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Friday, May 23, 2014

Announcement To All Blog Viewers

To blog viewers due to a recent issue with Google and another site we have decided to move to a new home, kaijubattle.net currently all new content going forward will be posted there and we will move all old content as time permits to the new site as well. The old content will remain here as well for the time being till it all is moved to the new site. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: MusukoGoji Suit

Films: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Unquestionably the ugliest Godzilla suit, the Musuko-Godzilla had a thick body, a fat neck, small hands and crude, odd-looking dorsal plates. The head was horrible, with a stubby face, oversized mouth with crude teeth and large, glassy eyes placed high on the head and at right angles. This suit was equipped with movable eyes and eyelids. The Musuko-Godzilla would fortunately never again receive a starring role and appeared only once more, for water scenes in Godzilla on Monster Island.

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: Son Of Godzilla

Son of Godzilla, (released in Japan as Monster Island's Decisive Battle: Godzilla's Son (怪獣島の決戦 ゴジラの息子 Kaijū-tō no Kessen Gojira no Musuko)), is a 1967 Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Jun Fukuda with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa (supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya), the film starred Tadao Takashima, Akira Kubo, and Akihiko Hirata. The 8th film in the Godzilla series, it was also the second of two island themed Godzilla adventures that Toho produced with slightly smaller budgets than most of the Godzilla films from this time period. Continuing the trend of shifting the series towards younger audiences, the film introduced an infant Godzilla named Minilla.

The film was released straight to television in the United States in 1969 by the Walter Reade organization.

A team of scientists are trying to perfect a weather-controlling system. Their efforts are hampered by the arrival of a nosy reporter and by the sudden presence of 2-meter tall giant praying mantises. The first test of the weather control system goes awry when the remote control for a radioactive balloon is jammed by an unexplained signal coming from the center of the island. The balloon detonates prematurely, creating a radioactive storm that causes the giant mantises to grow to enormous sizes. Investigating the mantises, which are named Kamacuras (Gimantis in the English-dubbed version), the scientists find the monstrous insects digging an egg out from under a pile of earth. The egg hatches, revealing a baby Godzilla. The scientists realize that the baby's telepathic cries for help were the cause of the interference that ruined their experiment. Shortly afterwards, Godzilla himself arrives on the island, demolishing the scientist's base as he rushes to defend the baby. Godzilla kills two of the Kamacuras during the battle while one manages to fly away to safety, Godzilla then adopts the baby.

The baby Godzilla, named Minilla, quickly grows to about half the size of his father, and Godzilla instructs him on the important monster skills of roaring and using his atomic ray. At first, Minilla has difficulty producing anything more than atomic smoke rings, but Godzilla discovers that stressful conditions (i.e. stomping on his tail,) or motivation produces a true radioactive blast. Minilla comes to the aid of Reiko when she is attacked by a Kamacuras, but inadvertently awakens Kumonga (Spiga in the English-dubbed version), a giant spider that was sleeping in a valley. Kumonga attacks the caves where the scientists are hiding, and Minilla stumbles into the fray.

Kumonga traps Minilla and the final Kamacuras with his webbing, but as Kumonga begins to feed on the deceased Kamacuras, Godzilla arrives to save the day. Godzilla saves his son and they work together to defeat Kumonga by using their atomic rays on the giant spider. The scientists finally use their perfected weather altering device on the island and the once tropical island becomes buried in snow and ice. As the scientists are saved by an American submarine, Godzilla and Minilla begin to hibernate as they wait for the island to become tropical again.

Akira Kubo as Goro Maki
Tadao Takashima as Dr. Tsunezo Kusumi
Akihiko Hirata as Dr. Hujisaki
Bibari "Beverly" Maeda as Saeko (Reiko) Matsumiya
Yoshio Tsuchiya as Hurukawa
Kenji Sahara as Morio
Ken'ichiro Maruyama as Ozawa
Seishiro Kuno Tashiro
Yasuhiko Saijo as Suzuki
Susumu Kurobe as Weather observation airplane captain
Kazuo Suzuki as Weather observation aeronaut
Wataru Oomae as Weather observation airplane radio operator
Tyoutarou Tougin as Weather observation airplane crewman
Ousmane Yusef as Submarine captain
Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla (Water scenes only)
Yū Sekida and Seiji Onaka as Godzilla, The King of the Monsters who, while battling Kumonga and Kamacuras, trains his son to become the monster prince.
Little Man Machan as Minilla, the Son of Godzilla who aids his father in fighting Kumonga and Kamacuras
Kumonga, a giant spider and the main antagonist of the film.
Kamacuras, a giant praying mantis.

Box Office
In Japan, the film sold approximately 2,480,000 tickets.

