Film Review: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Also known as: Gojira vs. Biorante (original Japanese title), Godzilla 1990 (South Korea)
Release Date: December 16th, 1989 (Japan)
Directed by: Kazuki Ōmori
Written by: Kazuki Ōmori, Shinichirō Kobayashi
Music by: Koichi Sugiyama
Cast: Kunihiko Mitamura, Yoshiko Tanaka, Masanobu Takashima, Megumi Odaka, Toru Minegishi, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Yoshiko Kuga, Ryunosuke Kaneda, Kōji Takahashi

Toho Co. Ltd., 104 Minutes, 83 Minutes (VHS screener cut)

Review:

“Godzilla and Biollante aren’t monsters. It’s the unscrupulous scientists who create them that are monsters.” – Dr. Shiragami

This is the hardest of all Godzilla movies to track down if you didn’t actually buy the VHS, DVD or Blu-ray when they came out. It’s been out of print for years and if you want a copy, you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for it. Luckily, I had a hook up because I was too poor to buy this way back when it came out and as much as I love the movie, I’m not going to pay nearly $100 for a copy now.

Anyway, we never got a real sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah due to Toho hating it when it came out in 1971. However, this is a sort of spiritual sequel to it in that it pits Godzilla against another environmental threat… or in this case, a biological one.

After the lukewarm reception to The Return of Godzilla and the complete failure of the United States’ King Kong Lives, Toho was really cautious about rushing out another kaiju sequel. Although, the success of The Little Shop of Horrors remake got their attention and I’d have to assume that the plant monster designed for this film was somewhat inspired by the plant monster from that picture.

Although, Toho did hold a writing contest to see if fans could come up with a great Godzilla story worth telling. So I’m not sure how much of this came from fan input or from Toho’s writers trying to emulate The Little Shop of Horrors.

Needless to say, the studio was looking for a new kind of threat for Godzilla to fight and they wanted something fresh that was born out of science run amok. Where Godzilla was born out of man experimenting with atomic energy, Biollante was born out of man experimenting with biological engineering.

The end result is one of the coolest kaiju ever created, as well as one of the greatest threats Godzilla ever faced. Additionally, the monster, like Hedorah before her, had different stages of evolution throughout the movie. This would also go on to start a trend that saw Godzilla fight monsters that would evolve into more dangerous versions of themselves as movies progressed.

Godzilla vs. Biollante is one of my favorite films in the Heisei era and honestly, one of my favorite, overall. It just looks fantastic, I love the monsters and the effects and this boasts some of the best kaiju on kaiju violence in the franchise. Between the early fight where Godzilla fights Biollante in her flower form to the big, grand finale, everything in regards to the kaiju action is tremendous!

I also really like the story, I thought the actors were better than average for these sort of pictures and this movie has pretty solid cinematography for something from the tokusatsu genre.

Plus, this movie just has an epic feel to it that builds off of the spectacle of its predecessor in a great way.

This is one of the best looking and most interesting chapters in the long running franchise.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the other Heisei era Godzilla films, as well as Godzilla vs. Hedorah.

Retro Relapse: 25 MORE Reasons Why the Great Sasuke is the Ultimate Badass

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I once listed twenty-five reasons as to why the Great Sasuke is the ultimate badass. I wrote that originally in 2006 for my then popular MySpace blog. I also reposted it here, about a year ago.

The thing is, the Great Sasuke <*pronounced = saw – su – kay> is THE ultimate badass in the universe. While many Americans might not be familiar with him, that is probably for the best because believing in gods can lead to very bad things like Al Qaeda and Rick Santorum.

Anyway, one should never doubt the Great Sasuke’s greatness and therefore should not believe that he is just limited to the twenty-five badass things I listed long ago. The number of badass things he does is pretty much infinite. These are just twenty-five more random items out of his catalog of ultimate badassery.

1. While on one of his many Mexican wrestling tours, he ripped open a piñata with a simple hand gesture from across the room.

2. He once punched through a gorilla’s chest, holding its heart out of a hole in its back and then replaced it – no harm done – in a matter of milliseconds. That gorilla was King Kong.

3. At a party, he crushed every level in every Guitar Hero game with nothing more than a spatula.

4. He often times water skis on the back of dolphins without a boat.

5. The one time he got crabs, he politely asked them to jump into pots and he then fed a village.

6. Every loss in his career was done in an effort to build up the confidence and spirit of his opponents.

7. He once climbed Mount Everest for better cellphone reception.

8. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is actually about a wall adjacent to the front door in the foyer of Great Sasuke’s Tōhoku home.

9. As a boy, he dreamed of being a fisherman but his method of punching the water for fish killed the entire sea within a three-hundred and fifty mile radius. Most of the fish rotted before his friends and neighbors could eat them all. It took months for the ecosystem to recover.

10. He wrote the original screenplay for Dirty Dancing but cursed Jennifer Grey into obscurity due to her poor portrayal of Baby. He rewarded Patrick Swayze with the scripts to Road House and Point Break.

