorable either. It won’t be one of the things that you will be talking about as you exit the theater but the visuals and loud sound effects help to mitigate this. I never count a lack of a soundtrack as a negative that would affect the score either unless it is painfully bad to listen too. Now it’s time to talk about the writing. Well, it’s certainly not great but it isn’t bad either. The dialogue could certainly be a lot worse and while the characters are rather generic they are written reasonably well. It’s definitely still night and day when compared to Transformers.

I’d say that the only scene where you will be cringing a lot is when the main character heads to the kitchen to have Ice Cream. He is extremely unhygienic which makes it gross rather than amusing. He eats from the ice cream bowl and puts his hand in the sprinkle jar. I feel bad for anyone else who enjoys the ice cream in this place. Surprisingly there aren’t too many over the top scenes like that which I was definitely glad about. There is a random subplot where one of the cadets is being mean to Amara and that was unnecessary, but not badly handled. If anything, the bully suddenly becoming nicer was rather rushed, but I guess getting beaten and forced into a choke hold by a little kid in front of everyone may have helped to crush her ego a bit.

Jake is a decent main character. He’s rather annoying at first as you can’t sympathize with him though. He doesn’t even need to steal or be a crook but just does it for the extra money. The whole currency exchange that he had going seemed rather illogical so maybe he just spent all of his money. Either way, he doesn’t get good until after the first showdown with the enemy. Then he finally wisens up to the fact that he needs to get it in gear and actually start fighting as opposed to constantly complaining and whining. You can probably tell that I’m not a huge fan of the guy so maybe saying that he is a decent character is a mild stretch. He is a lot better in the second half though so that helps to nage the opening at least a bit.

Then we have Nate who is Jake’s co-pilot and he is all over the place as well. He gives Jake an incredibly hard time throughout the film, but will also occasionally let it be known that he thinks Jake could be one of the greats. By the end of the film they are old pals again and the tension just seemed rather fake. Of course, I am on Nate’s side here since Jake did apparently abandon him for no good reason and then his next partner also abandoned him so it’s been a tough time for that guy.

Amara is essentially the kid from the recent Transformers film except 100x better. Instead of just talking tough and getting in everyone’s way, Amara is actually very capable on her own. She built her own Jaeger which is extremely impressive. I can’t give her enough credit for that because it must have taken a very long time so she was persistent and also had the skills to break into a government restricted area. Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief for a lot of the film, but what else is new? She sort of vanishes for a good chunk of the film, but returns in time to help for the climax. She’s not perfect, but Amara is probably the most reasonable character in the film and maybe will be the one that you can sympathize with the most. While everyone else is playing defense she is preparing for the next battle.

Then we have some returning characters from the first film like Newt. His interface with an alien was rather weird and pretty iffy at best, but aside from that one scene he is definitely a strong character. He delivers most of the snappy one liners and really doesn’t care about anyone, but himself. You can’t help but admire his self confidence and the fact that he is always the biggest person in the room. (When it comes to ego anyway) He’s an exaggerated character, but in a good way and his humor tends to land a lot more than the other characters. There is also Hermann who is basically the more stoic boring counterpart who uses his tech to help the world. He’s cool and all I guess, but you just can’t picture him putting up much of a fight compared to Newt.

Then we also have Liwen who is the head of corporate and feels like an antagonist in this film because of her ideals. She wants to use her drones to make the world a safer place where pilots aren’t constantly dying. They are now safe away from the dangers. It mirrors the real world issues of drones as they are safer for the pilots, but also bring with them a ton of security risks like the fact that they can be hacked or malfunctioned. They aren’t a complete substitute for normal Jaegers and Liwen tries to make this point, but the other characters basically just yell at her the whole time to drown out her points. Yes, I’m on Liwen’s side here. Apparently in 10 years we were only able to build a small handful of Jaegers to defend the main base and the UN Summit while she built hundreds of them in the same time frame. I think it’s obvious which ones are more efficient and they also seemed fairly strong if you ask me. Again, we do need a blend of both, but if we really want to win a war with the aliens then Liwen is the world’s only chance.

Finally, Mako also appears in the film for a bit as a guest star and she’s a cool character as always. Mako’s intelligence is given a lot of credit here as she is able to spot key facts about the enemy in an instant. While her role was small, it was important and she had a more lasting impact than many of the other characters. Does anybody actually remember the names of any of the Cadets? Those guys never got any real development (Which is a good thing if you ask me) and were just around so we could have more Jaegers. Development just wastes time if it’s used on too many characters, but that’s why Mako is good since she already had her character development in the first film and here you got to understand her character in a flash. Maybe a third film could flesh out the other pilots, but again…that’s unnecessary. Lets stick to the fighting.

You’ll never get bored during the film because it’s just very exciting. At times the film goes a little too overboard in trying to show how hopeless it is for humanity though. There are some points where it should really be all over for them, but the villains have mercy or don’t make the right moves. When the mini robots came swarming in they could have easily destroyed the Jaegers by going inside the circuits or something like that. It’s always a very annoying strategy by the villains, but it works. Why didn’t the evil Gypsy blast the 3 robot reinforcements who were being carried over? They were sitting ducks while landing so he could blast them or just stab all of their processors. Why did the villain just wait by his lonesome in the arctic for a fair 1 on 1 fight when he could have lured the heroes somewhere else? If he hadn’t been in the arctic then the heroes would have been absolutely lost.

Of course, the arctic fight was one of the best scenes in the film. Second only to the first fight so I am glad that the battle happened. I know that the whole point of these films is Robots against Monsters so I should be glad that we still get those at the very end, but honestly that robot fights were the best part. This is why I would love a Gundam film at some point with a proper budget. I don’t know why but Transformers just never has good fight scenes like the Pacific Rim films. Perhaps it is the terrible designs or the fact that most of the Transformer robots just punch each other instead of mixing it up with lasers and cannons, but the fights in Rim are a lot more satisfying. I’m starting to get off topic though.

I may give Pacific Rim 1 the slight edge overall, but it is extremely close. The more I think about it, the more the second film may have the slight edge, but it’s been a while since I saw the first movie. Rim 2 isn’t the greatest movie of the year and likely will have a tough time getting the 2nd spot, but I’d wager that it will still end up being one of the better films this year. If not top 5 then certainly top 10. It just doesn’t really make any big mistakes while doing a lot of things right like the action scenes. No animal violence, no excessive violence, the language was a lot more restrained than in other films, etc. It’s just a solid all around movie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to actually talk about the monsters all that much, but in my defense the film barely shows them either. They’re basically just a footnote in this movie as they exist just to get squashed and beaten up. They don’t seem to have much intelligence compared to the older monsters and aren’t even much of a threat next to dark Gypsy. This will be sad for big Kaiju fans, but at least we have the Godzilla films coming up. The monsters have good designs and the fight is cool so I’ll give them that.

Overall, if you haven’t watched Pacific Rim Uprising yet then I think it is time to fix that. The fight scenes here are very good and are easily the best giant robot fights we have seen in live action. That might be a low bar, but that’s not to say that these fights were not impressive under any criteria. They really did a good job of capturing how well these robots can fight. While they may need more firepower to really tack on the damage to someone like Godzilla, they should be prepared for any monster that the aliens have in store for them. The ending will definitely get you hyped for a possible third film.

Overall 7/10

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Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Review

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After all these years it is time for the hype to be realized. Godzilla is an anime film that seemed to be announced 100 years before it came out. It took so long that you would be forgiven for forgetting it completely. Still, it is here at last so it’s time to compare it to the rest. Was Godzilla’s first anime adventure a success? Well, yes in the sense that it is a good film but not really a success for Godzilla as it doesn’t rank too highly in the franchise. There are some issues here which hold it back.