Son of Godzilla has received generally positive reviews. The film currently holds a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

English Version
Shortly after the film's Japanese release, Toho had Son of Godzilla dubbed into English by Frontier Enterprises in Tokyo. As with nearly all Toho international versions, the dubbed version corresponds directly to uncut Japanese film. Frontier Enterprises owner William Ross dubs Dr. Kusumi (Tadao Takashima), while the part of Goro Maki (Akira Kubo) is dubbed by Burr Middleton, son of Charles B. Middleton. This version of the film was released on video in 1992 by PolyGram Video, Ltd. in the United Kingdom.

In the United States, Son of Godzilla was distributed directly to television by the Walter Reade Organization in 1969. The movie was re-dubbed by Titan Productions, Inc in New York. Peter Fernandez wrote and directed the dubbing script and voiced Goro Maki. Walter Reade Organization deleted almost all of the pre-credit sequence. All that remains in this version is a brief shot of Godzilla roaring and approaching the camera. The opening credits are also deleted, although the underlying footage is still present. In both English dubs, the monsters Kamacuras and Kumonga are called "Gimantis" and "Spiega", respectively. The character, "Saeko", is also called "Reiko" in both dubbed versions.

The original US version of the film was the one seen on American television and home video for over thirty years. In 2004, Tri-Star Home Video released the international version (and optional Japanese audio track) on DVD. The international version was later broadcast on Turner Classic Movies in 2008.

Son of Godzilla is very similar to the previous year's Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Both take place largely on a south pacific island populated by monsters, and both include a "native girl" among the cast. Also, both end in a similar way, with the heroes waving goodbye to the monsters as the island is destroyed/frozen. The similarities are due to the faces behind the scenes that worked on both films, including director Jun Fukuda and music composer Masaru Sato.
The suit in this film, MusukoGoji, was used again in Godzilla vs. Gigan for the water scenes.
Son of Godzilla is the last Showa era film that takes place within a set continuity, as the next year's Destroy All Monsters took place 32 years after the events of this film. 1969's All Monsters Attack hardly picks up where Son of Godzilla left off, and the next five films (1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah through 1975's Terror of MechaGodzilla) fare no better in terms of tying the 1960's and 1970's films together in one, flawless timeline. What happens to Godzilla, his son, and the other monsters between 1967 and 1971 (between the films Son of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Hedorah) is up to the viewer to decide.

DVD Release
Sony Pictures
Released: December 14, 2004
Aspect ratio: Anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1)
Sound: Japanese (2.0), English (2.0)
Supplements: Trailers for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Steamboy, and Kaena: The Prophecy
Region 1
Note: English dub track is Toho's international version
Rated PG for some sci-fi monster violence

Sunday, May 4, 2014

CREATURE FEATURE : Weapons Edition - Oxygen Destroyer

The Oxygen Destroyer (オキシジェン・デストロイヤ, Okishijen Desutoroiyā) was a fictional weapon of mass destruction used to kill Godzilla in the 1954 Godzilla film, Gojira.

It was the invention of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, who feared the power of the device that he created.

Showa Series
The weapon was first revealed to Emiko Yamane by Daisuke Serizawa when they were in his lab. He demonstrated it on a tank of fish, which were instantly reduced to skeletons.

Fearing that it would lead to another arms race, the doctor sacrificed himself as he detonated his device underwater, killing both Godzilla and the chance that his device would become a weapon.

Heisei Series
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
The Oxygen Destroyer would carry on a larger role, and was later revealed to have awoken prehistoric creatures that mutated into the monster Destoroyah in the 1995 film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. That film also noted that "if it had been used on the ground, it's quite obvious that Tokyo would've become a cemetery."

The chemical reaction initiated by the weapon (which is the actual part that destroys the oxygen) also powers one of Destoroyah's attacks, a beam of micro-oxygen, in the shape of a double-helix, with the destructive power of the Oxygen Destroyer itself.

Millennium Series
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla
In Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, the Oxygen Destroyer didn't dissolve Godzilla's skeleton, and Kiryu's blueprints incorporated the original Godzilla's skeleton within it to make the design process and construction less strenuous.

The device works by releasing a chemical stored within it's spherical center. Once released, the chemical (dubbed Micro-Oxygen) reacts violently with the water, isolating oxygen molecules and splitting them. The molecules are then liquified. This means that any organism exposed to the chemical will first suffocate from the lack of oxygen, and then disintegrate. Depending on the amount of the oxygen destroying chemical released, the body of the victim will either be eaten down to the bone or destroyed completely. When used to its full potential, the Oxygen Destroyer will leave no remains.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (Stock Footage)
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (Stock Footage)

It should be noted that even though many weapons have been created to kill Godzilla, the Oxygen Destroyer is the only man-made weapon to accomplish this task.
The Oxygen Destroyer prop is the oldest remaining Godzilla prop known, first being used in 1954 and recently seen in 2013, being displayed at the Godzilla Encounter, making the prop over 59 years old at the time.

