Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

For discussion of Toho produced and distributed films or shows released from 1980 up to 1998 (includes Gamera 3)
Post Reply
User avatar
G-Matt
Futurian
Posts: 3523
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:10 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by G-Matt »

H-Man wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:54 am Following the passing of Koichi Sugiyama, I was wondering: what have Reijiro Kokoru's most notable works outside of The Return of Godzilla been?
Probably one of them is the 89 Guyver series.
G2000 wrote:Rebuild of Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: You Did (Not) Expect Godzilla, Did You

User avatar
JAGzilla
Keizer
Posts: 9487
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:45 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by JAGzilla »

Rewatching RoG right now. It's holding up very well, and I'll say more once it's over. Wanted to say while it's fresh in my mind, though, that the JSDF assault in Tokyo Bay was fantastic. Lots of cool shots, particularly the jets crashing into the ocean in front of Godzilla, the ground forces first opening fire, and Godzilla sweeping his ray along the shore to wipe them out. And it really stands out for being one of, if not the most brutally honest military battles in the franchise. It's not just a bunch of special effects blasting each other, it's a war and people are dying. You see the pilots burning as they go down with their jets, the moment when the infantry realize what's about to happen and try to flee, men on fire and being incinerated. Really dark, powerful stuff. I can see why it's typically shied away from, but it fits this movie perfectly.

Added in 2 hours 38 minutes 52 seconds:
And it's over. It really is one of the best, most intelligent Godzilla films. I like the global, Cold War perspective, and I appreciate that they didn't go the easy route and make the Soviets out to be villains. Yes, they make a foolhardy mistake that results in a nuclear missile being launched, but overall much more time is spent giving them sympathetic human faces than is done for the Americans.

The score is great, very unique. A bit lacking in the kind of punchy, exciting sound we're used to from composers like Ifukube or Oshima, but the more subdued, downbeat, melancholy style, again, fits this movie well. And I really enjoyed that overall tone; this isn't much of a fun popcorn flick like most Godzilla content, it's all quite sad. The attack on Tokyo feels like an actual disaster, with appropriate dread surrounding it. The military action, as previously stated, feels grimly authentic. The nuclear weapons are handled with all due gravity, no "gIvE uS aLL yOuR nUkeS" bullshit here. Even Godzilla is a walking conflict, simultaneously a terrible threat to be eliminated, an uncomfortable abomination that humanity deserves, and a pitiable animal that never asked for any of this. The latter element is unintentionally helped along by the suit, with its derpy eyes and the obvious difficulty it was giving the actor. It looked like he was struggling to move or even see.

Godzilla's rampage was better than I remembered. Yeah, he does a lot of aimless walking around or even just standing still, but again, that fits his animalistic/living punishment style. He's not necessarily attacking Tokyo out of malice or a desire to destroy, it's just his fate. It's what he is. And there are some extremely standout moments during the rampage, particularly when he passes over top of the command bunker, and when he pushes over a skyscraper to crush the Super-X. His attack on the train was filmed well, but looked unconvincing due to the limitations of the suit.

The 'trapped in the skyscraper' sequence was a mixed bag. On the one hand, I had a hard time being concerned about the dull, underdeveloped characters, and most of it lacks urgency or a real sense of peril. On the other hand, I appreciate the concept for its uniqueness in the franchise, and it was a good move for this film specifically. Tokyo in the Showa days didn't have these huge towers, so incorporating them into the main action like they did was logical for a modern reboot, taking advantage of a new feature.

Characters, again, were mixed. Goro, Naoko, and Hiroshi were just kind of there, although Hayashida filled the scientist role well. The Prime Minister was surprisingly pretty great. They tend to be incompetent or barely present in Godzilla films, but this guy had a major role, and did a very solid job handling the crisis. He was likable and easy to root for.
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

Legion1979
Sazer
Posts: 12273
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:45 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by Legion1979 »

I watched this about a month ago. It's not my favorite from this period, but as an actual FILM it holds up better than just about everything that followed it in the VS series.

User avatar
Major sssspielberg!
Gotengo Officer
Posts: 1577
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:48 am

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by Major sssspielberg! »

It's phenomenal from a production standpoint imo, Nakano's team really pulled off an amazing sense of weight and scale with the miniatures and Godzilla himself. It manages to feel so grounded even with the 'masers' and Super-X. I think of scenes like the smoke stack hitting the ground and how they just crash like actual (I'm assuming) concrete structures. I would argue possibly the best miniature and tokusatsu work from a 'realism' standpoint in the series. Biollante would be the one film that beats Return in terms of story and characters though which depending on your metric would be fair to say makes it the best "film" of the VS series.
Last edited by Major sssspielberg! on Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kaltes-Herzeleid wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:44 am I love Final Wars. I praise Final Wars. Simple as.