11. The women of the British Royal Family routinely try to woo Sasuke in an effort to get him into their bloodline.

12. Kaiju were once real but the Great Sasuke ate them all one afternoon when they interrupted his sunbathing.

13. He once rounded up and returned all the souls Aborigines lost to photographs.

14. Mosquitos turn into fireworks if they bite him.

15. He once entered a supermassive black hole because he thought it could literally turn him into spaghetti. He walked away hungry and disappointed.

16. Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land was actually written as a science fiction retelling of Sasuke’s years in primary school after being raised in the wild by dragon spirits.

17. The Dos Equis guy collects Great Sasuke autographs.

18. Hitler mysteriously disappeared when the Great Sasuke used him as a water balloon.

19. The Great Sasuke shrugged before Atlas was born.

20. He invented swashbuckling but Hollywood has never made it as exciting.

21. He once tried to power a steam engine with one bead of sweat: it exploded.

22. One time he picked up and moved Thor’s hammer because it was jamming a door.

23. Sasuke once parted the Red Sea for Moses with his billowing laughter.

24. Gary Busey is an insane person because he once high-fived the Great Sasuke.

25. He used to mount and ride velociraptors like horses but found their temperament displeasing.

Vids I Dig 277: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘Voltron’: Lions and Cars and Robots, Oh My!

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description: In this episode Dan talks about the history of Voltron Legendary Defender, how this robot made of mechanical lions was created and what lead to him being Americanized.

And, after being dormant for a long time, his revival on Netflix.

You’ll also learn about the other 2 versions of Voltron. A lot of people remember vehicle Voltron but there was a third version… sort of.

Retro Relapse: 25 Reasons Why the Great Sasuke is the Ultimate Badass

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2006.

I have decided to give you all 25 reasons why the Great Sasuke is such a badass! <*pronounced = saw – su – kay> Since Sasuke is my favorite Japanese wrestler of all-time, I figured it was time to give him his due. And yes, I do own an authentic Great Sasuke mask from Japan (as seen in my old RCP TV projects from circa 2000). He is more badass than that pussy Chuck Norris. Fuck Chuck Norris.

1. Sasuke once uppercutted an earthworm through the ground from a different hemisphere.

2. Sasuke once destroyed all members of G-Unit in a rap battle with his mouth full of peanut butter and breadsticks.

3. Exclusive to Japan, Great Sasuke action figures were actually created by Sasuke himself, when he used a razor to cut off small chunks from his body. The chunks instantly grew into fully animated miniature Sasukes. They were sedated and packaged in time for Christmas.

4. Sasuke once choked out Rickson Gracie just by staring at him for 2 seconds.

5. Sasuke’s intense snoring is the cause of El Nino, the tsunami that took out India, the rapidly increased hurricane and tornado activity as well as breaking the Curse of the Bambino by resurrecting Babe Ruth just to bitchslap him back to Hell.

6. Sasuke was crowned the King of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula without ever setting foot in the state.

7. Sasuke wears a mask to protect mankind. If they were to see his face, they would then have the answers to all.

8. Sasuke gave David Lynch the idea for Twin Peaks and it’s entire complex plot with a simple napkin drawing.

9. Sasuke conquered four solar systems while he had a slight headache and a urinary tract infection.

10. Sasuke has handwritten every fortune cookie ever distributed.

11. Sasuke once held every single light heavy weight title in his sport (*see photo at top), as well as every title within the 36 known dimensions.

12. While wrestling briefly with ECW in 1997, Sasuke beat the entire locker room in a street fight gauntlet match in less than 8 seconds.

13. Sasuke can travel through the space-time continuum and inter-dimensionally at will.

14. Sasuke is responsible for writing David Bowie’s entire music catalog in less than 6 minutes, when he was 4 years old. It is said that Bowie still has enough songs left for another 13 albums.

15. As a token of gratitude, God allows Sasuke to periodically go into Heaven to beat down angels that don’t pull their weight. God offered Sasuke wings, but he declined as he can fly through the sky by sheer will.

16. Sasuke once ate an orphanage and all its occupants because a kid inside made a horrible finger-painted portrait of Sasuke.

17. Sasuke regularly has sex with Centaurs, which kills them… brutally.

18. On April 3rd 2002, Sasuke roundhouse kicked a tour bus in Osaka. It ended up in Nova Scotia 4 days earlier on March 30th 2002, where the tourists remains were collected and poured into large bags. Sasuke then drank them all on April 2nd, 2002 – a day before the infamous roundhouse kick even occurred.

19. Criss Angel has dope magical powers because Sasuke hugged him at a wrestling show in 1991.

20. Sasuke’s sperm is the key ingredient in the atom bomb. The atom is just a cover up.

21. Sasuke has been known to piss Chinese stars in combat.

22. Sasuke can stop multiple bullets with a single palm strike.

23. Once, while fighting in a juniors tournament in Japan, Sasuke snapped his fingers and all 7 of his competitors dropped dead. It was later attributed to overexposure to radiation.

