Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Ben Shapiro » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:38 pm

Mr_Goji_and_Watch wrote:
Gojirawars 03 wrote:.
But then, I'm trying to criticize a Showa film on Toho Kingdom forums, so I assume my replies will fall on deaf ears.


Why do you throw this out as a shield to preemptively dismiss any contradictory opinions instead of crtiscising elements of the films form and content? Try posting more than surface level complaints that ultimately have no real bearing on the visual storytelling before you assume the dreaded Showa elitists are gonna ignore you on the premise of disliking a showa movie.

+1

My sentiments exactly
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby edgaguirus » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:01 am

Have no doubts that people here will respond to what is said when they have an opinion.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby ApexOversteer » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:00 pm

I wrote the piece below a few months back, thought some might enjoy it here...



The Cherished Nightmare: Horror Of The Deep
By T.A. Bell


I met him on a sunny Saturday afternoon, in the autumn of 1979. I was seven years old. Rindge, New Hampshire borders Massachusetts, just 75 miles from Boston, and in 1979 there still existed the greatest television station to ever broadcast, WLVI UHF56, home of The Creature Double Feature. On a clear day, with a well aimed roof antenna, you could almost get a decent picture out of a floor-console RCA black and white television.

That Saturday, as I consumed my normal morning diet of cartoons, I knew nothing of Japan, Toho, atomic testing or bombs, allegories or World Wars. I lived in a world of Luke Skywalker, dinosaurs, Hot Wheels and Looney Toons.

I don’t know what compelled me to spin the dial on the TV, searching for the elusive UHF signal from Boston, rarely attained, and even more rarely worth the effort, but what greeted me when the static cleared was literally life changing.

Four Asian men, aboard a sailing yacht named “Yahlen” had sailed into a storm, and they were in serious trouble. The sails tore, the helm destroyed, they had little hope of survival, when the most horrifying thing imaginable appeared, accompanied confusingly by James Bond’s theme music; the claw of an enormous crustacean.

Any New England child will instantly recognize a lobster when they see one, and the moment I saw that claw, I knew what it meant. Beneath those waves, there lurked an armored marine villain of frightening proportions.

Terrified, but transfixed, unable to move from mere inches in front of the RCA, I watched as the monster “Eb-i-rah” later speared those poor escaping Infant Islanders, their brothers and sisters forced to create the yellow liquid keeping the creature at bay, protecting the evil Red Bamboo Army, whose intentions I could not understand.

I was simply not prepared to be introduced to first Mothra, and then the great one himself, the slumbering Godzilla, within a scant ninety seconds of each other. My mind reeled at the sensory overload, the unknowns these monsters represented.

Could Godzilla be worse than Ebirah? Would Mothra awaken and save them all?

The hour that followed is still to me, some of the most exciting, thrilling, and yes, terrifying that these films have ever been. The cruelty of man on display in a way I hadn’t yet become accustomed to, juxtaposed by the collaboration of our heroes and the Infant Islanders, the anarchic actions of Godzilla and at the very end, the glorious Deus Ex Machina of Mothra, cemented these films into my very soul as the greatest cinematic genre on Earth.

Or at least, it would, when I learned that it actually was a genre. I would not learn the title of the film, or that there were more of them, until the following Monday morning, when my best friend explained these things to me on the playground during recess.

He breathlessly explained there were more movies, perhaps as many as ten more. It instantly became my life to see them all, to experience those thrills, those horrors again.

Of course, as we all know, it never quite feels like your first time, ever again, and it never has.

There are only two cinematic monsters that have ever featured in my nightmares, and both will still occasionally appear, even now as I approach my late 40’s, in times of anxiety or illness; H.R. Giger’s Alien, and Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.

Godzilla Versus The Sea Monster is not my favorite Godzilla film, but it will forever be my first Godzilla film, The Cherished Nightmare.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Freebleeper » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:59 am

Kaiju-King42 wrote:
Freebleeper wrote:I found this one quite significant as it officially would make Godzilla a hero as yes in Ghidrah, the three headed monster he did help the human race against Ghidrah but still immediately the next film he's under alien control to wreck havoc and just seeing the human characters in Ebriah, Horror of the Deep encouraging him to leave the island before the atomic bomb destroys and than are happy he did made it pretty much makes him an official hero in the series now. :D :) ;)


Jesus I thought this was Eabaker for a moment thanks to that avatar. I was wondering why he was suddenly pulling out the emojis.


Maybe I did went a little hectic with the emojis but the best way I think is that this film significantly made Godzilla a certified hero.

