Wednesday, June 30, 2010
"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Available At G-FEST XVII!
by Armand Vaquer
Those of you thinking about taking a kaiju vacation to Japan are in luck!
Attendees for this year's G-FEST XVII in Chicago will be able to pick up a copy of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan at the Monsterland Toys booth in the dealers room.
So be sure to stop by Monsterland Toys and pick up a copy while supplies last!
Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Destroy All Planets 2010": The Case of the Missing DVD
by Armand Vaquer
An alert fan discovered today that the Retromedia DVD, Destroy All Planets 2010 has "mysteriously vanished" from Amazon.com's website.
No doubt this may be due to the issues Ryan Clark and other fans raised pertaining to the rights issue at Amazon.com and several kaiju-oriented message boards.
This is probably a cautionary move on Amazon.com's part until the rights issues are resolved.
UPDATE: The DVD is still being offered at Amazon.com.
FOR THE RECORD: Kaiju historian August Ragone commented on several message boards about the rights issues. I had quoted him as he has the most knowledge on Japanese movie companies, DVD & screening rights and many other facets. As his comments are on several public message boards, I took the liberty in quoting him. Unfortunately, I should have given him a "head's up" first. It was not my intention to box him into the fray which may give someone the impression that this was an "August vs. Retromedia" situation. It wasn't. He also expressed that he'd like to also hear what Carl Craig has to say in his commentary. He was only speaking as a fan and not in any official (or otherwise) capacity with his role in Shout! Factory's Gamera releases. I apologize if that is the impression given.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
"Destroy All Planets 2010" Controversy - Part II
by Armand Vaquer
Avery Guerra, who has been a reliable source for news and behind-the-scenes info on many movie productions, posted this message from Fred Olen Ray at the Monster Zero message board about the Destroy All Planets 2010 DVD controversy:
"I have never been contacted by anyone associated with these films in the ten years we have distributed them except about five years ago when I emailed Daiei to ask about buying rights to the wide screen versions and they told me they didn't own the US rights. Toei likewise denied knowing anything about THE MAGIC SERPENT which we also tried to buy the wide screen rights for at the AFM three years ago.
Otherwise as far as we know there are no rights issues "a'brewing".
The biggest point that everyone is missing is that I only put this out because I was led to believe that the fans wanted it. I had no intention, or desire, to do this, all my usual distribution outlets had turned it down... but I was encouraged by fans to invest in doing the commentary, which we did, but then thought better of putting the show out as it would have to compete with a plethora of other editions.
Continual and repeated emails from fans made me want to offer it to them, but I didn't believe there was enough people really wanting it to do a big run so I went the Amazon.com route so copies would only be created for those who really wanted it... why can't anybody see that I only tried to give them what they kept asking me for? I could give a OH GODZILLA! WHAT TERRIBLE LANGUAGE otherwise... this could have stayed on the shelf for the rest of my life and I wouldn't care. I'm not going to make any real money off the Amazon release, it was done strictly for the fans who asked me for this. It might move a grand total of 25 copies, who knows? Get a life guys, I have bigger and better things to do. The DVD company is my hobby, not my business, I do it for the fans... but probably should have known better.
On different points "Ryan" posted his slander in Amazon's "Customer Review", a section created so that people who have actually bought products on Amazon can view them, then create a review of them. It's not your private flame forum, dude. If this basement dweller doesn't understand the concept of "customer review" then maybe someone should cut him off from a word processor.
Secondly, Copyright registrations begin with the letters PA, not V... don't you kids ever do your homework? The copyright registration the other ignorant guy puts forth is also BS... that's a transfer letter and has nothing to do with registration. Period. He hasn't a clue about copyright laws.
The item you mention is probably a transfer for banking purposes, I don't even need to look at it to know it's not a registration of copyright. Please write 100 times "I will know what I'm talking about before embarrassing myself on-line again".
Third, I'm legally not able to disclose the details of the settlement we made regarding this film and its legal action. However, drop your own dime and search the LA Court records... it's there as far as I know...
After all is said and done DESTROY is already out on 30 different labels and has NEVER been out of print on Retro in almost 10 years... I'd say the horse is out of the barn on this one."
Removed by request of the quoted person for failure to seek permission and being taken out of context
I wonder if Ray tried to contact Kadokawa Pictures through their Los Angeles office when he began this project. It would have only taken a simple phone call at the very least. (I even have their number programed into my cell phone.)
He said he sent emails to Daiei five years ago (was he aware that Kadokawa took them over around about that time or earlier and released Gamera The Brave in April 2006?). We all know that emails get lost, deleted (people thinking they're spam and other reasons) and it appears he might have emailed the wrong person. A traditional business letter would have been more appropriate in this instance (but that's just my opinion), sent via registered or certified mail if need be.
For the record, I happen to like Ray's output and have posted articles about his movies my blog and at Monster Island News, so I have nothing against him. In the blog posts on this DVD, I tried to be even-handed (by posting both sides of the matter) and just stuck to the facts as we know them. He can get permission to release the documents giving him the DVD rights from the parties involved. Doing so could possibly put to rest this matter.
It appears something fell though the cracks involving this particular DVD.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Fight Over "Destroy All Planets" Rights Brewing
by Armand Vaquer
A new controversy is brewing over whether or not a Gamera DVD being issued by Retromedia is legitimate or not. Cries of "bootleg" are being posted at the Monster Zero message board. Is it?
The movie in question is Retromedia's DVD of Destroy All Planets 2010 which features a commentary by one of the movie's stars, Carl Craig.
At issue is whether Retromedia has the rights to issue the U.S. version of this movie. Shout! Factory is slated to release the same movie (the subtitled Japanese version) in a few months and this is seen by some as a bit of one-upsmanship by Retromedia.
The movie was originally released in 1965 by Daiei, which was bought out by Kadokawa Pictures.
Removed by request of the quoted person for failure to seek permission and being taken out of context
Fred Olen Ray, who is the owner of Retromedia, said this in a response to Ryan Clark's review post at Amazon.com:
Since this program only became available yesterday it's physically impossible for "Ryan" to have seen it or even have received a copy of the DVD. Your "review" is a lie and obviously fueled by a personal agenda. Retromedia was the first company to ever present the AIP-TV Gamera films to the public on DVD and quickly became the source of material for all the cheap DVD labels that flooded the market afterwards. Retromedia also successfully initiated and won a copyright case based on their release of DESTROY ALL PLANETS, so your claim of illegality is BS as well. This DVD doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. It's simply the best edition of the AIP-TV version of the film ever released on DVD and it has an actors commentary track with star Carl Craig. That's all it advertises as being and that's what it is. Next time try watching the film first before rendering your "opinion", and if you happen to work for a rival DVD company, I'd have to say I'm disappointed... these kind of smear tactics are nothing less than juvenile.
[Note: Ryan Clark never claimed to have viewed the DVD nor received a copy of it.]
Removed by request of the quoted person for failure to seek permission and being taken out of context
If all U.S. rights to this film reverted back to Kadokawa (by virtue of buying Daiei), then Retromedia would be in hot water. However, if Fred Olen Ray is correct in claiming that he has the U.S. rights over the U.S. version (and can provide the paperwork to back that up), then he should be able to continue to offer the movie. At this point, no back-up material has been provided by Ray (he's welcome to send it me me and I'll be happy to post it).
[*"Dubious Comforts" is the handle of a member of the Classic Horror Film Board forum. - A.]