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: SoshingekiGoji Suit

Films: Destroy All Monsters (1968), Godzilla’s Revenge (1969), Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (1971) and Godzilla on Monster Island (1972)

One of the more popular Godzilla designs, the Soshingeki-Godzilla featured a well proportioned, bell-shape body with a pronounced breast bone, a long neck and a head somewhat similar to the Daisenso-Godzilla, with defind brows and fairly menacing eyes. The eyes on this costume did not move, though the eyelids flutter briefly in the scene when King Ghidora flies overhead at Mt. Fuji. The Soshingeki-Godzilla had the most starring roles, though by counting “unofficial” water/stunt shots, the Daisenso-Godzilla appeared in more movies. Aside from slightly different brows, the Soshingeki-Godzilla was not changed in Godzilla’s Revenge. In Godzilla vs the Smog Monster, the suit had rounded eyes, while the mouth had a frowning expression. In Godzilla on Monster Island, the suit had sharper eyes with movable eyelids. Unfortunately in the last two films, especially Godzilla on Monster Island, the Soshingeki-Godzilla was in an obviously dilapidated condition. For these three films, the Soshingeki-Godzilla has also been nicknamed All Kaiju (All Monsters)-Godzilla, Hedogoji and Gigan-Godzilla.

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters, released in Japan as Kaijū Sōshingeki (怪獣総進撃, lit. "Charge of the Monsters"), is a 1968 Japanese Science fiction Kaiju film produced by Toho. The ninth entry in the original Godzilla series, it stars Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi and Yoshio Tsuchiya. Produced in celebration as Toho's 20th kaiju film, it was also originally intended to be the final Godzilla film, and as such, was given a bigger budget than the past few productions. Set at the end of the 20th century, the film features many of Toho's earlier monsters, eleven in all. The film was also the last to be produced by the main creators of the Godzilla character, with Ishirō Honda directing, Eiji Tsuburaya supervising the special effects (with Sadamasa Arikawa actually directing), Tomoyuki Tanaka producing, and Akira Ifukube handling the film's score.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the Spring of 1969 by American International Pictures.

At the close of the 20th century, all of the Earth's kaiju have been collected and confined in an area known as Monsterland, by the United Nations Science Committee, in the Ogasawara island chain. A special control center is constructed underneath the island to ensure the monsters stay secure, and serve as a research facility to study them.

When communications with Monsterland are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals, Dr. Yoshida of the UNSC orders Captain Yamabe and the crew of his spaceship, Moonlight SY-3, to investigate Ogasawara. There, they discover that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani, have become mind-controlled slaves of a feminine alien race identifying themselves as the Kilaaks, who reveal that they are in control of the monsters. Their leader demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation.

Godzilla attacks New York City, Rodan invades Moscow, Mothra lays waste to Beijing, Gorosaurus (wrongly identified as Baragon) destroys Paris, and Manda attacks London, which is set in to motion to take attention away from Japan, so the aliens can establish an underground stronghold near Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Kilaaks then turn their next major attack on Tokyo, and without serious opposition, become arrogant in their aims, until the UNSC discover the Kilaaks have switched to broadcasting the control signals from their base under the Moon's surface. In a desperate battle, the crew of the SY-3 destroy the Kilaak's lunar outpost and return the alien control system to Earth.

With all of the monsters under the control of the UNSC, the Kilaaks unleash their hidden weapon, King Ghidorah. The three-headed space monster is dispatched to protect the alien stronghold at Mt. Fuji, and battles Godzilla, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, and Kumonga (Manda, Baragon and an unnamed Varan are also present but do not take part in the battle). While seemingly invincible, King Ghidorah is eventually overpowered by the combined strength of the Earth monsters and is killed. Refusing to admit defeat, the Kilaaks produce their trump card, a burning monster they call the Fire Dragon, which begins to torch cities and destroys the control center on Ogasawara. Suddenly, Godzilla attacks and destroys the Kilaak's underground base, revealing the Earth's monsters instinctively know who their enemies are. Captain Yamabe then pursues the Fire Dragon in the SY-3, and narrowly achieves victory for the human race. The Fire Dragon is revealed to be a flaming Kilaak saucer and is destroyed. Godzilla and the other monsters are eventually returned to Monsterland to live in peace.

