Tag Archives: Akira Nakao

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995, Okawara Takao)

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah does a lot. It mixes an Aliens rip-off into a Godzilla movie, then tries new things for the giant monster fight, all while finishing off the series. Destoroyah is meant to close off the franchise, giving director Okawara plenty of opportunities to tug at heart strings. Okawara’s attempts at homage and reference matter more for sincerity’s sake than success’s. There’s a lot going on in the film and it tries a lot of things. Not all of the spaghetti sticks.

Major missteps include all the ties to the 1954 Godzilla, including Kôchi Momoko’s pointlessly contrived cameo. None of the new characters this entry have much to do. Ever returning Odaka Megumi gets a good part. Tatsumi Takurô is weak as the scientist. There’s always a scientist. Tatsumi isn’t the worst scientist, but he’s pretty weak.

The human interest stuff this outing, besides all the references to the original, has very little to do with the film. This time, Godzilla is in danger of melting down. It’s a global disaster. Oddly enough, a monster created when the original Godzilla was destroyed is also attacking. And the little Godzilla is missing. There’s a lot going on.

The big monster fight is a bit of a bust. The miniature sets are fantastic, but the other monster is really dumb looking. It’s like a giant crab mixed with an Alien and a demon’s head. It’s really dumb looking, especially when it gets bigger than Godzilla. So it’s even more impressive how well Okawara does on the finish with the lame bad monster.

Destoroyah’s relatively successful.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Okawara Takao; written by Ohmori Kazuki; directors of photography, Kishimoto Masahiro and Sekiguchi Yoshinori; edited by Osada Chizuko; music by Ifukube Akira; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Tatsumi Takurô (Dr. Ijuin Kensaku), Ishino Yôko (Yamane Yukari), Hayashi Yasufumi (Yamane Kenichi), Odaka Megumi (Saegusa Miki), Osawa Sayaka (Ozawa Meru), Shinoda Saburô (Professor Fukazawa), Nakao Akira (Commander Aso), Takashima Masahiro (Major Kuroki) and Kôchi Momoko (Yamane Emiko).


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Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993, Okawara Takao)

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is outrageous spectacle. The film has the perfect combination of story, director and special effects. The film allows its giant monsters limited personalities, feasible motivations. It even manages to raise questions of morality as this version’s Mechagodzilla is piloted by the anti-Godzilla task force. They’re blowing up just as much as the giant monsters, they’re torturing the monsters. It’s simultaneously heavy and not.

Director Okawara gets to that weightlessness through some disarming, yet empowering moves–it’s a serious movie, but it’s also not a serious movie so don’t dwell–you can acknowledge, but don’t dwell. The result is a Godzilla movie where the viewer has an intense investment in the fight scene. Okawara then proceeds to play with every expectation. He draws things out–those disarming yet empowering moves–showing the viewer what to expect.

The movie rewards the viewer for paying attention, for patience. It’s often delightful, with something for everyone–including an adorable “baby” Godzilla. Mimura Wataru’s script really pulls all these threads together into something cohesive and affecting. He gives the characters just enough depth the actors can imply even further layers. It doesn’t hurt Okawara excels at the saccharine flirtation between leads Takashima Masahiro and Sano Ryoko.

And Odaka Megumi finally does get something to do this Godzilla installment. She gets a significant personal subplot and everything. Odaka nails it, of course. She makes her unlikely character (telepathic Godzilla hunting consultant) the most human part of the film. She, just like the viewer, is jaded by Godzilla movies.

Excellent editing from Yoneda Miho, excellent photography from Sekiguchi Yoshinori. The effects in Mechagodzilla are outstanding. A lot of thought goes into everything, like how Okawara gradually prepares the viewer for miniature sequences. Mechagodzilla is a welcoming Godzilla movie. It’s enthusiastic about its genre and itself.

Nice score from Ifukube Akira. It’s just a nice, solid Godzilla movie.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Okawara Takao; written by Mimura Wataru; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; edited by Yoneda Miho; music by Ifukube Akira; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Takashima Masahiro (Aoki Kazuma), Sano Ryoko (Gojo Azusa), Odaka Megumi (Saegusa Miki), Kawazu Yûsuke (Professor Omae), Harada Daijirô (Sasaki Takuya), Nakao Akira (Commander Aso) and Ueda Kôichi (General Hyodo).


