Rodan Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10

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Space Amoeba Review

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It’s time to look at an old Kaiju film that not too many people know about. However, once you see the title you know that this is a film to check out. The monsters are huge which is really what you are looking for at the end of the day. It’s a pretty fun film that may start to lose a little steam as it goes on but manages to be a solid product through and through. Naturally you will be rooting for the monsters of course.

The film starts off with a reporter being mocked for claiming that our satellites aren’t making it into space and are being shot down. He is determined to prove that he isn’t wrong and is given the chance when a lady shows up and asks him to take photos of an island where she is building a resort. His pride won’t let him do such a thing at first but then another guy shows up and explains that giant monsters may have been seen in the area. The lead quickly realizes that it is all linked and jumps into action. Is he in over his head?

One thing you will enjoy right away is the writing for this film. It’s one of those old school scripts where the characters are all having a lot of run right off the bat. Sure, maybe they should be taking this whole thing a little more seriously to be honest, but at the end of the day you have to appreciate the fact that they can still make one liners. The voice acting is on point and the characters are reasonably likable. Kudo may have a little too much pride as he initially doesn’t want to take pictures of landscapes even when paid, but I guess that’s just not his thing. He is quick to jump into action when necessary on the island. We also have the corporate spy who comes in to try and get rich, but things don’t go too well for him. From that point on you already knew he was doomed though. We also have the main heroine who tries to help one of the heroes get away from the mind control that he is under with her yells. I suppose it is fairly effective. You’ve also got the tour guides but some of the locals do tend to panic when the Kaiju come knocking. Never a good move since these monsters are as fast as they are large.

So as you can see I definitely had no problem with the characters. It was a fun enough bunch even if none of them are all that memorable. Now we get to the Kaiju. They were all pretty solid. The best one would probably be the main one. That squid packed a punch and was even able to move on land. I definitely was glad to see him pop up and his scenes were certainly the closest to something out of a Godzilla movie. Then we have the big turtle that was neat. While the ability to stretch out your head isn’t very useful or practical, it was visually interesting so I’ll give it some props there. The monsters were definitely fun so this title earned its creature feature status.

As I mentioned, the film does slow down a bit during the second half though. That’s because the humans start to take up a bit more of a focus at that point so the monsters are secondary. I can tell you now that this is never a good idea since we are all here for the Kaiju of course. The humans are just the added bonus. It never gets boring or anything like that though. I also think the monsters should have maybe been a bit stronger as well since one of them was getting absolutely wrecked by the humans and their guns. If you’re not bullet proof but are huge like these monsters then you’re just going to end up being an easy target.

I do think Kudo’s boss will likely go down as one of the more underrated characters among the Kaiju community though. I like how he doubted Kudo from the start and never changed his mind from that. After all, why should he? When you think about it, Kudo’s story doesn’t make any sense so sending him off on a wild goose chase makes a lot of sense. He’s a one shot character but is a perfect example of this film’s humor that meshes well with the story.

Overall, Space Amoeba is a solid film. It’s definitely a retro Kaiju movie that is worth checking out and you will never look at the giant monsters the same way again. Don’t worry, we’ve also got aliens in the mix which really helps as well since those guys should always be included in such an adventure. Kaiju and Aliens go hand in hand after all. It would be cool to see these monsters go up against Godzilla one day although they would probably be destroyed very quickly. The Amoeba may not be one of the strongest fighters out there, but he’s a fun one.

Overall 7/10

The film industry has forgotten why Godzilla films are so great

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I’ve been a huge Godzilla fan for quite a while now. At this point it’s safe to say that I talk about him almost every day. It’s hard to say just how many years it’s been, but one of the first Godzilla films I ever saw was the Megaguirus one. It’s one of my least favorite titles so it didn’t start me off on the right foot, but it got me thinking how hype the G series could be. Eventually I went on to watch the rest of the Godzilla films and even bought 3 of the games. Naturally it’s been a great time to be a G fan lately with all of the new films and comics coming out. Unfortunately though, some of them seem to miss the point of what a Godzilla film is all about. Mainly I’m referring to the recent Netflix films, but others are guilty as well. So, I’m going to talk about why Godzilla films are a blast and the popular misconceptions around them.

1. Godzilla films have quality Kaiju fight scenes
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At the very least this is why I love the Godzilla films. I always enjoy a good monster battle. See, the average monster film has to walk a fine line here since if the fight is too graphic it can fall into the animal violence camp. Likewise if the monster acts too much like a creature. It’s for that reason that I believe the films should stick away from having kid monsters in it like Minilla. Ultimately he serves as more of a liability to Godzilla than anything else. The Godzilla films have always been pretty careful about this. Occasionally you’ll get a fight that isn’t too fun like Megaguirus, Vs Gigan, and Kumonga, but for the most part they are rock solid. The Ghidorah fights are a blast, I like seeing Godzilla go up against Space G, etc. Whether Godzilla gets up close to dish out some hand to hand action on the villains or falls back on his atomic breath, the stakes are quite high from start to finish. These fights were a blast. I always have a hard time deciding which era was better for Godzilla, Showa or Millennium. Both are fantastic but for mainly different reasons. Showa had more close combat fights while Millennium went for the beam wars. Both approaches are fun and the important thing is that they had Kaiju battles. This is where some of the films start to mess up.
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Take the recent Netflix film. Godzilla doesn’t actually fight against any real opponents. It’s just the army bombarding Godzilla for about an hour until they realize that this approach isn’t working and quickly fall back to plan B. That’s not entertaining. It’s like watching a human try to hit a robot with a sling shot for the whole film. We know that it’s futile from the start and that doesn’t change as the film goes on. It works as a great backdrop to solidify what a threat the Kaiju is of course, but that’s not supposed to be the payoff. Take Godzilla Against Mecha Godzila for example. It’s great to see the army give it their best of course, not because they have a chance, but because it shows how impressive the robot is to damage Godzilla when the full armaments could not. Take away Mecha Godzilla and you have to wonder why they are wasting so much ammo. You need a Kaiju opponent. For that reason, I consider some fan favorite Godzilla films to be among the weaker ones. The original Godzilla film, Godzilla Returns, the 1998 Godzilla film, both Netflix Godzilla films, and Shin Godzilla. Most of those are still quality films in their own right, but compared to the other Godzilla films I can’t really say that they rank. You end up sorely missing the fights that got you into the series.

Final Wars is still the best Godzilla film because it took the modern day effects of the Millennium era and mixed them together with the close quarters combat of the Showa films. It had nonstop action and easily the best soundtrack in the series. It was just a masterpiece and the human plot was actually really good as well. Usually I end up forgetting the human plot as soon as it pops up because I’m just ready for the Godzilla action to commence. Even if it takes 40 minutes for the Big G to appear I know that the payoff will be worth it. It’s why I’ve seen Final Wars 3 times already.

2. Godzilla can be a humorous series and that’s not a bad thing
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Usually when someone says that the Godzilla series is pretty cheesy or that they were laughing the entire time that can be seen as negative when it’s really a positive. Yeah, the old Godzilla films have some dated effects, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. The English dubs of the films had fun turning the films into full comedies at times and it worked quite well. Seeing the monsters rolling on the ground and wrestling makes for great entertainment. It’s part of why I love the era so much. I may not take it all that seriously, but I’ll still be enjoying it quite a lot. The Godzilla series doesn’t need to be super somber or take itself seriously to be good. Some films choose to look at the situation really realistically with how the world would handle the Kaiju, while others do not. The former can work, but there are only so many ways you can portray this. Sometimes it’s best to skip that and get right to the action. In general my favorite Godzilla films are the ones that don’t bog themselves down in the drama and just get right to the action. The characters have a very New York attitude of “Lets get this done” regardless of how absurd the whole situation is. They’ll have time to think about it after the job is done. Again, I have to point to the recent Netflix film. They spend the whole movie talking about how scary Godzilla is without actually showing it. That just doesn’t work well in a visual medium like a film. Show us how powerful Godzilla is and it’ll be obvious that he’s a threat. Words aren’t necessary at that point. Show Godzilla flying by blasting the ground and that’ll be a funny scene, but also one that shows how much velocity is in his Atomic Breath. It just works. The recent films have tried to be extremely serious lately and don’t seem to understand that having a giant monster running through the streets can make for a bunch of funny scenes as well. At least Shin Godzilla had a little fun with it to be fair, but the recent American one and the Netflix movies didn’t even try.