The film starts off with a rebel trying to stop the army from sending a rocket filled with a bunch of old people that are being purged. The airship everyone lives in simply can’t support this many people so some of them need to die. Unfortunately the rebel hesitated because he realized better than anyone that living on a spaceship can be even worse than death. He lets the old people destroy themselves and is arrested. We get a flashback where we see Godzilla and a lot of the classic Kaiju opponents as they decimate the Earth and humanity was forced to retreat off world along with some aliens who were going to conquer Earth but also couldn’t stop Godzilla. Humanity has been looking for an inhabitable planet for around 20 years but nothing would show up so now they are forced to give Earth one more try. Thanks to the ship being slower than molasses they will have to use a teleportation route which will cause 20000 years to pass on Earth.

By the way, 20000 isn’t the number they use at first. It’s actually a plot twist as first it’s 1000 years, then 10000, then 20000. I’m honestly not sure why this even qualifies as a twist and why the film didn’t just say 20000 right off the bat but we’ll roll with it. Unfortunately for the humans, it appears that Godzilla still lives and while he destroyed all of the other Kaiju, there are Winged Godzilla spinoffs flying around. Can humanity retake their planet or are they doomed to be destroyed for their arrogance in thinking they could beat Godzilla?

There are some aspects of a film that you always want to be on point to complement the writing of the movie. Those two aspects are the animation and the soundtrack. Both are absolutely crucial. For the music, this film is actually pretty good. It’s probably in my top 3 Godzilla soundtracks as I can only think of it losing out to Final Wars and maybe Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla. It has some nice, fast anime music thrown in there during one of the flying scenes which was pretty cool. That’s basically the stand out music but a lot of it just works pretty well. The true Godzilla theme is also reasonably solid although probably his weakest theme.

No, what really hurts the film is the terrible animation. I’m not going to mince words here, the animation is embarrassing. Anime that came out 30 years ago look better. TV shows and online productions with no budget look better than this. This is something that you would expect from an indie film that tries to look really bad on purpose just to defy the mainstream. It’s like watching a Fire Emblem cutscene and stretching it to a whole movie. In a video game you don’t expect the cutscenes to look amazing because you want the bulk of the development time to be spent on the gameplay. If you can do both that’s fine, but the game is the priority. For a movie I am certainly expecting you to put the animation as the priority. Writing doesn’t cost anything so I’m not counting that and while good voice actors are important, they need to be able to work with something. You can almost feel the pain of the animators whenever Godzilla tries to move. You hear his skin cracking as if he is a very fragile Godzilla statue who would break with a single punch. The character model is barely even animated at times and just sits there. The animation can’t even convey Godzilla moving so he just sits there and randomly speeds up off screen so he can get where he is supposed to be. I don’t know where the budget went but it clearly wasn’t with the animation. Godzilla’s energy attacks looked good and in general the energy effects were on point, that’s the only good thing I can say about the animation.

The film is very heavy on dialogue but that does seem to be the norm for many Godzilla films. It’s like the writers think that the people who came to see the film about a giant monster don’t actually want to be watching a film about a giant monster. So the main focus is once again on the humans. It’s definitely not the most interesting cast of characters so prepare to roll your eyes at these guys.
The main character is good at least. He wants to bring back human pride since he feels like Godzilla took it away when he blew up Earth and we ran away. He’s not really wrong on that, but of course pride isn’t everything. Sakaki is productive with his time and comes up with a plan so it’s not as if he’s recklessly going into action without one. I think the plan is terrible but I’ll get into that later. Sakaki acts like a captain and overall he does an admirable job of leading the assault. The voice actor does a good job and Sakaki basically spits out every line. He ends every sentence with a violent intensity.

The Religious Alien, Metphies definitely seems like an intriguing character. He talks a good game and always tries to be one step ahead of the heroes but he isn’t quite as cool as he tries to be. If the whole film was just part of the plan for him then that’s pretty cool. I guess even if it isn’t nefarious and Metphies is just being misleadingly cryptic he still does a good job with the council. He has more personality than the other guy who wanted to build a Mecha Godzilla but the plans fell through midway. I’m sure he will do more in the next film but his character was basically just his personality of being a tough guy. He didn’t do anything beyond that.

Now let’s talk Godzilla. This is easily his worst design but that’s probably the animation’s fault. Maybe it looks better in the concept art. This Godzilla also isn’t very smart since the whole plan that the heroes have is getting Godzilla to walk through the path they’ve set up so they can bury him with rocks long enough to blast him. This Godzilla doesn’t have Omni directional lasers to nullify this tactic and he is also too weak to escape the rocks. Am I really supposed to believe that Godzilla was pinned by mere rocks? I can’t buy into that and Godzilla should have been up right away. Then the humans grabbing onto him should have been knocked away when he rose up. Godzilla having a weak point is pretty random and also takes away quite a lot from Godzilla since apparently without the force field his durability is actually pretty bad. I’m glad they kept in then Atomic Breath and having a force field is cool, but even without all of that this is the King of the Monsters right? (hmmm) There are some twists so I can’t be too specific but we can forgive some of the issues here. Not entirely since the monster should have destroyed the humans and shut down the plan, but it isn’t as bad as it could have been. That’s really my main point here. At the end of the film we get a brief glimpse at what should have been happening the whole time. This is why I think the next film has a good chance at being a lot better. If I just saw this film, I can’t say I would be too impressed with Godzilla to be honest.

Even less so with the Rodan ripoffs. They aren’t bullet proof? Really? I just don’t know about that to be honest, seems like a mistake if you ask me. It takes away from them being a threat and it also means that if they give Godzilla any kind of a fight then it weakens the King of the Kaiju as well. It’s a lose-lose situation here. Hopefully the other Kaiju we meet up with are a lot stronger. In theory there should be a bunch of beasts wandering the planet since Earth is pretty huge. I’m guessing their scanners haven’t quite picked up on everything just yet.

The film goes by pretty quick but the length isn’t very long to start with. One thing I have to note is that this movie probably wouldn’t be great for rewatching. Sure, the planning is fun and all the first time, but the second time you’ll just want the film to get on with it. It’s something that’s fairly unavoidable depending how you set up a film. Slow burners will rarely be as good as the initial time you watch it while action blockbusters can be timeless if there is always something happening. So, this film would probably lose a star the next time you watch it and probably settle at that score, if not one lower. I personally can’t picture myself rewatching this one anytime soon. For that I could take a look at one of the older Godzilla films and give it a retro review.

While not a flattering way to secure a high score, Godzilla manages not to make any real mistakes. We don’t have to deal with animal violence, excessive language, random violence, or any slew of negatives that can pop up in a film. My complaints that I listed above are ones that are worth noting but don’t really affect the score much. Combined those issues may just take it down 1 star. It does depend on how you look at it, but basically a film that doesn’t make any real mistakes can get a 7. A 7 means that you’re a fun/good movie. To get higher than that, you have to actually do something really great. To get lower than a 7, you have to make a mistake. A 7 is essentially the starting point for all films. As the credits are rolling it starts out at a 7 and then moves up or down based on what it does. This film doesn’t really do anything and so it manages to stay there. That’s not really a bad thing, it’s just how it is. I can at least watch the full Godzilla film without rolling my eyes or cringing at a poorly made scene. Well, some scenes are poorly made, but at least not in bad taste. I was reasonably interested the whole time. Perhaps not excited, but I was following the story.

Overall, If you’re watching this Godzilla film for Godzilla then you will probably be disappointed. If you are watching it as more of a survival film then you’ll like it a lot more. I hesitate to call it a thriller since a good chunk of the film is just everyone talking but once they land on the planet I would say it qualifies. The film would probably be more impressive if it wasn’t called Godzilla which is a little unfortunate since having a brand should usually just make everything better. I do think that Part 2 should pick up quite a bit since most of the characters are already on Earth. Ideally it will focus on them and not too much on the people who are still in space. At least the wait until the next film shouldn’t be too long. This was my long roundabout way of saying that I’d recommend checking this film out.

Overall 7/10

The Great Wall Review

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It’s time to check out a monster film that didn’t stay in the spotlight for very long. The Great Wall had some potential as the trailer was fairly solid and the locale looked surprisingly good. Unfortunately, it ended up missing many of its objectives and the film fell flat. It has some good ideas, but fails to utilize them well which hurts the whole package in the end.

