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Old 03-25-2012, 09:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Godzilla King of Monsters View Post
Contrary to popular belief, suitmation (a process more or less perfected during this era) wasn't a clear science, and alot of what was seen in Gojira/Godzilla was extremely experimental. Right down to the man-in-suit walking past miniatures, and evoking a sense of size and power.

Later films, involving the man-in-suit as an antagonist, undoubtedly enjoyed the luxury of seeing what worked best, and what could possibly work better. Godzilla, on the other hand, was clearly a empirical work in progress, and one that not only turned out to be a financial success in both the east and the west (thanks to some smart editing that made it more americanized for western audiences), but also a film that clearly endured and kickstarted an entire genre.

Where Beast from 20,000 Fathoms had the time along with animation, Honda had to work within the confines of what he was dealt, and I doubt any majority of giant monster fans, or film fans in general to be perfectly honest, would say Beast is the superior film. Despite the so-called distracting cheese.
And more than kickstarted a genre, it kickstarted a movement in film. That the lowly monster/horror/sci-fi movie can have a clear, well defined message that will be listened to with respect. On top of that, as you mentioned in greater detail, it is a big stepping stone for special effects with the suits and miniatures.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:02 AM   #12
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Ultimately, it's all a point of opinion. Any form of special effects can be branded as distracting, particularly those predating CGI. Though the camp that would come to encompass the Godzilla series would tend to highlight what might be considered an inferiority of monster suits, what sold the monster to me in the original was the anticipation of Godzilla's reveal, the quality of the miniatures, the low-angle shooting, the high contrast lighting, the high-speed filming, and the weight and quality of the suit itself. Though the rubber suit method would generally become more and more laughable, the 1954 Godzilla was, hard though it may be to believe, innovative, and the level of destruction reached by the man-in-suit among miniatures method was something that was never reached in stop motion effects. Additionally, though I have always loved BF20KF (haha), what really made Godzilla a horrifying monster was the way the film depicted the human misery in monster's wake in a way that no other monster film had done before and made the Hiroshima/Nagasaki connection all the more potent.
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godzilla King of Monsters View Post
Contrary to popular belief, suitmation (a process more or less perfected during this era) wasn't a clear science, and alot of what was seen in Gojira/Godzilla was extremely experimental. Right down to the man-in-suit walking past miniatures, and evoking a sense of size and power.
Let's be clear that I'm in no way criticizing the ambition or spirit of the effects team, only the end-result. I think it's laudable to try and stretch a budget and try something new, and props to them for that. Godzilla as a monster, though, looks too unconvincing and cheap to me.

This isn't some sort of bias either. Them! runs into a similar problem. Like Godzilla, it admirably hides the monsters for a while, but then they finally appear, and they simply aren't satisfying. Not only because they couldn't live up to the suspense (Stephen King's ten-foot-bug paradox), but because they aren't impressive as puppets.

Quote:
Where Beast from 20,000 Fathoms had the time along with animation, Honda had to work within the confines of what he was dealt, and I doubt any majority of giant monster fans, or film fans in general to be perfectly honest, would say Beast is the superior film. Despite the so-called distracting cheese.
I find both films dull in equal measure, with Godzilla earning a slight edge due to its depiction of fallout both nuclear and social. I much prefer something like The Incredible Shrinking Man, which carries much more intelligence, poignancy, and suspense in its pulp analysis of mankind minimized by nuclear fears.

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...what sold the monster to me in the original was the anticipation of Godzilla's reveal
Agreed here. The best part of the film is the first quarter, where the people are parsing out the clues of Godzilla's arrival. It also carries some pleasurable irony, since most viewers know Godzilla as an icon, and these people have no idea of what to expect.

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...what really made Godzilla a horrifying monster was the way the film depicted the human misery in monster's wake in a way that no other monster film had done before and made the Hiroshima/Nagasaki connection all the more potent.
I could almost imagine the film working without us ever seeing Godzilla, because those are the most potent images in the film. The people dying, the fires consuming the cities. I remember reviewing the film a year or two ago, and those sequences felt like national therapy of a sort. Yes, we all went through this. God help us, this happened.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:02 PM   #14
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Probably the thing that makes me like this movie so much is the human drama. Though I love all of the others in the series, I can't think of a single one where I became anywhere near as invested in the characters as the first, nor where the characters were as well developed. In the subsequent films, I feel like I'm only waiting for the monsters to resurface. At best the human drama carries its own, and at worst becomes downright cringe-worthy.