User avatar
shadowgigan
EDF Instructor
Posts: 2141
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:11 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by shadowgigan »

I was just reading this interview with R.J. Kizer who worked on the American version of ROG. In it, he describes a hypothetical scene with who I refer to as "the bum":
Going back to the idea that sometimes things that seem to work on the set don’t work when viewing it on the big screen, we had a shot that was supposed to try to pay off the tramp character. He kind of disappears, and I always assumed he was crushed under the debris of a building Godzilla knocks down. My plan was to start with a black screen which wipes off quickly — as though it was Godzilla’s shadow moving away — revealing the arm of the tramp lying on top of a pile of rubble.

On the wrist of that arm would be a wristwatch. I wanted the time on the watch frozen to 8:15 — the time the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. The fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima was only 11 days away, and there was a lot of press already about it. I thought, maybe naively, that it would be a nice acknowledgment of the connection between Godzilla and the historical event [that led] to his creation.


Apparently this scene was filmed and then cut. On one hand, the bum is unironically one of the most memorable characters in any Godzilla movie, but I'm still not sure how I feel abotu this hypothetical scene. Anyways, I found this to be a fascinating interview.

edgaguirus
Xilien Halfling
Posts: 6965
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by edgaguirus »

That would have been an interesting touch to the scene. Japanese audiences might have understood it, but I don't think the international audience would.
Walk this way...This way.

Remember this, Dr. Glendon, the werewolf instinctively seeks to kill the thing it loves best.

User avatar
eabaker
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 13385
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by eabaker »

shadowgigan wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:10 pm I was just reading this interview with R.J. Kizer who worked on the American version of ROG. In it, he describes a hypothetical scene with who I refer to as "the bum":
Going back to the idea that sometimes things that seem to work on the set don’t work when viewing it on the big screen, we had a shot that was supposed to try to pay off the tramp character. He kind of disappears, and I always assumed he was crushed under the debris of a building Godzilla knocks down. My plan was to start with a black screen which wipes off quickly — as though it was Godzilla’s shadow moving away — revealing the arm of the tramp lying on top of a pile of rubble.

On the wrist of that arm would be a wristwatch. I wanted the time on the watch frozen to 8:15 — the time the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. The fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima was only 11 days away, and there was a lot of press already about it. I thought, maybe naively, that it would be a nice acknowledgment of the connection between Godzilla and the historical event [that led] to his creation.


Apparently this scene was filmed and then cut. On one hand, the bum is unironically one of the most memorable characters in any Godzilla movie, but I'm still not sure how I feel abotu this hypothetical scene. Anyways, I found this to be a fascinating interview.
Personally, I think it would have been in poor taste for two reasons. First, because I don't think that kind of explicit reference to such a tragic event should be associated only with a comic relief character. Second, because I especially don't feel like it would be an appropriate addition for American filmmakers to make to a Japanese production.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

User avatar
Spuro
Keizer
Posts: 8831
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: Monster Island

Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Post by Spuro »

eabaker wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:25 am
shadowgigan wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:10 pm I was just reading this interview with R.J. Kizer who worked on the American version of ROG. In it, he describes a hypothetical scene with who I refer to as "the bum":
Going back to the idea that sometimes things that seem to work on the set don’t work when viewing it on the big screen, we had a shot that was supposed to try to pay off the tramp character. He kind of disappears, and I always assumed he was crushed under the debris of a building Godzilla knocks down. My plan was to start with a black screen which wipes off quickly — as though it was Godzilla’s shadow moving away — revealing the arm of the tramp lying on top of a pile of rubble.

On the wrist of that arm would be a wristwatch. I wanted the time on the watch frozen to 8:15 — the time the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. The fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima was only 11 days away, and there was a lot of press already about it. I thought, maybe naively, that it would be a nice acknowledgment of the connection between Godzilla and the historical event [that led] to his creation.


Apparently this scene was filmed and then cut. On one hand, the bum is unironically one of the most memorable characters in any Godzilla movie, but I'm still not sure how I feel abotu this hypothetical scene. Anyways, I found this to be a fascinating interview.
Personally, I think it would have been in poor taste for two reasons. First, because I don't think that kind of explicit reference to such a tragic event should be associated only with a comic relief character. Second, because I especially don't feel like it would be an appropriate addition for American filmmakers to make to a Japanese production.
The scene also takes place at the middle of the night, not 8:15.
eabaker wrote: You can't parse duende.
Breakdown wrote: HP Lovecraft's cat should be the ultimate villain of the MonsterVerse.

Post Reply