William and Tovar are shifty business men who steal stuff and make a profit. It’s rather vague what they are actually doing or the film just breezed by that description. Either way, their party is picked off by monsters and they are forced to surrender to the Chinese army as they were being followed by a pack of bandits. It was certainly a rough start for the heroes, but they were able to help fend off another monster invasion which earns them into the army’s good graces. General Lin in particular is impressed with William’s archery after initially wanting to kill him on the spot. William takes this in stride with casual insults and passive aggressive lines being thrown around by both characters. Can William survive the rest of the monster attacks or is he doomed?

As seems to be the case a lot of the time, William and Tovar aren’t heroes. Even though they were saved by bandits, they want to steal the army’s gunpowder so they can sell it off for a high price. William starts to drift away from this plan when he becomes attached to the war cause, but Tovar won’t be dissuaded. He never becomes a good character and does go as far as to betray the army and steal it anyway. He may be a bad apple, but William has influence so no harm ever really comes to Tovar nor does the guy ever learn his lesson. He surprisingly didn’t have any character development. Lin

William is a fine lead. He’s a super tough fighter who can be considered a prodigy and he accomplishes more than scores of other warriors right away. His skills are so legen…dairy that he becomes a hero rather quickly. That still doesn’t prevent him from getting knocked out by sucker hits and not making up his mind at times, but nobody can be perfect. Surprisingly the film didn’t go for a romance between him and the main heroine which was realistic for a change. They’re in the middle of a war so I’d like to think that romance wouldn’t be the first thought in their minds. I would have liked to have seen William do a little more as he never really becomes that notable, but he’s probably the second best character here by default.

After all…the cast is basically just 3 characters. We have an old guy who’s also a traitor and a tactician who isn’t bad, but their roles are very minor. Lin is the final main character and she’s a solid fighter. She’s clearly high ranked in the army and moves up quite a bit by the end. Her armor looks pretty cool and on the whole I liked the blue color scheme as it reminded me of Mega Man. I do have to say that her method of fighting in the army is rather in efficient though. Her duty is to jump from the roof, slash a few monsters and then get pulled back by the rope. The problem is that it only lets you hit 1-3 of the monsters and there is a high chance of dying instantly. Since the monsters are numerous in number, I can see why the humans are losing the war. It’s just such a terrible tactic and it’s too bad she was saddled with this job. She was instrumental in the climax though and at least mastered her duty.

Here’s where the problems start. First of all, I didn’t like it when China appeared at the end or when William admits that the rest of the modern world exists. At the start this feels like a fairly apocalyptic type film where there are just ravagers left and monsters all around. If not that drastic, then the heroes are at least deep in the past so everyone is primitive. No, apparently China just blocked itself from the outside world so they don’t really know what basic things are like magnets and gunpowder. Fortunately, William has been around the block a few times and tells them about the modern world. Personally, I’d say that it wrecks the atmosphere completely and just really changes the film.

Another issue is with the monsters. Don’t get me wrong, the actual monsters are great. They show exceptional teamwork and intelligence. They stay one step ahead of the army throughout the whole film and it’s quite impressive. The fact that they also look after their injured made me root for them instead of the main characters the whole time. By the same token, they felt more like animals than monsters the whole time so seeing the heroes stab at them was pretty gruesome. The fights are intense and the only weak point for the monsters is naturally the eye. This makes the whole thing that much worse. As a result, the action scenes were the weakest part of the film for me and pretty much single handily drop the score all the way down. It’s just not fun to watch as the monsters should have won. It doesn’t help that the humans are just generally unlikable aside from William and Lin, but those two are just yes men so it’s not as if they will stop the others.

The visuals are definitely nice in this film though. I like how all of the groups are color coordinated. The armor designs are really on point and are probably some of the best ones that I’ve seen in a film in quite some time. The monsters also looked acceptable for me. I don’t care for the third eye stuff but a monster is a monster at the end of the day. I would have preferred a large city backdrop like NYC, but the Great Wall works well enough as well. The wall is definitely large though and it’s easy to see how traitors can hide around. Nobody knows what the other is supposed to do after all.

Overall, I can’t help but feel that the film and it’s entire premise are ripped off from Attack on Titans. It is a fun plot to play around with though so I can see why films would borrow from it a bit. This film isn’t bad for the most part. The writing isn’t anything special, but it’s all right. The main leads are good and help to make up for the rest of the cast. The fights are just a downer since you’ll be rooting for the monsters the entire time and once the main part of China gets involved, things get a little sour as well. I gotta give props to the monster queen’s body guards. Those guys did a pretty good job throughout. You can certainly do better with monster films and I’d recommend one of the new Godzilla’s. It has the right blend of humor and action.

Overall 3/10

The Deadly Mantis Review

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It’s time for a classic monster film. The Deadly Mantis may have been mostly forgotten by the average moviegoer which is a shame. It’s actually a pretty solid monster film. It’s a very “by the numbers” film as it doesn’t really do anything unique. It handles everything rather well though so the execution is on point. The film is also rather short so there’s not a lot of unnecessary padding or filler scenes and the film just stays focused the whole time.

A U.S. army base is mysteriously destroyed in an instant. The staff and generals have no idea what is going on. The only clue that they can find is a large spike in what is otherwise a completely abandoned pile of rubble. There are no bodies so they discount the possibility of an enemy nation. The local scientists suggest that it is some kind of animal, but don’t dare speculate further. They call in the world’s leading expert on just about everything, Mr. Nedrick. He quickly deduces that this isn’t just any old animal, but it’s the Praying Mantis. Now that they know what it is…how can they defeat it? Nedrick claims that the Praying Mantis is the strongest animal in all of creation. I don’t think anyone actually bought that though.

Despite being an expert, I have to say that it took Nedrick a little too long to realize that the animal would have to be huge. A reporter had to point out that they should scale the spike down and then Nedrick went to work. Isn’t it obvious that the animal would have to be huge if it destroyed a whole installation in an instant? I don’t know about these “experts” sometimes. Nedrick’s a pretty decent character though. He’s certainly all business and got to the bottom of things right away when he arrived. He brings along the reporter Marge although it wasn’t really his choice.

Unfortunately, the army base wasn’t ready for Marge and this is probably the only part of the film where you’ll cringe. Apparently these army guys haven’t seen a lady in ages so they forgot how to talk to them. What follows are some minutes of stammering and staring as they make fools of themselves. There’s also a random romance plot with an army driver that just comes out of left field. I don’t really know what the film was going for with this, but at least this left Nedrick out of the action so he could keep working.

As for the actual monster, the Praying Mantis was pretty cool. It’s unknown how he hid from the army after each attack since he is so huge, but I guess that goes to show how creative he was. The Mantis could fly at pretty solid speeds and picked off quite a few of the humans. It’s slow, but eating a human who won’t even move has got to be pretty easy. People kept tripping and then panicking from there. I do hope that everyone would put up a better fight if a giant monster ever showed up. I can’t say that I have high expectations though. People do like to panic.

This film’s really old so the writing was pretty good. It was definitely nice to see how cordial and formal people were back in the day. Everyone acts as if they are a professional and the army seems more straightforward than in the modern films where they are always corrupt. There’s never really a sense of danger in this film so if it was trying to be a horror than it failed. However, it does work well as a slice of life film where the characters are talking and reasoning things out. It’s a bit of a stretch when they discuss the Praying Mantis’ origin, but I’ll take it I suppose. It’s not as if the premise is all that realistic right? I do wish that the Mantis could have been a little stronger though. He was taken out rather easily by the government and certainly wasn’t the next Godzilla.

Also, I have to question how slow the first army base was. The Mantis didn’t leave a single remain of the people there right? No clothes, signals, or anything. So that means that none of the guys put up a fight since no pieces of clothing were left and they were all swallowed whole. Why didn’t they try to radio someone when they saw a blip on their radar? I won’t say that they should have called for help after the attack since the wires were probably cut, but it’s iffy. Also, surely at least one human could have escaped the monster’s presence. There are a few stretches of logic here, but nothing that should get in the way of enjoying this film. If anything, it shows that the film wanted you to take the monster seriously.

