About the Fans
I will be adding as I learn more, so look for the updates in this blue font
Note: Now I get to strike back at critics and overzealous fans. They range from people who think ALL Godzilla movies are campy MST3K fare to self-proclaimed "G experts" who do nothing but trash Godzilla films.
My Observations of G Fans
There seems to be two types of Godzilla followers: experts and fans
I'm not sure if "types" of fans is the right word. We all love Godzilla and that brings us all together. I think of it as there are three qualities every Godzilla fan possesses to some degree. Note: very loosely defined.
Monster side: Likes the monsters and battles.
Expert side: Likes the serious side; the human side.
Antagonist side: Likes to complain. But not always a bad thing; we all have this side (is there anyone among you who has not beaten the vs King Ghidorah time travel paradox to death?)
Here's the types as I see it (the first letter is the characteristic they exhibit most):
MEA: This type enjoys Godzilla movies for the monster battles and put the plot second. They would be fans of vs King Ghidorah or vs MechaGodzilla. However, they are sometimes brutal toward the lesser Godzilla movies, like vs Megalon and vs SpaceGodzilla.
EMA: They love Godzilla 1954 and vs Mothra (1964) and consider those the best of the bunch. They prefer the older series over the Heisei series, and wax allegorical over the movies, turning up symbolism where you'd least expect it. They understand the limitations of some movies and disagree with people who say they're "just" monster movies.
AEM: You meet a lot of these on usenet and message boards. They rarely have anything nice to say about others' opinions, yet don't do the most logical thing and leave us alone. Their opinion of a good movie is the one they can find the least problems with. Pseudo-Fans, if you will, they've already decided that no Godzilla movie will ever be as good as Gamera III. They also believe all fans care as much as they do about "fandom controversies", like magazines, conventions, etc.
AAA: They see Godzilla as a rubber suit stomping on plastic models surrounded by cheesy effects. They laugh at the dubbing (confusing bad acting with bad dubbing) and then turn and complain about the subtitles. Considers vs Megalon representative of the whole Godzilla series. Sometimes, they're not as unpleasant as the AEMs; AAA's are your friends and family who'll never understand our obsession. But others can be quite unbearable: more appropriate initials might be ASS.
Which do you favor?
I am unabashedly an MEA! For me, a Godzilla movie is only as good as the monsters fighting in it. For instance, I prefer vs Smog Monster over vs Mothra (64), even though both are polar opposites among fan favorites. I simply like the massive, indestructible Hedorah over a fuzzy moth and two grubs. In fact I always wondered what American moviegoers thought of Godzilla vs the Thing; to find out the "world's most terrifying monster" is a furry butterfly.
Although I try to come of as an Expert first on Godzilla vs Destoroyah, I'm still a Monster Fan at heart. For Experts, this movie can be about Godzilla's death, his finale and the implications. Yet I have chosen to focus on his battle with Destoroyah.
Finally, I mean no irreverence if I roll my eyes at the metaphors, I enjoy both Monster Fans and Experts equally. I've had some great conversations with both kinds and do not consider one superior to the other. The beauty of being a Godzilla fan is that it's based on your own personal preferences on your favorite monsters, favorite movie, and how you choose to enjoy them.
Now, if we could only get the AEMs to remember that...
For the non-Godzilla fans (the AAA's)
Why the attraction to Godzilla? His movies are so cheesy.
Why do you think they're so campy? Probably some of these reasons:
I'm not going to tell you that all the Godzilla movies were Casablanca compromised by bad dubbing and low budgets. Some of them were simply horrible, even in light of the above extenuating circumstances. A favorite whipping boy is Godzilla vs Megalon, and deservedly so. Plot and sense of scale were ignored, plus there was Jet Jaguar, tail slides, stock footage, dancing, tag-team wrestling, handshakes, and Jet Jaguar (he gets mentioned twice). Most of the 70's Godzilla movies had abysmal budgets and were geared toward kids, but even the staunchest G fans have a hard time with this one. Sadly, this is the most common Godzilla movie in the US since it has become public domain, and is therefore most people's first (and sometimes lasting) impression of a Godzilla movie.
The Heisei series might appeal more to those who like modern effects. The monsters' bulk makes them look less like men in suits, the beam weapons are more spectacular, and people and the military use more advanced technology. However, it should be noted that these movies were made almost two decades after the Terror of MechaGodzilla, so the effects SHOULD look better.
Weren't a lot of Godzilla movies spoofed on Mystery Science Theatre 3000?
