Tag Archives: Kumi Mizuno

Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966, Fukuda Jun)

I’m having a difficult time writing about Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster because, even though the movie isn’t good, I wish I liked it more. I wish I enjoyed it more. As a cultural artifact, Sea Monster is definitely interesting. Most of the film has to do with these four not so bright dudes–even Takarada Akira as the older one–stumbling into a James Bond movie where the villainous organization is out to rule the world. Or something. And they keep a giant sea monster.

Director Fukuda doesn’t do a terrible job overall. He does a lot better with some sequences than others; he’s humorless, which is one of Sea Monster’s biggest problems, but he is serious about the film itself. Given the Godzilla suit and the limited set for the guy in the Godzilla suit to energetically walk around, Fukuda’s seriousness sometimes seems out of place.

None of the film’s giant monster sequences are particularly memorable (the sea monster looks like a giant lobster and is much more effective when just menacing passing ships with a single claw) but they’re distinct sequences in the film. With Satô Masaru’s groovy music, they’re usually silly. Until they become serious (as evidenced by the change in music). Once the seriousness hits, Sea Monster turns into a really effective suspense thriller. It just happens to have Godzilla and a bunch of scantily clad South Seas islanders running around.

And the four dudes.

Maybe if the acting were better–leading man Takarada is particularly weak, though it’s not like he has a role to play. Sekizawa Shin’ichi’s script is just plain lame. It’s distinctive, but lame. None of the other actors make much impression. Except Hirata Akihiko (he and Takarada were the leads in the original Godzilla) and not in a good way.

As that historical cultural artifact, Sea Monster is nearly worth seeing. Just as a movie? I don’t know. The last quarter or so is tightly edited, wonderfully paced. Fujii Ryôhei ratchets the tension. Fukuda’s far better with secret agent action thrills than giant monsters. Satô’s score, whether groovy or somber, is excellent.

Sea Monster’s a try and a fail and Fukuda doesn’t seem to be aware he was trying.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Fukuda Jun; written by Sekizawa Shin’ichi; director of photography, Yamada Kazuo; edited by Fujii Ryôhei; music by Satô Masaru; production designer, Kita Takeo; produced by Tanaka Tomoyuki; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Takarada Akira (Yoshimura), Watanabe Tôru (Ryôta), Ibuki Tôru (Yata), Tôgin Chôtarô (Ichino), Sunazuka Hideo (Nita), Mizuno Kumi (Daiyo), Hirata Akihiko (Red Bamboo Captain Ryuui), Tazaki Jun (Red Bamboo Commander) and Pair Bambi (Mothra’s Little Beauties).


RELATED


THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | GODZILLA, PART ONE: SHOWA.

Advertisements

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).


RELATED

Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965, Honda Ishirô)

So… Godzilla dances in Invasion of Astro-Monster. He also boxes a little. Unfortunately, the boxing part does little to liven up the last half, which is incredibly tiring. The dancing comes earlier—though not by much, but enough to “help.”

Godzilla doesn’t appear in the film until the middle mark. Instead, the film’s about astronauts Nick Adams and Takarada Akira discovering a civilization of aliens living on a previously undiscovered moon of Jupiter.

Adams and Takarada are both pretty bad, but Takarada is worse. Adams is visibly awful, but he’s trying. Takarada doesn’t try. Not even when he gets to be a scientist for a bit (being an astronauts means you’re qualified for anything).

There’s also the romance subplot. Takarada won’t let his sister marry her boyfriend. Sawai Keiko is fine as the sister, as is Kubo Akira as her boyfriend. He gets slightly better scenes than her; unfortunately, both of them finish the movie as Adams’s sidekicks.

The rest of the acting is lukewarm. Tazaki Jun is pretty good. Tsuchiya Yoshio is terrible as the villain, but it’s probably not his fault. I think his costume inspired Devo; it’s unbelievably silly looking.

But Honda’s direction (in Panavision) occasionally shows he’s fully capable of doing something amazing. His space shots in Astro-Monster, though brief, are phenomenally well composed. Even the later framing is also strong.

Ifukube Akira’s music is excellent; some of the miniature work is quite good.

But it’s an uphill battle—the script sinks the film.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Honda Ishirô; written by Sekizawa Shinichi; director of photography, Koizumi Hajime; edited by Fujii Ryohei; music by Ifukube Akira; production designer, Kita Takeo; produced by Tanaka Tomoyuki; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Nick Adams (Astronaut Glenn), Takarada Akira (Astronaut Fuji), Tazaki Jun (Dr. Sakurai), Kubo Akira (Teri Tetsuo), Mizuno Kumi (Miss Namikawa), Sawai Keiko (Fuji Haruno), Tsuchiya Yoshio (Controller of Planet X), Sasaki Takamaru (Chairman of Earth Committee), Shimizu Gen (Minister of Defense) and Tabu Kenzo (Commander from Planet X).


RELATED


THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | GODZILLA, PART ONE: SHOWA.