Movie Review – “In Cold Blood” (1967)

 

 

Imagine if “Psycho” was shown entirely from Norman Bates’ perspective, going into excruciating detail about the mental trauma he was going through and how it messed with his sense of right and wrong, and you’d probably get something like “In Cold Blood.” This film adds to this perspective by giving it all a distinct documentary feel, by casting actors with little to no acting experience, and filming everything on location, including the actual house in which these terrible crimes took place in.

“In Cold Blood” is based off the book of the same name, written by Truman Capote, which itself was based on real events, chronicling the tales of Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and “Dick” Hickock (Scott Wilson), two ex-convicts that learn of a easy way to make lots of money by invading an ordinary suburban home. Things go horribly wrong, and a family of four is murdered, while Perry and Dick hit the road to hide from these crimes, all while feeling no remorse or regret for what they did.

Part of the reason I feel “In Cold Blood” worked as well as it did in 1967 was because it hit on the paranoia, fear and lose of innocence that America was feeling at the time when this news really hit. Not that there weren’t murders before this time, but rather senseless, violent killings that had no motives or logic to any of it, just death to innocent people for no good reason. The movie touches upon the fear that this could happen to anyone in our country at any moment, meaning no one is truly ever safe.

 

 

“In Cold Blood” is unsettling, to say the least. It portrays Perry and Dick as men who could snap at just about any moment, from little moments like the two of them picking up glass bottles on the side of the highway with a little boy and his grandfather, to quiet moments with just them talking about how they won’t go back to jail. It takes the time to delve into their psyche, trying desperately to explain what makes them do it, without ever giving a definitive answer, leaving these men shrouded in enough mystery that you don’t truly relate to them. That being said, the only reason this film works is because of the manic-depressive performances of Robert Blake and Scott Wilson that make each scene a wild, unexpected ride.

Overall, I respect “In Cold Blood” for taking so many chances for a film in 1967 and telling an authentic tale that is often very hard to sit through. Having the main characters of your film be murderers with no remorse is one thing, but to do so in such a brutal, documentary-like style makes this an unforgettable film. Any film about a serial killer, or tries to get into the mind of a criminal, owes everything to “In Cold Blood.”

Final Grade: B+

 

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Movie Review – “The Flight of the Phoenix” (1965)

 

 

It is fascinating that I saw “The Flight of the Phoenix” shortly after watching “Lord of the Flies,” and seeing how both have very similar situations, but each takes a vastly different approach, with each leaving little to no moral gray area. Both films concern the survivors of a plane crash and the inhospitable environment they now find themselves in. While “Lord of the Flies” gave in hostility and a loss of ethics, “The Flight of the Phoenix” bravely asserts a strong sense of morality and the need to be civilized above all else. Even as these men slowly lose their minds from the exhaustion and lack of water, the refuse to give in to temptation and turn on their fellow men.

In “The Flight of the Phoenix”‘s case, our group of survivors find themselves trapped in the middle of the Sahara desert after their plane crashes, with no hope of anyone coming to rescue them. They come up with all sorts of plans to get out of this, with some saying they should just try to walk out of there, but the craziest yet sensible plan is devised by a German plane engineer – take the working parts of the crashed plane and construct a new plane to get them out of there.

 

 

Part of the reason “The Flight of the Phoenix” works as well as it does is because of its small cast of proud yet strong characters. They all come from different background and cultures and, for the most part, none of them get along at all as they always butt heads and act like they’re the only ones doing all the work. James Stewart plays the pilot of the cargo plane, and he adds his always amazing style to this performance that adds some humanity to the role. Richard Attenborough plays his drunk co-pilot who learns a lot about himself and his quiet strength over the course of the film. Hardy Kruger plays the German engineer, who is a proud yet stubborn man who thinks of himself as being better and more deserving than anyone else there, which makes for a great foil to Jimmy Stewart. Even minor roles from Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine leave memorable impressions in the same way all the minor roles in “The Dirty Dozen” did.

I would describe “The Flight of the Phoenix” as “Lord of the Flies” but with the ethical and moral sense of “The Poseidon Adventure” while also having the same style of sense of humor and danger as “The Dirty Dozen.” Survival is the focus, but done so without removing the human desire for power and control over any given situation, even if life and death is on the line. I had a lot of fun with “The Flight of the Phoenix,” whether it was because of the well-rounded performances, the slowly poisonous atmosphere, or the many twists and turns throughout the story to keep everything fresh.