3. Modeling the films after the original Godzilla is a mistake
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There is a sect of Godzilla fans who really only liked the first film or have just enjoyed a small handful. I’ve met at least 2 people who felt this way and have heard from many others on Reddit. If the first film is indeed the only one that you like can you really call yourself a Godzilla fan? You’re a fan of the Godzilla film or even the creature, but not the series. On Reddit there’s a user who said that he always goes to watch the films in theaters, but has never liked any besides the original since they’re not as deep and moving. That’s fine (Although we’ve had many other G films with big messages like Shin Godzilla) but then it’s really just an outlier that you liked the original film. It’s like how I could like a James Bond film and not like the series. After you’ve churned out 20+ films, odds are that at least one of them will be good right? The first Godzilla film is actually one of my least favorite since the action isn’t quite there compared to most of the sequels, but it’s still a good film. It’s a little different from the average G flick though and shouldn’t really be used to compare to the other films for the most part. If you expect every G film to be like that one then you may be in for a surprise. However, that seems to be an aspect that the recent films have focused on. It is pretty similar to point 2, but I don’t watch a Godzilla film to see him being compared to a Hurricane or to just watch Humanity roll over and accept that he’s the strongest. I came to see aliens take over the planet and send their monsters after Godzilla. I came to see humanity awaken a powerful monster and for Godzilla to fight it. Without big conflicts like that, it’s just not much of a film. One of the most annoying things about horror films is that often times the humans have no shot. The Mothman, Paranormal Activity, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The villains are effectively all powerful so the humans are going to lose, it’s just a matter of when. If Godzilla is the only Kaiju in the film then the humans are doomed and the whole film feels pointless. Even if they do win it will just seem cheesy and not very earned.

However there is hope!
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The new Godzilla film coming up sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Honestly I wasn’t really impressed with the trailer, but it was a teaser so I couldn’t expect to see too much of the monsters. The happy music seemed a little off and once again everyone appears to be super in awe of the monsters. Hopefully the film isn’t ultra dramatic there. At the same time, we are going to have at least 4 Kaiju, potentially a 5th. We should get a ton of action and the Godzilla introduction was already taken care of so maybe the action will occur right away. So long as the film was given a reasonable budget this time there should be nothing to worry about. The 3rd Netflix Godzilla film also sounds like it may finally give us some true Kaiju fights as well which would be a huge deal. I think both of these films are going to be excellent and will be a true resurgence for the series. The recent films have been solid though so don’t get me wrong there, but I feel like we are finally getting back to the heart of the Godzilla franchise. At its core it’s an epic movie series about a bunch of monster fights and aliens taking over the planet. The deep messages about nuclear war and fighting nature are nice backdrops of course, but the core premise will always be about the monsters. It’s what separates this series from all others and is why the franchise is iconic. Godzilla films will always be around for us so we need to be around for them. Hopefully more people will realize that Orga is the most underrated Kaiju out there someday though.
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Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle Review


It’s time to look at the new Godzilla film! While the last Netflix installment wasn’t great, it was still a pretty good film. We got to see a reasonable amount of Godzilla screen time and the action scenes were pretty intense. Unfortunately this one is even more focused on the humans to the point where it can barely be called a Godzilla film. This movie is definitely a mess and I blame most of it on the painfully low budget that this movie seems to be tied down with.

The film starts with Haruo waking up and realizing that humanity has survived after all as a girl tended to his injuries. The Earthlings have fused with Mothra dna to allow themselves to survive the reign of Godzilla. They also use Mecha Godzilla’s armor to create arrows with which to fight back. The problem is that nobody is able to even damage the King of the Monsters. The heroes decide to use the armored city to fight back but can a city which doesn’t even move hope to win this fight?