Overall, The Deadly Mantis is a fun film and I’d recommend it. There’s not much to it, but you’ll get some classic monster destruction scenes and a pretty good main cast as well. There’s even a jump scare at the end which is perfectly random, but you can’t fault the film for trying to be a little flashy now can you? It’s just doing it’s best to keep you engaged with the film right up to the end. Since every animal is getting a giant version of themselves, I want a film about a giant Dog, but one who was actually a house pet and just started to grow. He’s a nice dog, but doesn’t realize that his size is endangering the world. The government has to find a way to keep him happy or t he planet will blow up. That’d be a pretty good plot if you ask me.

Overall 7/10

Kong: Skull Island Review

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It’s time to take a look at the new King Kong film. I’m not a King Kong fan nor will I ever be at this rate, but this film got a lot of hype since it’s in the same continuity as Godzilla. Maybe the latter’s quality would rub off on King Kong and elevate the series to new heights. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It’s still the same old King Kong with a fresh layer of paint. It makes the same mistakes although at least it doesn’t force any random romance plots into the film. Still, you can’t help but wish that the film had chosen a very different path.

The film is about two scientists convincing the government that they should head to Kaiju island to see what’s there. They are escorted by Preston and his team of commandos along with James, a skilled mercenary. They decide to bomb the island to scare everyone into submission, but this wakes up the mighty King Kong. The majority of the “heroes” are destroyed in the initial confrontation and the survivors have to find a way off the island. That’ll be tough since there are many monsters aside from King Kong. Preston also wants revenge on the big gorilla and he has some guns at the ready. Can he win this round?

One thing about King Kong is that a lot of people don’t find him to be all that scary. Why would they when falling off of a building is enough to destroy him? This version is a little bigger than most of the old film versions so that helps his case a little, but he is still injured by bullets here. A well placed fire blast does a lot of damage as well so I’m going to feel bad for him if he ever has to fight Godzilla. If ordinary fire can do that, imagine what ATOMIC breath will do to him. The poor guy would be incinerated in an instant. The only sad part is that King Kong is the heavy under dog in the fight so I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins as a result. Anyone remember Batman V Superman? The Godzilla angle is the main reason why you guys are watching this film so you should start to consider this angle. I am hyped for the big crossover even if it isn’t happening for quite a while. It’ll certainly be worth the wait. There is an after credits scene in this film so stick around.

Now, why am I disliking this film so much? There are a few reasons, but lets start with the obvious one. The animal violence is a problem here. We get a whole scene where we see Preston blow up a bird’s head. He’s the villain here so it’s to show us how mean he is, but it’s not helping the film’s case at all. There is a very thin line between monsters and animals and this film opted to have them be closer to animals than monsters. Bad move because the violence is a lot worse this way. It’s also sad when you consider that the humans are picking this fight. The monsters were just fine on their own until their island started to get blown up. They were simply defending themselves even if the film tries to get you to root for the humans. Not me, I was on the creatures side from day 1. It doesn’t help that all of the humans are just annoying the whole time. They weren’t all bad though, just not likable enough to be excused.

Preston was certainly not likable at all. The film gave him a ton of hype though so that was amusing. He is so out classed here so I couldn’t take that angle seriously. James is another hype character, but he never gets to do all that much. He has his big scene at the beginning, but he seems to panic just as much as the others and didn’t seem as tough and gritty as you’d expect. His “confrontation” with Mason on the bottom of the ship wasn’t as hype as the film thought it would be. They both talk tough and call each other’s bluff, but neither one actually gets anywhere. They were essentially fueling each other’s ego. James essentially never got any real character and the scene where he grabs a sword was just incredibly random. It also wasn’t a good scene since he was slashing a bunch of bats. Mason wasn’t a bad character either, but she really had no character either. At least she tried to help one of the monsters which was nice. She beats her counterpart from the earlier films. The rest of the cast were basically comic relief and didn’t do anything. A common trend here is that most of the characters weren’t bad, they just weren’t that interesting or likable either.

King Kong’s fight against the Skullcrawler was pretty good. The mini ones were pretty outmatched so they went down quickly, but I’ll definitely take that over the usual T Rex fight. These guys certainly had a better design after all and then the big one made for a nice villain as well. I was actually expecting a plot twist about these guys being the original Godzillas and the final one would return after the credits in his new Godzilla form. Maybe it’s for the best that it didn’t happen, but that would have been interesting. The King Kong vs human scenes are what you’d expect as they just get stomped the whole time. Preston puts up a fight of course, but once the gimmicks are gone, he doesn’t last all that long.

The film had some nice cuts like the spider claw stabbing a poor guy and King Kong rising up above the Sun. Those were probably the highlight as far as the visuals are concerned. I would still take Godzilla 2014 over this though with the awesome energy blasts and the fight against Muto was a lot more fun. What King Kong needs is his own energy blast or an opponent who has one. Of course, then King Kong would probably lose if it’s the latter so maybe he can get his own special attack in the sequel. This film probably took its special effects a little to seriously in some scenes as you’d see the characters load their guns rapid style. A Scooby Doo film used the same trick a while back and I actually don’t care for it. The sounds are distracting if anything and the visuals weren’t cool to look at. Maybe do it for something with a little more pop like a cool lightning blast or something. King Kong doesn’t have much options for that though so the technique is just wasted here.

None of the themes really stood out to me. It’s your standard action film stuff, but without the one stand out theme that is usually around. The end credits really pressed the point as they were eerily silent the whole time. The tune they picked for it really did not work. I’ll give the film some props for having the characters on the island the whole time. The film did start rather quickly and the action never stopped once they were on board. This was a double edged sword with all of the animal violence of course, but in theory it was a good move. I doubt the film would have been much better without the island anyway, maybe it could have scored a 6, but it would have been rather uneventful. You’d be taking the Skull Island out of Kong: Skull Island. New York City is a far superior backdrop, but I guess we can’t have every film take place there. Hopefully the crossover does though as that will really help with the visuals and intensity of the film.

The writing for this film wasn’t terrible. There isn’t constant panic with expletives this time around although they do artificially force the worst word in once just to get the crowd going. With the review just about done, lets briefly talk about what could be cool to see in a sequel. To make the sequel better, we need to have King Kong come to NYC. That’s step 1. Next would be to give King Kong a cool robot suit or a transformation where he grows wings and does battle with a true Kaiju. Next, ensure that the main humans are all red shirts so they can all die in the crossfire without any humans getting too much hype. We don’t want another fire damages King Kong scene after all. Throw in a cool techno theme and we’ll have the makings of a great movie.

Overall, Kong: Skull Island didn’t do it for me, but the odds of me liking the film were never great. You can’t take place on a retro island like this one that’s filled with animals and expect to be good. The odds of animal violence are simply too high and King Kong doesn’t have a great track record either. Also, it’s not like the film was subtle with the animal violence…a bird’s head was blown up…I’m not getting over that one. I don’t care much for apes and monkeys either so it would be very hard for me to really like Kong as a character. He did a good job of protecting his turf of course so I can respect that, but he’s still not all that “cool.” I’m excited for seeing where the cinematic universe goes from here though. We should be getting a lot of hype battles in the near future. Still, you don’t need to see this film to understand that though so I’d recommend checking out Pacific Rim or Godzilla (2014) instead. Both of those films do a better job of tackling the giant monster concept and have far better scenery and backdrops to grab your attention when the monsters aren’t around.

Overall 4/10

Godzilla: Complete Rulers of Earth Volume 1 Review

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The library finally pulled through and ordered a bunch of copies of this comic. I got to read Godzilla in Hell a while back, but have otherwise been lacking in Godzilla comic knowledge. Well, that is the case no longer as I have heard it from a very reputable source that this is the best Godzilla comic series to date. I can certainly believe that as this is a considerable improvement to the last trade. G in Hell was pretty fun, but this feels more like a big Godzilla adventure and the plot makes the whole thing all the more engaging. Who doesn’t like a war between multiple groups of aliens?

