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FanTasia 2005! Cbabbitt

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Before he left town, these were the two titles that Cbabbitt seemed most excited by. Now that he’s seen them, how did they stack up?

Tetsujin-28

I had no idea what to expect from a live action Gigantor film. I wasn’t sure whether the filmmakers would approach the material from a cheesy, silly, B-movie perspective or actually take it seriously and attempt to make an enormous and thrilling adventure. To my surprise, the filmmakers decided to make the latter and shockingly succeed in astonishing way. I can’t express how utterly tremendous this film is. It’s arguably a perfect family film that conveys the magical feeling of wonder and adventure - bringing out the ten year old in each and every one of us. It’s exciting and charming without one moment wasted.

Tetsujin-28 is the Iron Giant of Japan. I shit you not, it’s THAT good.

For the 50th anniversary of Gigantor, I don’t think anyone could be more pleased and proud of what director Shin Togashi and his cast & crew accomplished with this film. Tetsujin 28 is absolutely delightful from beginning to end, with a heart that would Steven Spielberg proud. It’s perfection. Absolute fucking perfection. If you have no idea what Tetsujin is or what to expect from the film you can still enjoy yourself immensely. I love how successful the film is at combining the contemporary and retro aspects of the story. The robots themselves will make any true fan of 30’s sci-fi blush with the way they look, move, and sound. Remember the towering robots in SKY CAPTAIN? It’s very similar. Oh, but in this film you get enormous retro robots battling with each other in the center of Tokyo destroying everything around them. It’s geek heaven.

The story is wonderful. During WWII, a visionary inventor designed Testsujin for military use. Unfortunately, it was never properly completed until years later when the inventor’s son put on the finishing touches. At the time, this man had a beautiful wife and a child named Shotaro. In his laboratory a freak accident occurs and he pushes his son away and disappears after an explosion. A few years later Shotaro is twelve years old and haunted by the memory. The boy is incredibly smart and sweet, but also scared and lonely. He has an amazing talent but hardly any friends. His mother cares for him dearly, but is afraid to confront the past and the truth about her former husband. As far as Shotaro knows, his father pushed him way because he disliked him. So, the filmmaker take the first twenty or so minutes establishing the characters and spending time with their daily lives. At the same time, news all over Japan is that a mysterious flying object shaped like a hand has been spotted in the sky’s and that a terrorist message of “ALL IS ZERO!” has been received. One afternoon Shotaro is hanging out on his own and hears a strange rumbling noise and an uber-cool 30’s robot voice yelling “Zero! Zero! Zero!”. He turns to catch the large metallic arm sweep by and head towards the middle of the city. Suddenly a HUGE black metal behemoth falls from the sky and lands in the center of a Japanese garden in the heart of Tokyo. The arms race to the machine and attach to its shoulders. The Black Ox is born. The image is fan-fucking-tastic. For those you curious about the cgi, I’ll say it was extremely effective. The animation of the robots is about as good as what you saw in Sky Captain. For me, it worked. Unlike that film though, these cgi creations are placed in an entirely real setting, so it looks and feels far more dramatic and believable(BTW, not trying to be hard on Sky Captain, I loved it). The Black Ox is really fucking badass. Once the machine puts itself together and rises, it goes on a rampage through the streets of Tokyo. The first set-piece is phenomenal. It destroys everything in its path until it reaches Tokyo Tower. Then...well, I won’t spoil. The robot flys off after it’s rampage leaving a great amount of damage.

After the appearance of the Black Ox, Shotaro is unexpectedly called on to visit a small island. He is told his father left something special for him and that he is to wield a great power. On the island he is taken to his father’s laboratory and introduced to Tetsujin-28, the only thing capable of stopping the Black Ox. This entire sequence is amazing. The sense of scope and wonder and awe is simply, breathtaking. When Shotaro first moves Tetsujin you can feel the rush of excitement as if you were the character himself. It’s beautiful. I’m sure you can guess what follows, so I’ll save an even larger description of everything else that happens from that point. That being said, I’ll post some very brief thoughts on the final battle between Tetsujin and Black Ox: FUCKING AWESOME!

The boy who plays Shotaro is amazing. I believe it’s the same boy from THE LAST SAMURAI, but I could be wrong. He brings a great amount of heart and soul to the picture - as does the supporting cast, most importantly his mother. It’s exceptional work overall.

