Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby eabaker » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:04 am

We... agree? About a post '55 Showa movie?

Now I'm afraid next time I watch Son of Godzilla something terrible is going to happen.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby DrewTheKing » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:44 pm

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This one may top the list for me. As a kid I was a little indifferent to it and preferred the wacky alien plots of the 70's films; but I've grown to find SOG has the best rewatch value. It's got a well-paced, streamlined storyline and a fun vibe - one of the few 60's Godzilla films where you actually care about whats going on with the human characters. Great soundtrack by Sato, too. Minilla is, of course, the worst part of the film but it ends really strong and has that fairytale feel to it. Also, I've always liked the look of the larger, bulky G-suit built for this one.

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Also, does anybody have a high quality version of this??? Always wanted to know if there was a file of this that looked as great as the bluray Ebirah.

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Rodan » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:27 am

Rewatched this again recently. I'm shocked that despite it being fairly familiar, my thinking it might be a bit boring for that before popping it in is always overridden within minutes. It's such a charming movie, I can't help but enjoy it every time.

One of the things that struck me about it this time is a small bit of consistent Godzilla-series worldview making it into Sekizawa's script. A group of scientists set on testing a weather-changing device on a supposedly uninhabited island stress that its success could have great positive impact on mankind's food shortages. When asked by reporter Goro Maki (I still get a kick that out of all characters to receive an homage in Shin Godzilla, it's this one) why the experiment must be kept secret, the chief scientist responds, "Don't you see? If the technology were to fall into the wrong hands, someone could be capable of freezing the whole world."

Even in the silliest entries of the '60s, the humanist aspects of technology are balanced with the threat of weaponization. That double helix of hope and fear makes for as consistent a philosophy as the Showa series has, or perhaps any series as stylistically and tonally diverse as this one. It's no accident that Godzilla, as maybe the simplest and most immediate embodiment of that mix, appears in this film. Nor is it one that the island is actually inhabited, presenting a potential casualty of the scientists' well-meaning experiment, and that escape from the film's conflict requires cooperation from all parties between the native resident (actually the daughter of a scientist from Tokyo who had once been stationed on the island), the scientists, and Godzilla and Minilla, all of whom are at odds with one another, even unknowingly, earlier in the film. Echoes of Mothra vs. Godzilla's plea for global cooperation are very much here, along with its warnings about the unintended casualties of well-meaning and important progress. There's nothing particularly anti-science about it, but for a country with Japan's relationship to nuclear development, that kind of focus on progress' double-edged nature makes sense.

It's still a very silly movie, but that's particularly why I find it interesting some of the series' overall themes ring so strongly in it. The Showa Godzilla films are too sincere to play out any other way.

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby eabaker » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:03 am

Rodan wrote:Goro Maki (I still get a kick that out of all characters to receive an homage in Shin Godzilla, it's this one)


I assumed that was because the name had also made its way into Return of Godzilla. It's the classic callback to a classic!

There's nothing particularly anti-science about it


No, in fact, I really love that it's a science-gone-wrong movie where the final solution is, "Oh, well, we're going to have to do the same thing again, but this time we'll make sure we get it right!"

"Learn from your mistakes" doesn't have to mean, "Never take any risks."
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Rodan » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:04 am

eabaker wrote:I assumed that was because the name had also made its way into Return of Godzilla. It's the classic callback to a classic!

Oh, right. I think of this one so much more easily.

It's Goro Makis all the way down.

No, in fact, I really love that it's a science-gone-wrong movie where the final solution is, "Oh, well, we're going to have to do the same thing again, but this time we'll make sure we get it right!"

"Learn from your mistakes" doesn't have to mean, "Never take any risks."

Yeah, it's very tempered. I feel like a lot of non-Japanese genre material at the time falls into the easy trap of, "There are some things man was never meant to learn/do," which rubs me the wrong way. The message throughout the Showa Godzilla movies is a hopeful, "Look at all we can achieve (through working together)," balanced with the realistic "but we must acknowledge/avoid/atone for the negative consequences." This is an extremely light take, but it's swimming in the same inexplicably red, medicinal water as Godzilla '54, Mothra vs. Godzilla, etc.

