After the travesty that was the 1998 Roland Emmerich reboot of “Godzilla,” the king of the monsters went in to hiding from the states for a long time. It was until Legendary came along to hop on the expanded universe band wagon to finally give Gojira and his merry band of monsters and allies a chance to win a new generation of fans. Despite some bumps and tumbles, Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” is a giant step up from the 1998 embarrassment and still manages to travel well, with or without the impending “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
BOOTLEG FILES 623: “Cozzilla” (1977 Italian riff on “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never commercially released outside of Italy.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Utterly unlikely.
In 1976, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis unleashed a remake of “King Kong” on the moviegoing public. Inspired by the commercial success of this endeavor, Italian filmmaker Luigi Cozzi figured that he could score his box office hit with a monster film. But rather than create a new film from scratch, he sought to re-release the 1954 Japanese classic “Godzilla.” But Cozzi’s simple plan turned out to become a lot more complex than he anticipated, and what he eventually put into theaters is widely regarded as one of the most bizarre productions ever made.
This is the bash we were all waiting for: the king of the monsters from America meets the king of the monsters from Asia—by way of Toho. Really, King Kong is given something of an Asian treatment this time around, increased in size, and allowed much more of a loophole to face Godzilla for this giant monster bash. I saw the Universal International version where the producers take it upon themselves to over explain everything. In this version the head of a pharmaceuticals company wants to grab a rare berry that is found on a distant island. Said berry has narcotic properties but it non-addictive. Wanting to improve his ratings and invest in a potential product, he sends two executives to the island to find the berries and the mythical monster the villagers are said to placate with juice from the berries.
This American documentary shows what the Japanese think of the King of Kaijus, the big G, Godzilla. This documentary was shot using crowd funding to garner its budget. Director and uber Godzilla fan Kyle Yount went to Tokyo in July 2014 to film this fan love letter to his favorite monster.
Director Frank H. Woodward’s “Men in Suits” is one of the best film related documentaries ever made. It’s an insightful and entertaining look at a rarely covered corner of Hollywood that’s gone unnoticed and uncredited since the beginning of film. “Men in Suits” is a fantastic chronicle of the facet of Hollywood films revolving around men that dress up as monsters for horror, fantasy, and science fiction, and bring to life many of the most iconic and horrific monsters ever put to film. Woodward chronicles how the art form began in the golden age of filmmaking, and has become something of a rare form of performance art in the era where studios are dependent on CGI and polygons.
Warner Bros. Pictures were wise to hire Gareth Edwards to film what is essentially a reboot of the Godzilla series for American audiences. Director Edwards displays a knack for depicting giant monsters as forces of nature that affect civilization, and he carries a lot of the sensibilities from “Monsters,” over in to the reworking of “Godzilla.” His version of “Godzilla” is less monsters stomping around and fist fighting, and more of a disaster film with a slew of human beings affected by the chaos that two monsters inflict when they rise from their gestation to feed on radiation around the world and wreak pure chaos. “Godzilla” is a sterner and dramatic approach to the lore, offering a very interesting dynamic between characters, all of whom carry through the themes of family and unity among the human race. Particularly fatherhood.
You have to hand it to Roland Emmerich, his marketing for 1998’s “Godzilla” was fantastic. Before “Cloverfield” enforced not showing the monster until you had your butt planted in seats in theaters, Emmerich and Tristar applied the same marketing with just as much mystery. I fondly recall many of the early trailers for “Godzilla” being packed with questions about what the beast looked like rebooted. Hell, in 1997, I bought the movie book that explored the making of “Godzilla,” and there wasn’t a single picture in the book that gave a clear picture of the new Godzilla.
Beyond watching the movie marathons every summer on the local television stations as a child, I never really considered myself a fan of the Godzilla movies. Granted, I love the character of Godzilla, but I never actually cared about the mythos, the supporting characters, or any of the spin offs. But at one time I really cared for characters like Gamera, and Ghidorah, and Jet Jaguar, so the endless recommendations on the part of movie geeks insisting this was a very different Godzilla movie swayed me enough to want to see what “GMKG” was actually about, and surely enough it’s a very good Godzilla movie that takes all of the monsters and makes them villainous threats once again.