24. Sasuke wrote such classics as Catcher in the Rye, Into the Sun, Dracula, Lord of the Rings, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Iliad, the Bible, Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, the original Star Wars novelization, House of Seven Gables, The Crow comics, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, most Hallmark greeting cards, Edgar Allan Poe’s entire catalog and The Da Vinci Code. He then went back in time and hid these works throughout the world for others to find and take credit for.

25. Since Noah couldn’t even carve a dreidel, Sasuke actually built and then swam with Noah’s Ark on his back for 40 days. He then threw it into a mountainside because Noah was a whiner.

Film Review: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Also known as: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Monster Zero (alternative US titles), Battle of the Astros, Invasion of Planet X, The Great Monster War (alternative Yugoslavian titles)
Release Date: December 19th, 1965 (Japan)
Directed by: Ishirō Honda
Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Akira Takarada, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Keiko Sawai, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yoshifumi Tajima

Toho Co. Ltd., 93 Minutes, 74 Minutes (re-issue)

Review:

“[about the victory over King Ghidorah, while Godzilla is outside dancing] A happy moment.” – Controller of Planet X

This is the last Godzilla film of the Shōwa era that I had left to review. While I didn’t watch the movies in order, I did save one of my favorites for last. But honestly, I like all these movies and don’t think there is a bad one in the bunch. Nope, not even All Monsters Attack a.k.a. Godzilla’s Revenge.

What I liked about this film is that it is a true follow up to its predecessor Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and also features the same lineup of monsters, minus Mothra. This also introduces the Xiliens from Planet X, who were (and still are) the best alien villains in Godzilla lore. In fact, they should’ve been regular antagonists throughout the Shōwa pictures but Toho decided to introduce new hostile aliens with almost every movie after this one. Although, I did like the ape and the cockroach aliens, somewhat. But leaving the Xiliens behind, after this film, was a mistake.

Anyway, the plot in this one is interesting, as it sees the Xiliens bring two Earth astronauts to their planet in an effort to get them to agree to let them borrow Godzilla and Rodan due to King Ghidorah being a major nuisance. It’s all a trap, however, as the aliens take control of Godzilla and Rodan and force them, along with Ghidorah, to attack Earth, leaving it defenseless. I guess King Kong, Mothra and Anguirus were taking naps on Monster Island.

Despite its hokiness, I really like the set designs and costumes in this chapter. Everything just looks really unique and seeing just one frame of this film lets avid Godzilla fans know which movie it is. Especially, in regards to any scenes involving Planet X or its people.

The special effects are great and consistent with the other films where Eiji Tsuburaya handled them.

All in all, this is just another really fun chapter in the franchise during its greatest run.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other Shōwa era Godzilla movies.

 

Film Review: Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Also known as: Mosura tai Gojira (original Japanese title), Godzilla Against Mothra (Japanese English title), Panik in Tokyo (Germany), Godzilla Fights the Giant Moth (Worldwide English title)
Release Date: April 29th, 1964 (Japan)
Directed by: Ishirō Honda
Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, The Peanuts, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yu Fujiki, Kenji Sahara, Jun Tazaki, Yoshifumi Tajima

Toho Co. Ltd., 89 Minutes

Review:

“I’m not as afraid of Godzilla as I am of the editor… he’s meaner.” – Reporter Jiro Nakamura

While not my favorite Godzilla movie of the Shōwa era, this one still holds a pretty special place in my heart, as it pits Godzilla against Mothra for the first time. Granted, they’d become solid allies after this movie, as Godzilla would evolve into a hero and Earth’s protector once King Ghidorah shows up in the picture following this one.

This is still a fun film that merges the two monsters into the same franchise, this being Godzilla’s fourth movie and Mothra’s second after 1961’s simply titled Mothra.

The story sees one of Mothra’s eggs get taken from Infant Island, the kaiju’s tropical Tiki-esque home, and put on display in Japan. Godzilla shows up, the egg hatches and we get some great kaiju action. In fact, the battles and the effects are some of my favorite in the series, so hats off, once again, to effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya.

And while I’m mentioning Tsuburaya, his miniatures in this are some of the best he’s done. The vehicles looked and performed superbly.

The film also stars some of Toho’s regular actors from the tokusatsu genre, which I always consider a good thing despite familiar faces appearing multiple times throughout the franchise as different characters. In this one, we get Kenji Sahara, who I always enjoy, and Hiroshi Koizumi.

Mothra vs. Godzilla has a simple story but it works. This is a kaiju movie from the best kaiju studio from the best era in the kaiju genre. It brings together two of the most popular characters in film history and it is pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be while slightly exceeding those expectations.

This doesn’t have much of anything wrong with it and its just enjoyable through and through: a true tokusatsu classic.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other Shōwa era Godzilla movies.