The humans don’t realize this, but there are two different alien factions who want control of the Earth. There are the space invaders and the ones who come from the ground. One is aquatic and the other is more like your typical Xenomorph, except more humanoid and capable of humans speech and shape shifting. Both of them have an army of Kaiju at their disposal, with the aquatic group having titans like Ebirah and the other water Kaiju while the other group has all of the heavy hitters. Earth is a very easy target for them except for one key obstacle..Godzilla!

This series takes place after a few of the other titles I believe so the Earth is finally starting to get used to fighting these giant monsters. Godzilla is still too much for them to handle, but they finally have the equipment needed to take on the small fry like Ebirah. I don’t want to put the lobster on the spot here, but he definitely didn’t look all that strong throughout the comic. He was treated as a D lister and I suppose he is for now. It’s unknown exactly what Godzilla’s plan is, but the king definitely has something up his sleeve. He continues to challenge all of the Kaiju who show up and doesn’t back down even when he’s outnumbered. To an extent you do feel bad for Godzilla though.

He’s tough and can hold his own, but being constantly outnumbered and not having a lot of backup can be pretty annoying. Some members of the government like Steven Woods realize that attacking Godzilla is not in their best interests at the moment, but others just decide to blast all of the monsters indiscriminately. Not their wisest move I’d say. The only allies Godzilla can count on are Jet Jaguar and Mothra. Together, those three can take on just about any opponent.

Godzilla fans will be pleased at how good he looks here. He takes a lot of injuries during the adventure, but keeps on going. He is well known for his stamina and this comic definitely had that in mind. Seeing him use his nuclear blast or barrier of sorts was also good to take on the numerous mini Destoroyahs that were on him. As this comic is basically a big battle with all of the Kaiju throughout the Godzilla universe, there were a lot of opponents for him. One that naturally stood out was the return of Zilla. His fight with Godzilla in Final Wars is still legendary to this day and a rematch is something that his fans have always wanted. I can’t say that he did much better this time around, but at least he lasted longer than 7-13 seconds or whatever the official time for the film was.

Other fan favorites like Space Godzilla, Rodan, and Destoroyah show up to deal in the damage. They all look very good and while it can be a little sad to see them all being manipulated and controlled by the Aliens, it’s just how they were introduced in this series. I didn’t read any of the original titles so I have to assume as a reader here that the villains either created the monsters or trapped them with some kind of high tech hypnosis. I’d assume that it wouldn’t last for very long though and Gigan’s urge to fight could not be suppressed in the end. A fight will always bring out the tough nature of the Kaiju.

A surprise highlight was Jet Jaguar. I’ve always been a fan of this guy, but he was even more awesome than I remembered. He basically just shows up and takes names. Jet Jaguar proves that he can hold his own with Godzilla’s strongest foes and even with the king himself. His size changing abilities are incredibly handy along with his flight and laser blasts. While he may not be able to speak yet, you can easily tell that he is one of the good guys. Jet Jaguar has apparently been hunting the aliens for quite a while now and it is the first time that you ever see the villains look nervous. Besides Godzilla, Jet Jaguar is the biggest threat on the planet now and he actually was winning his brief bout with Godzilla. The villains can’t afford to ignore this new player, but it might not matter. Jet Jaguar already has their number.

Besides all of the Kaiju showing up and duking it out, the comic had time for two main human characters. Lucy is a reporter who likes to go to dangerous areas for a good scoop. She’s been around for quite a while and isn’t afraid of the Kaiju that get in her way. She seems like a reasonably tough character and is smart enough to realize the difference between Godzilla and his opponents. She encourages the army to make smart moves even if they don’t always listen. I’d say that she’s doing pretty well so far. The other character is Steven Woods. He’s a tough army member and he saves Lucy during one of the early scenes. This guy seems like a capable soldier and someone who gets the job done, but it’s a very tricky situation for him at the moment. For starters, he is now dealing with shape shifting aliens who don’t exactly play by the rules. You can be the strongest hand to hand fighter there is, but it won’t help if you don’t know who to aim your fists at. If he figures out what is happening, I’ll give him some major credibility points. I don’t blame him for not realizing the threat yet, but it is sad to see the humans just being messed around with the whole time.

As I mentioned earlier, the plot is really engaging. I always did like the sort of Secret Invasion plots that come up with shape-shifters. On one hand, it can be annoying to see them get away with everything since nobody even has a reason to suspect foul play, but it also makes everything intriguing as well. What will the aliens do with these abilities and how can they be stopped? It’s clear that the humans are losing and quite badly at the moment, but they do have Kiryu and the other mechs that they’ve acquired over the years. I like to think that Jet Jaguar would have a way of detecting them as well so that could be pivotal in helping the main characters by the end.

I also liked the fact that this took place at a time where humans already knew about Kaiju. This meant that we could skip the panic phase and go right into the plans and discussions about how to handle this. It’s not exactly just another day in the park for the heroes, but it isn’t anything too drastic either. They handle the situation quickly and efficiently.

Another thing that really makes the comic stand out is how good the artwork is. Some issues in particular looked incredibly sharp like Jet Jaguar and Godzilla vs Gigan or Mecha Godzilla vs Destoroyah. The whole series has been at a high level though and it’s certainly better than I would have even expected. The artwork can hold its own against any other comic no questions asked. Every character is portrayed perfectly and every attack comes across very smoothly. If there is any chink in the art’s armor, it’s that the humans can look a little off at times. Luckily, we’re reading for the Kaiju, aliens, and fights here. If the humans were specifically drawn with less effort so the rest of the comic could look amazing, then there will definitely be no complaints from me.

Overall, This is definitely the definitive Godzilla comic and it’s hard to picture another series overcoming this one. The cover definitely seems like click bait though since you would assume that a Complete Collection would bring all of the issues right? Apparently, it is volume one of the complete version so I have to wait for the library to get volume 2 to end the saga. It just came out today so hopefully the library notices and orders the copy as soon as possible. I’m definitely expecting a pretty intense ending. The series has already used almost all of Godzilla’s iconic monsters though so I’m wondering how they’re going to end the series. We haven’t really seen King Ghidorah yet so I’m expecting him to play a big role. As long as Jet Jaguar is also there, then I’m set. If you haven’t read this comic yet, I highly recommend changing that. If you think that it’s just going to be a comic where monsters fight each other, (Still sounds good to me) think again. The plot is sound and with a 3 way war going on along with Godzilla just fending off all attackers, there is a lot to think about as you read through it. It’s a very complete story and one that likely will not be rushed given how many issues there are.

Overall 8/10

Godzilla Resurgence Review

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Godzilla is a series that I had always wanted to check out, but it took me quite a while to do so. Finally, about 2-3 years ago I went back and checked out every movie in chronological order. To this date, it is probably one of my biggest achievements. This film would be my first Japanese Godzilla film in theaters so I was ready for a blast and a half. It’s definitely a very solid film and Godzilla certainly does appear more than he did in the American film, at least it felt that way to me. While it definitely loses to a lot of the classic Godzilla films as I enjoy the Mega Monster brawls, this will certainly be remembered as a classic.

The plot is fairly standard for a G film. Godzilla has arisen and now the Government must try to find a way to suppress him before the whole planet is put at risk. Japan will have to do this while also keeping the foreign governments happy. America is willing to use their nuclear options and wipe Tokyo off the map if necessary. The old guard is at the end of their ropes so it is time for the next generation-led by Yaguchi, to save the day. The real question is..can they defeat the King of the Monsters?