He continues in a subsequent post:
To see the CHFB thread for the above quotes, go here.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. The courts may have to be the ultimate decider in this matter.
Sources: Fred Olen Ray / Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker /Carl Craig / Avery Guerra
Sometimes good things come to those who wait, and if you have been waiting for the deluxe DVD release of "Destroy All Planets" (Gamera vs. Viras), you have been waiting for a few years.
In preparation for this article I had to look back, way back, into my archives to try and remember just when I first learned of Retromedia's plans to release a special edition DVD of "Destroy All Planets". Much to my surprise, I had to go back to the days before Monster Island News was a blog, back when the site was kensforce.com (remember that), which was pre 2007, probably something like 2005 or 2006. When you get older your memory isn't as crisp my friends.
I do recall talking to Carl Craig, who played Jim Morgan in the film, about him recording the commentary tracks for the release and I did write an article about that, but alas, since kensforce.com is gone, so is that article, so I couldn't pin down the exact date all of this started.
Anyway, since I hadn't heard a peep about it in a few years, I figured that the project had been scrapped.
Well, imagine my surprise when I was forwarded an email from Fred Olen Ray of Retromedia to announce that this long-forgotten DVD had been released and was now for sale on Amazon.com through their "on demand" program.
That means that the DVD is not produced until someone orders it, which also means that it will take about 48 hours for the product to ship out.
It seems with all the talk about Shout! Factory's release of both "Gamera, The Giant Monster" and "Gamera Vs. Barugon", "Destroy All Planets" was able to fly onto the online retailers listings under the radar. Well, as under the radar as a giant turtle with fire shooting out of it can get.
In fact, the release was done in such a covert manner that there isn't even any mention of it on the Retromedia website. Honestly, none whatsoever.
According to Ray, "We've transferred an original 16mm AIP-TV print and color corrected it two times to produce the best version of this film available"
"But the real reason to catch this Special Edition is the commentary track by American star, Carl Craig," He adds, "His recollections of the film making process is fascinating. Hosted by Brett Homenick and Damon Foster, recorded in Chicago by our own Randy Carter."
While I was doing all of my research, I did manage to dig up my 2005 interview with Carl Craig. I thought it would be cool to give everyone a preview of what will undoubtedly be on the commentary track for "Destroy All Planets" by posting a few excerpts here:
MIN: Destroy all Planets was your only acting job and it has been noted that you never really wanted to become an actor. For those fans who may have never heard the story, how did you end up being cast as Jim Morgan in the film?
CC: I was an American serviceman's kid in Japan from 1965-1969. My mother is Japanese and her older brother (my uncle) lived next to a Daiei producer. The producer was telling my uncle that Kenji Yuasa had finally gotten approval from Daiei management to have an American in the upcoming Gamera film but they were having a problem finding someone for the part. My uncle explained that he had a nephew that was blond and blue-eyed that spoke Japanese fluently. Numbers were exchanged and when I came home from school one day, my father explained I was going down to audition for a movie part. The rest is history.
MIN: Some of the Gamera films that were produced later also had story lines that featured young people. Were you ever considered for parts in those films? Was Jim Morgan ever considered as a character in those films?
CC: I was never approached or asked to do another Gamera feature. I left Japan in 1969 (the year after Destroy all Planets was done) and was not available anyway.
MIN: What is you fondest memory of working on the film?
CC: Getting out of school for almost 3 months. I had a limo driver and a tutor go to and from the set everyday.
MIN: I read on your website (gone now) about the passing of Gamera director Noriaki (Kenji) Yuasa. Was he a great influence on your life? How did his influences help mold that young man into the man you are today?
CC: Yuasasan was a gentle man. He was great with children and specifically me, a rookie on the set. He was calming, yet very forceful and made his point to me very clearly. He expected me to act when I had no acting experience. He was very fair and expected nothing less than 100% attention to detail. I sorta have that quality but feel I am very fair in my interpersonal relationships.
MIN: Are you surprised at how many fans there are worldwide of the Gamera films? Did you ever think that some 30+ years later people would still remember your role as Jim Morgan?
CC: I was rather freaked out actually. I attended my first convention in 2000 (shortly after it was discovered that I was Carl Craig aka Jim Morgan) I was amazed at all the stories told to me about fans who indicated their sentiments about the film. They called it their favorite Gamera movie. I am still amazed at the fanfare and the following. That is why I make every effort to share my experiences, the memorabilia and my experiences that I have from the film.
MIN: Have you remained a big Kaiju fan throughout the years? If so what are some of your favorites?
CC: I always liked Godzilla and Bob Eggleton made me a believer again. I liked the new Gamera from Kanekosan but feel loyalty to the Yuasa era Gamera. I have seen all the modern Gamera films. I own them all.
MIN: Many fans may not know that after Destroy All Planets you went on to become an Air Force Pilot and an advisor to former U.S. President George Bush. What are you most proudest moments from your post Gamera career?
CC: I retired from the Air Force as a Field Grade officer and senior pilot. I flew the venerable F-4 Phantom and the sleek T-38 Talon. I can say that I lived a dream by accomplishing those feats. I am a 18+ year Federal Law Enforcement officer in the Department of Homeland Security. The duty tour at the White House was an interesting one. I took two oaths to defend the constitution and have worked with some great people, doing an important and sometimes thankless job. I am proud of my Japanese heritage but I am most proud to be an American in a country with no boundaries for those that wish to push the envelope!
Sometimes you are afforded an opportunity of a lifetime. What you do with those opportunities says a lot about yourself. In my case a chance to act in a Kaiju film as a young kid. The other, a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a jet pilot. Lastly, to serve my country in a capacity where dedication to duty, difficult times in leadership and horrific events (Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, etc) compel us all to act in a way we feel fit to express ourselves. Some may never have the opportunities that I had, some may never have something that significant in life just presented to you. I had to work to accomplish my goals in life. I have been successful in some and a failure in others but those failures were not because I didn't try hard enough. One must remember that no one owes us anything. If we expect to succeed in life, we must make the effort, time and time again, until we reach the level we desire to achieve. Failures can be expected, how we deal with failure also makes us better people. My favorite saying is; "Loyalty above all, except honor." Be sure you understand that loyalty has a price and that price cannot exceed the statute of honor. Doing the right thing all the time will get you far in life, selling yourself short of doing the right thing because your loyalty is misplaced, is a sad way to travel the roads of life. The first time you sell yourself short, you'll never be able to look yourself in the mirror ever again. I am proud of the fact that I can still look myself in the mirror, every day!
See Also: Shout! Factory To Release Gamera Vs. Barugon DVD July 6th! / A Classic Movie Monster Comic Strip - The Monsters That Devoured Canarsie / Monster Uber Geekdome- Ultraman Collages, Playing Cards & Alien vs Pooh / Shout! Factory To Release Gamera DVD / Scientists Ready To Unleash "Gamera" And Giant Cows Upon Mankind / Showa Gamera Movies To Be Released By Shout Factory / ADV Films: Rest In Peace / Ayako Fujitani Returns To The Spotlight In Michel Gondry’s Interior Design / "Gamera The Brave" Box Art / Gamera The Brave Comes To DVD December 30th!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This morning, Variety published an article by Tatiana Siegel. It was a very detailed report regarding the job market for directors today. Due to our country’s recession, financial struggles have started hitting the film market. This has lead to directors who had high quotes (which usually says how much they are paid per a film) like Ridley Scott or Michael Bay or possibly even Spielberg to lower their quotes. Even after that, some studios may feel it is too much money to be paid to said director. Because of this, a lot of new and young directors are being hired on because they have lower quotes.