The sad thing about this film is that most of it would be impossible if this was a different version of Godzilla. A single blast would have done the trick if Godzilla didn’t wait to make a move until days pass by each time. Even when he does finally make a move Godzilla only fires a single shot. Apparently he knows that beams won’t work but in that case he ended up playing himself since we find out that it actually would have been an effective tactic. One blast melted all backup harpoons and various parts of the city. Why would you not fire again?

The film can’t seem to decide whether Godzilla is extremely powerful in this version or if he is actually one of the weaker more brittle versions. Either way he didn’t look impressive. He literally walks into every single trap and shows no signs of real intelligence. The film makes him look like a zombie the whole time. The design wouldn’t be bad either if it wasn’t for the lack of animation which makes him appear to be frozen the entire time.

Another thing that’s tricky about the film is that you don’t really have anyone to root for. The humans certainly aren’t going to win a vote since they are already pretty divided with a lot of factions that would betray each other at the blink of an eye. One group becomes a little more extreme here which is unfortunate since prior to that they had been reasonable. It’s true that the humans severely overreacted with the whole merging with machine thing when it was voluntary, but that shouldn’t have made everyone go off the deep end. There is also a bit of romance here but it’s so forced for extra drama later on that you won’t get emotional about it.

High command doesn’t do much here and they still seem at a loss for answers. They don’t have a choice but to help if you ask me since they are running out of fuel and won’t be able to make it to another planet anyway. Their only chance is Earth so even if it will be tough they should try to make do. It’s not like the world is uninhabitable since the insect people still live and as long as the humans can make more masks they would be okay. Honestly if they weren’t so determined to try and crush Godzilla they probably could have coexisted well enough. It takes him days to wake up from a nap so where is the risk? Just lie low and accept that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

I didn’t care much for the animation in the first film and that hasn’t changed here. It looks like a cutscene you would see in a 3DS Fire Emblem game. That may work for small scenes but if you’re making a whole movie then surely you have more budget than the cutscene development crew right? Yet, the animators are afraid to do much of anything so most of the film is just characters talking and walking around in circles. There is very rarely any real movement to speak of and that’s just a shame. It’s not a fun film to look at.

Most of the movie is also rather silent so prepare to focus on the dialogue I guess. The few scenes with music that we do get are quite solid though so it is just a shame hat it couldn’t have happened more often. It had a good sci-fi beat to it that was very fast paced and made you feel like you were suddenly in an energetic film.

As there is one more film in the trilogy we do get an after credits scene. Unfortunately it is also sloppily done and destroys any chance that the scene may have had of actually being really good. The whole thing is recycled footage and several scenes pop up more than once. It was just painfully bad especially since everyone already knew who the name was going to be well before the line since this monster had been rumored/semi confirmed ages ago. The execution just wasn’t there.

While there are a lot of negatives to the film lets at least look at some positives before concluding. When we do get music it’s pretty good so that’s solid. I do like the mech suits that the heroes wear. They feel pretty powerful and do move very quickly. They effectively can’t be hit as long as the heroes don’t make any obvious mistakes. The concept of a Mecha Godzilla city is pretty sound even if it’s not as cool as actually having Mecha Godzilla. It may have even been able to win if the heroes weren’t rushing it so much. Did they really need to force a fight with Godzilla right away? Waiting 2-3 days or more would have ensured their victory and I think that would have been worth it. Since they can communicate with the mother ship they could have come up with a plan.

Overall, This film was definitely very underwhelming. If it wasn’t called a Godzilla film then it would have been a little better but even then I doubt it would have been anything more than average. It technically makes no critical errors like animal violence, fanservice, or anything like that. Yet, the film is just rather boring the whole time and it’s hard to get engaged since the heroes never feel like they have much of a chance. There is no way their plan should have even been close to succeeding if we are being honest. I’d probably advise you to skip this film and watch one of the live action Godzilla films. As a longtime fan I can tell you that this one forgets what a true Godzilla film is. A battle of Kaiju that shakes the planet. That’s why if the directors didn’t want to do this they should have labeled it as a classic sci-fi indie film about overcoming a large monster. It’s just that when you put Godzilla in the title you get a certain set of expectations.

Overall 5/10

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

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