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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby GojiDog » Fri May 03, 2019 6:50 am

I just rewatched this one last night as part of my marathon to watch all the films before G: KOTM.

Watching it again, what really struck me was just how fast the set up for the story is...too fast!

Within the first 15 minutes, we get a dance marathon, two guys taking a weird boat obsessed dude they just met to jump onto somebody's boat, which just happens to be owned by a robber, who (for whatever reason) allows them to stay on the boat over night, and then crazy boat obsessed dude takes the boat out to sea and expects everyone to go along with it...and they do! After that, they meet up with Ebirah, are introduced to the Red Bamboo (who shockingly never get much of an explanation for what their plan is beyond building up their forces...I guess we can assume world domination right).

It is a fast and furious 1st 15 minutes, to the point that there is almost too much to process, and not enough time for any of it to make sense. In a movie today, all of that might take up about 45 minutes (which is the opposite problem of maybe being too long if not handled right).
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Gojirawars 03 » Fri May 03, 2019 7:37 am

Alright, so some of you were hoping, I think, that I'd be able to put up a better argument as to why i dislike this film than "Godzilla doesn't show up for most of it." So, here you go.

Although this film was technically one of the first to do it, I find the "people exploring an island" plot was done much better in later films. Even Son of Godzilla, which I'm also not particularly fond of, did this plot better, I think. It just feels drawn out, and the pacing suffers horribly from some scenes of just characters giving exposition that adds nothing interesting and slows everything down a lot.

The characters are all pretty much either one-note stereotypes I've seen done in countless other films, or they're just boring. The concept of the Red Bamboo is interesting, as it's not very often that the villains in Godzilla films end up being other humans like terrorists or something (since they're normally almost always the actual kaiju, aliens, both, or people from the future that one time). Unfortunately, these villains come across as very non-threatening when these band of misfits make these armed terrorists look like incompetent idiots throughout the movie (seriously, can we talk about the way the main characters all broke into the Red Bamboo base because of the Red Bamboo's Stormtrooper aim?)

This film also suffers from a severe lack of quality kaiju action, which wouldn't be so bad, if we had interesting characters to hold the film down in the meantime. Unfortunately, we don't. Even the few kaiju actions scenes we get are mediocre, at best. Godzilla and Ebirah playing volley-boulder isn't exactly riveting, and when they actually do get to the fight, it's underwater, so it becomes near impossible to see. The Giant Condor scene has been joked about relentlessly by the fan-base, so I feel like I don't need to elaborate on that. Even the final section of Godzilla tearing through the Red Bamboo base feels like watching the destruction scenes from Invasion of Astro Monster.

One thing this movie does pretty well is building Godzilla's presence. Even though he's not onscreen for the longest time, they build up his fear factor, size, power decently well whenever he's not doing anything. they treat Ebirah like a legitimate threat, too, but it doesn't work nearly as well considering that he is literally just a giant lobster/crustacean. You wanna see Toho make crustaceans feel terrifying? Watch Godzilla vs Destroyah.

One other thing that bugs me is the whole " was supposed to be King Kong but was replaced by Godzilla at the last minute," debacle. It shows. Right down to Ebirah feeling like he would fit much better as a King Kong enemy, especially for Toho's Kong. Godzilla being interested in the island girl is another obvious sign that turns into one of the weirdest scenes in the movie when Godzilla just kinda sits there, looking at her with those dopey Cookie Monster eyes that the '66 suit had. I can imagine how the girl feels.

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Overall, this movie just feels like it's trying to be somewhat ambitious for the time it was made, but didn't really pull it off, mostly due to the plot and the effects. In the modern era, I think this concept could make for a great Godzilla film. But this execution of it was definitely underwhelming, to say the least.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby JAGzilla » Fri May 03, 2019 10:43 pm

I don't really feel like Ebirah had to be an impressive, powerful juggernaut to fill his role in this movie. He was never intended to be a worthy adversary for Godzilla, and that's not what the movie, IIRC, is centered around. The question was never "how can Godzilla possibly defeat the Jumbo Shrimp?" but "how can our heroes escape from the Red Bamboo and their crustaceous guard dog?" Ebirah was plenty powerful and intimidating enough to be a credible threat to the humans, and we see repeatedly that he does his job well. Godzilla's role, meanwhile, was less 'underdog hero going up against a villain he'll struggle to overcome' and more 'tool used by the heroes to eliminate Ebirah' with a side dose of 'solution that threatens to be worse than the problem.' And again, he does his job as adequately as Kong would have.