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Great Hierophant » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:19 pm

This is another underrated classic in my opinion. The cast is in good form, the soundtrack is one of the best in the series, the locations are beautiful and the evil monsters, Gimantis and Kumonga, are great creations. The plot makes sense and the action is well paced. The only downsides are the Godzilla and Minilla suits. Godzilla looks dopey and ugly and Minilla looks like Baragon mated with the Michelin man. The Heisei series showed how Godzilla's offspring should be done, even Little Godzilla looks closer to his father than adult Minilla.

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby edgaguirus » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:41 pm

The Minilla suit isn't the best, but the character's portrayal makes up for it. Minilla is very child like and endearing.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Zarm » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:36 am

Son of Godzilla is… not your traditional kaiju flick. After an atmospheric opening sequence, the jaunty music kicks in, and you know you’re in for a very different ride from the typical city-destroying, Japan-threatening title bout between 2 destructive opponents. How well the movie works probably depends on how well you can roll with the change of pace, style, tone, and storytelling.

For me, the movie was a little slow- while the last half-hour was pretty gripping, it took the movie a while to get up to speed. As a father of little ones, I can identify with Godzilla’s constant tiredness and Minilla’s antics, but even their arrival on the scene seems a bit protracted in favor of some very light jungle drama. Not like it was bad, just… not riveting.

The human characters are not the most engaging we’ve ever had. I recognize the professor, Fujisaki (one of the most recognizable turns for Akihiko Hirata- or Serizawa, as I think of him- since the original Gojira, to me), and the unhinged one… but I couldn’t tell you much about their personalities, just their roles. Goro Maki (the first of three!) is clearly more of a title character, but I never particularly engaged with him. He and Saeko are clearly the protagonists- and they’re both at their most engaging together, with a fun interplay between them- as if Saeko’s relationship with Minilla. As an individual character, Saeko’s kinda-Tarzan turn is definitely the most interesting. She has been on her own, regressing from society, for enough years to estrange her from the customs of polite civilization, but not long enough to produce the feral wild-child often seen in media. It’s a twist on the convention, with a character only starting down that path rather than well-progressed as we typically see, and Bibari Maeda plays it with a charming innocence, but not a naiveté.

In many ways, the central characters of the film are the kaiju, however, in a deeper way than we’ve seen since Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster. Minilla (and to a lesser extent, Godzilla) really take center stage as characters.

Personally, I find Minilla a little goofy, but fun. The suit is… not exactly what I’d call adorable, but a wonderful performance with expressive body language really brings the child aspect to life; the excitement, the goofing around, the tantrums, the falling and getting hurt… and if you don’t find the ending scene between father and son in the blizzard touching, you may not be cut out to watch kaiju movies. :)

Except for the weird donkey-bray, I like the sounds for Minilla, too- and the ‘Wah… wah!’ is what I (a US west-coast native) think of every time I see a WaWa store in Pennsylvania. The smoke rings are a cute touch, and I legitimately enjoy his and Godzilla’s scenes together.

As I mentioned, I’m currently father to a two-and-a-half year old and a four-month-old, so I really do understand why Godzilla just wants to lie down and sleep at every opportunity. As a kid, I think I was annoyed at his passivity; as a father, I totally get it. It’s strange, after the last several films, but also fun to see Godzilla as a stern teacher and a protective parent, even showing affection for his young; this is NOT the same Godzilla we saw in vs. Kong or vs. Mothra, and definitely not the same terrifying force of nature from Gojira. The reformation is complete; while body form and name are basically the same, this ‘Godzilla’ is a wholly-different entity from the one we’ve known. The choice to do two pacific-island films in a row help the reformation; in Astro-monster, Godzilla only trampled cities under evil alien control, so someone else could appear as the bad guy. Now, for two films, he hasn’t done any city-rampaging; it’s a lot easier to accept him as a hero when civilian casualties are out of the picture.

I’m not a huge fan of the head- or the goofy eyes- on this suit; but I don’t think Showa Godzilla designs are generally in my wheelhouse after the first couple of films. Either way, like I said, the ending is pitch-perfect, and seeing Godzilla charge into battle to protect his son is heartwarming. Which is something I don’t think Godzilla was ever meant to be, but… hey, that’s where we are now. (No matter how much sneaky editing they employ, however, I cannot see what warping of time and space could possibly have produced a scenario in which his eye was close enough for Kumonga to skewer. I’ll give them this, though- the intercutting editing was audacious, and I applaud it for its boldness in execution. The end result is ludicrous when you think about it spatially, but they really go all-in and sell it with an intense, unsettling sequence of intercuts!)