Controversially, this film was confirmed to not have any antagonist for Godzilla from early on. That was a shame in my opinion because the monster fights are the main reason why I love the Godzilla films so much. There are many films that only have a single monster like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or King Kong, but the battles are what separates Godzilla from the pack. Not to mention that in my very controversial opinion, the films where Godzilla has no antagonist are typically the weaker ones. One day I want to come up with my personal list of where I would rank each Godzilla film. It’ll be difficult though since there are so many and you can make a great case for most of them. Sometimes I can barely put Final Wars as my favorite because GMK and the classic Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster are so good.

Lets launch into the positives. I was expecting this Godzilla film to be really serious and over the top dark based on the title. “Shin” usually means that something is going to be dark and dreary. The film is serious, but Resurgence has a lot of light hearted moments. I got to see this in a fairly packed theater with an energetic crowd and people were laughing constantly. The film feels just as comedic as the original Showa films at some point. It may not always be intentional, but I think it definitely was for at least 80-90% of the scenes. It’s good to be able to mix these tone shifts and the film does it quite well.

The humans never come across as annoying. Yaguchi is a good lead. He may panic from time to time, but he also comes up with a lot of good ideas and never gives up. The American representative Kayoko is also pretty likable. I always like having an American character step into the fray and she feels American right from the start. She is very direct and quippy as opposed to the other serious characters. I also appreciated the film’s restraint with not pushing for a very unrealistic and sudden romance and keeping things professional instead. Friendship isn’t dead quite yet and people can get along without having to take the next step. The Prime Minister was also fun as he was clearly out of his depths, but tried to keep on a tough face. Watching him and the group switch from room to room was definitely entertaining.

The film showed how having a lot of bureaucracy can be a very bad thing. It’s hard to act on a situation when you have to jump through so many hoops. The film portrays America in a very good light as a result as the country does whatever it wants whenever it wants too. America promotes young people who have fresh ideas and it has led to them becoming a global power. America was also portrayed with the might that is appropriate for them as their missiles are the first thing to actually injure Godzilla. They dealt quite a lot of damage and while I don’t think a nuclear missile would have finished Godzilla off, they are one of the only placed to have such an arsenal up their sleeve. I was definitely very satisfied.

Naturally, seeing Godzilla was also a blast. Shooting Atomic Breath out of his spikes and out of his tail was awesome and the whole crowd cheered quite a bit during this moment. It’s a little morbid since he basically took out an entire city, but who wasn’t rooting for Godzilla? I was definitely on Team Kaiju from the start. Godzilla keeps the army at bay for quite a while and he looks fairly tough as you would expect. However, I wasn’t completely thrilled with his portrayal as I had some negatives.

My first gripe is that they went with CGI for Godzilla instead of a suit. CGI can work decently well at times I suppose, but this wasn’t one of them. This is easily the worst Godzilla design of all time aside from the 1998 film which barely counts. People chuckled when Godzilla first appeared in his Rooster form and I was fairly shocked. Luckily, it was just something to throw us off, but I don’t think that Godzilla’s first stage should look like that. Even once he turned into his final form, Godzilla felt fairly off. I’m not crazy about the fact that it always looks like he is bleeding when he walks and that he has to shoot out blood in his first form.

While I don’t mind the narrow stream of Atomic Breath, it certainly looks more impressive when it is a wide blast. Also, I don’t like the way his face has to completely open up in order to shoot the blast. It looks a little gross and disturbing like the Predator’s true face in the classic horror series. It almost makes it seem like a weakness as he will be very vulnerable during that time. The back rays are still cool as they can react in time to stop high speed missiles, but Godzilla shouldn’t run out of energy so quickly. I always have to mention moments that I deem as “plot hax” in these films and Resurgence is no exception. The humans obviously have to come up with some kind of plan at the end, but I would have been more content with Godzilla just walking away like in the 2014 movie. Without going into detail, the plan should not have worked. Godzilla seemed to lose all of his smarts as he walked into every trap and expended energy when he did not need too. It should have been game over for the humans right from the get go and even knocking him down was a bit of a stretch. Either this Godzilla is less durable than some of the others or he just underestimated them. If the film was trying to portray the latter, I didn’t quite buy into it.

The soundtrack for the film is definitely pretty good. There were one or two themes that were memorable like the opera esque tune. Seeing the original Godzilla theme return with a new remix was definitely a lot of fun as well. I was actually expecting more homages to the original films, but I suppose you don’t really need them since the film holds up so well on its own. I really would have liked a good cliffhanger to end the film though. I suppose you could count a certain scene as a possible cliffhanger, but I wanted another monster to roar or something. This film seems like it isn’t really leading up to a sequel so maybe we’ll the next live action film will be another take on the classic franchise.

While listing all of the films in order is tough, in order to celebrate Godzilla’s latest film I thought I’d give it my best shot in this review. Tentatively here’s how I rank them and each row is in order. Keep in mind that these ranks are comparatively so just because a Godzilla film is in D rank doesn’t mean that I consider it to be remotely as bad as films like Pixels and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I’m doing this list off of my head so I’m not looking at my older reviews or blog posts for reference. As a result, the list may look a little different than it would if we went purely by the scores that I gave. It’s been a while since I saw these films so I may remember them differently, but I also didn’t have time to look at all of my posts so this was a little simpler.

S Rank Godzilla Final Wars, GMK, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs Hedorah, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II, Godzilla (2000), Terror of Mecha Godzilla

A Rank Godzilla vs King Kong, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Against Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Tokyo SOS, Invasion of the Astro Monster, Godzilla vs Destoroyah, Mothra vs Godzilla

B Rank Godzilla vs Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs Ebirah, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs Gigan, Godzilla vs Mothra, Godzilla vs Megalon

C Rank Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla (2014) Son of Godzilla, Godzilla Resurgence

D Rank Godzilla Raids Again, Gojira (1954), Godzilla vs Biollante, Godzilla (1998), The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla vs Megaguirus

It’s definitely tough to list them all and my feelings on the films can be really contradictory. Take Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla Resurgence as they are the two latest films. On one hand, I feel like Godzilla was easily the more intense film. The action scenes were great and the Muto made for a really good villain. The mythos around the film are more interesting and the ending was much better. On the other hand, the human characters in Resurgence were far superior as well as the writing and the pacing. Resurgence never drags on or has any real filler scenes. It captures the impact of Godzilla’s first appearance a lot better and the comedic tones work really well. So…should Godzilla really beat Resurgence? Both films are just so close that it is really hard to stick with one over the other for long, but alas decisions must be made at some point.

Overall, Godzilla Resurgence is definitely a fun film. The humans are easily some of the most interesting and least annoying ones that I have seen in a very long time. I also haven’t seen a Japanese live action film in a very long time so it is interesting to see how they film the movie as opposed to the ones that I’m used too. There are a lot more close ups on the characters, which worked well for comedic effect, but I don’t think I would want that to happen too often. The only real weak point of the movie is the fact that there are no other monsters and that Godzilla’s design isn’t all that good. Still, I definitely recommend it to all Godzilla fans and to anyone that likes a good creature feature. The pacing is very quick so the film never drags on. I look forward to seeing the new Godzilla animated film or the American one coming up. Either way, I will be awaiting them at the theater.

Overall 7/10

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Review

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It’s time for a retro film that is actually quite well known. I’ve certainly heard of this one over the years as it has become quite the meme. It was certainly a novel idea at the time, but unfortunately, the execution simply isn’t on point. While it’s supposed to be a very fun popcorn film that you just enjoy and laugh with…it wasn’t that fun. Whenever I talk to someone about this film, I get the classic response that the film is a blast, but I just didn’t get that vibe. Maybe I need to get used to retro humor a little more.

It has been a rough year for Nancy. Her husband finally came back to her as he wanted to get rich quick, but he still openly cheats on her. Nancy doesn’t know what to do about this since she should clearly just make him leave again, but she can’t get past her emotions. In the meantime, Harry keeps insulting her butler and bribing the cops. Harry plans to get her back into an asylum, but he’s not sure how to quickly accomplish this. His worries come to an end when Nancy claims that she saw an alien ship. Harry makes sure to insult and belittle her as much as possible while also slightly encouraging her at times to turn her emotions to jelly before breaking her mind. Nancy is at her breaking point when the alien shows up again and defeats her. Harry runs away and tries to cover this all up, but Nancy turns up the next day. She is unconscious and doesn’t know what happened. Harry is the main suspect so he quickly tries to destroy her, but this plan doesn’t work either. His only chance is to leave town, but can he outrun a 50 foot giant?

