Tag Archives: Yumiko Shaku

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).


RELATED

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

Sky High (2003, Kitamura Ryuhei)

Sky High has got to be one of the stupider movies I’ve ever seen. There are other factors contributing to it being bad, as stupidity doesn’t necessarily undo a film, but it’s real stupid. Shockingly, the screenwriter worked on Kitamura’s perfectly fine Azumi. Sky High‘s a prequel to a TV series, which is an adaptation of a manga. I imagine the terrible, stupid story starts in the manga, though it’s possible this filmic adaptation is at complete fault. Kitamura, as director, is solely responsible for this garbage… in fact, as I started watching the film and it appeared to be poor (not unspeakably dumb as it turned out), I consoled myself with the knowledge, eventually Kitamura would get around to a really good fight.

Guess what?

There are no really good fight scenes in Sky High. At the end, it seems like there finally might be one, but no… it’s just a mediocre sequence with promise, as opposed to the rest of the film, where mediocre would be a sterling achievement. I suppose Kitamura’s composition is all right throughout, but not really anything special. There are some good muted special effects but they’re overshadowed by the scenes in the afterlife, at the gate to hell, heaven, and Monster Island, where much of the film takes place. This set appears a deserted warehouse and the set decorator only seems to have spent a half hour getting it set up. The big scary door looks like something out of a Roger Corman direct-to-video from the 1990s. It’s embarrassing and painful to watch.

The performances range from mediocre (and borderline acceptable) to terrible. Kikuchi Yumi is terrible. Her performance is the worst thing I can remember seeing. She’s constantly acting poorly, whether through dialogue or expression. Oh, and her sword fight scene (it rips a lot of the choreography from Azumi) is lame. I never thought I’d see a lame Kitamura sword fight. The bad guy is played by Osawa Takao, who’s not a bad actor… except in this film. It’s so stupid I’m sure he had nothing to work with. As the good guys, Shaku Yumiko and Tanihara Shosuke are both fine. They actually have a wonderful scene at the beginning, when I thought this film was going to be an action-packed remake of Seven, not a demonic possession slash big dumb, stupid, bad cop movie, but not really a cop movie. It’s a remake of Ghost. Someone thought taking a bunch of Ghost and putting it in Japan–oh, and when Kitamura tries to reference Versus, it’s desperate and sad–I don’t know who had that terrible idea, but I imagine they also had a hand in writing this terrible film.

I mean, I kept watching it because I figured there had to be a good fight scene….

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Kitamura Ryuhei; screenplay by Kiriyama Isao, based on a manga by Takahasi Tsutomo; director of photography, Furuya Takumi; edited by Kakesu Shuichi; music by Morino Nobuhiko and Yano Daisuko; produced by Endo Hitoshi, Deme Hiroshi and Yokochi Ikuei; released by Toei Company.

Starring Shaku Yumiko (Mina), Tanihara Shosuke (Kohei), Osawa Takao (Kudo), Uotani Kanae (Rei), Taguchi Hiromasa (Kishi), Toda Naho (Aoyama), Kikuchi Yumi (Kamiina) and Shiina Eihi (Izuko).


RELATED