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Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003, Tezuka Masaaki)

While it doesn’t make the film any better, one sort of has to have seen the original Mothra to truly appreciate Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.. Why? Because director Tezuka keeps that film’s weird Christian imagery. Pretty sure the living Barbie dolls who deliver messages for a giant moth isn’t Christian, but dang if it isn’t effective for them to proselytize while standing in front of a cross.

Sadly, Tezuka doesn’t have any fun with their scale. It’d have been awesome if the cross were made out of a couple straws in a takeout bag or something.

Even more sadly… there’s nothing awesome in Tokyo. In fact, it’s often boring. Four giant monsters, one giant robot, nothing interesting going on. Some of the effects composites are great, most are not. Tezuka makes it worth with some terrible composition for his human actors too. He has one unpredictable moment in the entire film and he degrades it with a cheap reaction shot.

He and cowriter Yokotani Masahiro set up some interesting character relationships–lead Kaneko Noboru has a female admirer, a rival in the hot shot Mechagodzilla pilot and then some extended family issues–and do nothing with them. Kaneko isn’t great, but he’s not bad. Yoshioka Miho’s actually quite good in her three scenes as his admirer. Tezuka simply doesn’t know how to make a good movie, not with action, not with narrative.

Another sore point is Ohshima Michiru’s lame score.

Tokyo isn’t particularly horrific or atrocious, but it’s insufferably lame.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Tezuka Masaaki; written by Tezuka and Yokotani Masahiro; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; music by Ohshima Michiru; production designer, Miike Toshio; released by Toho Company, Ltd.

Starring Kaneko Noboru (Chûjô Yoshito), Yoshioka Miho (Pilot Kisaragi Azusa), Koga Mitsuki (Mechagodzilla Operator Akiba Kyôsuke), Koizumi Hiroshi (Chûjô Shin’ichi), Nakao Akira (Premier Igarashi), Ueda Kôichi (General Dobashi), Takasugi Kô (JSDF Lieutenant Togashi), Nagasawa Masami (Shobijin), Ôtsuka Chihiro (Shobijin), Nakahara Takeo (JSDF Chief Hitoyanagi), Tomoi Yûsuke (Lieutenant Hayama) and Shaku Yumiko (Yashiro Akane).


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Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002, Tezuka Masaaki)

Even for a movie about a giant man-made robot fighting a giant monster, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is pretty stupid. The robot was this amazing weapon, capable of destroying Godzilla, yet its pilot always waits to use it. Obviously, there wouldn’t be a movie if she used it right away… but Against never explains why everyone’s so dumb. It would have helped.

Sadly, this particular stupidity is indicative of the rest of the picture’s stupidity. Mimura Wataru’s script is absolutely atrocious. Against doesn’t even run ninety minutes and it probably needs at least another half hour. I’m not sure more time would have made it better–not with Mimura writing it–but there’s no depth to the characters or the setting. More of lead Shaku Yumiko (the pilot) or Onodera Kana (the obnoxious little girl who wins Shaku’s heart) would be awful, but some explanation of events would help a lot.

Instead of actual plot development, Mimura and director Tezuka actually have a scene where two characters sit and recount forty-some years of history to each other, even though they both know it. It’s possibly the worst expository scene I’ve ever seen.

Other serious drawbacks into Ohshima Michiru’s score. He seems to think Against is a feel good soccer movie or something. It’s actually worse than the script. I didn’t know a bad score could be worse than a bad script, but now I do.

Tezuka occasionally has some good ideas and the effects are decent, but Against’s dreadful.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Tezuka Masaaki; written by Mimura Wataru; director of photography, Kishimoto Masahiro; edited by Fushima Shinichi and Natori Shinichi; music by Ohshima Michiru; production designer, Miike Toshio; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company, Ltd.

Starring Shaku Yumiko (Yashiro Akane), Takuma Shin (Yuhara Tokumitsu), Onodera Kana (Yuhara Sara), Takasugi Kô (JSDF Lieutenant Togashi), Tomoi Yûsuke (JSDF 2nd Lieutenant Hayama), Mizuno Jun’ichi (JSDF 1st Lieutenant Sekine), Nakao Akira (Prime Minister Igarashi), Mizuno Kumi (1999 Prime Minister Tsuge), Nakahara Takeo (JSDF Chief Hitoyanagi), Kanou Yoshikazu (Hishinuma) and Matsui Hideki (Godzilla).


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