This film better come out in the U.S. - When it does, make sure you see it. It’s a perfect family film. Absolutely fucking perfect. Tetsujin-28 is enchanting cinematic adventure for those who love the magic of childhood. One of the best films of the year. Godzilla: Final Wars

Don’t ask me why, but GODZILLA 1985 (I know, it’s actually ‘84) is one of my top ten favorite films of all time. It’s not because it’s a great film (which it isn’t) but because of what it represents to me: Discovering cinema during my childhood. I love the film to death. I’ve been more than disappointed with the Godzilla films of recent years. None of them seem to capture or even understand what made the films of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s so enjoyable. Most of them are surprisingly boring and completely forgettable. I think the last Godzilla film I thoroughly enjoyed was Godzilla Vs. MechaGodzilla II made back in ’93 (I think). It was at least energetic and fun, and contained that sense of giddyness the early films had so much of. Plus, the score fucking owned. When I heard Ryuhei Kitamura was helming the final Godzilla film I was more than enthused. Versus may be a repetitive display of brutal carnage and nonsense, but it’s still really fucking fun. Alive and Aragami are both interesting and entertaining small scale thrillers that definitely showcase the talent of a giddy film geek pysched to be making genre films. Most importantly though, Kitamura demonstrated his ability to make a large scale character driven genre film with the insanely awesome samurai adventure AZUMI. Which is in my opinion his best film so far. Those films, among his others, clearly establish Kitamura as a perfect choice for a huge Godzilla film.

Godzilla: Final Wars is an enormously anticipated fetish film for geeks all around the world and the event film for this year’s Fantasia festival. Check out the line:

The audience was fucking pysched for this film. For those of you that haven’t experienced the Fantasia crowd, I highly recommend you visit Montreal next summer and discover them. It’s truly a one of a kind experience, especially if you get a film like this. I had pretty enormous expectations for the film. Above anything else, I just wanted to have a blast with a crowd of people just like me. For the most part, I did. For the short, simple, and spoiler-free review I’ll say the film is certainly entertaining and energetic, a definite Kitamura film, and more than worthwhile overall. If you’re a Godzilla or genre film/cult monster movie fan you’ll definitely enjoy yourself. Godzilla: Final Wars is extremely entertaining...........

Okay, now to piss everyone off.......

Godzilla: Final Wars was in NO WAY what I expecting it to be. Again, let me clearly restate what I just wrote prior to this and maybe elaborate just a bit - Godzilla: Final Wars is extremely entertaining........in a hip, new-age, techno-charged, completely modern way. It is NOT vintage Godzilla and hardly recaptures the sense of giddyness of the early films - and that’s not to say the film isn’t giddy. It certainly is, but in a completely different way. When I first read about the film, I thought Kitamura was going to finally bring back the old-fashioned roots of the series and put on the Quentin Tarantino cap and make a classic 60’s, 70’s, Destroy All Monsters remake. I thought every aspect of the film would look, sound, and feel like a cult film from long ago.

I was wrong. VERY wrong.

The only thing remotely similar to the old films is the inclusion of classic monsters - which I presume will be more than enough for most fans. I however, wanted something different. The thing that irked me most was the fucking score. Holy fuck, what were you people thinking? Techno/heavy metal? Whaaaaaaaaaaat? What happened to the classic Godzilla theme? Matrix costumes? A bigger focus on on hyper-active martial arts than monster mashes? Whaaaaaaaaaat? I don’t want to see a fucking Matrix knockoff motorcycle/freeway chase - I want to see an extended battle between Godzilla and *whatevermonster*. The final climactic battle in the film cuts between the lead actors having a martial arts duel and Godzilla battling Monster X/Ghidora. I swear to god, the people get more fucking screen time. No, no, no, no. The concept of the aliens wasn’t ridiculous enough for me to really enjoy. It wasn’t anything compared to the batshit cult insanity of some of the other films. I did enjoy the performance by the main villain though, and loved seeing many of Kitamura’s regulars - not to mention a cameo by the director himself.

The monster battles were fun though. Very fun. It’s always a pleasure to see Godzilla battle Gigan, and Ghidora happens to be one of my favorites. You also get Rodan and a pretty classic sequence with Mothra. I don’t really care to spoil all the monsters as each introduction is incredibly exciting. I will say that Godzilla vs. Gino is as enjoyable as you’d like it to be with my favorite line in the entire film following the battle. It’s fucking hilarious. Unfortunately, Mechagodzilla didn’t make the final wars, but it’s okay. There are PLENTY of monsters in this thing. Godzilla: Final Wars is the best of the recent Godzilla films and a crazy and hyper-active Kitamura film. If you’re expecting an old fashioned 70’s homage, you’re not going to find it here. Overall - very enjoyable.

Oh, and the crowd fucking ruled.

