Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Many, Movie Monsters
Team Testosterone enjoys Japanese monster movies--Godzilla movies to be precise. With all the great children's programming available (Arthur, Dragontales, Sesame Street, Cyber Chase, Fetch, Maya and Miguel), my children prefer Godzilla movies circa 1965-1969, dubbed in English so the actors' lips never move in sync with the dialogue. The plots always involve the destruction of our planet by aliens (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Gigan) or the destruction of our planet by human efforts (Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Biollante) and the message about protecting our fragile Earth by not messing with science is always reiterated in the final scene. Sometimes Godzilla is a good monster, battling to protect Japan and the rest of the earth from the invading aliens (Godzilla vs. Mothra) or even putting an end to terrorist organizations like the Red Bamboo (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster). Other times, Godzilla is the enemy, such as in Destroy All Monsters where he goes on a rampage smashing New York City to bits and tearing up subway cars and skyscrapers. I don't know why or how the switch from bad monster to good monster takes place, but Team Testosterone seem to accept it as a matter of course.
What is more interesting than their endless fascination with these really bad B movies ("Ichiro! Look out! Godzilla has escaped from Monster Island!") is their ongoing debate about which monsters are stronger and more powerful. Godzilla? Mothra? Manda? Baragon? Kumonga? Rodan? Anguirus? Ebirah? Kamacuras? Gabara? Arguments break out over whether Godzilla could kick Gabara's reptile ass and they ask me for answers to their profound questions about how Anguirus got his power and Mothra's gender.
Most interesting to us all is why Toho Studios never bought the rights to tell the tale of Godzilla vs. Gammera the Invincible. Gammera starred in 8 movies and yet never made it to the silver screen against Godzilla, who even battled against King Kong in the classic film Godzilla vs. King Kong. The Godzilla vs. Gammera question drove me to a place I thought I'd never end up in a million years--in an Internet chat room with seriously geeky monster movie fans discussing the finer points of Godzilla movies. The things we do for love.