The other side of the coin is that, perhaps watching 15 movies in a row is just too much. Speaking to co-founder Jon yesterday he said that if we’d split this marathon into two, he may have enjoyed it a bit more than he did. I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think we’ll be doing one of this length again…Perhaps if my co-founders had seen each film individually this could have been a different story, but as it stands I didn’t convert them to the kaiju way of cinema.
As a childhood fan of Godzilla films in all of their mid-twentieth century hokeyness, I immensely enjoyed the new American Godzilla film.
I had always hoped for a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster version of the Godzilla films. But even as a 17-year-old, I could tell that the putrid 1998 Godzilla film wasn’t it. A small version of Godzilla that runs away from everything, doesn’t have fire breath, and eats tuna? Please. It was so bad, the Japanese had to kill him in a real Godzilla film (see below).
In the original Godzilla film, Godzilla was Nature mutated by the power of the atomic bomb. Over several more movies, his image improved to be a “good guy” – a general protector of Earth. In this movie, this idea is successfully blended in by introducing Godzilla as the alpha predator among ancient monsters awakened by modern man’s activities. Godzilla fights other monsters because that’s what he does to survive. That’s the most coherent explanation I’ve seen yet to reconcile his indifferent-yet-protective nature.
The film nails this idea visually multiple times. My favorite were the images of Godzilla swimming along, surrounded by an entourage of Navy ships. He doesn’t attack them, because they are insignificant. The ships follow him so that we humans can feel as if we are in control of the situation. Sometimes we attack him, with no effect.
Of course, being true to the Godzilla source material is only half the fun. The other half is some rollicking monster fights. This film offered some spectacular fight scenes, even if it did leave me wishing for more.
The current edition of my movie marathon book claims that box sets don’t make for good 24-hour movie marathons because, among other reasons, none of them have runtimes long enough to support a 24-hour movie marathon.
My take: The movie that started it all. Despite how hokey many of the entries in the franchise would get, this movie was filmed with utmost seriousness and gravity. To get the full effect, seek out the original Japanese version, not the splice-and-dice American version starring Raymond Burr.
My take: Godzilla is back and fighting Anguirus, a giant, prehistoric….hedgehog? Unusually spiky Armadillo? Spoiler alert: After this movie Godzilla and Anguirus are best friends who have lots of adventures fighting other monsters.
My take: Mothra is a giant moth. Thus, is the lamest of the giant monsters. Sure, she’s got those two fairy girl sidekicks and an island full of worshippers. Plus, she’s got cocoon spinner powers and whatever that magic dust stuff is. But c’mon. That versus atomic fire breath? Please. Mothra would fly right into it. Its her nature!
My take: Godzilla takes on his coolest foe: a three-headed space dragon. Oh wait, did I say Godzilla? I meant a trio of monsters take him on: Rodan, Mothra, AND Godzilla. A sweet classic Godzilla smackdown.
My take: Godzilla has a son! Which means Godzilla is a female, right? Who reproduces asexually? And how did an egg that size come out of Godzilla’s rear end anyway? Oh, and they battle giant preying mantises. Because why not?
My take: Don’t get too excited by the title. This movie is all about a boy who is bullied and imagines how Godzilla and his son are strong and stuff and don’t let themselves get bullied in stock footage of earlier Godzilla movies. Also features “King Ceasar” – a furry lion-monkey monster thing.
My take: King Ghidorah returns with a new space friend: Gigan! Gigan is…a cyborg with hooks for arms, a buzz saw for a front, flight powers, and a laser cyclops eye. And fins. Gotta have speed fins. Why? I guess this is our alien overlords’ ultimate weapon. They don’t stand a chance.
My take: The most awesomely cheesy Godzilla movie of all time. This movie comes complete with heroic robot sidekick Jet Jaguar and villains Megalon (a giant cockroach with drill hands) and Gigan again – mostly because they could reuse stock footage of Gigan fighting Godzilla. Another Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite!
My take: Godzilla is back with the same basic formula as the original, but updated with 1980s technology and geopolitics. Fun fact: the Russian launches the nuke in the American version but tries to stop the nuke from launching in the Japanese version.
My take: Sure its a retread of the original, but everyone knows reboots are better than the original right? Features a dude poetically killed by the very same monster that saved him decades ago. Ironic.
My take: I’m glad the United Nations is finally getting proactive about the whole Godzilla and Rodan thing and building some counter-measures. Sure, they built Mechagodzilla which seems to be about as effective as the Death Star in achieving goals, but at least they are trying.
My take: Sure, I’ve made a few snarky comments about the other movies in the Heisei series. But I loved this one. Godzilla…is melting down! Now the G-force has to focus not so much on defeating Godzilla, but getting him the heck out of town before he blows up! Novel concept, done well. Lots of fun.
My take: Novel solution to the Godzilla problem: trap him in an artificial black hole. Unfortunately, all lessons learned from Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla have been forgotten because the series rebooted (remember?). Out pops Meganuron bug monsters and the fight is on!
My take: Godzilla takes on a litany of monsters around the world dispatched by the evil Xillian alien race. Features Godzilla smacking down “Zilla” (Godzilla from American 1998 movie) in mere seconds.
The Godzilla Movie Marathon Schedules
That is a grand total of 2,657 minutes (44.3 hours) of Tokyo-stomping, atomic-breath firing, rubber monster action. If you assume a 15 minute break in between each movie, then you tack on 420 extra minutes (7 hours) of break time. So all told, a Godzilla movie marathon would be a crushing 51.3 hours long (heh – “crushing” – get it?).
However, with a little creativity, you could still make the Godzilla franchise fit into the 24-hour movie marathon format. The Shōwa series is 1,314 minutes (21.9 hours) long. If you squeezed the break time between the movies to an average of 9 minutes each, you would end up with a 24-hour movie marathon like so:
The same is true for the combination of the Heisei series (732 minutes) and Millenium series (621 minutes). With an average of eight minute breaks between these 13 movies, you have yourself 22.5 hours of movies, 1.7 hours of break, and a 24-hour movie marathon!
One minor problem with this idea is getting all of the movies. I could not find a full box set of any of the 3 series on Amazon.com. The best I could find is this handy listmania list of Godzilla DVDs available on Amazon.com.
So now you know you can. But will you? Could you survive the relentless onslaught of Godzilla?
Any who have, or will, please comment and brag(?) appropriately.