However, while names were given in the report for some of the productions, "Godzilla" still remains director-less. However, with this information, we Godzilla fans can assume that unless Toho says something, Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers - for sake of financial security - will hire a fairly young director. Is this bad? In some ways, yes, because they would be inexperienced. However, it may be a young director who may respect the source material but yet not necessarily be a fan or like it - such as "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan. However, if a bigger name is chosen to helm the project, then we can see that Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures are really going for a good amount of money. How far can Godzilla’s pop culture status carry him?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Source: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
A quick little note for Japanese sci fi fans in, and around, Los Angeles. This Friday (5/25/10) the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center will be holding an event for the whole family with characters from the kids show, "Yo Gabba Gabba!", old-school episodes of "Ultraman" and a musical performance by "DJ Ultraman".
Here is the info from the JACCC website:
Movies on the Plaza: Ultra Gabba Gabba!
Summer Outdoor Film Series
Free Screening Double Feature!
Friday, 06.25.10 7pm
The JACCC, Visual Communications, and Giant Robot present present the perfect way to kick off the Summer with a series of FREE outdoor film screenings and musical performances. Movies, food trucks, and lively music all come together in the JACCC Plaza as families, friends and downtown L.A. neighbors join in on the festivities under the Little Tokyo sky.
First up, a free double feature for both the young, and young-at-heart. Come meet the characters MUNO, BROBEE, and PLEX* from the innovative hit TV show YO GABBA GABBA! and and watch some of your favorite episodes projected on an outdoor screen. The night continues with the iconic Japanese sci-fi show ULTRAMAN, with DJ sets by DJ Ultraman. Food truck Lomo Arigato, serving up Japanese/Peruvian food, will be there too!
This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.
Happy Hour all night!
The JACCC is located at 244 S. San Pedro Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets) in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, just blocks away from the Los Angeles Music Center and the new Disney Hall.
Phone: (213) 628-2725
Website - JACCC
*Characters will be available for meet and greet from 6:30-8p on a first come, first served basis only. Please arrive early, as we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to meet them.
See Also: Over 100 Vintage Kaiju Toys Invade The Morikami Museum / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/03/10 / Japanese Giant Monsters And Robots In The News 04/23/10 / In The Absence Of Godzilla, Japan Has Had A Real Giant Monster Boom! / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/05/10 / The Godzilla Many Americans Have Never Seen - Ryusei Ningen Zon (Zone Fighter)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Pictured above are the three producers likely to have the biggest influence on this production
(in order): Yoshimitsu Banno, Roy Lee, and Dan Lin.
Written by Evan Brehany
Edited by Donny Winter and Evan Brehany
As to date, the only names given to us connected to the Legendary Picture’s Godzilla project are a list of producers. Executive and general producers. Through this article we shall introduce the producers' job and how their influence on a project could make or break a film.
Definition of "Producer"
Merriam-Webster world dictionary defines producer as such, ": a person who supervises or finances a work (as a staged or recorded performance) for exhibition or dissemination to the public." With that being said, while the director has the final word on the creative standpoint of the production, the producer does write the check therefore the producer can control certain aspects of production.
The producers that are presented with Legendary Picture’s Godzilla are Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Brian Rodgers. Dan Lin is the first name to come up. A fresh faced Asian member to the Hollywood game, his resume does show some modest hits, including "Terminator: Salvation" (2009) and the recent smash hit "Sherlock Holmes" (2009). Dan does have some history with Legendary Pictures, specifically regarding his involvement with the film "10,000 BC" (a film done with the same crew that did the 1998 Godzilla flop). In an interview on the red carpet for "Terminator: Salvation" about being involved with set franchises and rebooting them, he said, "You want to honor the original mythology and at the same time bring in new fans so it’s a type rope." Dan Lin also mentioned that "we decided it was important to set up the mythology before we start the movie." When being interviewed specifically for "Terminator: Salvation", a film which is part of a franchise, two things stuck out which he said were good decisions for the quest to bring in new fans: the hireling of Christian Bale (of Batman fame) and Sam Worthington (who Dan called "a great new actor" before his work in "Avatar" (2009) and "Clash of the Titans" (2010)).
The next name is Roy Lee. A Korean-American producer of 41, Roy Lee is the largest name in the business when it comes to Asian remakes done by American studios. His projects includes the Ring Series, Grudge series, "Dark Water", "The Uninvited", "Eight Below", "Internal Affairs", "My Sassy Girl", "Shutter", "The Eye", "The Echo", and the up coming remake of "Oldboy". According to "The New Yorker", Roy’s job is that he "watches videos of every Asian movie ever made". Sounds fair enough, maybe even to the point that he may have seen some of the Godzilla films. When looking upon his resume, one seems to notice a pattern. Specifically, adaptations in which Roy Lee produces and a member of the original is also on (director or writer usually) is a box office success and is critically acclaimed. It’s hard to judge him. Genessee Kim said this about Roy, "Roy Lee is the man Asian studios turn to when they want top dollar for a Hollywood reincarnation of their successful original films." Not much is said about this producer’s involvement with the creative aspect of the film. Though any similar trends in the Grudge series and the Ring series (the American films) could reveal what could be his style. Along with that, with his tendency to bring in talents from the film franchise he reboots with Hollywood, Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira may not be the only names connected to the Godzilla franchise we may ultimately see.
The last name on the producers list is Brian Rogers. A producer with lesser experience with his only noticeable credits being a producer to some Z-List productions, his most notable title is that of a SFX artist, working on accouple of episodes of "101 Deeds for Eddie McDowd". However, it should be noted that he was part of the group that was to produce the film, "Godzilla: 3D To The Max". Recently he released an interesting comment that warranted a great deal of attention. At the 3DNext Summit, Rogers claimed, "Clash of the Titans' is important here...because it made the industry realize that you cannot do substandard 3D and charge full pricing." This has led fans to think that this film may be going for the extremes - either real 3D or 2D. Chances are it is going to be in 3D. Please refer to Ken’s write up for more information [http://godzilla2012.blogspot.com/2010/06/reason-to-be-optimistic-about-godzilla.html].
Definition of "Executive Producer"
Now, we go to the executive producers list. We have Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira, and Doug Davidson who are filling the job. Now, an executive producer is different from a regular producer. According to Wikipedia, an executive producer, "In major productions, can sometimes be a representative or CEO of the film studio. Or the title may be given as an honorarium to a major investor. Often they oversee the financial, administrative and creative aspects of production, though not always in a technical capacity. In smaller companies or independent projects, it may be synonymous with creator/writer. Often, a "Line Producer" is awarded this title if this producer has a lineage of experience, or is involved in a greater capacity than a "typical" line producer. E.G - working from development through post, or simply bringing to the table a certain level of expertise."
According to that definition, it sounds good. So let’s look at Yoshimitsu Banno. I think that all who read this blog knows who he is. The director of "Godzilla vs. Hedorah", one of the more obscene but darker (in it’s own right) Godzilla films. Banno, has shown that while the film he made back in 1971 was extremely influenced by the culture at the time, he managed to get the allegorical structure of the original Godzilla in with his film, making it a fan favorite and an effective anti-pollution film. Now, it is said that executive producers do have some influence over the creative aspects of the film, similar to a general producer. Because of this, he is up there with Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Now, with his age and the fact that he has actually worked on a Godzilla film (and some other Toho non-Goji tokusatsu works), that demands a certain amount of respect. Hopefully what ideas he does have will be taken into consideration and used.
