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Archive for the tag “Godzilla”

High Fashion

Sir Patrick Mack introduces the Met fashion show. In Pursuit of Truth adds a few other Quick Burns, including a Godzilla attack on Larry Elder and a review of the J6 event organized by the FBI, Google and Facebook.  Lotsa funnies!




Godzilla Explains His Origins

Challenged by Rodan, Godzilla (badly) explains his origins. More from Vrahno.

The Cordillera Volcano

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

Filmation (the “We’re #2, so we try harder!” studio for classic TV animation) did mostly licensed properties, including TARZAN in 1976. (Which I covered a good while back.) Hanna-Barbera, the leading cartoon outfit, usually preferred to avoid licensing fees by going with ‘original’ characters. AKA: Knock-offs.

Possibly in response to the aforementioned Tarzan series, HB gave us JANA OF THE JUNGLE. Of course, half-naked white gals running around having adventures in jungles was a trope going back many decades in prose, comics, and film before this one was created to fill-out the GODZILLA POWER HOUR.

Jana’s show bore considerable resemblance to Tarzan’s. From the opening narration to the use of rotoscoping to give her more realistic movement. (Common practice by Filmation, but a rarity in HB productions.) One difference was placing Jana in a South American jungle, as opposed to Tarzan’s Africa. Natives were somewhat conspicuous by their absence in the Ape-Man’s stories, likely because there was no way to get away with depicting primitive black folks that wouldn’t be offensive in the ’70s. But you could still put spear-chucking Indians in loin cloths and feathers on the Jungle Girl’s program.

Jana’s big native fellow-traveler was voiced by Ted Cassidy (Lurch from the live-action and first animated ADDAMS FAMILY, as well as various voice roles including the HB Godzilla), who also guest-starred in the episode of Tarzan I uploaded. More from the OldHorseman.




 

Birth Of A New Hero

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

Last week’s Saturday upload was 1978’s FREEDOM FORCE, a short-lived Filmation superhero ‘toon that included Super Samurai, whom I described as a “less sci-fi version of Ultraman”.

Now, the name Ultraman has been used in DC comic books for various alternate universe, bad guy counterparts to Superman. It was also used in self-reference by a teenager with superpowers in the late ’80s sitcom MY SECRET IDENTITY. But I wasn’t writing about those guys…

You see, back in the ’60s and early ’70s, Japan sent us a show featuring a giant super-dude doing battle with leftovers from Godzilla’s movies. ULTRAMAN was a live-action program, done with the titular hero in a silver and red wetsuit judo-fighting rubber-suit monsters in the midst of miniature buildings while the Science Patrol flew around in toy planes on strings with small pyrotechnics in them… We freakin’ loved it!!!

Nippn Sunrise, now known as Sunrise, handled the animation. Ultraman spawned a whole franchise of follow-ups, including cartoons! Today we have a classic bit of Japanimation (from before everyone got uppity and rechristened it ‘anime’) introducing a new incarnation in 2D. From 1979. More from the OldHorseman.




Godzilla Vs. Sleepy Joe

Godzilla throws his hat into the ring, vowing if elected, to never creep on little girls or sniff the hair of your wives. More from Jake Morphonios.




Know Your Monster: 31

ZEDUS

Last but certainly not least in our Know Your Monster series is Zedus, arch-foe of Gamera. Zedus is a powerful monster, a sea beast who bears a strong resemblance to Godzilla but has a few different embellishing traits.

For instance, Zedus has a forked, serpent-like tongue that he often uses to impale his enemies. Frilly dorsal fins run the length of his body from his head to his tail. His extremely long tail is second only to his tongue in his arsenal of weapons. He can whip it around at a fast clip, knocking down buildings and bowling over opponents. Zedus’ other notable feature is his titanic size. He towers over 200 feet tall, making him one of the largest of the Kaiju.