-Cbabbitt

Sounds like you’re having a great time, man. I’ll be in Vancouver for the next three days, so when I get back, I expect I’ll have all sorts of Cbabbitt reports to put up here, and I look forward to reading them then.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
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  • July 17, 2005, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Come on, give us what we really want. NATALIE PORTMAN at Comic C

    by Orionsangels

    She looks very cute with her sinead o conner thing... http://www.natalieportman.com/gallery/candids_2005_comic-con

  • July 17, 2005, 3:05 p.m. CST

    gojira

    by talbuckin

    final wars is just a boring fucking piece of shit. you can quote me on that.

  • July 17, 2005, 5:36 p.m. CST

    When will we get to see Final Wars stateside?

    by Immortal_Fish

    Hopefully it is released faster than crap through a goose!

  • July 17, 2005, 6:12 p.m. CST

    Who cares when it's released stateside

    by RezE11even

    I'm watching the damn thing as soon as possible- who cares if it isn't in English! Not like the plot matters much anyway... I want to see Godzilla stomp some ass.

  • July 17, 2005, 6:12 p.m. CST

    Natalie pics...

    by ZeroCorpse

    Hey! What's the deal with putting words over her face? Those pics aren't very good! I can't see her face through the damned watermark!

  • July 17, 2005, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Re-fucking-view

    by Shakezula

    Holey fucking fuck! What a motherfucking great fucking re-fucking-view. It was really fucking informative. I mean FUCK! What I'm fucking trying to fucking say is that I am so fucking impressed by the motherfucking fucked up use of the fucking word FUCK! It makes the fucking review so much more fucking authentic and, you know, fucking cool. It's like no fucking way some coporate suit wrote that motherfucking shit because only the real fucking deal would use the word FUCK so much. Fucking WOW.

  • July 17, 2005, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Fuck

    by Shakezula

    fuck.

  • July 17, 2005, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Tarantino?

    by AlgertMopper

    As soon as he name-dropped Tarantino I quit reading.

  • July 17, 2005, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Tarantino again?

    by kdoc13

    Ok, I don't want to anger people, but I don't see the hype with him. Res Dogs was good, Pulp Fiction ok, the Kill Bill movies sucked though. And do I even need to get into Destiny turns on a radio? Yikes! Before the haters start getting on me for Kill Bill, I love real kung fu movies. Get out Return to the 36th Chamber (Also known as Return of the Master Killer) which uses Gordon Liu to his real potential. And what is the point of having Sonny Chiba in a movie if you aren't going to let him kick ass? At least when you watch something with Jet Li, even the crapfest that was Lethal Weapon 4, you know he is going to hurt people. I didn't want to see Chiba cooking for an unattractive blonde. (And for the record, no I wouldn't hit Umma Thurman). If Kill Bill did anything, it was try to do too much and combine too many really varying styles. And Pulp Fiction, had some nice lines, but the whole watching out of order thing got old after Res Dogs. For future reviewers, Tarantino doesn't always equal good.

  • July 17, 2005, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Hey Cbabbit...

    by uber9

    How much pot did you smoke before seeing Tetsujin-28? I also saw this fine piece of cinematic crap at the Fantasia festival this year, and I seriously have no idea how you could have possibly enjoyed this movie. The child playing Shotaro was the most annoying actor I've seen in ages. If there was anyway I could have jumped in the screen and bitched slapped that stupid look off his face I would have. And the expert from MIT? Come on! I have cds older than this kid. This was pure B-movie material with a mid level budget. There were only 2 fight scenes in the entire movie. The rest consisted of Shotaro crying and whinning, with everyone trying to encourage him to defeat the mysterious Black Ox, who was being manipulated by an unknown terrorist. Of course, the MIT expert solved the mystery within a millisecond. My god, Bush should hire this girl. She's that good. The only redeming feature of this crapfest was the robots. They looked awesome. The crowd for todays showing was not impressed. It was only about half full (I saw Kamikazi Gils in the same sold out venue during the week, man that movie kicked ass!!!), and most of the people looked so bored I bet they were either falling asleep (like me) or making phone calls. So, to make a long story short, the movie was shite. The end.

  • July 18, 2005, 12:15 a.m. CST

    Off the topic: Fox ran two episodes of FAMILY GUY tonight instea

    by FrankDrebin

    Freakin' sweet! Maybe they're realizing that AD's gotta go. I'll miss the alien Paul Lynde, though.

  • July 18, 2005, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Two things:

    by ZeroCorpse

    1: Godzilla with techno is a pretty lame idea, and 2: Fark.com SUCKS.

  • July 18, 2005, 12:40 a.m. CST

    ATOMIC BREATH...

    by B A M F !

    ...If I see Gojira just straight obliterating stuff with his atomic breath i'm a happy camper. Not too crazy about the idea of inter-cutting the Monster battles with the humans going at it though. Call me crazy but I find myself hoping that somehow, someway JET JAGUAR makes a cameo...BAMF!