I'll give you that the action wasn't super exciting by genre standards, but there was no particular reason it had to be. It served its purpose. And I do have to give the effects crew a respectful nod for at least attempting something new and ambitious with the underwater battle, even if the execution was imperfect.

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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Ivo-goji » Sat May 04, 2019 12:34 am

I feel like the underwhelmingness of Godzilla fighting a giant condor and a giant shrimp is a symptom of him subbing for Kong rather than having the story written with him in mind from the get go. Kong can't breathe lasers.

I don't think it detracts from the film though. Ebirah is a really scary kaiju when he's menacing humans and his home is a nuclear bomb factory so there's plenty tension in the narrative.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Ben Shapiro » Sat May 04, 2019 4:30 am

I never found it distracting at all actually, some scenes seemed off but no more so than the Showa series in general.

Just adds to the entertainment imo, it’s not often you see Godzilla interact with human beings so it was interesting and seeing a monster other than something reptilian or insectoid was a breath of fresh air.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Maritonic » Sat May 04, 2019 4:56 am

This is one I enjoyed a LOT more upon recent re-watch. The setting and human interaction are definitely new elements but I really think it works with this. Ebirah certainly isn't a grand threat, but he fits into the film perfectly. It's a light film, but it's extremely entertaining.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Dr. Professor » Sat May 04, 2019 6:30 am

Maritonic wrote:This is one I enjoyed a LOT more upon recent re-watch. The setting and human interaction are definitely new elements but I really think it works with this. Ebirah certainly isn't a grand threat, but he fits into the film perfectly. It's a light film, but it's extremely entertaining.

I think the human element of this one is what puts it over certain others for me. Ebirah honestly contains my favorite performance from Akira Takarada. It's just so much fun to watch him play a lovable criminal.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby eabaker » Sat May 04, 2019 9:21 am

I'm a big fan of the color pallets of the two Fukuda flicks from the 60s. That combined with Sato's scoring just gives them a kind of delightful, light weight, candy coated sensibility unique within the series.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Sun May 05, 2019 9:36 pm

Upon repeat viewing, I think this film is massively underrated, and does what IATOM does for a Godzilla hard sci-fi film, for a Godzilla adventure film. I think Fukuda’s involvement in the franchise is massively underrated as well.

eabaker wrote:I'm a big fan of the color pallets of the two Fukuda flicks from the 60s. That combined with Sato's scoring just gives them a kind of delightful, light weight, candy coated sensibility unique within the series.

This. I was going to mention this in part of my reflection, but it definitely makes the film standout. A clear shift in culture can be done by comparing the Shobujin from Mothra vs Godzilla, with their big hats and ornate dresses, to the tropical version we get here with their yellow dresses and floral crowns. The clothing the protagonists wear is also bright, and far more casual then anything in the series prior. It’s a minute detail but it makes the film more fun.

I also noticed how more proactive the characters are involved with the action. Prior films hanged everything on the characters inventing something, or causing monsters to fight through dialogue. This film has them wake up Godzilla, replace the berry juice with fake berries, building nets and waking up Mothra...etc. There’s also a lot more physical feats, with the characters getting shipwrecked, scaling a mountain, and running to a cliff side away from the Red Bamboo.

Also, while it’s easy to just box the film in as “Godzilla beats up a condor and giant shrimp, and easily destroys a base, it’s important to remember exactly what was going on. The Red Bamboo were manufacturing nuclear arms. A terrorist organization that puts people into slavery. No doubt if the protagonists and Godzilla didn’t foil their plan, they would’ve taken over the earth. They have a legitimate airforce, and navy as well. While maybe not as immediately drastic as the Xillien threat, the Red Bamboo were definitely a formidable threat that would’ve led to disaster.

Additionally, in retrospect, I realized a lot of scenes of Godzilla fighting the giant condor, and subsequently the airplanes, isn’t necessarily meant to only be a threat to Godzilla, but really Dayo. We aren’t really supposed to be worried for Godzilla, but Dayo who unfortunately becomes a sort of damsel. However, note how Dayo screams and wakes Godzilla up, before the giant condor attacks Godzilla. Presumably originally the giant condor would’ve just eaten Dayo. Though less so, the same thing happens with the planes, which cuts to Dayo narrowly avoiding large explosions. The Giant Condor Scene+Airforce Scene create a nice bridge between the first Ebirah fight and the base destruction sequence.


