Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

For the discussion of Toho produced and distributed films or shows released before 1980.
User avatar
Zarm
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 4909
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:21 pm
Location: USA, East Coast
Contact:

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby Zarm » Sun May 19, 2019 7:10 am

I would concur, LSD Jellyfish. I saved this one as the finale of my watch through this time, and... It was generally just kind of a letdown. All the flaws you described were there.
KaijuCanuck wrote:It’s part of my secret plan to create a fifth column in the US, pre-emoting our glorious conquest and the creation of the Canadian Empire, upon which the sun will consistently set after less than eight hours of daylight. :ninja:


Winner of the last-ever(?) TK Fantasy Match tournament.

#ProLife

The Zone Fighter campaign is funded and complete, with translations in progress! PM me if you want to be part of the Facebook updates group.

Maranatha!

User avatar
UltramanGoji
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 14031
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Western New York
Contact:

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby UltramanGoji » Sun May 19, 2019 7:15 am

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.
Image

User avatar
eabaker
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 11138
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby eabaker » Sun May 19, 2019 9:16 am

LSD Jellyfish wrote:In regards to characters, I forget the main leads name, but he’s the most generic do good hero type, and he actually barely does anything heroic.


While I certainly won't try to argue that Katsuso is an especially well-developed or interesting character, I don't think I'd agree that his type is "do good hero." He's far too cold and brutal for that - in keeping with the cold and brutal tone of the whole movie.

It is a poorly structured movie, and the characterizations are two-dimensional at best, often really only one-dimensional. But the tone is distinctive and, in a sense, unsettling or even upsetting enough to give the movie a strange allure for me, personally.

Also, moving away from story, both the human drama and - as Teresawa pointed out - the monster scenes are really dynamically photographed. The at times very colorful production design is pretty appealing as well, and an interesting contrast to the joyless, even dour tone of so much of the action.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

User avatar
Terasawa
G-Force Lieutenant
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:06 am

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby Terasawa » Sun May 19, 2019 10:40 am

eabaker wrote:Also, moving away from story, both the human drama and - as Teresawa pointed out - the monster scenes are really dynamically photographed.


Thanks for making that bolded point, too. This was the first SFX film Honda had directed with someone besides Hajime Koizumi behind the camera since 1956. Koizumi was a good cinematographer but I think the new pairing with Taiichi Kankura inspired Honda to experiment (or allow Kankura to) with the photography. There are some really unique shots here that were missing from the Honda/Koizumi films of the mid-'60s:

Image

Image
(One of the best SFX shots in the entire Toho canon, IMO.

The editing is really interesting at times, too. I love the vertical wipe down as the SY-3 crew (with the ship landed vertically) leaves the ship and the cut/dissolve from Tazaki in front a photograph of the moon to the moonbase with the Earth occupying the same space in the frame that the moon just had. (These are kinda hard to explain without visuals but hopefully everyone else here is familiar enough with the movie.)

The at times very colorful production design is pretty appealing as well, and an interesting contrast to the joyless, even dour tone of so much of the action.


Yes! The set design and color palette is wonderful. It's a very visually appealing movie: the props (alien and future U.N.), the costumes, the scenery... It's a shame that Toho's DVD and 2008 HD masters are so bad.

Image
-- 寺沢 --
YouTube
Save All Dubs

Image

User avatar
UltramanGoji
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 14031
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Western New York
Contact:

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby UltramanGoji » Thu May 23, 2019 11:39 am

Just watched this today while I’m recovering from my wisdom teeth surgery and I actually retract my previous statement about it not doing a lot right. Well, partially retract.

The best thing I can liken it to is a Fast and Furious-type film where the characterization and overall quality of the film isn’t necessarily good but it’s full of a lot of fun action and special effects sequences so the viewing is still enjoyable in a way. Films like MVG, GTTHM, and GVTSM have way better characters but Akira Kubo isn’t too bad here.

I think this film and a few others I’ve watched in the past few days solidified Jun Tazaki as one of my favorite Showa series ensemble actors. He’s kind of like Akira Nakao in a way, a little typecast as a military commander/scientist but he always gives an enjoyable performance.

Like others have mentioned, there really is a lot of great shots in the film (I really think the one of Akira Kubo and Jun Tazaki being framed by the decoration is my favorite in the film) and this along with GVTSM have really fantastic color palettes, especially when viewed on Blu-Ray.

So yeah, I’m actually a much bigger fan of DAM than I was before. It pretty much went from a 2/5 to a 3.5/10 for me.
Image

User avatar
Crazy Jim Films
Yin-Yang Master
Posts: 264
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:07 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby Crazy Jim Films » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:46 pm

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.
Check out the trailer for my debut feature film, "The Angry World of Brian Webster".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPaRxruc2oo&t=17s
https://www.facebook.com/angryworld2014

User avatar
Orichalcum
Interpol Agent
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:52 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby Orichalcum » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:50 pm

If you look at the far left of the screen during the sequence of Manda using his back legs to prop himself up when he coils around the bridge, you can spot out a mistake where this tiny red prop falls over when a wire hits it accidentally
Last edited by Orichalcum on Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
*Formerly known as Stump Feet*

User avatar
Living Corpse
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 10173
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:49 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby Living Corpse » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:30 pm

You know, everyone talks about how the lady getting the earrings pulled off freaks them out, to me it's the guy opening the window and jumping to his death. It just comes out of nowhere!
Image

User avatar
eabaker
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 11138
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby eabaker » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:35 am

Living Corpse wrote:You know, everyone talks about how the lady getting the earrings pulled off freaks them out, to me it's the guy opening the window and jumping to his death. It just comes out of nowhere!


Both moments are pretty shocking on first viewing. I think what stands out about the earring thing for a lot of viewers is that it's the "hero" of the movie doing something so brutal.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

User avatar
TitanoGoji16
KWC Kontroller
KWC Kontroller
Posts: 2085
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:41 pm

Re: Talkback Thread #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Postby TitanoGoji16 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:21 pm

Living Corpse wrote:You know, everyone talks about how the lady getting the earrings pulled off freaks them out, to me it's the guy opening the window and jumping to his death. It just comes out of nowhere!


As awful as it is, it's just a guy falling. A guy under alien control, being disposed of for knowing too much. So it makes sense, story-wise. Also, the shockingness of it is kinda deflated by the hilarious "An unsuccessful encyclopedia salesmen" effect (the motionless dummy plummeting out the window).

The earring thing is the hero forcibly shredding his girlfriend's flesh as she screams in agony and then proudly declaring "Look what I did!" as blood gushes from her wounds, instead of simply restraining or sedating her or something and then removing the earrings normally like a non-crazy person.
"Name me one fight where Anguirus didn't get his dick kicked in."


Return to “Showa Series (1930's-1970's)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests