Friday, March 8, 2013

SciFiNow: The Complete Guide To Godzilla

My recent purchase of Issue #74 of SciFiNow demonstrated writers had a bit of fun rating the entire existing Godzilla film catalogue from start to finish.

As readers know who frequent Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic we are gradually winding our way through the long history of Godzilla, Toho and the works of director Ishiro Honda.  I offer those three variables to you because two of them are also mutually exclusive.  In other words, some coverage here may include Honda films that do not feature Godzilla or Godzilla films by a director other than Ishiro Honda.

For example, Godzilla Raids Again is the second film for the great lizard.  It's a Toho release without Ishiro Honda behind the camera.  Classic science fiction fantasy films like Matango [Attack Of The Mushroom People] by Ishiro Honda, feature terrific tales with no Godzilla to be found.  But, Toho is always behind the wondrous madness of it all.  I was so envious of Nick Adams.  I could never get enough of Kumi Mizuno.  I knew I loved her even as a kid. I believe this is the only screen kiss in the Godzilla franchise.

It's interesting when I consider my own Godzilla collection (pictured for you).  It looks entirely like a hodge-podge with little to absolutely no respect for the packaging efforts behind the big fellow.  There is about as much respect for the packaging. The releases of anything licensed from Toho have been given about the same respect as the big green guy himself.  The perception of fantastical cheese seems to endure through the packaging of these wonderful films.  Somewhere along the way you'd think someone would rectify this disrespectful travesty.  But alas, copyrights are all over the map and thus we get the pretty messy ensemble of packages you see in the picture.  These are shots of The Sci-Fi Fanatic personal collection deep from the Fancave.

Nevertheless, beggars for all things Godzilla cannot be choosers and when it comes to these wonderful films we take what we can get. Most of the offerings are on DVD with a few Blu-Ray exceptions.  Transfer quality is reasonably good across the board.  It's by no means perfect, but it's certainly as pleasing as I remember during those days of Creature Double Feature out of Boston.

As a bit of fun, I thought I would compile the reviews of those Godzilla films as noted in The Complete Guide To Godzilla by SciFiNow.  I've placed them in order of ranking based on their rating system along with my own subjective preference.  The films are extracted from across three eras of Godzilla: Showa (1954-1975; green), Hesei (1984-1995; blue) and Millennium (1999-2004; violet).  The SciFiNow rating is based on 1-5 stars.  Run for your lives!  Godzilla!

28. All Monsters Attack [1 star; 1969].
27. Son Of Godzilla [1 star; 1967].
26. Godzilla Vs. Gigan [1 star; 1972].
25. Godzilla Vs. Megalon [1 star; 1973].
24. Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla [2 stars; 1994].
23. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla [2 stars; 2002].
22. Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster [2 stars; 1966].
21. Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla [2 stars; 1974].
20.  Terror Of Mechagodzilla [2 stars; 1975].
19. Godzilla Vs. Hedora [2 stars; 1973].
18. Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus [3 stars; 2000].
17. Godzilla 2000 [3 stars; 1999].
16. Godzilla, Mothra And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack [3 stars; 2001].
15. Godzilla: Tokyo SOS [3 stars; 2003].
14. Godzilla: Final Wars [3 stars; 2004].
13. Godzilla Vs. Biollante [3 stars; 1989].
12. Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II [3 stars; 1993].
11. Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah [3 stars; 1995].
10. Godzilla And Mothra: The Battle For Earth [3 stars; 1992].
9. Godzilla Raids Again [3 stars; 1955].
8. Invasion Of Astro-Monster [3 stars; 1965].
7. Destroy All Monsters [3 stars; 1968].
6.  King Kong Vs. Godzilla [3 stars; 1962].
5. Godzilla 1985 [4 stars; 1984].
4. Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah [4 stars; 1991].
3. Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster [4 stars; 1964].
2. Godzilla [4 stars; 1954].
1. Mothra Vs. Godzilla [5 stars; 1962].

There you have it.  Gojira misses the top spot knocked off by the much more colorful and fantastical Mothra Vs. Godzilla.  Does this list make your grade?  Should the original take second fiddle at number two?  There's no question as children we responded to the magical qualities of the number one entry and the films that followed.  I definitely favor the classics form the fertile 1960s (Showa era) myself and most of those would make my own Top 10.  I'll be sure to publish my own list of all things Godzilla, Honda and Toho as we go forward. 

Until then eyes to the skies and keep running for your lives.  Ay! Godzilla is coming!


Francisco Gonzalez said...

Worst one for me so far has been Godzilla vs. Biollante, I just couldnt get into it! I was looking forward to it, because Biollante is such an unconventional Godzilla villain, but the movie itself is so disjointed, it just didnt make no sense to me. Repeated viewings might change that...but my first impression was a negative one!

Glad your giving Godzilla a chance, the most difficult ones to watch for me are the more "Kiddie" ones, the ones from the 60's and 70's (save for some choice ones like Monster Zero which is awesome! And Mothra vs. Godzilla)...

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Btw, and I guess I did not mention this, but I have not seen every single Godzilla film. I've seen many of them, but not all and I had to guess on a few when I slotted them Francisco.

I did not see Biollante. I did just get it on Blu-Ray. My expectations for it will be low now and that's a good thing.

Loved Monster Zero and the number one film too.

But I grew up on Godzilla and loved them in general. Nothing like a ginger ale and Godzilla. Brings back memories of being sick on a Saturday and wathcing them. Cheers pal.

Jack Thursby said...

Kudos on your Godzilla collection. That must have been a pain to assemble. Completely agree Toho are missing a trick by not releasing a complete boxset of all the movies. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

Got to admit I watched most of the Showa ones as a kid so they are close to my heart. I used to love Godzilla Vs Megalon as a kid but haven't watched it in years! The Heisei and Millennium ones I only got around to catching up on a year or so ago.

Think I'd agree with your top 4 but I'd knock Godzilla 85 down to 2 stars. Maybe I need to watch it again but I remember finding really slow and dull as a kid.

I'd probably bump up Final Wars as well. I know it wasn't universally loved but it really worked for me. I loved it's all out craziness.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...


Thank you. You have it right! It took me a little time to assemble getting this collection and make efforts to get the very best copy available of that particular title, because in many cases there are different iterations. So, yes, you are right.

The films weren't terribly expensive when I managed to put it together. I don't know what the price is now on some of them, but a few years ago it did indeed take me some time to put this puppy together.

As far as the reviews, I agree with you. I enjoyed Final Wars too for exactly the colorful reason you mention and would slide down Godzilla 1985. But it's been a while on a few of these.

I look forward to putting my own list together in the future.

Cheers Jack!

Maurice Mitchell said...

What a great set of DVDs! I would certainly agree Mothra is the best of them.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks Maurice. Agreed, that Mothra versus Godzilla picture is sci-fi fantasy at Honda, Toho and Japan's finest.