Kaiju

Godzilla Review
Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of Godzilla, the new motion picture from Legendary and Warner Brothers. The film has a lot going for it and certainly does a fine job of erasing the memory of the horribly maligned 1998 Tristar take on the character. While the marketing for that film was much better, this movie has managed to be a bit deceptive in it’s marketing because it’s not nearly as visceral as the advertisements would have you believe. Godzilla the movie isn’t so much about the creature itself and it’s certainly not the “Gojira” remake that some of the promos seem to make it out to be.

Instead, Godzilla is largely a paint-by-numbers “Godzilla movie”, following the basic formula of a dozen or so other entries in the series. Of course, this time it’s with a bunch of Americans in the central roles and no invaders from Planet X, but you get the idea. Even the scenes in Tokyo, seem to be filled with more English speaking actors than not. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just very much catering to a Western audience.

Without going into specific plot points, it’s fair to say that Godzilla has to tangle with another monster, as has become a hallmark of the franchise. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where Godzilla doesn’t quite deliver as strongly as it should. The problem with this Godzilla movie is pretty much the same problem that every Godzilla movie has had… Not enough monster fighting.

Kaiju
The difference between this entry and other efforts, is that the monster fight potential here is huge but it’s largely squandered. We see lots of aftermath, but very little of the battles themselves. And for as much as the destruction is evident, we never really get that beauty shot of city smashing. At times it almost seems like Godzilla is a ninja, stealthy appearing out of nowhere, despite his increased size in this film. This is one shortcoming from director Gareth Edwards, who at times slavishly recreates the classic Godzilla style, but omits a few key parts that leave you feeling a bit like your prom date skipped out before the hotel.

The most heinous offense is when Edwards forgets to include the first monster skirmish about 40 minutes into the film to hold audiences over. Typically this sets up the climatic final battle, but here we’re teased with a first battle, only to have the film cut away to much less interesting human subplot. Sadly, this as with most of the films in this genre, is a bit of a letdown. He then repeats this a few times over.

Bryan Cranston puts in a pretty strong performance, but despite all the advertising, he’s not the main character of the film. The main family that becomes the focus of the film couldn’t be more uninteresting if they tried. On the plus side, at least it’s not Channing Tatum in the “hero” role. Ken Watanabe also does a fine job, but he’s given absolutely nothing to work with. It’s a shame, because his character could almost be interesting, but instead he’s mostly there to try and give the film a “message” and explain perfunctory dialogue. Continue reading

Sony Godzilla

Giant Size Godzilla
Godzilla 2014
24 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific
$49.99

Being that I’m just about the biggest Godzilla fan there is, it was a very easy purchase for me when I saw the Jakks Pacific Giant Size Godzilla at Toys R Us last weekend. The figure isn’t supposed to hit shelves for another couple of weeks, but certain TRUs are putting them out early. These guys are so big that there wasn’t any shelf space for them at the Toys R Us I found them at. They simply had them stacked on the floor. I suspect the size is a big part of why they’re on the floor instead of hidden in the back.

Warner Brothers Godzilla
This guy is HUGE! You’ll immediately notice that when you see the box in store. Given that only a handful of Godzilla pictures have surfaced from the upcoming Godzilla film, this figure is the first real look at the monster. At over 2 foot tall, this Godzilla immediately reminded me of the Shogun Warriors Godzilla from when I was a kid. That thing seemed ginormous back then. This figure is actually BIGGER than the old Shogun Godzilla. In fact, this Godzilla is even bigger than the Trendmasters 1998 Ultimate Godzilla toy.

Giant Godzilla
Which if my math is correct, makes this the biggest Godzilla action figure released in the United States. That’s no small feat. Pardon the pun. Continue reading

Pacific Rim Monster

Pacific Rim
Kaiju: Knifehead
7 Inch Scale
By: NECA
$15.99

One of my all time favorite Gamera kaiju is the knife headed monster, Guiron. His wacky design and downright insane concept just add a lot of fun to the Gamera franchise. Guillermo Del Toro may have been a fan as well, as it seems like some of the more bizarre Gamera-esque kaiju designs have slightly permeated into Pacific Rim. The most obvious is the monster simply known as Knifehead.

Kaiju Monster
NECA have cranked out a figure of him in the first wave of their new Pacific Rim toy line. Knifehead has the distinction of being not just the first, but also the only kaiju in the line thus far. He’s also figured prominently into the advertising for the film. While we have seen glimpses of other monsters, Knifehead like Jaeger Gypsy Danger, has seen the most commercial screen time.

DSCN7878
As the only giant monster in the line thus far, Knifehead offers us a rare look at what the designs for Pacific Rim may hold and also gives us a good indication on how NECA plans to deal with these unique monsters. Is this figure a home run? I think you’ll be surprised to find out this guy is made by NECA and not Trendmasters. Continue reading

Gypsy Danger vs Godzilla

Pacific Rim
Jaeger: Gypsy Danger
7 Inch Scale
By: NECA
$15.99

It’s no secret that we love giant Japanese monsters here at Infinite Hollywood. With our Japanese Monster Week, 12 Days of Gamera, Ultraman Love and just general Kaiju coverage, we’re always giving you something monstrous to enjoy. With Pacific Rim set to hit theaters in just a few weeks, it’s an exciting time around here. NECA’s new Pacific Rim figures immediately caught my eye as it’s the first time in a long while that we’ve had another American company in on the giant monster action.

Viras Trendmasters Figure
Add to that, I love NECA toys! Particularly some of the figures they’ve made in the past few years, now that articulation seems to be at the forefront of many of their offerings. They tend to be affordable, nicely designed, expertly painted and loaded down with articulation. Unfortunately my local Toys R Us rarely has any selection and I considered myself pretty lucky when I walked in the other day and managed to find all of the Series 1 Pacific Rim figures.

DSCN7662
Pacific Rim certainly looks to be the most fun movie of the summer with giant robots (mechs) fighting giant monsters. For someone who lives and breathes Godzilla, Ultraman, Gamera and all things Kaiju, this should be a slam dunk. With Guillermo Del Toro attached, my main concern with Pacific Rim is how high it’s going to set the bar for the upcoming Godzilla film. So today I take a look at the first of several NECA Pacific Rim figures. Be sure to keep checking in all week long, as I’ll review the complete first wave. Up first is what I presume is the main hero of the film, the Jaeger, Gypsy Danger. All that said, does NECA + Pacific Rim = Massive Win? Continue reading

tfyz
In a summer dominated by superhero series entries, it is refreshing to have a non-sequel, non-adaptation blockbuster to look forward to. Even better if that movie features gigantic monsters being battled with giant mech suits. Like Newton, I am a big fan of Godzilla and Japan’s other great beasts, so the premise of the upcoming Pacific Rim pretty much has me hooked. But despite the divine eye candy highlighted in the trailers, not much is known about the world and characters, outside of the official plot description:

“When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)-who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.”

When I saw that a prequel graphic novel was coming out, I knew I would need it to satisfy my curiosity. When I saw it had a sweet cover by Alex Ross, one of my favorite comic artists, I knew I really needed it. Continue reading