Now, let’s go to Kenji Okuhira. He is not well-known, though he was united with Banno with the infamous "Godzilla: 3D to the Max" project. However, his shining achievement is with him being the producer of the award winning 1999 film, "Pups". Obviously due to his Japanese decent, he could be one who has seen the Godzilla films and may just as well also know what he is doing. If so, this is another creative mind which can help balance out the equation.
The last name is Doug Davison. Here is where the story starts to go full circle. The important part is that he has a history with one of the producers: Roy Lee. Together, the duo is most notably known for the finding of the company Vertigo Entertainment - an intermediary company that sells the remake rights for Asian films, on behalf of the rights-holders, to American studios and such. So most of the projects that Roy Lee is involved with, Doug also is. Most of the titles he also works with are done through Vertigo Entertainment.
What does this tell us? With producers having almost the same amount of power as directors, this gives us a good idea of what is to come from this side of the equation. As we are still waiting for the other important parts of the equations: screenwriter, director, and composer, we can at least now speculate and hope that what we are going to get is good.
Somewhere In Sony's Warehouse...
by Armand Vaquer
While there's anticipation for further news about Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros. new Godzilla movie amongst G-fans, artifacts of the last U.S. production still languish in Sony Studios' warehouse in Culver City, California.
A friend was recently inside Sony's warehouse and shot the above cell phone photo of the Emmerich-Devlin Godzilla from 1998 (commonly known to U.S. Godzilla afficionados as G.I.N.O. or "Zilla" from Godzilla Final Wars).
He says there's many statues and advertisement materials stored in the warehouse. If the opportunity presents itself, he'll shoot more and better pictures and will send them.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Source: The Wrap
Ever since Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros announced their plans to produce another American made "Godzilla" movie back in March, fans have been waiting quite patiently for any news about the film to surface.
And still they are waiting.
At the time of the official announcement, Legendary execs stated that word of the films director would be coming, 'very soon', but here we are some three months later, and still no word on that front.
In fact, since that initial announcement, there has been nothing coming out of the studio about "Godzilla" at all. Not even rumors.
Well, I wish I had HUGE announcement for you today, but alas, all I have is tidbit, a scrap, a mere morsel of "Godzilla" movie news, and even this is a bit of a stretch.
At the 3DNext Summit on Monday, "Godzilla" producer, Brian Rogers, spoke out about how he thought that the medium (3D), was misused in "Clash of the Titans", stating, “’Clash of the Titans’ is important here, because it made the industry realize that you cannot do substandard 3D and charge full pricing.”
Well , like I said, not much 'meat' there, and I'm certain that many of you are scratching your head wondering why I even brought up this quote in the first place?
Though it has not officially been stated, it is a forgone conclusion that "Godzilla" is going to be made in 3D, and why not, all new fantasy and sci fi films are being shot that way since "Avatar".
Now, this is why I think Rogers statement is reason for some optimism in regards to the upcoming "Godzilla" movie. Since the film is being produced by Legendary Pictures, the same folks that brought us, "Clash of the Titans", it would appear that the film makers are taking a good hard look at the mistakes made in that prior film, in hopes of not repeating them.
Which should come as very good news to all "Godzilla" movie fans around the globe.
The echoing theme for "Godzilla" seems to be, 'don't make another G98' and 'give the fans what they want', again more reasons for optimism.
Also, if you want to read into it, the fact that Legendary Pictures hasn't rushed the selection process for a director, echoes these concepts. Meaning, that they are taking their time to find the right guy for the job instead of going for someone 'trendy' or 'hot at the moment', kinda like the Ryuhei Kitamura hiring at Toho for "Final Wars".
Not that the hiring was totally wrong, just Toho had other directors in their stable that probably had a better understanding of "Godzilla" movies than Kitamura did, and who could have produced something a little more, fan-friendly, than what the action movie director did.
And no, I'm not picking on the director. I'm just using the situation to hammer home a point about how I feel that Legendary Pictures, in all likelihood, is taking the right approach here.
There is no need to rush things, and even though "Godzilla" movie fans have been getting ulcers waiting for some news, they ultimately would rather wait, and have things done right, then have the studio rush into things and make a movie nobody likes.
Geez, for such a small bit of information, I really ran with it. Guess it just goes to show how excited we all are to see an American "Godzilla" movie, right?
Maybe in this case, no news is good news?
See Also: Godzilla 2012 Facebook Group Update - 500 Members And The Thread Of The Week!/ Godzilla 2012 (And Gamera) In The News 05/06/10 - A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Rumors / What Went Wrong With Godzilla 98? - Inside The Mind Of Dean Devlin / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/15/10 - The Angry Edition! / Godzilla 2012 - A Plot Idea That, I Think, Will Make Everyone Happy / Godzilla 3-D, Godzilla 2012, Rumors And Misinformation Abound / Godzilla 2012 Going To Be In 3D And Screened At IMAX Theaters?
Monday, June 14, 2010
Anime.com Japanese Monster Book Reviews
by Armand Vaquer
Anime.com has posted reviews of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan along with Steve Ryfle's Japan's Favorite Mon-star and August Ragone's Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters on a page entitled, Godzilla and Other Monster Movies.
Each were reviewed by Brian Cirulnick.
There are also reviews of kaiju DVDs on this page.
To check out the reviews, go here.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Sources: Robert Hood / Avery Guerra
Over the decades there have been some truly awful movies made about "King Kong". Many of these include, "King of Kong Island", "King Kong's Fist", "King Kong Lives", the UK made "Konga" and the American/Korean co-production, "A*P*E", which in the eyes of most monster movie fans, is the worst ever produced.
Well, that is until now. I believe we have a new champion.
Granted, "A*P*E* is a mess of a monster movie, but compared to the new "King Kong" made in Bangladesh, the film actually looks palatable.
Really, this new "Kong" film has to be seen to be believed. Think of it as a typical "Bollywood" musical with a giant gorilla in it.
In other words, a remake of the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis film, with musical numbers.
No, really ........ I'm serious.
Along with all the singing and dancing, there are some of the worst special effects ever featured on celluloid. So bad that Ed Wood would be jealous. Oh, and where they ran out of money for effects, they just inserted footage from the 1976 "Kong".
Now, I don't know anything about copyright laws in Bangladesh, but I can only assume that there will be some phone calls placed to lawyers after this gets out.
True, film makers in Bangladesh don't have the money or resources that their counterparts in Hollywood do, so after the money gets shelled out for actors, dancers, choreographers, song writers and the like, there just isn't any left for a decent monkey suit or cardboard for buildings.
That is a given.
A loosely translated press release for the film stated that "Banglar King Kong" is the product of the combined efforts of director Iftekar Jahan and producer Sharmin Osman for the government backed FDC (the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation).
Apparently in the document Jahan rambles on and on about how wonderful the advanced computer generated effects are in his movie.
Which says one thing to me. Jahan has never seen his own movie.