But the main characters in the original, particularly Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Yamane, carry a gripping and poignant human story along with them. Takashi Shimura is one of the best actors of Japanese cinema (at least within my narrow scope of knowledge) and I still tear up when Serizawa sacrifices himself and Ifukube's beautiful chorus comes in.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niallist View Post
Probably the thing that makes me like this movie so much is the human drama. Though I love all of the others in the series, I can't think of a single one where I became anywhere near as invested in the characters as the first, nor where the characters were as well developed. In the subsequent films, I feel like I'm only waiting for the monsters to resurface. At best the human drama carries its own, and at worst becomes downright cringe-worthy.

But the main characters in the original, particularly Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Yamane, carry a gripping and poignant human story along with them. Takashi Shimura is one of the best actors of Japanese cinema (at least within my narrow scope of knowledge) and I still tear up when Serizawa sacrifices himself and Ifukube's beautiful chorus comes in.
Wholeheartedly agree with alot of this. And I believe director Ishirô Honda would go on to say that out of all the films he directed, Gojira was indeed his best work. Where the sequels became increasingly more and more geared towards juvenile audiences, the original 1954 film was essentially a monster, disaster, and art movie all rolled into one. Crisp black and white, strong message, transgressive politics, impossible choices, mutable reality, forbidden love and moments of deep visual poetry. All of which played a part in making the film stand out from typical saturday matinee fare that's been mentioned in this thread.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:13 AM   #16
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Love both the original Japanese and the Americanized version. While Godzilla (Gojira's) roars and thunderous stomps sound more gripping and powerful in the Japanese version, I really like Raymond Burr's ominous commentary on the U.S. cut. For me, it really adds a deeper sense of meaning and urgency. I really wish they would take the character back to the dark atmosphere and serious tone of the original. The only sequel that succeeds in doing this is Godzilla 1985.

It's now 2012, and we have a new Godzilla film in the works. I don't know much about the plot, but I hope for something like the aforementioned.

Anyhow, the original is a great piece of work. The man-in-suit thing doesn't bother me. I'd much rather see that than the bloated CGI of the 1998 atrocity.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #17
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It's now 2012, and we have a new Godzilla film in the works. I don't know much about the plot, but I hope for something like the aforementioned.

Anyhow, the original is a great piece of work. The man-in-suit thing doesn't bother me. I'd much rather see that than the bloated CGI of the 1998 atrocity.
I've heard the new one will have a CGI Godzilla. Though I love the classic man-in-suit and wish that it won't be retired, I understand that if Toho really wants to sell this movie in the US that it would yet again be laughed out of general theatrical release like Godzilla 2000 was. And though I hate the Broderick film, if they actually make Godzilla LOOK LIKE and ACT LIKE Godzilla I guess I can live with it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:33 PM   #18
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Anyhow, the original is a great piece of work. The man-in-suit thing doesn't bother me. I'd much rather see that than the bloated CGI of the 1998 atrocity.
Well sure, but that points more toward how atrocious the CG was in the remake. Shit was unconscionable.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niallist View Post
I've heard the new one will have a CGI Godzilla. Though I love the classic man-in-suit and wish that it won't be retired, I understand that if Toho really wants to sell this movie in the US that it would yet again be laughed out of general theatrical release like Godzilla 2000 was. And though I hate the Broderick film, if they actually make Godzilla LOOK LIKE and ACT LIKE Godzilla I guess I can live with it.
It's been a little while since I saw Final Wars, but I liked the suits in it just fine.

Tho I'm more it "is it a great looking suit?" than "hey, that looks pretty realistic"
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:11 PM   #20
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Read through most of the earlier posts and agree with a lot of stuff already said. After re-viewing the 1st movie a year or three ago, I agree with Dead & Messed Up that the movie would still have had a decent impact without even showing the actual monster. (Although I never had that big of an issue with his appearance in the first movie. I think it looks damn good for the time, and quite a bit better over the next decade or so's showings).

I also have mixed feelings about the new one that I've heard is in the works: while I'm stoked that there is still attention being drawn to Godzilla and his little corner of the film world, I'm not 100% sure how well I'll take to a completely CGI 'zilla. Hopefully it'll look fantastic as well as keep with what has previously been shown with him, but I'll remain skeptical till I see the final result...
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