Final Grade: B+

 

Movie Review – “Lord of the Flies” (1963)

 

 

There’s a fine line when it comes to watching the savagery of man unfold before your eyes. Films that dance this line are some of the best tales of morality and what it means to be a human and not an animal. But films that cross this line are the ones that over stay their welcome and just become grotesque tales that are more depressing and tiresome as they go on. Peter Brook’s 1963 “Lord of the Flies” crosses that line.

That’s not to say “Lord of the Flies” is a bad film, but that it left a bad taste in my mouth and not for the reasons it was supposed to. The film chronicles the tale of three dozen or so little boys surviving a plane crash in the Pacific and being stranded on a deserted island with no adult supervision. While the boys start out civilized enough and try to come up with rules so they can survive, they quickly devolve into a tribe-mentality who act more like animals than humans. The film is extremely minimalistic and has an almost-documentary style to its filmmaking, like we’re watching a real tribe of all little boys.

 

 

The main reason I feel “Lord of the Flies” doesn’t work as well as it could is because of these actors and their uninvested performances. Nobody here feels truly genuine, especially the leader of the group Ralph (James Aubrey), who just looks bored throughout most of the film. Most of the kids look like they don’t know what they’re doing or have any direction to go.

Director Peter Brook was known as an improvisational filmmaker, simply putting the camera in front of the actors and seeing what they came up with. This style often has the benefit of making everything feel more authentic, but only works if the actors can roll with the punches, which these little kids cannot. It’s like watching an episode of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” being performed by people who have never done improv in their lives. While they are children and don’t have as much experience with acting, their performances still bring down this movie.

“Lord of the Flies” is a tale about how we all have this savage instinct inside of us. That if we remove the morals of society, we’re all eventually resort to cruel, beastial acts to survive. The film does a fine job of showing this, especially since this is done using little kids, but that same strength is also a weakness. Moments like Ralph standing up to the hunters has about as much menace as an episode of “Rugrats,” so any moments of savagery just feel out of place for these uncaring children.

In other words, while “Lord of the Flies” has a great message, the execution of said-message leaves a lot to be desired.

Final Grade: C+

 

Movie Review – “The Dirty Dozen” (1967)

 

 

I want to say that “The Dirty Dozen” fits in the same vein as “The Great Escape,” except where “The Great Escape” had a certain likable charm to it, where even the sour and down moments were undeniably optimistic, “The Dirty Dozen” is cynical, hardened, and fits in more with the action clichés one would expect from a war movie. “The Dirty Dozen” is the proto-typical war film that would inspire the films of today, like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Fury” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” trading in charm and wit for realism and big action sequences.

The film follows Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin) being given the impossible task of penetrating an impregnable Nazi fortress with only the help of twelve prisoners condemned to either death row or life in prison, that way if anything goes wrong the military can put the blame on a bunch of criminals. The majority of the film is Reisman establishing trust and honor among these men who have been locked up for years, the prisoners learning to be productive members of society again, and the military watching over Reisman’s operation like a hawk.

 

 

The best scene in the movie is when Reisman’s commanding officer, Colonel Breed (Robert Ryan) makes a deal with Reisman to see if his men could infiltrate Breed’s command and capture him without being detected. It shows these men were always more than just hardened criminals, but intelligent soldiers who are quick on their feet. What makes this scene enjoyable is that it comes across like the dozen are truly enjoying themselves, like they take joy in messing their own army’s heads, fooling them at every turn.

Still, I only ever felt like I got to know about half of the dozen characters, with the rest filling the role of cannon fodder for the final sequence. It is the typical war movie cliché of building up a straw man character just to knock him down in a storm of bullets.

Overall, “The Dirty Dozen” is a fine war movie, if a bit predictable and cliché nowadays. There are some charming moments, but for the most part this is a cold and sterile look at World War II. Not the best WWII film out there, but certainly not the worst either.

Final Grade: C+

 

Movie Review – “Carnival of Souls” (1962)

 

 

Imagine if “Night of the Living Dead” was a ghost story instead of the first true zombie film, and you would get “Carnival of Souls.”

Except where “Night of the Living Dead” was an exciting piece of horror with startling effects and poignant piece on racism, “Carnival of Souls” is a meandering tease of a movie that only benefits from having odd cinematography. Combine this with the pacing of a David Lynch film and you get a movie that feels like a chore to get through.

