“but mommmmm, i want a godzilla! or a gamera!” “we have kaiju movies at home!”
the kaiju movies at home:
frankenstein conquers the world
i was kinda sorta hoping watching this one in japanese would drastically improve the experience, but no such luck. i still found the pace laborious and i still thought the kaiju fight at the end was silly in all the wrong ways. seeing frankenstein’s monster wield fire as a weapon is still unconscionable to me, and for the life of me i cannot figure out why toho didn’t throw a little money at universal to license the monster’s classic appearance or at least develop a concept remotely evocative of that appearance rather than just randomly having him look like a caveman for no apparent reason?
the only real saving grace here is that this was apparently originally supposed to be a godzilla movie, and i’m super glad they kept my kaiju boyfriend the fuck away from this movie.
(oh, also: i watched both the theatrical ending & the alternate ending with the giant octopus; it didn’t really make a difference either way.)
the mood is so crushingly melancholy (and not in the intensely personal/contemplative way that i often genuinely like). it seems like a pretty ok/good movie about a feudal power struggle if that’s your jam, but it’s really not mine? like, i’m just kinda scowling at the screen the whole time like “yes, by all means, restore your ‘rightful’ ruler who was also exploiting you,” but idk, these kinds of stories used to work ok for me before i started caring about stuff like that? but it just reminds me of disney’s robin hood where like they had to go so ridiculously over the top to show you this one monarch was like… he was bad, guys! he was so bad! that way the king coming back at the end can be supposed to be this big, huge relief and i’m just sitting here like… but… kings… bad…???
but yeah. i get how “samurai power struggle and then a giant fucking statue shows up at the end and steps on everybody” is a staggeringly novel concept for a movie, and i’m not trying to take anything away from it. and like. this thing had tonal control on lock, it just happens that it is basically the opposite of the kind of tone i actually genuinely enjoy in a movie? it takes a very particular set of circumstances for me to like a movie where the tone is this damn oppressive, and this wasn’t it.
one of the few things i’ll put in this movie’s favor from my personal/biased perspective is that the eventual hero of the movie is a princess who throws herself at the monster’s feet and cries for mercy for everyone else and offers herself as the monster’s last victim. the other characters even point out that her tears literally saved the day. yeah, it’s actually pretty regressive in terms of representation even for the time, but it’s also like 10,000% me. like, that character is just literally me. if you need any problems solved by crying, i am so your [enby]. if you need someone to prostrate [themself] and offer [themself] to a giant monster (preferably a hotter one) i am so down.
the war of the gargantuas
this was admittedly better than its predecessor (frankenstein conquers the world or frankenstein vs. baragon depending on who you ask) in some pretty important ways, even if that didn’t lead to me enjoying it much. like, it wasn’t amazing and the fights weren’t great or anything and i still just don’t groove on the look of these monsters at all, but it was a lot more engaging and less wheel-spinny, and i had no trouble getting through it in one sitting without getting bored.