No, only two of Godzilla's 25 movies ever appeared on MST3K. Godzilla vs Megalon was one, and I've already described that above. The other was Godzilla vs the Sea Monster, where Godzilla fought perhaps his lamest foe (and least popular monster: just try and find any Ebirah toys).
Many of the goofy antics that were featured in those Godzilla movies do not appear in the Heisei series. The tone is more serious, especially since Godzilla is a mean monster. While a certain degree of campiness pervades many Godzilla movies, the poor dubbing accounts for much of what audiences consider silly. In MST3K, much of Joel and the robots' derision centers around the dubbed voices, campy translations, and mismatched lip movements, which are not really Toho's fault.
For the various Godzilla fans
You seem too biased toward this movie. Don't you know how other fans feel about this movie?
My opinions on Godzilla vs Destoroyah may differ from others' views. It's not that I'm ignorant of those views, rather that I disagree with some of them. I read through old G-Fan magazines where people were ripping the movie. I'll address some of the complaints below.
I should also add that I saw all the Heisei movies before I became an involved fan. I knew very little about the movie when I first saw it. I didn't read the fan reviews or usenet flames. Nor was I aware of the complaints about uneven SPFX or fans' disappointment that GvD was not as highly rated as vs MechaGodzilla or Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (that last one caught me totally by surprise!). I saw the movie on a quality laserdisc copy with subtitles, so I really had nothing to taint my experience.
And guess what? I thoroughly enjoyed all the Heisei movies.
Most fans think Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla was a much better movie than this one.
Wonderful. Then I look forward to seeing your vs MechaGodzilla web page!
The Final Form Destoroyah was so bulky and slow.
Compared to Godzilla's lithe form and blinding speed, no doubt?
The Final Form Destoroyah's design was uninspired.
Good point! We could've had a metal Godzilla with a backpack, a blue Godzilla with crystals, or a green Godzilla with vines.
I didn’t think Destoroyah was Godzilla's toughest enemy. He was just another ray-spewing monster.
As with questions about "the best Godzilla movie", "the most powerful foe" will never have an objective answer. However, in the interests of this page, I will point out that the Heisei monsters all had weaknesses that Destoroyah didn't:
What about the roller skating Junior at Haneda?
With a fraction of a Hollywood budget and a few months to make this movie, it is totally unfair to compare it to an American movie. Not every effect is going to look stellar. When I first watched the movie, I did not notice Junior gliding. Therefore, it didn't look bad to me. After I watched it again, I noticed it, but that doesn't count. It's a phenomenon based on the paralysis of analysis, where if you analyze something enough, all sorts of flaws will emerge.
On the other hand, some effects did look really poor. Take the vehicles, the Super X3 and Tanks look like toys and I thought Toho could've done better. Some say part of the reason is Godzilla's large scale and if he becomes half that size it should alleviate some of this, as miniatures will be easier to make. However, Godzilla, at 100m, never appears in a scene near a miniature. The only time a monster is near a tank is the attack of the Aggregate Destoroyah, who is 50 meters tall. This, of course, means that the miniatures were meant for that scale. Looks like Toho has more work to do there.
I've also read about the Japanese penchant for stylized art versus representational art. And the mediums they use to express this are military vehicles? Uh-huh…
So it is agreed that some scenes in Godzilla vs Destoroyah had shoddy effects.
Again, we could sit here and do that with all the Heisei movies. With Toho, they do relatively well with the budgetary and time constraints. Nevertheless, when the effects are bad, they can be really bad. To wit:
The new Gamera movies are better than Godzilla movies.
I agree the Gamera movies are impressive, especially in light of Gamera's earlier MST3K-fodder films. But be honest, wouldn't you rather see those effects lavished on Godzilla instead of a flying turtle?
Irys and Legion do look cool, but Daiei forgets one of the cardinal rules: Never let the villain upstage the hero.
I recently showed Dulce Gamera vs Legion, a movie that's similar to Godzilla vs Destoroyah (right down to the human-sized critters). She thought that the effects did look great, but was terribly bored through the first 2/3 of the movie. Gamera 3 totally failed to keep her attention. Dulce, an indifferent kaiju watcher if there ever was one, thought that Godzilla movies "were a lot more fun".
I'm sure someone could list the ways Gamera 3 had a better story and production values than any Godzilla movie. Fine, but I want to see the kaiju in kaiju eiga, and frankly, short scenes at the beginning and end don't cut it for me. Especially since those battles were like watching strobe lights.
You don't really discuss the Aliens knock-offs, like the police battle and the double jaws.
I try not to.
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