UltramanGoji wrote:DAM was a victim of being relatively inaccessible throughout much of the 80s and 90s when home media truly took off so it's garnered this unfitting "holy grail/ultimate movie" reputation that still persists to this day.
It's a shame it doesn't live up to it. There's a lot to like but not a lot it does right.
Interestingly enough, I caught it right in the early to mid-80's before it disappeared from TV. If I recall, it was about the third or fourth Godzilla movie I had seen and an introduction to many of the monsters (first Mothra film for me) and the concept of Monster Island. I may or may not have had access to the Ian Thorne book yet but if I had to guess, this came first. In being something of a movie weirdo at a pretty young age, who ended up being a fan of those Video Movie Guides that were all the rage in the video store era, I picked up that it was never officially released to VHS in the States. A fact that seems odder now than it did then. I had it taped off the TV so it nver much bothered me.
There were things that never really registered for me such as that this was taking place, thirty years in the future. I never viewed the later films as prequels or viewed the defeat of King Ghidorah as its definitive death. It actually made films like "Godzilla's Revenge" and "Godzilla on Monster Island" more interesting because it seemed like a continuation of this very awesome concept of an island full of Toho monsters. Though the stock footage overkill in "Revenge" really took the wind out of my adolescent sails. "Destroy All Monsters" mostly worked like gangbusters for me as a kid. The music was quite great. The monster attack scenes were well done and the introduction of the monsters for the final battle was something out of the best TV wrestling match. Though even then, that fireball finale did NOTHING for me. The space story was never my cup of tea.
I kind of avoided it for years when it came to video because I hated the other dub. Renting that movie in 1998 and realizing they used a different audio track was such a bummer but around 2005 or so, I tracked down a copy of the original AIP version and the Japanese letterbox on EBay and all was forgiven. The original Media Blasters release was such a perfect way to present it. Shame they had to pull them.
In revisiting through said MB release through the years, its strengths still hold up pretty well and there are even some incredible shots I had forgotten about. The shot of the worried crowd running that pulls into a medium of Kyoko grinning looks great as does a low angle one of a building crumbling as Rodan soars over it. I feel what it does well, it does great. I never found the human story particularly compelling, when compared to some of the previous films. It probably has the least interesting human story of all of Honda’s kaiju films but I didn’t mind the Killiaks as villains.
Terasawa wrote:DAM is unusually graphic for a Honda film: shootout at the Monsterland control center (in which one person gets shot in the head), Dr. Otani’s defenestration, and especially the surgical incision during Otani’s autopsy. Generally this kind of content was avoided in the Godzillas.
While I noticed some of the violence you mention, it never struck me as out of place, when contrasted again Rodan where the miners are ripped bloody by the Meganulon or the scene in Mothra vs. Godzilla where the greedy businessman is beaten bloody by his angry partner before shooting him.
LSD Jellyfish wrote:Watching this after watching TOMG last night, I can’t help but feel that TOMG is a better send off then this one.
I think this film is way more complex then it wants to be, and feels like a conglomeration of a bunch of different ideas. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a spy movie, a hard sci-fi film, a Godzilla film, and has way too many elements spinning out of control, leaving nothing in the way of interesting characters. And unfortunately, the film is full of pointless moments.
I would concur with a lot of that. For TOMG not necessarily being planned as the final installment, it hits a surprisingly strong goodbye note with Godzilla walking out into the water with an appropriately touching piece of music. I enjoy the ending of DAM perfectly as it feels like a return to normalcy for the monsters on the island but I never read it as a last goodbye.
Your complaints about the herky jerky balancing of the script are certainly not without merit. Even as a kid, I could kind of sense the unevenness of it.
LSD Jellyfish wrote:
It’s not the worst Godzilla film, but for what it’s supposed to be it’s dreadful. I don’t want to hear excuses for this one, because IMO films like Godzilla vs Gigan do way more with way less.
I will disagree that it’s dreadful but the monster action and human story feel a little more in tune with each other in Gigan and it is wise enough to insert small moments involving the monsters from time to time to keep the kids happy on that one. DAM is better shot and directed but Gigan may be better paced.