Friday, July 2, 2010

A Little Kaiju Cinema Love From The USA Today

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: USA Today

News on the Godzilla movie front has been coming at a rather slow pace as of late, so it is good to see the folks over at the USA Today pitching in to help pick up the pace a little.

Today, a guest blogger for the online news site, James Leung of Giant Robot magazine fame, decided to write about his love of kaiju cinema and how it had a profound influence on him growing up. The title of Leung's article, "Japanese monster flicks make life better" is a sentiment that I think that we all can agree on.

Along with the article Leung included a list of his top five Japanese monster films for a do-it-yourself movie marathon. Though I myself would have chosen five different films for my list, a true kaiju fan should never argue with another fan's list in good conscience.

Here is an excerpt from "Japanese monster flicks make life better":

Before cable television, I was a huge devotee of the 4:30 Movie on the local New York City ABC affiliate (WABC-TV). They used to broadcast a wide variety of films and frequently programmed special "theme weeks." During a theme week, they would air a series of movies following a particular theme or actor. For instance, they'd schedule a "Vincent Price Week," which showed only Vincent Price movies.

My absolute favorite theme week was "Monster Week." I wasted many hours adjusting a set of rabbit ear antennas in order to watch it. Monster Week consisted mostly of movies from the daikaiju (big monster) genre of Japanese cinema which features stuntmen in latex rubber monster suits. The 4:30 Movie used to broadcast bizarre monster flicks like Frankenstein Conquers the World, Terror of Mechagodzilla and Mothra.

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I can really relate with Leung's fond memories of enjoying Japanese monster movies on afternoon television, back in the day when that was the only way to see these types of films.

I remember watching such classics as "Rodan", "Godzilla's Revenge", "Destroy All Monsters", "King Kong vs Godzilla" and "Godzilla vs The Cosmic Monster" as part of a yet different, "Monster Week" on the "Dialing for Dollars Movie" progran in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The marathon would generally happen in either June or July every year, and it was always one of the higlights of my summer vacation from school.

Ah, memories.

See Also: Godzilla Goes Prime-Time! - Godzilla vs Megalon On NBC In 1977

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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.