The Kamacaras are not exactly unique in the history of giant monsters, but they are well-executed, with creepy mouths and nice articulation. I don’t really buy their digging or striking power at the mound, and it’s nice to see the kaiju equivalent of a stock enemy; they’re not pushovers like the Giant Condor, but neither are they boss-monsters like Ghidrah or Mothra. They’re just mid-level challenges, good for a sufficient battle, but not a life-or-death struggle.

Thanks to the floppy nature of their bodies, even Godzilla flailing around a listless prop looks realistic rather than hokey, and when he beats it on the ground, the attack looks more brutal than anything since the grappling with Angiras in Raids Again. I could almost feel for the poor thing- though not too much, as there is something immensely satisfying about seeing the Kamacaras go up in flames in response to the atomic breath. (My only complaint: the jaunty, played-for-laughs music as they try to beat to death and devour a newborn baby? Yeah, not funny, dude.)

Kumonga is one of the most effective shambling horrors I have ever seen in a kaiju; the puppeteering of the legs is masterfully effective. Every ‘legs move in a staccato motion while the puppet glides forward’ kaiju of the future films- from Destroyah creatures and Godzilla Junior to… well, most of the offenders are in vs. Destroyah, aren’t they?- should be ashamed of themselves looking at what was accomplished in 1967.

Kumonga has a great look- the dust-covering and emergence from the ground helps- and in addition to great puppeteering, those stabbing claws at the end of its legs and the puncture-proboscis are genuinely threatening. The giant claw props are also excellent and believably maneuvered- as my wife remarked, the actors in the cave probably didn’t have to do much acting to pretend to be scared of that giant, flailing thing! Kumonga’s mouth is also even more unnerving than the Kamacaras; unsettling and truly disturbing for no reason I can put my finger on. The behavior, the movement, the execution- Kumonga is one of the best, most effective ‘villains’ of the Showa era to date, just oozing menace and sinister intent, and his defeat- at the hands of father and son together, awwwww- is even more satisfying than watching the Kamacaras burst into flames.

Can I level with you guys? I started writing this review thinking the movie I’d just seen wasn’t that great- Saeko was as boring as the rest, Kumonga wasn’t much to write home about other than that creepy mouth- and I didn’t really get the general praise for it. But I think, over the course of analyzing it as I write… I kinda loved this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I think Sea Monster still trumps it, but… yeah, the more I write, the more I realize how much I liked it! I stand by the issues with the pacing, which I think keeps this one at a solid third-place, but… wow. I definitely didn’t feel this way fifteen minutes ago!

The effects are pretty ambitious and well-realized; humans and kaiju share the frame believably, I love the spinning, burning Kamacaras leg, the fruit thrown into Minilla’s mouth is not fully convincing but one of the most memorable sequences in the film, and both the storm sequence and the plane in the opening are very believable (even if the submarine at the end is… not so much). The ending freezing sequences are great, too, and the transformation of the snowy landscape is very effective. The silver iodide towers(Probably because of the jungle setting) really remind me of something out of the Thunderbirds series.

The music is… perhaps a little too over-the-top at times. It’s jazzy, like the last film, but a little too comedic- and inappropriately-comedic- at time; I don’t think it complemented the film quite as effectively as a similar score in Vs. the Sea Monster.

On the other hand, the score is far more memorable and iconic, really sticking in the head even years after watching, so it had to be doing something right.

Son of Godzilla is not a perfect film. It starts slow and sloppy (I assume Goro Maki made it back to camp before the heat monsoon based on later dialogue, but from the film’s editing, you’re kind of left wondering if he survived in the wilds or made it back to shelter at the camp!), but improves markedly once Saeko enters the picture and Godzilla arrives to start parenting. Initial puppet-form Minilla is a little creepy, but once you make it past that stage…

The lush setting and lavishly-realized antagonists help this film to stand out, and Godzilla’s heel-turn as a hero is capped off by a surprisingly-touching finale that really cements this film as one of the greats.