Akira Kubo as Captain Katsuo Yamabe
Jun Tazaki as Dr. Yoshido
Yukiko Kobayashi as Kyoko Manabe
Yoshio Tsuchiya as Dr. Otani
Kyoko Ai as Kilaak Queen
Andrew Hughes as Dr. Stevenson
Kenji Sahara as Nishikawa, Moon Base Commander
Godzilla, The King of the Monsters and the primary monster protagonist who gathers all the Monster Island residents together to fight King Ghidorah.
Minilla, the Son of Godzilla who helps his father.
Anguirus, a giant ankylosaurus creature who is a close ally of Godzilla's and helps him fight off King Ghidorah.
Rodan, a giant pteranodon who aids Godzilla and the others in the battle with King Ghidorah.
Mothra Larva, a divine, caterpillar-like deity who aids in the fight against King Ghidorah.
Gorosaurus, a giant dinosaur that helps defeat King Ghidorah.
Kumonga, a giant spider who joins the fray with the Monster Island residents.
Manda, a giant sea serpent
Baragon, a small, dinosaur-like monster.
Varan, a gliding lizard-like reptile.
King Ghidorah, the main monster antagonist of the film, a three-headed space dragon.

Original Screenplay
There was an initial screenplay with the preliminary title All Monsters Attack Directive, which would have many of the same elements used in the final product. The difference, however, was in the monster line-up. This first draft included several monsters that would appear in the final film, such as Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Rodan, Baragon, Varan, Kumonga, and Manda. The final two monsters were Maguma (from 1962's Gorath) and Ebirah (from 1966's Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster). Maguma was to be one of the guardians of the Kilaak base with Baragon, who would have been the ones to fend off the SDF. Ebirah's role is unknown. The film’s title was later changed to Kaiju Soshingeki (Charge of the Monsters), and Ebirah and Maguma were replaced with Anguirus, Minilla (Godzilla's son) and Gorosaurus.

U.S. Version
American International Pictures released the film theatrically in North America in 1969. The Americanization was handled by Titan Productions (formerly Titra Studios).

Among the changes for the U.S. release:
Deleted: Opening credits; Moved to the end of the film and changed to white credits against a black background with the original Ifukube cue.
Deleted: Shot of Minilla covering his eyes while King Ghidorah drops Anguirus.
In the Japanese version, the credits come right after the Moonlight SY-3 blasts off at the beginning of the movie. The American version moved the credits to the end of the picture.

This version has been replaced on home video and television by Toho's international version. While uncut and letterboxed, it features an English dub track produced by William Ross' Tokyo-based Frontier Enterprises in 1968.

Critical Reception
Destroy All Monsters has received acclaim. The New York Times did not review the film upon release, but film critic Howard Thompson gave it a positive review on a re-release at a children's matinee with the Bugs Bunny short, Napoleon Bunny-Part, in December 1970. He commented that "the feature wasn't bad at all of this type. The trick photography and especially the blended sweep and skill of the miniature settings provided the visual splash. The human beings, with good dubbed English voices, were a personable lot as they wrestled with some outer space culprits who had rounded up Japan's favorite monsters and turned them against the planet earth."

Among modern critics, Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique wrote, "In the end, Destroy All Monsters is too slim in its storyline, too thin in its characterizations, to be considered a truly great film. It is not as impressive as the original Godzilla, and it is not as hip as Monster Zero. But for the ten-year-old living inside us all, it is entertainment of the most awesome sort." Matt Paprocki of Blogcritics said the film is "far from perfect" and "can be downright boring at times" but felt that "the destruction scenes make up for everything else" and "the final battle is an epic that simply can't be matched".

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "certified fresh" rating of 80%.

Home Media Releases
ADV Films
Released: 1999
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) (non-anamorphic)
Sound: English 2.0
Region 1
Note: Contains Toho's International Version; No interactive menu.

ADV Films
Released: May 18, 2004
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) (non-anamorphic)
Sound: English 2.0
Supplements: CD soundtrack album
Region 1
Note: 50th Anniversary Edition; Includes CD soundtrack album and new cover art but film disc is identical to 1999 edition.

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock [Note that the Media Blasters version is currently out of print.](Also on Blu-ray)
Released: November 8, 2011
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1)
Sound: Japanese, English (AIP Dub), English (International Toho Dub)
Supplements: Audio Commentary, Image Galleries, Lobby Cards, Press Books, Poster Art, Trailers, Radio Spots, Production Art
Region 1 (Region free Blu-ray)

In Godzilla: The Series, the three-part "Monster Wars" story appears to have been inspired by Destroy All Monsters, with aliens taking control of Zilla Jr. and other giant creatures and using them to attack the world's cities in preparation for invasion. At the end, their island hideout is used as a secret reserve for the surviving monsters.

Godzilla director Gareth Edwards has expressed an interest in making a sequel to his 2014 movie that is inspired by Destroy All Monsters.

Diamond's Previews List Godzilla Minimates And Mechagodzilla Bank

Diamond's Previews has listings for both the Godzilla Minimates Set and the Mechagodzilla Bust Bank, which retail for $19.99 and $22.99, respectively.

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