“Carnival of Souls” is an independent horror film about a teenage girl who miraculously survives a car accident, and tries to find meaning in her life after said accident. All the while, this girl feels like she is being followed by people who are not there, including a man that no one else can see. She is mysteriously drawn to an old carnival just off the Great Salt Lake, where she continually sees pale people who won’t stop dancing.

 

Watching “Carnival of Souls” is like seeing someone go to a paint store, tries out different samples, literally watches that paint dry, and then leaves the store without buying anything. It comes and goes, but without anything significant or important being accomplished. The characters are dull and lifeless, especially the main female lead, and I routinely found myself checking the clock. Even though this movie is less than 90 minutes, it felt like it was nearly three hours.

Don’t bother with “Carnival of Souls,” there isn’t much to see here outside of how it influences directors like David Lynch and George A. Romero.

Final Grade: D+

 

Number 1 – “Mothra vs. Godzilla” (1964)

 

 

I’m not afraid to admit, for all of cinemas’ subtleties, advancements, and vast range of storytelling, that would go no where if audiences did not have fun with these films. Cinema is certainly an art form, but it is also a form of entertainment, like any other media or art form. If art does not give you any enjoyment, then it fails.

The reason the Godzilla series means so much to me is because I have been entertained by its many films for most of my life. Even films as low on this countdown as “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” still have one or two things that I enjoyed, with each entry after that getting better than the last, until we get to the most entertaining movie I’ve ever seen, “Mothra vs. Godzilla.”

“Mothra Vs. Godzilla” taught me it was possible for a daikaiju film to have a strong narrative that was as interesting to watch as the monster scenes. That a monster movie should not be only about the monsters, but the people effected by these monsters and their attempts to combat them, or simply survive. This is not the first time the Godzilla movies did this obviously, but “Mothra vs. Godzilla” has the benefit of having impressive effects and Akira Ifukube’s best score.

 

 

 

The film starts with a massive typhoon hitting Japan, destroying an industrial park. More surprising though is that a giant egg washes up on a Japanese beach, leaving everyone surprised as to where it came from. Before researchers can find out about the egg, a business man by the name of Kumayama (Yoshifumi Tajima) buys the egg from the local fishermen and intends to make a theme park with the egg as the center attraction.

A local reporter, Sakai (Akira Takarada) and his photographer, Yoka (Yuriko Hoshi) look into the matter and find that Kumayama is being funded by one of the richest business men in Japan, Banzo Torahata (Kenji Sahara). As the two discuss their plans, they are visited by two unexpected guests – Mothra’s twin fairies, who claim that the egg belongs to Mothra and that it must be returned to them, before Mothra hatches and causes great damage across Japan.

Though this might be the least of their problems, as it seems that typhoon washed ashore something much bigger and more dangerous than Mothra.

“Mothra Vs. Godzilla” has an interesting atmosphere, unlike any other monster film out of Japan. Other than “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” this was the first film Toho would make that has two monsters battling each other. Prior to this, Toho focused on solo monster endeavors, like “Rodan,” “Varan” and most notably, “Godzilla” and “Mothra.” As such, Toho wanted to make this match-up feel grand and epic. They do this by combining storylines and themes from both “Godzilla” and “Mothra” to create a film that balances eerie destruction with a whimsical adventure.

 

 

“Godzilla” was a morbid, unforgiving look at the lives of a frail Japan being savagely beat down by a giant monster created by atomic fire. While “Mothra” was more about the horror of man, in particular greedy businessmen. In that film, Mothra’s twin fairies are kidnapped and forced into show business, with Mothra traveling across Japan to save them and destroying anything in its path. Ultimately, “Mothra” is about the pain that man inflicts upon itself, while still feeling like a light-hearted fantasy.

“Mothra vs. Godzilla” finds the perfect middle ground between these two oddly different monster movies that makes their final clash feel like more than just two titans battling it out, but also feels like a conflict of ideals.

Much like in “Mothra,” this film finds a way to use the giant moth’s property into a means of profit. Both Kumayama and Torohata are unwilling to give the egg back, since Mothra has no legal power. They boast about how rich they’ll be when they make an entire theme park around the egg and build up the mystery of what will hatch from it. Where this film differs is that these men are more fleshed-out than the villain in “Mothra.”

Kumayama saw an opportunity to make a name for himself and refuses to let it go. It seems to be less about the money for him, and more about reputation, as his projections for how much they’ll make out of this are much lower than Torohata’s numbers. When the fishermen complain that they haven’t gotten their money for the egg and the land to build the park, Kumayama insists that he will pay them back the next day, even though there’s a rumor the park will never open due to the bad press. Kumayama ends up paying the fishermen money out of his own pocket and sells all of his stock on the egg as collateral to Torohata.

I get the impression that Kumayama is a desperate man who wanted everything to be fair, only for Torohata to betray his loyalty and use him to become even more powerful. Simply because that’s how business works. Kumayama is less of a villain and more of a guinea pig and shield for Torohata, even though Kumayama is still consumed by greed and ambition to see his final outcome.

With a wonderfully charming performance from Yoshifumi Tajima that adds just enough humanity to Kumayama, his character is up there with Dr. Mafune and Katsura as one of the best characters in the franchise.

“Mothra Vs. Godzilla” takes the themes of greed and capitalism of “Mothra,” but gives it a more human touch by making the characters relatable and sometimes heart-breaking, like those being destroyed in “Godzilla.”

The size and scope of “Godzilla” is also still in full effect, though is enhanced by having superior effects. In particular, Godzilla’s opening rampage is one of the most haunting monster sequences I can think of. It starts off with Godzilla rising out of the ground, as if he were a zombie ready to feast again. There’s something even more haunting about seeing Godzilla’s dorsal spines slowly rise out of the Earth instead of the water that makes his entrance stand out.

Once Godzilla reaches Nagoya, we start off with seeing Godzilla’s figure way off in the distance, only for the camera to get closer and closer, until Godzilla is destroying a building right in front of our faces. It’s like the opening shots of Godzilla in “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” where his dominating figure continues to grow.

 

 

This sequence makes full use of rear projection and super-imposing images of Godzilla over live shots of Nagoya fleeing from this monstrosity. “Godzilla” used this a few times, but here we see Godzilla tower over the massive city landscape, to the point where it looks like he is still miles away and is already bigger than most of the skyscrapers.

For this reason, and many more throughout the film, “Mothra Vs. Godzilla” has the best effects of any Toho monster film. During the 1950s and 1960s, no other film studio was doing what Toho did and was doing so well – they made creatures bigger than anything we had constructed up to that point and made them seem believable and still terrifying. We would fight it with everything we had, even though we were sure it wouldn’t do anything.

The filmmakers understand the scale and power these abominations possess, and that they provide a struggle we might lose but certainly worth fighting.

This works in “Mothra vs. Godzilla” because the defense force is intelligent for once. They understand what they are fighting and know that Godzilla cannot be stopped, but can be incapacitated or moved to less populated areas. They lure Godzilla away from the most densely populated areas with fire and explosives, with the effects crew accidentally setting Godzilla’s head on fire at one point (though it is shocking to see on film). Once there, the military unleashes millions of volts of electricity on Godzilla, which do down Godzilla at one point.

This is why “Mothra Vs. Godzilla” is the most entertaining movie to me. It takes my favorite movie genre of giant monsters, never skips on a chance for exciting action with impressive effects, and still plans out every scene, character, and monster fight to the last detail to give us a movie that respects its audience. It combines eye-popping visuals with a great story, something you don’t see too often in the monster genre.

Of course, the crowning moments in the film are the fights between Mothra and Godzilla. Mothra, being a creature of beauty and kindness, does not fight like any other monster. She prefers to out-wit her opponents and get them in a position where they cannot hit her, using her maneuverability and wind to keep them away. Godzilla is monster of brute strength and will take a threat directly to the face if he has to. Together, these two have a cat-and-mouse style fight, where Mothra blasts Godzilla with hurricane-force winds and drags him around by his tail.

This is made more suspenseful when we’re told that Mothra is dying and has little strength left, but will use the last of it to stop Godzilla.

 

 

The battle at the end of the film is equally as fun to watch. Mothra’s egg finally hatches and gives birth to two Mothra larva, who immediately head for Godzilla to fight him. This turns into a battle of brains against brawn and the monster equivalent of David against Goliath. The twin Mothra’s can only dodge Godzilla’s atomic ray (which apparently is now strong enough to melt solid rock) and use their webbing to slow him down.