Jahan also mentions in the release that the "Kong" costume and the CGI software used in his movie were purchased in the US, that the film was filmed in remote areas of Bangladesh, and that the film stars Munmun, Danny Sedak, Shamim Osman, Afzal Sharif and Kazi Hayat.
Here is the rather brief synopsis for "Banglar King Kong":
King Kong comes to Bangladesh in search of love, and finds it.
Well ........ that pretty much sums it up doesn't it?
From the trailer, which is quite lengthy, it is more than obvious that this is nothing more than a direct rip-off of the 1976 remake of "King Kong" with some singing and dancing thrown in to appeal to cinema goers in Bangladesh.
Hey, if ya thought that the 'ice skating scene' in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" was bad, imagine having to sit through two hours of that kind of stuff?
Why can't people just leave "King Kong" alone?
Here, if you think that you can stomach it, are some photos, and the trailer that keeps on going for "Banglar King Kong":
Watch out Barugon, Gamera’s back this Summer!
GAMERA VS. BARUGON – SPECIAL EDITION
Presenting the North American DVD debut of the original Japanese version of the second GAMERA movie in anamorphic widescreen from a newly restored High-Definition master
SMASHING ONTO DVD ON JULY 6, 2010
FROM SHOUT! FACTORY
Returned from his exile into space, Gamera is the last survivor of a species of colossal chelonians, rumored to have originated 8,000 years ago from the lost continent of Atlantis. This titanic terrapin is feared by adults and loved by children.
Hot off the heel from the excitement of fan favorite Gamera, The Giant Monster – Special Edition DVD, Shout! Factory will unleash the second film in the original series, Gamera Vs. Barugon – Special Edition on July 6, 2010. The DVD contains a collectible reversible cover, a special booklet featuring an essay by actor Kojiro Hongo, audio commentary with August Ragone and Jason Varney, publicity galleries and widescreen presentation of the original movie from an all-new HD master and more! Packed with heart-pounding action and jaw-dropping fun, the collectible Gamera Vs. Barugon – Special Edition DVD is priced to own at $19.93.
Even though Japan's Self-Defense Forces sent Gamera hurtling into space in a giant rocket at the climax of Gamera: The Giant Monster, a stray meteor soon collides with his flying metal prison, freeing the ginormous turtle and allowing him to spin back to Earth. That sounds like it spells doom for Japan, but when another colossal creature named Barugon is awoken from an ancient slumber, all Hell breaks loose. And only Gamera can stop him.
After three greedy Japanese explorers steal a rare opal in New Guinea, not realizing that it is actually a monster egg, and unwittingly subject it to infrared radiation, it hatches and grows to immense size. Barugon is not simply bad because he's big: His elongated tongue, itself a deadly weapon, can emit a freezing spray, while he has the ability to shoot a deadly, laser-like rainbow from his back. And when our favorite fire-spitting Gamera becomes trapped in the creature’s frozen grip, mankind looks like it could be doomed. Can one of the explorers, Keisuke Hirata (Kojiro Hongo, Satan’s Sword), and a New Guinea native, Karen (Kyoko Enami, The Woman Gambler), help to defeat Barugon before it plunges Japan into a new Ice Age?
Gamera Vs. Barugon, the second entry in Daiei Studios’ monster series, was directed by veteran Shigeo Tanaka (The Great Wall) and is more lavish than the original in terms of scale and scope — it was shot in spectacular color! Noriaki Yuasa (Gamera, The Giant Monster) was charged with helming the visual effects for this outing, and the results are fantastic!
The original films have woefully been underrepresented on DVD, especially releases featuring the authentic Japanese versions. Shout! Factory, in association with Kadokawa Pictures, will continue to present Gamera Special Edition home entertainment releases in North America. Upcoming highlights include Gamera Vs. Gyas, Gamera Vs. Viras, Gamera Vs. Guillon, Gamera Vs. Jiger, among others.
See Also: Gamera DVD Tuesday! (Normally Godzilla Toy Tuesday!) Free Gamera And Barugon Wallpapers! / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/11/10 - How Does King Kong vs Godzilla Rank Among Monster Battles? More Gamera And Kamen Rider DVD Stuff / Godzilla Toy Tuesday! Godzilla vs The Micronauts And Gamera In A Box / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/03/10 (Part 2) / Killer Kaiju Monsters: Strange Beasts of Japanese Film (Ivan Vartanian)(HarperCollins)(2010) / Info On Shout Factory's 'Gamera The Giant Monster' And 'Gamera vs Barugon' DVD Releases / A Classic Godzilla Comic Strip - The Monsters That Devoured Canarsie / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/05/10
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Hey Godzilla movie fans! If you are missing any of the recent Godzilla DVD releases for your collection, the time to buy them is now!
For the month of June, Amazon.com is running a great sale on select Godzilla DVD titles. Most of these can be purchased for the amazingly low price of $7.99. That's a 47% savings off the $14.94 list price!
These titles include:
Godzilla vs The Sea Monster
Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S.
Godzilla vs Gigan
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (2002)
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla II (1993)
Godzilla Final Wars
Godzilla vs Hedorah
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1974)
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
Mothra 1 & 2
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla / Godzilla vs Destroyah
Basically all of the Sony Godzilla DVD releases.
To get these DVD titles at up to 47% off the retail price go to - Amazon Godzilla DVD Sale!
The sale ends June 28th so act fast!
Mad Scientist #21
by Armand Vaquer
The newest issue of Mad Scientist magazine (no. 21) is at the printers. Editor/publisher Martin Arlt will be selling the magazine next month at G-FEST in Chicago.
The issue contains (Source: Mad Scientist magazine's website):
A full-color cover by Don Marquez
I Bid You Welcome... (Editorial)
The Monster That Challenged the World!
An appreciation of Inoshiro Honda
Monster Profile: Ebirah
Artificial evolution in The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Alligator People
A selection of storyboard art from The Mist by Pete Von Sholly
Tales from the Lab
Doctor Who Season 16: "The Key to Time"
Vault of Comics: Incredible Hulk 1
Art by Fred Hembeck, Mark Jiro Okui, and John Rozum
One of the "mores" is a review of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. In the review, reviewer Martin Arlt states:
Ever watch a Japanese monster movie and wonder what Godzilla and his friends were destroying? Or maybe you’ve thought about taking a trip there to see things first hand. Either way, The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan should satisfy your needs. Armand Vaquer has put together a handy guide that, while tailored to the monster fan, is useful for any world traveler.
This guide is broken down into different regions of Japan. Within each region are separate entries that cover various cities and other areas. Within each entry is an explanation of famous landmarks and the monster films in which they appeared. It’s a nice mix of factual and historical information, coupled with the relevance to genre films.
To read the full review, buy the magazine! You can either get it next month at G-FEST, or order now at the website. Either way, you'll enjoy Mad Scientist as it is consistently a fun read!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Godzilla In The News 06/04/10 - Godzilla & Kong Tag Team Vancouver, Big G On Pills?, Sci Fi From 1954 Shapes Modern Entertainment
Godzilla seems to have taken a back seat to King Kong this week, but I was able to rummage up a couple of items about the 'King of Monsters' for this week's news update.
First off, I have news about a screening of the original "Gojira" and "King Kong" up in the great white north of Vancouver.
Hey, that story has King Kong in it too. Damn media hog.
Anyway, after that I have another humorous story courtesy of the satirical website, The Spoof, that reveals some interesting dirt on the monster. Seems our atomic fire-breathing friend is causing the whales to go extinct and may have an addiction problem.