Zedus made his screen debut in Gamera The Brave, the most recent Gamera film, released in 2006. He doesn’t actually battle the original Gamera but instead the big turtle’s offspring, Toto, who hatches from a mysterious egg and is raised by a young boy named Toru. Yes,  the filmmakers return to familiar territory, giving us a Gamera who is a protector of kids and a force for good. But before dismissing the film as sugarcoated pablum, watch this scene of the bad-ass Zedus, munching on some villagers. Many Kaiju are fierce, but how many do you recall who are carnivorous?

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And for a double-dose of Zedus, here’s his showdown against Toto.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed our Know Your Monster series and learned a thing or two about the Kaiju, the Japanese movie monsters. The next time one of your friends try to stump you with a Godzilla trivia question, bring up Zedus or Biollante, and test who’s really the expert on the subject!

Know Your Monster: 27

ULTRAMAN

Ultraman is a Japanese superhero who first appeared on a 1960s television series battling new monsters every week. The series ran for 39 episodes in 1966 and 1967, sometimes pitting Ultraman against kaiju (the gigantic mutant monsters from our own planet) and other times having him square off against seijin, or alien invaders aiming to conquer the Earth. The central role played by monsters in the series is hardly surprising. Ultraman was created by Tsuburaya Productions, under the command of Eiji Tsuburaya, the special effects pioneer who brought Godzilla to life. He recruited many Godzilla veterans to take part in the TV show, notably monster suit actor Haruo Nakajima.

Tsuburaya recycled some of his most famous monster suits, including those for Godzilla and Baragon, in this series, but he modified the costumes to avoid legal conflicts with Toho Studios, which had released the original monster movies. Sometimes, the alterations were done on the fly, during production, with the actor still inside the suit. Nakajima once quipped that the staggering gait he used for his monsters had nothing to do with his acting style. He was simply reeling from the noxious fumes from the spray paint applied to the costumes.

Much like Superman, Ultraman poses as an ordinary mortal but when danger arises he can transform into a superhero — in this case, a gigantic monster-smashing Space avenger. In his everyday life, he’s no slouch either. As Shin Hayata, he belongs to the Science Patrol, otherwise known as the United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency. Its mission: To protect the Earth from all manner of monsters. Hayata secretly uses a “Beta capsule” to become Ultraman. He wears a warning light on his chest, the Color Timer, that signals his energy state. When it’s a steady blue, he can fight as Ultraman, but if it begins flickering and turns red, he must finish his business quickly and change back into Hayata, or else risk total energy depletion. In that event, a narrator warns,  he “will never rise again.”

Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_Monsters to see a complete list of all the monsters and aliens from the Ultraman series, as well as its countless sequels, spin-offs and copycat productions. For a little taste of Ultraman, watch this short clip.

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Tomorrow’s featured monster: Varan.

Know Your Monster: 25

RODAN

By any name, Rodan is a survivor. Let me explain. The monster we in the United States call “Rodan” was originally christened “Radon” in his debut Japanese screen appearance in 1956. The name was a contraction of the dinosaur this beast most closely resembles — the Pterandon. The name also hinted at the word “radiation,” although radiation didn’t produce Rodan. Instead, he was said to be a prehistoric creature unearthed by miners. And just to confuse matters further, there were actually two Rodans in that original 1956 movie, both of whom died. But by the time Rodan resurfaced as one of Godzilla’s Kaiju cronies, the pair had miraculously morphed into one lone survivor. Got that? Good!

Harking back to his discovery by miners, Rodan is often associated with erupting volcanoes and volcanic lairs. Being nurtured around magma has its advantages. Rodan not only seems impervious to Godzilla’s atomic breath, but also shrugs off King Ghidorah’s gravity beams. Sometimes, he’s depicted as being as big as Godzilla, although usually he’s smaller, though no less durable or deadly.