And yeah, shame for Ebirah. Upon rewatching it, there’s a couple neat moments where he does get the upper hand, and shows considerable strength, but the film really needed to show more to make him a more serious threat. The first fight with Ebirah is actually pretty neat, there’s a mix of rock throwing, a beam shot, an awesome surprise attack from Ebirah, and a ton of cool fake outs. The second fight is cool as well, but it’s a bit lackluster due to how cut apart it all is, and it does leave more to be desired. I would argue that the fight while not the best in the franchise, is one of the most unique, with a fight not only in the water, but underwater. It makes you wish there was more with Ebirah beating up Godzilla with his claw, or maybe ramming into Godzilla repeatedly underwater. I also think that Ebirah itself is a really unique monster, that doesn’t reek of “man in a suit”.

The final fights main issue, is how it keeps cutting and jumping away from the action, to waking Mothra up and the buildup towards the explosion. I get why they do that, but this wouldn’t be such a big issue if it weren’t for how short and strung together all the clips are. Minus Godzilla tearing off the claws, and a few shots of Ebirah underwater, I feel that the first fight is actually much better then the final one. To make matters worse, there’s sortve a scuffle and the tension of getting off the island, that takes tension away from defeating Ebirah. In fact, Godzilla, very briefly fights Mothra, which does have a beam, some wind, and a wing slap which does make it a fight.

We can also presume, that Godzilla would have died if he stayed on the island, or at least been horrible injured. It’s important to note that the explosion was nuclear, and although whether or not Godzilla could survive a direct nuclear explosion is always up for debate, the fact is the explosion blew up the whole island, and would’ve trapped Godzilla deep under the earth and water.

Monster interactivity is something here that a lot of previous films, aside from maybe 1954, and KKVG have. The first thing we see of Ebirah, is its claw, sinking the ship, which provides a direct and clear threat to the protagonists. We get a good estimate of how big Ebirah is, and the shot of the claw is an excellent beginning. Next time we see Ebirah, he attacks the two escapees, and eats them with a smaller claw. We again get a good tangible idea of Ebirah’s size, and onscreen is a rare instance of a Godzilla monster eating people. Later, with Godzilla, we get the whole Godzilla wakes up scene, where a wire is attached to Godzilla, and following Godzilla interacts with Dayo. Finally, Mothra is woken up by the pleas of the natives, and also physically rescues the islanders from not only the explosion, but Godzilla. Unlike previous films, such as IOTAM, and GTTHM, you get a real sense of interactivity between the people and the monsters. Both Mothra and Godzilla being waken up are key story factors and Ebirah plays a key role in the red bamboos function. Compare this to how Ghidorah never really comes into contact with humans or really acknowledges them; sure there’s advantages to that as well but it makes EHOTD more unique. They’re more physical in this regard, and it’s one of Fukuda’s strengths which he carries into the next film.


Also fun continuity detail: notice how there’s a small watchtower destroyed by a boulder in the first Godzilla vs Ebirah fight. Then later, notice when Godzilla first approaches the base, how the tower is still there, but is also destroyed!


Overall, a solid adventure film, if not a solid Godzilla film. I feel that the film’s problems, really just have to do with some choppy editing towards the end, trying to compete with what the main threat is(is it the Red Bamboo? Ebirah? The island exploding? Godzilla?). However, it’s an important film for changing the direction of the series, but it still takes itself fairly seriously.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Zarm » Mon May 06, 2019 4:28 am

LSD Jellyfish wrote:Upon repeat viewing, I think this film is massively underrated, and does what IATOM does for a Godzilla hard sci-fi film, for a Godzilla adventure film.


You mean Invasion Astro The Of Monster? ;)

I agree with your points about the film!
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby GojiDog » Mon May 06, 2019 11:27 am

Here's my weird opinion about this film.

Does anyone besides me think it would be a better movie if Godzilla wasn't in it?

It feels like once he comes into the film, he just sort of destroys everything. Ebirah and the Red Bamboo stop being any kind of a threat as Godzilla just trounces all over them.

If it had been Kong as originally intended, or maybe if it had been a Mothra centric movie (rather than just having her wake up and pop up at the tail end) or maybe even just let Ebirah be the stand alone monster, the movie could have kept some tension. Once Godzilla's unleashed, it feels like all the main cast has to do is not be there when Godzilla goes a-stompin' as he did all the work.

A giant lobster is no threat to Godzilla, who is also a Sea Monster, but to Mothra or Kong? Might be a little tougher. Okay, I guess Mothra can just fly over him, but hey, lol.

And if Godzilla wasn't in it, there is less of a chance I would have ever seen the film to begin with, so there lies the point of including him.