What, it hasn't been the Japanese hunting whales to the brink of Dodo status all this time? I'd sure like to see the environmentalists on "Whale Wars" try and take on Godzilla.
Now, that I would watch!
Lastly, I have a post about how certain movies and books from the year 1954 have shaped modern sci fi courtesy of i09.
So, without further ramblings from yours truly, here is Godzilla in the news:
KING KONG (1933) + GODZILLA (AKA: GOJIRA - 1954)
Beyond Robson (blog)
The Rio Theatre & Black Dog Video present a Friday Midnight Double Bill of the classic monster movies "KING KONG" (1933) & "GODZILLA" (1954).
Admission is $10 ($8 in costume).
Godzilla prescribes himself a course of drug stores
The Spoof (satire)
Godzilla, not seen on the shores of Japan for 25yrs, has re-emerged from the pacific abyss to cause chaos on the streets of Tokyo.
The 1 million ton beast is thought to be responsible for the eating of about 200 cargo ships per annum with vessels carrying frozen fish or fresh fruit a particular favorite.
Japan also blames the beast for the decimation of the local Blue Whale population although this is disputed by Green Peace.
Salvage experts are linking the crisis to the regurgitated remains of the SS Tonga which normally contains high numbers of overweight immigrants but on it's final voyage was carrying a huge shipment of car batteries - which is thought to of given the monster lead-poisoning.
The Best Year in Science Fiction: 1954
Even though I said that movies' effects weren't yet of age, that didn't stop filmmakers from unspooling works like the insectified Them! and Disney's underwater odyssey, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. But the film with the most broad-ranging impact was Toho's Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Japan, the only nation to ever be the victims of nuclear fire, gave the world a monstrosity borne of that fire — and, like Frankenstein's Monster, Godzilla was neither hero nor villain. He was more like fate, come back to bite humanity on the ass for its atomic transgressions.
See Also: Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/19/10 - Norman England Talks DEATH KAPPA, Toho Goes 3D And Lindsay Lohan (WTF)? / Godzilla In The News 05/13/10 - A Great Godzilla Retrospect, Godzilla Goes A Dancing?, And Bambi Didn't Have A Chance / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/11/10 - How Does King Kong vs Godzilla Rank Among Monster Battles? More Gamera And Kamen Rider DVD Stuff / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/06/10 - Rina Akiyama Rides The Metro To Promote Kamen Rider And Return Of Godzilla Actor Kei Satô Passes / Godzilla 2012 (And Gamera) In The News 05/06/10 - A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Rumors / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/03/10 (Part 2) / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/03/10 / Godzilla In The News 04/21/10 - Big G Influences Fashion And Music, Plus The Top 5 G Films According To CNN / Godzilla In The News 04/19/10 - Obama Worried Jolly Green Giant/Godzilla Conflict Could Destabilize Region / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/15/10 - The Angry Edition! / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/12/10 / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/08/10 / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/04/10 - Happy Easter! / Godzilla 2012 In The News 04/01/10 / Godzilla 2012 In The News 03/31/10
Source: Dread Central / Universal Studios
Local residents were surprised to find 15-foot long footprints in the sand at Santa Monica beach yesterday morning.
Reportedly, a local fisherman was the only eyewitness to whatever made these prints, “Everything started shaking,” he said. “Then I saw this thing. Bigger than any whale ... eyes dark and menacing, teeth as big as the poles under the pier here.”
No, Godzilla has not come ashore in California.......yet.
In actuality, the prints were created for for a new viral video advertisement for Universal Studio's new "King Kong 360 3D" attraction.
Even though they were for a commercial, the sight of giant footprints, and a smashed SUV, near the Santa Monica Pier turned more than a few heads.
Here is a press release about the attraction plus the new video and another photo:
King Kong, among the screen’s most powerful and enduring icons, will re-emerge in Summer 2010 as a new signature attraction created under the direction of Peter Jackson on the famed Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour.
"King Kong 360 3-D" Created by Peter Jackson will be the world's largest most intense 3D experience on the planet, combining thrilling visceral effects to create a next-generation theme park experience.
Peter Jackson, director of the Oscar®-winning 2005 Universal Pictures film upon which the attraction is based, said: "The new King Kong at Universal Studios Hollywood will be an incredible amount of fun and a chance to really push film and theme park technology. Aboard the Universal tram, you'll get a wrap-around view of the action through a process involving eight 3-D images shot and projected at 60 frames per second. The film and tram will be tied into a motion simulator that will allow you to physically experience this pulse-pounding spectacle, which includes a fight between Kong and a group of V-Rex, the larger cousins of the T-Rex. You’ll find yourself right in the middle of the action."
"King Kong 360 3-D" Created by Peter Jackson will be the first theme park attraction to be directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker.
Larry Kurzweil, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios Hollywood, said: "King Kong has been an integral part of Universal Studios Hollywood for decades and, after the 2008 fire, we knew he had to be reintroduced as a new, groundbreaking, thoroughly over-the-top experience that will thrill new generations of Studio Tour guests. King Kong 360 will be the most exhilarating feature of our world-famous Studio Tour, setting the bar at a new level for immersive theme park experiences."
In the new attraction, guests will be given special 3-D glasses as they enter a darkened soundstage aboard the Studio Tour trams and will be transported— via the magic of Surround Digital 3D projection —deep into a tangled jungle location. They’ll survive a close encounter with a swarm of hungry raptors, only to be confronted by the terrifying presence of 35' tall dinosaur behemoths, intent on attacking the tram and Studio Tour guests.
Suddenly, a 25' tall gorilla appears - Kong himself! The trams jolt and shudder as the guests find themselves caught in the middle of a titanic struggle between these colossal prehistoric foes - the great ape and carnivorous reptiles - action which sends the packed trams sliding ever closer to the edge of a bottomless chasm.
King Kong, known as "the eighth wonder of the world," has been called "the experience for which movies were invented." Since first appearing on the screen in the 1933 original classic, "King Kong" has been re-made twice, each time on a tremendous scale, earning a total of seven Oscar® and three Golden Globe® nominations. Most recently, Peter Jackson’s 2005 version took classic elements of the original "King Kong" story and adrenalized them with up-to-the-minute effects magic and the alchemic talents of a superlative group of filmmakers, cast and crew. Released to critical acclaim in late 2005, "King Kong" was a worldwide hit.
The arrival of the new "King Kong 360 3-D" Created by Peter Jackson experience coincides with major enhancements to the iconic Studio Tour. The most extensive backlot construction ever in the history of Universal Studios, which includes re-creations of legendary Hollywood sets and the introduction of brand-new shooting locations, will make the renowned Studio buzz with star-studded film and television production as never before. Studio trams were recently equipped as "mobile movie theaters" with state-of-the-art flat-screen high-definition monitors and digital playback systems. The new high-definition monitors feature commentary from filmmakers, actors and personalities. Clips from numerous movie and television productions, corresponding to sites visited along the Tour route, add a new dimension to the tour of backlot attractions, sets and facades.
See Also: The Original KING KONG Comes To Blu-ray September 28th! / Godzilla 2012 Facebook Group Update - 500 Members And The Thread Of The Week! / Godzilla (And Friends) In The News 05/11/10 - How Does King Kong vs Godzilla Rank Among Monster Battles? More Gamera And Kamen Rider DVD Stuff / Godzilla And Friends Stomp Their Way To Topeka / A Classic Godzilla Comic Strip - The Monsters That Devoured Canarsie / King Kong vs Godzilla (Kingukongu tai Gojira)(1962)(Toho)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Godzilla Week: 10 Years Ago Next Month
by Armand Vaquer
Next month will mark ten years (!) since a piece of Godzilla history took place in Los Angeles, California.
In July 2000, G-FEST 2000 took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with movie screenings taking place at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd. This convention had the largest guest line-up ever in G-FEST's history.
But days before G-FEST 2000, an event to celebrate the convention as well as the first wide release of a Godzilla movie in fifteen years to U.S. theaters, Godzilla 2000, took place at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 11. It was at that meeting that the Board declared July 10 - 16, 2000 as "Godzilla Week." The declaration was sponsored by L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
That year was the first year I handled publicity duties for G-FEST. The idea for "Godzilla Week" was to garner publicity for the convention as well as for Godzilla 2000, released by Sony/TriStar in August 2000.
Unfortunately, all did not go 100% smoothly for the "Godzilla Week" ceremony. At that time, Masaharu Ina was the general manager of Toho Co., Ltd.'s Los Angeles office in Century City. I had developed a good working relationship with him and when I proposed the ceremony with him, he was enthusiastic. He was instrumental in getting the Toho executives' cooperation in shipping a Godzilla 2000 event suit to Los Angeles for the ceremony. This would have been a great publicity event. G-FAN publisher J. D. Lees flew to L.A. several days early to participate in the ceremony.
However, the fly in the ointment was a lady at Sony/TriStar named Jaime Geller, who decided to take over the planning of this event. Since Sony/TriStar had the theatrical rights to Godzilla 2000, any publicity involving it had to be under their purview, or so she said. I tried to work with her on this, and it seemed that things were going good.
About a week or so before the scheduled event, a meeting was to take place at L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich's office with Geller, Mr. Ina and Antonovich's staff to plan how the appearance of Godzilla at the meeting would happen. Mr. Ina and I arrived at the same time and Mr. Ina had a somber look on his face. He said that when the crate containing the Godzilla event suit was opened at Sony, they looked at it and decided that it detracted "from the grandeur of Godzilla" and nixed the suit's appearance. Although shocked, we decided to go ahead with the ceremony anyway, with "rumble and roar" Godzilla toys representing The King. Each county supervisor received one from Toho.
While the ceremony went fine, the cancellation of the Godzilla event suit killed our chances for media coverage. When word reached fandom about Sony killing the appearance of the event suit, the "fit hit the shan." Many even called Sony's offices to raise hell with them. The fans were steamed (to put it mildly)!
Along with Ina and Lees, others participating in the ceremony were Toho Sales Manager Tetsushi Sudo, Richard Pusateri, Mrs. Mike Antonovich and their son, and me. Many fans showed up to attend the ceremony. A scroll was presented to Mr. Ina.
Above, the G-FAN article on the ceremony along with a photograph of the scroll.
After the ceremony, several of us gathered in Little Tokyo for Japanese lunch at Weller Court.
It is hard to believe that this event took place ten years ago next month. We had to wait four years later to see an authentic Toho Godzilla event suit at a ceremony.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Source: Randy Borden (Press Release)
Kaiju Big Battel brings their live monster mayhem to The Trocadero on Saturday June 12th for the official after party of Wizard World 2010! Get ready for action when the Heroic fighters of Kaiju take on the evil monsters of Dr. Cube’s posse!
Be there as Philly’s premiere music venue crumbles to the ground as Kaiju Big Battel Presents: The Halls of Danger!This award ceremony will highlight a night of space bug slams and city crushing in ring action!
Join Neo Teppen, Los Plantanos, Cycloptopuss, American Beetle, Super Wrong and the nefarious Dr. Cube as we celebrate the festivities of Wizard World Con 2010!
Doors at 6:30pm show at 8pm
1850 adult 11 children 14 & under tickets at
Kaiju Big Battel has been thrilling sold out crowds with live monster fighting performances since 1995. They have been seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live, MTV, ESPN, G4, and featured in press all over the world.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Source: Jamie Russell - Morikami Museum
Alert the military!
Starting today the Morikami Museum, in Delray Beach, FL, will be overrun by over a hundred Japanese giant monsters.
Granted, most of these are less than a foot tall and made of plastic, but the danger is still very real.
To be specific, the private kaiju figure collection of Dr. James Levy, featuring everything from Godzilla and Ultraman to Kamen Rider, will be on display from June 1st to October 17th (2010).
After that, they will be rounded up and shipped back to their home on "Monster Island".
Included are rare pieces from the 60s', 70s' and 80s', so this should be a special treat for all of us who grew up watching Japanese monster films on late-night television.
Here is the press release:
Kaijū! Monster Invasion!
Monsters invade Morikami Museum this summer as vintage toys from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, inspired by Japanese tokusatsu films and TV shows, go on display in the exhibition, Kaijū! Monster Invasion! Classic Japanese tokusatsu eiga, or special effects films, typically utilized an fx technique called sutsumeishon (suitmation) in which monsters of colossal size, termed kaijū, were portrayed by stuntmen in rubber suits moving about on sets of miniatures. Beginning with the release of the film Gojira (Godzilla) in 1954, kaijū of all types have captured the imagination of legions of fans worldwide and have spawned a lucrative toy industry that endures to this day.
The exhibition displays over 100 figures from the extensive private collection of Dr. James Levy. Godzilla, the first Japanese pop culture phenomenon, along with several of the creatures he fought in the many sequels to the original film, appear in the exhibition, which also includes the outlandish opponents of Japanese television superheroes like Ultraman, Chōjin Barom-1, and Kamen, or Masked, Rider. Some kaijū are dinosaurian in appearance; others are based vaguely on insects, sea creatures, or plants; still others combine characteristics of all of these and more. All are included in the Morikami exhibition, seeming to give form to humankind’s deepest anxieties in an age dominated by nuclear, biological, and environmental peril.
Kaijū have been potent expressions of Japanese popular culture for over half a century. While most of the toys were originally marketed as inexpensive playthings, today they are highly sought-after by collectors and nostalgia buffs and command hundreds if not thousands of dollars each. In addition these vintage toys helped to create a worldwide art-toy movement that today embraces popular characters from many contemporary animated films and comic books.
Kaijū! Monster Invasion! runs to October 17. The exhibition is funded in part by the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation.
Here is the info for the Morikami Museum:
The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446
To reach a specific department, please see contact information page.
Hours of Operation
Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major national holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, Easter and Fourth of July.
$11.00 Seniors (age 65 and over)
$7.00 Children (ages 6 - 17)
$7.00 College Students (college ID required)
Children under age six are free
Website - Morikami Museum
Warner Brothers presents...
KING KONG (1933) — Fully Restored Blu-ray Book Special Edition (with 32-page booklet of rare photography and trivia)
— Available September 28
On September 28, 2010, the original 1933 RKO classic KING KONG makes its long awaited debut on Blu-ray Disc. Suggested retail price is $34.99.
Presented by Warner Home Video, the newly remastered King Kong features extensive bonus content, including a collectible Blu-ray Book written by renowned film historian Rudy Behlmer; a feature length documentary on Kong creator Merian C. Cooper, directed by acclaimed filmmakers Kevin Brownlow and Christopher Bird; commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston with Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray; and a seven-part documentary that delves deeply into just about every aspect of the making of the film (see detail list of extras below).
