MONSTERS HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD

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[Like I mentioned in my previous post, here’s my incomplete Godzilla vs Kong review! The further along it gets, the more unfinished it is, but I wanted to share what I had before signing off.  After the review I’ll cap it off with a  mess of closing thoughts. Enjoy!]

Godzilla vs. Kong is the movie I have been waiting for since I was a little boy.  Not necessarily this version of the movie, but a big budget, high-profile rematch between my two favorite monsters of all time.  I love these two big mean fuckers on their own, but together?  That’s pure movie magic. Totally audacious, unhinged imagination let loose and exploding on screens all over the planet.  

The more I learned about filmmaking and the more I paid attention to the film industry growing up, the more I came to believe that Godzilla and King Kong would never meet again on the big screen. Even when Legendary announced their plans to build towards this movie, I had my doubts.  A single MonsterVerse flop could easily kill the plan, a global plague could even more easily kill the plan.  And yet!!  And yet here I am, reviewing the movie I’ve hoped for and daydreamed for my whole life and spent over half my life convinced I would never get to see. Not only that, but the rest of the world at large (not just the kaiju fan community!) seems genuinely stoked! True randos were cooking up funny tweets and fan art and speculating about plot details in the lead-up to its release! I told a friend that the release of Godzilla vs. Kong felt like Monster Christmas, he agreed!

w9mn06r6gan61Godzilla vs. Kong, currently the capstone on Legendary Pictures’ ambitious MonsterVerse cinematic universe, has its problems, large and small… but it also delivers all the big, crazy, colorful, joyful, thrilling, scary, gross, and awe-inspiring fun you could ask for in the greatest monster prize fight rematch in history. Just the fact that there’s now a mega-budget, (relative) smash-hit Hollywood blockbuster that has a title starting with “Godzilla vs.” is incredibly exciting. The fact that said title ends with “Kong”?! I’m freaking the fuck out over here, gang. I will be for a long time ūü§£

This won’t be one of my usual reviews. Partly because I’m probably incapable of being objective about this movie (I have pretty bad recency bias on a good day, let alone for a movie I’ve daydreamed about since I was 6), but also because I want to talk about where I’ve been lately, the new kaiju boom we’re living in, and how I’m thinking about some major changes when it comes to my writing and this website. I’ve also been jonesing for an excuse to look back on what this site, the kaiju fandom, and the monsters themselves have really meant to me all this time–MONSTERS CONQUER THE WORLD was always a deeply personal project, and these last couple years especially have taught me a lot about myself and why these big stompy bastards matter so much to me.  

So this might be a sort-of kind-of a farewell post? Or at least saying farewell to the super in-depth kaiju reviews?  Who knows, I might feel completely differently in the near future and find myself re-inspired to get back to the big meaty reviews!  I’m not in a position to guarantee anything right now–so instead I want to just go with the flow and see where it takes me. Deep down I’ve been itching to pivot away from writing about other peoples’ creations and start writing my own stuff (I’ve threatened friends and family with fan-fic for years), and that’s at least some part of why I’ve had such a hard time getting out reviews the last couple years. Of course I can’t just WALK AWAY when there’s so much kaiju kontent to review, so for this big funky mega-post I will also do micro-reviews of every “Main Monster’s” filmography. For me that means Godzilla, Kong, Gamera, and Ultraman, and probably a few other odds and ends in there too [Had to ditch this, sorry. Maybe someday!]. This is a weird one and a big one and a personal one, so hoist up your glowing nuke-ax, buckle into your H.E.A.V. and grab a barf bag because we’re atomic breath-ing all the way down to the Hollow fuckin’ Earth!

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More like 20 Million Smiles to Mirth

20-Million-Miles-to-EarthSo far on Monsters Conquer the World I’ve covered a substantial chunk of Eiji Tsuburaya’s work. Tsuburaya is the monster maestro that pioneered Suitmation, giving us a fantastical world of gigantic monsters and heroes portrayed with live actors and scaled sets. ¬†So with Tsuburaya kicking ass over in Japan, what was happening in the western world? ¬†Did Hollyweird just settle for compositing close-ups of iguanas in with footage of actors? Yeah, sometimes!¬† ¬†But also no! When the studios gave a shit (and for whatever reason didn’t want to go with practical props/puppets), that’s where one mister Ray Harryhausen would step in!

Harryhausen, like Tsuburaya, took an established method of visual effects, innovated the bejeezus out of it, created¬†some of the bitchingest sci-fi/fantasy films of the pre-Star Wars era (and a couple post-Star Wars), and inspired entire generations of filmmakers. ¬†Harryhausen’s stop-motion animated critters are fucking rad, so this month I’m finally reviewing one of his colossal creations: 20 Million Miles to Earth! The 1957 creature classic is super-duper straight forward, but its bad-ass visuals and even a little bit of soul make it a Harryhausenian slam dunk. ¬†Grab some sulfur to snack on and prep your eyes for THE MIRACLE OF¬†DYNAMATION!

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