I realize that I just said pretty much the whole plot, but it’s hard not too. The whole point of this film is that Nancy turns into a 50 foot giant, but this doesn’t happen until the very end of the film. It’s not a spoiler since it is in the title and promotion so my plot summary has to make it at least that far. There’s just not much more to guess by that point. You’ll probably know the rest of the ending.

All right, lets talk about why I did not like the movie. For starters…it is not fun. I have to address this right off the bat. Nancy is in a very sad predicament and the fact that she is being completely used the whole time and does nothing about it makes the whole film rather sad and underwhelming instead of fun and up beat. Nancy realizes that Harry just wants her money and is being a terrible guy the whole time. She mentions as much, but the problem is that she suffers from quite a few mood swings, which virtually make her forget about these incidents as soon as they happen. Harry tries to sabotage her at every turn and she is not able to do anything about it. If she was a better main lead, then the film could have been more fun. If she was trying to humiliate Harry and take him down for the count, it would have been a lot more even. I would have been able to get behind that. As it is, the whole thing is simply too one sided.

Nancy doesn’t even get to have her revenge since as soon as she turns giant, the power of electricity shows up. It’s just not really a fun resolution so I just don’t see where the fun factor comes in. I suppose that the film is certainly campy, but at the same time, the main plot is seriously sad. That sort of negates the whatever humor the film was going for. Harry’s just such a bad antagonist. Since Nancy won’t fight back, it is just annoying to see him show up.

The butler was a nice character, but it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to beat Harry. I’ll give him some props for actually trying and not just backing off as soon as he showed up. Calling the cops was the right move though so it was good to see the police respond in time. Charlie was a rather suspect deputy as he got bribed by Harry for a while, but at least he stood up to him when the going got tough. Harry’s not bad, but he certainly goofs off a little too much. If I was the sheriff, I’d be looking for a replacement as soon as possible. After all, the sheriff was at the top of his game right from the start. Nancy nearly ran him over, but the guy had good reaction times.

Honey was the other villain who helped advise Harry on how to put Nancy in a bad spot. She was always ready to go the extra mile as she recommended permanent solutions to their predicament. Of course, the joke is also on Harry as the film heavily implies that she doesn’t mind cheating on him either. She’s also just in it for the money so the cycle continues and continues. In the end, they will all likely get a bad ending as a result.

The main highlight of the film is probably the fact that aliens show up. The alien in question doesn’t have the greatest design and he’s just a super large guy, but I’ll take it. Adding aliens always makes for a whole new dynamic in the film. I would have liked to have seen him do more or show up at the end to gloat, but I suppose the mystery is part of his charm. Maybe he’d show up more if the film had gotten a proper sequel. I can’t say that the premise has much potential when it comes to a modern film remaking this, but it could be good if handled right. Lets face it, Nancy would be changed quite a lot for a modern film and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t see her being quite so indecisive in a remake and Harry probably wouldn’t get the first and last laughs. It’s debatable if he got the last laugh here, but he certainly got to have a lot more fun than Nancy so it wasn’t much of a win.

Overall, The film just wasn’t that fun. I suppose you are not supposed to take the main plot all that seriously, but I personally just found it tragic which hurt everything else as a result. Watching Harry just mooch off of Nancy’s riches the whole time was terrible and she never did a thing about it. It’s the kind of plot that you would only see in an older film and it’s one that I certainly don’t miss from the modern times. Nancy didn’t even get to turn giant for very long so you’ll be waiting a while for the actual title to come into play and then the payoff is very small. This film just didn’t work for me and I certainly don’t recommend it. I’m not saying that it’s terrible, or at least not as terrible as some of the other films that I’ve reviewed lately. I would say that it is a bad one though and I’d recommend checking out Godzilla instead.

Overall 2/10

Curucu Beast of the Amazon Review

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This film makes you feel pretty sad after watching it. There’s simply not much that this film was able to accomplish except leaving you with an empty void. The title wasn’t all that promising anyway, but I like to think that any film with the subtitle “Beast of the Amazon” has got to be pretty hype. It makes you think of Godzilla or some other giant monster. Curucu doesn’t sound all that intimidating though so that might have been a bit of a mistake if we’re being honest here. While it’s certainly not as bad as Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, it’s on that level.

Rock is your average explorer guy who goes around trying to have fun. He hears that a giant monster has been scaring away Indians and now they are considering a return to their old way of life. They’ll move back to their old homes and they will stop adapting to the modern world. Rock can’t have that since he wants to be rich and famous so he agrees to go over there and beat up the monster. Andrea beats him to the punch though so he ends up being her assistant and a friendly Indian by the name of Tumpanico comes along as well in the form of a guide. The three characters prepare themselves for this tricky journey.

So, where to start on how this film turned into a train wreck? Well, there is one aspect that stands out above the rest. The random animal violence doomed this film to mediocrity at best. There are quite a few scenes where we will randomly see an animal destroy another one and the scenes have no rhyme or reason to them. The director was likely trying to buy some time since the film doesn’t have much of a plot, but that’s one of the worst ways that you can pass the time. It is simply not worth it. I think the film could have managed to grab a 3 or maybe a 4 if it was super lucky, but that certainly wasn’t going to happen now. The 4 was a long shot anyway.

The writing is also pretty bad as it tries to bring us all of the really outdated Indian stereotypes that we have grown out of. They all act very barbaric and unintelligent. One of them gropes the main heroine for no reason which was definitely a terrible scene. We also get a pair of scenes where Rock walks up to the Indians and starts punching one of them. The guy was trying to encourage the Indians to run away and Rock couldn’t have that. The Indian doesn’t put up much of a fight and then the story starts to move again. There was no point to either one of these scuffles.

There is another issue with the film that ultimately haunts it just about as much as these other problems. This one’s a spoiler so I recommend skipping this paragraph unless you want to know about it. Are you ready? Prepare yourself! The monster isn’t real. It is just Tumpanico putting on a costume and murdering his fellow Indians to convince them to run away. It explains why it took him so many tries to destroy a lady even when he had the element of surprise and she had her hands full carrying a pot of water. It’s a pretty cheap twist though and you have to ask yourself why he would even wear the costume? It seems like this is a rather terrible way to achieve his vision and not the most effective method either. The monster suit looked decently cool, but we came here to watch a monster, not a guy playing dress up.

As the main character, Rock isn’t any good either. He’s the kind of guy who flirts with everyone and will then flirt with another character while the heroine is still around. Unfortunately, she falls for him anyway, which is quite sad. We even get some scenes with the two of them eating really gross meals including insects, dirt, and “anything that moves” according to the Rock. It makes for some really tragic scenes and Rock doesn’t do anything to show that he could be even a slightly cool character. As it stands, he just brings the rest of the film down with him. He sets the bar low and the film responds by lowering it further. There’s not much to say about Andrea. She allows herself to simply be the trophy for Rock by the end and she negates all of her tough talk by constantly panicking and fainting. I’m waiting for her to actually get tough in the sequel, but luckily we never got another movie to continue this.

The film isn’t long by any means and that is a good thing. It never actually drags on, but the whole thing is just very pointless, which is just as bad. The characters always act scared of the Indians, but play along anyway. It’s clear that Rock only sees them as brutes, but the film only serves to strengthen the notion that he is right, rather than clearing it up. We are even told that the main villain is a Christian although he may have just been humoring the pastor who was there. The pastor didn’t seem all that nice though and it wasn’t a very flattering representation of the religion by this guy. Of course, some people’s definition of Christianity was quite warped back in the day. There were certainly a lot of fakes and posers back then.

The film’s best chance would have been to have stayed in the city instead of going to the jungle. Seeing the other businessmen talk a good game along with the Rock would have been a more entertaining film. Just watching all of the bluster and posturing could have made for a decently good game of mental chess. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere since you need actual writing to have a good strategic match of wits, but it would be a start and still beats the alternative. Better yet, have an actual Kaiju show up with a chessboard. It would definitely be original!

Overall, The only saving grace of the film is the fact that it is barely an hour. You can watch it while eating supper and then quickly try to forget about it. Of course, the most effective course of action is to simply not watch it in the first place. If you want to watch a monster film, just watch one that actually has a monster. Godzilla, Gamera, Beast From 20000 Fathoms, or something like that. Those films stay classy and provide you with a good story. This one just reminds you that a bad plot twist can only make a bad film even worse. Double negatives don’t suddenly turn into positives when it comes to films. The animal violence still boggles my mind though. Why would the film do such a thing? Whyyyyyyyyyyy!

Overall 1/10

Godzilla in Hell Review

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This comic review is a pretty big landmark for me because it is the first Godzilla comic book that I have ever read. That is probably a little surprising to hear since I’m such a big Godzilla fan, but my library simply doesn’t order the comics very often. I’m a comic reader, but not necessarily a collector. It’s the opposite with video games. When I saw that the library had picked this trade paperback up, I grabbed it instantly. I heard that this comic was quite different from the average Godzilla adventure and that is certainly true, but I suppose that it’s as good a way to enter the Godzilla comic part of the franchise as any other. It is a good comic although I feel like it could have gone a lot farther with this ambitious concept.

On the back of the book they have a quote from legendary comic reviewer Daniel Alvarez of Unleash The Fanboy about how this is the most unique Godzilla tale of them all. It is a little…sketchy how they completely took the quote out of context although I certainly agree with it and would argue that the reviewer would as well. This is the most unique Godzilla tale of them all and there will likely never be another one quite like it. That doesn’t mean that it is the best Godzilla tale of all time. Certainly not, but it’s a good one and that’s why I feel this mini series should have ran for a little longer. Another 5-6 issues would have given it time to really explore Godzilla’s time in hell. Who knows, if this sells well enough then maybe we will get a sequel.

As the title outright states, this series is about Godzilla being in Hell. (Or is he really there?) It works as a bit of an anthology as each issue has a different team behind it and Godzilla faces a new threat each time. The stories are still held together by the loose plot of Godzilla trying to get out and most anthologies have some kind of string holding the plot together, but for all intents and purposes, the comics are all separate. As such, I’ll review this in the style of an anthology with a paragraph for each individual issue rather than talking about it as a whole until the end.

The first issue sees Godzilla literally fall into Hell where he fights off a Dark version of himself who turns into a very deformed version of Biollante and threatens to eat him whole. Godzilla fends off his attack and makes his way into the next layer of Hell. It is a solid start to the collection and I dare say that it is the most compelling issue of the bunch. It doesn’t have as much action as some of the issues coming up, but it handled the concept better than the others. The big sign saying to abandon hope is something that you would expect to find in Hell, at least conceptually. Once you are in Hell, there is no hope at all. Simply put, the race is over and you made the wrong choice. Of course, Godzilla is not dead yet so he is not truly out of time. Plus, let’s face it, Godzilla doesn’t feel fear. The art for this issue was solid. It did a good job of showing the facial expressions for Godzilla and the fight was well done. This is really what a comic version of Godzilla should strive to look like and I definitely liked the design of the made up villain.

Following that strong start was the worst comic in the collection. The series tried to go for a live action look and it didn’t work. As far as I’m concerned, if DC’s Kingdom Come event couldn’t pull it off, nothing ever will. The fight scenes are very choppy and it’s a shame since this issue could have had the most action. This level of hell has demons transform into lookalikes from Godzilla’s past. Fake Rodan, Anguirus, Varan, and Ghidorah all attack the hero. Godzilla fends them all off and it should have been a really good issue. The art just takes you out of the adventure. I do like the use of the word bubbles here as they add more context and hint at what is actually going on here. Godzilla passes this trial with flying colors as he proves that he is more than a match for any demon. Of course, the trials will get stronger from here.

The third issue was the most colorful and went for more of a cartoony feel than the other two. This made for a great fight between Godzilla and Space Godzilla, but the facial expressions could be a little odd at times. It was uncharacteristic for Godzilla, but the fight scenes were worth it. Space Godzilla is definitely a worthy opponent for the King of the Monsters. This was also the strangest issue in the collection. So, this trial is essentially that Godzilla must defeat Space Godzilla without resorting to the temptations from both sides. Half of Hell wants him to become their god and rule while the others want him to work for Hell. You are led to believe at first that half of them worship God and want Godzilla to join, but they quickly switch to believers of Godzilla and also don’t seem trust worthy. Regardless, Godzilla eats them all and crushes the rest, but neither side seemed to have a clue as to what they were doing.

They were yelling about submitting to peace the entire time. Godzilla just kept on blasting them which is probably a safe bet. Why would angels be in Hell anyway unless they were fallen ones? I guess some Earthlings tried to come here as well since we saw that Moguera was toasted. It was an odd comic, but it also helps support the argument that this is all real and not simply a dream the most in my opinion. I don’t have a lot of concrete arguments to support that, but this issue felt like it could be real. More on that at the end.

Issue 4 also had some pretty nice art. It was a little more realistic, but still pretty vibrant which is good because the whole issue is a big fight with King Ghidorah and Destoroyah. Godzilla has to use his wits to defeat these two since their combined might is far greater than his. It is cool to see him actually using strategy like dividing the opponents and taking them out on at a time. He loses though and the second half of the issue sees him die over and over again. The problem is that since he is in Hell, he cannot die for good. He has been cursed with immortality and it is a somber thought. At the end he breaks out of this part of hell and makes his way to the final challenges. This was my favorite story. As a big action fan, it was fun to see some fights here and Godzilla being portrayed as more than a mindless monster is always good.

Finally, the collection ended with Godzilla facing off against the elements and the actual demons from Hell. In their true forms, they were finally playing for keeps here. Unfortunately, they got a little too overconfident and after destroying Godzilla, they reanimated him with fire, which was enough to jump start his body and allow him to regenerate. They should have quit while they were ahead. It ends with Godzilla rising out of the water and you have to ask, did this all really happen or was it in his head? The answer will come in a moment. Meanwhile, the art here was not as good as the last few issues. The final shot with Godzilla rising it great and it’s better than the live action issue, but it is too gray-scale for me. Comics don’t always have to be vibrant, but it just didn’t look that good and everything was just too faded. Still a good issue, but it’s always sad to see Godzilla lose due to sheer numbers. It is part of why I don’t like the Megaguirus film.

In the end, my answer is that this was all a dream. The final issue does state that winning against yourself is greater than a thousand victories. It said that such a win can never be taken away and those lines of dialogue really support the fact that this was in Godzilla’s head. It is still a little iffy as Godzilla is not the type to ever doubt himself and I don’t think he would need to conquer his inner demons. Still, I suppose that even Kaiju have things that they need to think about so it is not totally unreasonable to believe that Godzilla has to come to terms with himself now and again. I’ve never been all that opposed to reading a series that ended with the plot twist of it all being a dream so it is not all that bad. It is open to interpretation so feel free to choose another theory to follow, but this is definitely the one that I follow.

Overall, I think this series definitely could have benefited from being longer. Of course, it could have had the opposite effect as it really depends on an issue to issue basis. If the writers started to run out of ideas, then it is always best to quit while you are ahead. I definitely recommend this to any Godzilla fan. The concept is simply too priceless to pass up. I think the average comic reader should be able to enjoy it as well. There is very little dialogue here so it is more of a visual experience than anything else. That’s something that everyone can ultimately appreciate in a comic as long as there is some kind of interesting plot/good characters to go alongside it. I’ve finally entered the world of Godzilla comics, hopefully I am able to read another one someday!

Overall 7/10