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50 years with Minilla

Postby LegendZilla » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:44 am

50 years ago today marks the half-century anniversary of the theatrical release of Son of Godzilla as well as its titular character. So here’s a thread dedicating to having anything you want to say about the ultimate kaiju classic.

I am going to be honest with you guys. I don't hate Minilla. I think the only reason he gets so much disdain from fans is because of Godzilla’s Revenge.
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Re: 50 years with Minilla

Postby UltimateDitto » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:55 am

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Don't hate the guy, heck i actually like him a bit. :lol:
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Godzillian » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:17 am

Minya doesn't deserve the hate he gets
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby MechaGoji Bro7503 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:48 pm

Godzillian wrote:Minya doesn't deserve the hate he gets

I agree. I like how he's a little goofball in contrast to how destructive and terrifying Godzilla is.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby G-Matt » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:38 pm

The movie is definitely underrated. When I watched it again for a marathon before the 2014 movie's release, I actually found it very enjoyable, and since then I've regarded it as one of the best in the series. The characters are all likable, the tropical setting looks gorgeous (even more so than in the previous entry IMO), there are some nice effects moments/shots, and Masaru Sato's music is very good.

So, Happy 50th Anniversary SOG! :)
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Zarm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:14 am

Agreed. A surprisingly strong film, and a fun little character. As long as it's not in Godzilla's Revenge or Final Wars, I like him.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Billzilla1974 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:43 am

I'll be the odd man out but, I don't like Minya, even if his character is sympathetic, his design sure isn't. I would like him if he looked more Godzilla-like, and had a better proportioned head/face.
The rest of SoG is still good, but Minya's design is just plain ugly.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Godzillian » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:00 pm

Always loved this movie and end up liking it more as I get older. When I first got into the fandom I was shocked to learn that the film had a huge group of those who disliked it
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby KaijusHunter » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:06 pm

I agree. This is a fun, simple movie with a fresh setting, worth of consideration. Masaru Sato's score, which you can listen to on the link below, is great and works perfectly:
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby edgaguirus » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:47 pm

Agreed. It has a tropical feel, which goes along perfectly with the scenery.
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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby GojiDog » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:24 am

In many ways, Son of Godzilla is the PERFECT Godzilla film to start your kids on. I've often compared it to Disney, and it kind of fits. It has that heart and charm of a classic Disney film...but with kaiju!

It was one that I watched a lot as a kid because it was easier to digest at that age than the typical Godzilla film with sci-fi technobabble and military operations and such (now I love all that stuff, haha).

And there are parts to it that are very memorable. Furukawa was a memorable character because he was the one that went crazy, but you can understand why he'd get Cabin Fever and be in that state of mind. Saeko bonding with Minilla had kind of a Mighty Joe Young flavor to it as well.

One of my favorite aspects of this movie are the monster co-stars. Kumonga and Kamackaras are great! The puppetry used to bring them to life is just terrific with all the appendages moving and the personality that comes through in the puppet work. I look at them as examples as to why I wasn't a huge fan of Megalon. Megalon looks like a guy in the beetle suit. Kumonga and Kamackaras actually look like the creatures they are supposed to be.

I gotta be honest too, I don't mind Minilla in this film. True he gets annoying in Godzilla's Revenge and in other appearances, but here, he fit the tone of the film and his goofy antics juxtaposed with Godzilla's harsh and stern nature made for several cute moments that, as a kid, I just ate up and laughed at. Also the ending...kinda works on an emotional level, doesn't it? I don't know, but when I was young, it was actually powerful for me to see Godzilla actually care for someone. True he had been the good guy prior to this, but he was acting more out of protecting his own territory or just wanting to get into a scrap. Here, he genuinely cares about another living being and tries to protect it, and that was a nice piece in developing Godzilla into the superhero he ultimately became. Now I am not going to defend the design of Minilla which looks nothing like anything related to Godzilla much less his son, but hey. And the less said about this film's Godzilla design, the better.

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Re: Talkback Thread #8: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Postby Zarm » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:29 am

GojiDog wrote:snip


Well said! You make some excellent points, and I especially agree about the puppeteering.
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