With 32 pages of rare photography and trivia, the captivating Blu-ray Book, written by Rudy Behlmer, centers around the vision of director, Merian C. Cooper and his larger than life persona that brought the story of King Kong to the screen. A prolific film researcher and historian, Behlmer personally interviewed Cooper and has written numerous books and contributed to a wide variety of documentaries, videos, DVDs and LaserDiscs about Hollywood's Golden Age.
In this very special Blu-ray release, the newly remastered film is presented in its 1933 entirety and includes scenes that were originally considered too shocking for the 1938-1956 re-releases. With equal parts adventure, horror and old-fashioned romance, King Kong is a milestone of movie-making that has endured for more than seven decades.
Named as one of the "100 Best Films of All Time" by Time Magazine, King Kong premiered in New York City in 1933. The film was an instant success, breaking box-office records to become one of the top moneymakers of the 1930s.
King Kong's state-of-the-art visual effects, entertaining story and touching conclusion captivated audiences and started a worldwide love affair with the giant ape. The film has also been included in seven of the American Film Institute's Top 100 lists, including the "100 Years...100 Movies" list.
A film ahead of its time, King Kong defied the technological limitations of the 1930s. Special effects pioneer Willis O'Brien's revolutionary stop-motion animation was not only technically brilliant but also highly imaginative and continues to impress even in today's era of computer-generated wizardry.
Directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, with a rousing score by Max Steiner (who also scored Gone with the Wind), King Kong stars Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and Fay Wray, whose memorable performance as damsel in distress Ann Darrow cemented her place in pop culture and earned her the nickname "The Queen of Scream."
"It wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast." —Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong)
In addition to its Blu-ray debut, King Kong will be available On Demand from cable and satellite providers, and for permanent download and digital rental through iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, PlayStation Store and Xbox LIVE Zune Video Marketplace.
Blu-ray Book BONUS FEATURES:
• Commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray
• Merian C. Cooper Movies Trailer Gallery
• I'm King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper (2005 documentary)
• Creation Test Footage with Commentary by Ray Harryhausen
• RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World --
a. The Origins of King Kong
b. Willis O'Brien and "Creation"
c. Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder
d. A Milestone in Visual Effects
e. Passion, Sound and Fury
f. The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence
g. King Kong's Legacy
EXCERPT: At first blush "King Kong" may seem outmoded, with its exaggerated histrionics, its stilted dialogue, and its wooden acting, but then there's Kong, and how can you not still love him? When he falls from the Empire State Building, he takes us all with him. Yet we know, thanks to the magic of movies, that he'll be back, again and again, better than ever, whenever we want to see him once more. He wasn't called "King" for nothing.
—> Visit Warner's Official KONG site »
(currently contains details on the DVD editions)
"The joy is seeing the 1933 original, complete with Max Steiner's classic score and once-censored scenes."
—Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
"It's still the quintessential pulp saga, capable of popping eyeballs 70-odd years later without the help of computers."
—Michael Atkinson (Movieline's Hollywood Life)
"The black-and-white granddaddy of beast-on-the-loose movies... The movie looks improved over earlier video and TV copies, and still packs a wallop."
—Steve Daly (Entertainment Weekly)
"What makes KONG unique is its mix of hokum, horror, and peculiar poetry."
—Glenn Kenny (Premiere)
A Monster of creation's dawn breaks loose in our world today!
The legendary classic about a giant ape that is brought to New York City, and wreaks havoc!
A masterpiece and one of the top moneymakers of the 1930s. Fortune-hunters travel to Skull Island in search of the fabled giant ape "King Kong." Enticing him with the lovely Fay Wray they capture him and bring him back to New York where he escapes and ransacks the city searching for her.
Film director Carl Denham and actress Ann Darrow arrive on a prehistoric island in the hope of capturing a giant ape, worshipped as a god by the local inhabitants. The mighty Kong shows his sensitive side by falling for Ann, and, after his transportation to New York, rampages across the city in search of his new love.
Robert Armstrong stars as movie producer Carl Denham who travels to a mysterious, uncharted island in search of material for his next film. Also aboard are unemployed actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and adventurer Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot).
Once the crew reaches Skull Island they discover it is home to prehistoric beasts including Kong, a giant ape who becomes obsessed with the crew´s blonde starlet.
King Kong teems with memorable moments, from the audience´s first glance at the giant ape to his last stand atop the Empire State Building.
Theatrical release: March 2, 1933 (New York).
KING KONG was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1991. The story originated with writer Edgar Wallace, who died before the film's 1933 release.
Despite Kong's apparent death at the end of the 1933 classic, the tale of a giant ape set loose on the modern world has been retold many times since. The quickie sequel, SON OF KONG, was released in 1933 and shared director Ernest B. Schoedsack, special effects man Willis O'Brian and star Robert Armstrong with the first film. Armstrong joined Helen Mack and Victor Wong on a trip back to Skull Island, where they discover Kong's young son.
In 1949, Schoedsack, O'Brian, and Armstrong went back to the well once more and retrieved MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, about another giant monkey. O'Brian shared effects duties with Ray Harryhausen this time out and Armstrong was joined in the cast by Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Frank McHugh, and "Mr. Joseph Young."
Japanese director Inoshira Honda produced a pair of mid-1960s KONG movies, KING KONG ESCAPES and KING KONG VS. GODZILLA. Dino de Laurentiis produced an extravagant and largely unsuccessful remake of KING KONG in 1976. It was directed by John Guillermin with effects by Rick Baker. Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, John Randolph, and Rene Auberjonois starred in the film, which also featured the film debut of model Jessica Lange.
De Laurentiis and Guillermin also produced a 1986 sequel that was aptly titled KING KONG LIVES, which starred Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton, John Ashton, and Peter Michael Goetz. In this film, a pair of scientists find the resurrected gorilla a giant mate and battle those who would destroy the beast.
Before KING KONG, Willis O'Brian worked on the 1925 film THE LOST WORLD. Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle tale, this silent classic tells the story of a group of scientists who stumble on a prehistoric world of dinosaurs and other presumably extinct creatures while on a museum outing. It was directed by Harry Hoyt and starred Bessie Love, Wallace Beery, and Lewis Stone.
Stop-motion animation was used to create the 50-foot Kong out of six 18-inch models. These models were constructed out of rubber and rabbit fur over a metal skeleton. For close-ups, the filmmakers created a full-scale hand and 20-foot model of Kong's head and shoulders and covered them in bear hides.
See Also: The Top Ten Hottest Monsters Of 2009 / "Kong: King Of Skull Island" - New Artwork For The Graphic Novel / Kong: King Of Skull Island - The Mighty Ape Sequel / 3D Animation Bonanza - King Kong And Killer Beans / Steve Bissette Creates Special Artwork For New Hampshire Screening Of King Kong vs Godzilla / King Kong And Godzilla Invade The London Subway / King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)(Toho) / Nerdoh Is Producing Movie Inspired T-Shirts In The UK / King Kong, Godzilla And The Creature From The Black Lagoon At The Rose Parade / King Kong vs Godzilla: Trailer / Universal Fire: King Kong & Godzilla Up In Smoke? / Kingukongu no gyakushu / King Kong Escapes (1967)
Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.
Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."
"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.
Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.
Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.
In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.
"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."
Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."
Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.