  • July 18, 2005, 8:28 a.m. CST

    I own Godzilla: Final Wars

    by Dreth

    Yep. While I do NOT endorse bootlegging, I did have to own it. Got it at Philly Wizard World. It's a perfect copy from the source material. HOWEVER- and this is funny. It's dubbed in Arabic. Yep- Arabic subtitles and everything. At any rate, the movie is GREAT if you're a Godzilla fan. Godzilla is pissed off and a badass throughout the whole movie. AND, they borrow EVERY little cliche bit from all the past Godzilla movies. It's brilliant. Even the admittedly dumb human segments are so by-the-book that they are moderately entertaining (certainly better than any past Godzilla movie, for what it's worth). If you're a Godzilla fan, you will NOT be disappointed, especially by the ending (which I was worried about). It's goofy, and perfect. Ironically, the fact that it was in incomprehensible arabic did not detract from the movie, or my understanding of what was going on. Plus, let's face it, it lends a certain geek cache to the whole thing. At any rate, fortunately one of my buddies happens to have a region-free DVD player so I could watch it. I did justify the bootleg though- I will go see it if it gets released in the US theaters, and I will DEFINITELY BUY IT on DVD when it comes out. On that, you have my word.

  • July 18, 2005, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Tetsujin 28 trailer on quicktime

    by mitsuyagi

    http://www.apple.com/jp/quicktime/trailers/shochiku/tetsujin28_large.html

  • July 18, 2005, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Godzilla..top ten? Childhood? Jeez....

    by perfecto_fan

    Dude, I feel sorry for you if Godzilla 1984(1985, whatever), was your first Godzilla movie and is somehow in your top ten favorite list. Because I was already a fan, and I saw this 1984(1985) version and except for the the humorous Bambi meets Godzilla, the movie was utter and pure shit. Your opinion I guess.

  • July 18, 2005, 1:13 p.m. CST

    "While I do NOT endorse bootlegging, I did have to own it. "

    by www.valiens.com

    You don't endorse bootlegging. You just bootleg is all. Dick.

  • July 18, 2005, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Godzilla:final wars DVD

    by zathras34

    Cant find it...do what I did..just buy it off ebay with a couple o friends..cost is down..film has no subtitles and is in Jap. But who needs that..all we need to see is the fights..thats what the Big G is there for....and for that..just fast forward to the last 45 minutes..as the first half/part is boring.. anyway hopes this helps..

  • July 18, 2005, 4:22 p.m. CST

    THE '70s WERE FUN, BUT THE NEW STUFF IS BETTER...

    by MightyJoeTongue

    I have both the Japanese and American versions of G'85. Bootleg cassettes of a lot of other Godzilla movies not released in the US by Toho (they've since come to their senses and are releasing great, high-quality DVDs of most of the Godzilla catalogue). While some of the more recent movies have been lukewarm at best, the three films that preceded FW--"Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack," "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (III)," and "Godzilla-Mothra-Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S."--are quite good. The two most recent films to feature the new Mechagodzilla do a nice job of tying back to the old days of Toho, with flashbacks to "Mothra," "War of the Gargantuas" and others. Shusuke Kaneko's work in "GMK" and his 1990's "Gamera" trilogy must be seen to be believed. I thought his role-reversal of the kaiju in GMK was wonderful! As for the Gamera trilogy, "Gamera III: Awakening of Iris" stands as the 2nd finest kaiju film ever made (bested only by the original 1954 *Japanese version* of "Godzilla"). Hey, I like a little nostalgia as much as the next guy--but I'd rather not go back to the balsa wood cities and monster suits with visible zippers down the back, thank you very much. P.S. Hate to bring up QT again... but does anyone else remember him telling a magazine ("Entertainment Weekly," I think) that he had an idea about a Godzilla movie? A movie in which the Big G is the *absolute center* of society, a "god" to be worshipped, feared and appeased, above all else? That's a film I'd like to see him make!!

  • July 18, 2005, 5:04 p.m. CST

    kid there are two things about earth you don't know about ..

    by stvnhthr

    Final Wars rocks! I've watched the Japanese dvd about a dozen times. The credits with all the old movie clips is awesome. Definately the best of the latest big G films. Please, Please, Sony give this a general release!

  • July 19, 2005, 10:20 a.m. CST

    stvnhthr, some encouraging news...

    by MightyJoeTongue

    I don't think GFW is going to get a general release on the big screen... but according to a little tidbit over at "Godzilla News" ( http://www.monsterzero.us/ ), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has acquired "certain North American distribution rights" to the movie... so a region 1 DVD may be just a few months away. If the DVD is anything like "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla III" from 2002, the disc should have nice picture quality, Dolby Surround tracks in both English and Japanese, as well as English subtitles. :)