Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pincer Movement : Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster(1966)

While legendary Toho director Inoshiro Honda gets the vast majority of props from die hard Godzilla movie fans, there's also, I think, a lot to be said for director Jun Fukuda. In interviews Fukuda has expressed disdain for the Godzilla films he directed. Nevertheless, Fukuda's Godzilla movies are always entertaining and action packed, including the first Godzilla movie directed by him: Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster, aka "Ebirah Horror Of The Deep", which originally opened in Japanese theaters back in 1966.

Now that I watch almost all my DVDs using my Blu-Ray DVD player I was interested to see how many of these Sony DVD releases of the Showa Godzilla films would look. I wasn't disappointed as Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster, like the other CM releases, looks noticeably better in the Blu-Ray player, the array of colors, including lots of yellows and reds, really standing out.

Some observations about this movie -

Thumbs up:
- the overall design of Ebirah, an enormous marine arthropod that menaces the islanders and, at the end, even the Red Bamboo. I'll be the first to admit this giant crustacean isn't my favorite kaiju. That said I thought it looked fairly realistic, including its antennae, claws and mandibles

- Kumi Mizuno: what a beautiful woman and we get to see her in a skimpier outfit for the duration of the film

- the generous use of high speed filming

- parts of the cinematography of this film looked very good, especially certain shots of the islands

- Godzilla Vs Ebirah I and II: I liked both battles overall, despite some aspects of the fights I didn't like(see "Thumbs down" below). Ebirah, despite having no beam weapon or other special power gave Godzilla a fairly good physical battle

- Haruo Nakajima turned in another solid performance in the G suit, utilizing his famous "attack" and "stalking" postures to great effect

- the brief skirmish between Mothra and Godzilla, a reminder that these two monsters will not be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon

Thumbs down:
- certain matte shots and other effects shots were sub par, including the visibility of the wires, regarding both Mothra and Ebirah

- the Godzilla suit is clearly showing wear and tear in this film, evidenced by the sag in the suit under the arms

- the huge monster sized condor who attacked Godzilla. This Rodan wannabe seemed a little out of place in this movie and was, not surprisingly, dispatched easily by Godzilla's oral beam

- many of the water tank shots looked...well, too much like water tanks.

The film's trailer:

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