My complaints aside, I do give Jun Fukuda credit for trying to do something radically different. I kind of liken him to Robert McKimson of the Warner animation directors. He doesn't get the same recognition as Chuck Jones or Friz Freiling, mainly because his overall body of work never quite reached that same level of quality, but if you look at what he did, he really tried to come up with different concepts and ideas and not just rely on the same formula all the time. For example, did the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons and unlike other Looney Tune characters (like Bugs/Elmer, Sylvester/Tweety, or Coyote/Road Runner) FL cartoons didn't always adhere to the same story or formula.

Honda, for all the praise he gets (and rightfully so), had a tried and true formula that he generally liked to adhere too. It worked and gave us some of the best monster movies ever, but Fukuda took over a time where it was best to probably shake things up a bit if the series was going to continue. And fortunately after this, Fukuda would deliver much better films than Sea Monster. I've always had a soft spot for Son of Godzilla and Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla, his final entry, I think is his best.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue May 07, 2019 3:56 am

Ebirah actually puts up a relatively decent fight against Godzilla, and the fight is one of the more unique ones in the series.

There’s a scene where Ebirah drags Godzilla underwater, which would’ve been way more tense if it was Kong who obviously isn’t amphibious like Godzilla. Yes, if it was Kong, the tensions would’ve been raised.

Likewise, you’re right in that the film could’ve worked without Godzilla, or maybe just Mothra and Ebirah. I’m not really sure how Mothra and Ebirah would be able to fight though.

That being said, the films focus isn’t on Godzilla surviving, but rather the main heroes surviving. Although it happens towards the end, then waking up Godzilla is essentially they’re victory and counter attack.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Ivo-goji » Tue May 07, 2019 4:16 am

Putting Mothra at the center of the action would require promoting the Giant Condor to main antagonist status.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue May 07, 2019 5:49 am

Ivo-goji wrote:Putting Mothra at the center of the action would require promoting the Giant Condor to main antagonist status.

CONDOR, MEDIUM SIZED HORROR OF THE SKIES!

The Japanese title is more like, Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra, big fight in the south seas. It makes more sense that Mothra would be included in the title, although I usually forget how significant her role is in the film. The infant islanders play a large role in the plot, and while Mothra doesn’t really wake up in the end In a way she’s a secondary deus ex machina. If Godzilla was awoken, but Mothra wasn’t, then all the infant islanders and cast would’ve died on the island.

The whole plot of the movie is really putting a plan in motion to escape, involving the main cast each doing something to move the plan forward. It’s rewarding watching the pieces click together, and I think it’s why it works more when you put less stress on Godzilla being the brute force of the film.
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Rodan95 wrote:The Shobijin are sat on by a fatass explorer and killed. Mothra is pissed and destroys Japan.

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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby Gothicserpent » Tue May 07, 2019 1:13 pm

Its an alright godzilla film that could have been better if a few changes were made.

Make the Ebirah fights longer and less choppy.

Have more human action. Show the heroes and the natives fighting against Red Bamboo.

And either beef Mothra's role or cut her out entirely.
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Re: Talkback Thread #7: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue May 07, 2019 4:12 pm

Gothicserpent wrote:Its an alright godzilla film that could have been better if a few changes were made.

Make the Ebirah fights longer and less choppy.

Have more human action. Show the heroes and the natives fighting against Red Bamboo.

And either beef Mothra's role or cut her out entirely.

I agree with the points on Ebirah and Mothra. The main issue I have with the Ebirah fight is how it keeps cutting back and forth to Mothra. The film suddenly becomes super cluttered and unsure what it wants the climax to be in its final moments.

However, in regards to the human protagonists fighting against the Red Bamboo I disagree. First the infant island natives are general portrayed as peaceful and it also wouldn’t make sense if they knew how to use guns or whatever. Second, a large part of the film is, and as the thief character directly states,”Let’s use our brains to defeat the Red Bamboo”. Which is true; throughout the film they repeatedly trick the Red Bamboo, during the cliffside scene, when they infiltrate the factory multiple times, the whole replacement yellow liquid etc... Third, it just wouldn’t make much sense if it suddenly became a more proactive action movie as the Red Bamboo is a military force and has loads of weapons, while the heroes have no military or action training to speak of. Them picking up weapons and firing directly wouldn’t make sense both physically and thematically.
_JNavs_ wrote:The MV is like cheap imitation crabmeat, it tastes good, but it isn't real, while Shin is kino peak Japanese performance.

Rodan95 wrote:The Shobijin are sat on by a fatass explorer and killed. Mothra is pissed and destroys Japan.


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