Rodan’s lightning-fast speed and enormous wingspan allow him to swoop down, like a bird of prey, on hapless victims. In that sense, he mirrors the monster Gyaos, although Rodan is more birdlike and has less in common with the bat. Rodan doesn’t even have to make contact to be effective. Flying at supersonic speeds, hugging the horizon, he can generate hurricane-force gales and building-shattering sonic booms. In the heat of battle, he will peck at enemies with his beak or rip them with his talons.

Here’s the trailer for the English-dubbed version of Sora No Daikaiaju Radon, as the original Japanese film was titled.

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Flash forward nearly a half-century later, to the film Godzilla: Final Wars, commemorating Godzilla’s 50th anniversary in 2004. Here, Rodan teams with Anguirus and King Caesar to fight the Big G.

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Tomorrow we won’t have a featured monster but instead will introduce a pair of monster’s sidekicks, the Shobijin, the miniature fairies who summon Mothra.

Know Your Monster: 18

Mechagodzilla

Just when the Godzilla franchise was running out of steam, Toho Studios devised an ingenious ruse to pump some fresh blood into the series. In 1974’s Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla, the Big G battles himself. Actually, this clone is a mechanical robot made up to masquerade as Godzilla by an alien race of apes (the Simians) intent upon conquering the world.

As the film opens, the residents of Japan are in shock as their protector, Godzilla, appears to have turned against them, once again demolishing the country. Little do they realize their nemesis isn’t Godzilla but his Outer Space doppelganger. They get a true sense of horror, though, when Anguirus arises to defend them, and gets his lower jaw broken. After the real Godzilla joins the fray, confusion mounts until it becomes clear he’s tangling with an impostor. As the Mechagodzilla’s flesh gets ripped and his true self emerges, he is exposed as a metallic killing machine.

He can fire missiles from every one of his appendages, even from his toes and knee caps. He shoots a high-powered laser from his eyes and can twist his head around 360 degrees to decimate enemies approaching him from behind. Also, if he spins his head fast enough, he generates a force field. Mechagodzilla uses rocket propulsion to fly. His fully armored body, made from an alloy called Space Titanium, deflects most attacks. While Mechagodzilla appears to be an invincible fortress, he has met his match in the resourceful Godzilla.

Here’s a funny review of the picture from Cinemassacre. There’s some salty language, so skip it if you’re easily offended by cuss words.

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Tomorrow’s featured monster: Megalon

Know Your Monster: 16

KING GHIDORAH

Of all the monsters that Godzilla fights, none is more powerful and fearsome than the golden, three-headed dragon King Ghidorah. While it’s difficult to imagine Godzilla quaking in his boots, notice that he never does battle alone against this archenemy. Godzilla always faces this creature with one or more allied monsters to provide some extra muscle and support.

Eiji Tsuburaya, the special effects genius who created Godzilla, also envisioned King Ghidorah. A stunt actor plays the creature but it takes an entire team of puppeteers to control its three heads, two tails and bat-like wings. Next time you watch a movie featuring King Ghidorah, take note of its well-orchestrated moves, and imagine how difficult they are to coordinate. The attention to detail on the part of the puppeteers is remarkable, each Ghidorah head even has its own distinct, piercing shriek. King Ghidorah is so complicated it’s one of the few monsters in the Godzilla franchise that not only has been realized through suitmation but also CGI.

Originally, King Ghidorah was presented as a conquering beast from Outer Space, sent to devastate Earth by the Xilians, a civilization inhabiting an unknown planet close to Jupiter. In later movies, it was alternatively suggested that he was created by time travelers — a mutant freak of nature generated through radiation and genetic engineering. The back-stories don’t matter so much as King Ghidorah’s swooping power and nightmarish appearance.

He has a large and dedicated fan base, so he has appeared many times since his debut in the 1964 film Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster. Besides joining a pack of Kaiju in the all-out Destroy All Monsters, he was the star attraction in Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah, and made a memorable cameo appearance in Godzilla Vs. Gigan.

Here, WatchMojo explains the origins of King Ghidorah.

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Tomorrow’s featured monster: Kumonga

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