What helps sell these fights, as well as any scenes with Godzilla and Mothra, is the music. Akira Ifukube’s style of music was not to accompany the scene, but enhance the atmosphere and give some moments a bigger emotional punch. This is the film where Ifukube would nail down the classic Godzilla theme, which would be used in nearly every Godzilla film from that point on. That theme carries a power that matches Godzilla’s slow methodical pace, but also his immeasurable strength, like a bomb that has crashed and could go off at any moment.

Yet the quiet almost lullaby of Mothra’s theme provides a nice contrast to the Godzilla theme. These pieces of music perfectly capture their respective characters, and makes their fights far more intense when their themes are also fighting for control.

“Mothra Vs. Godzilla” is a great example of every film aspect coming together to produce the most entertaining film in the Godzilla franchise. The effects have never been better, the writing is logical and relatable, the acting matches the writing perfectly, the music is larger than life and makes so many scenes better, and the monsters are still amazing to watch. This film manages to take what “Godzilla” and “Mothra” started and makes it even better, providing a film that always makes me excited when I see it.

 

 

But above all else, it captures everything I love about Godzilla perfectly. “Mothra vs. Godzilla” takes a monster of immeasurable strength and power and uses it as a way to show people’s strengths and flaws. Some people like Kumayama and Torohata grow greedy and selfish in the face of these creatures, while others like Sakai and Yoka are quicker to make their fellow man better and act selflessly.

Godzilla isn’t just an allegory, or destroyer, or protector, or even a monster – he’s a mirror that brings out the best and the worst in people.

And with that, we’ve reached the end of my Godzilla-thon. All 31 films reviewed and categorized from best to worst. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing these reviews and recounting everything that I loved and hated about this series. If you’re interested in any of the Godzilla films, I highly suggest you check them out, especially since the Criterion collection just bought the rights to nearly every Showa film. Plus, there are plenty more Godzilla films being made as we speak, so don’t expect me to be done with the King of the Monsters for good.

 

 

 

Number 2 – “Son of Godzilla” (1967)

 

 

“Son of Godzilla” may be a lot higher on my list than most other Godzilla fans, but I feel this one has more charm and likability than any other movie in the franchise.

When I was a kid, I despised this film. I always considered the titular son of Godzilla, Minilla, as annoying, irritating, and made Godzilla look uncool. But as I’ve grown old, there was a child-like whimsy to Minilla that made me smile and I soon realized that he added much more to character of Godzilla than ever before.

As I grow older, the more I appreciate and love “Son of Godzilla.” Which is odd, considering that it is the most light-hearted and comical Godzilla film. Then again, this does make it more endearing and relatable.

The plot revolves around a group of researchers have been running weather experiments on a island in the south pacific, while also avoiding the large mantis’ running around the island. But when one of their experiments goes wrong, thanks to unnatural brain waves interfering with their equipment, unbearable heat and radiation is sent upon the island, mutating the mantis to the size of Godzilla.

These mantis’, nicknamed Kamacuras, eventually track down the source of the brain waves – an egg containing a baby Godzilla. Before the mantis’ can kill the baby, the adult Godzilla shows up to reluctantly raise his adopted son Minilla and raise him in the values he holds near and dear.

What I love the most about “Son Of Godzilla” is how it evolves the character Godzilla, by actually giving him a character. Before this film, Godzilla was just a monster – a living atomic bomb that could not be stopped and would fight any other monster that got in his way. But now, he has another life to worry about besides his own. And he intends to make his kid into another version of him, a cold, uncaring, unstoppable creature of destruction.

 

 

Minilla is a curious and playful child, which leads to many comedic scenes when he wants to play but Godzilla is uninterested. Some of the better scenes are just Minilla trying to have fun while Godzilla sleeps, like when he plays jump rope with his tail.

But over the course of the film, even Godzilla begins to realize that Minilla is not like him. Minilla does not want to destroy other living beings, as he seems to avoid fighting Kamacuras, and wants to make friends with the humans on the island.

Godzilla has to stop being a monster, and become a mentor. One of the better scenes in the film is when Godzilla has to teach Minilla how to properly roar and use his atomic breath. After Minilla lets out a loud shriek, rather than his usual donkey-like noises, Godzilla nods in slight approval, though still seems a bit disappointed.

My favorite touch in the film is that Minilla hides in fear when Godzilla uses his atomic breath. His eyes widen, as if he’s afraid Godzilla will use it on him. Yet Minilla knows he can emit that same fire, but chooses not to. Which is probably why Godzilla threatens to get physical with Minya when his son does not want to practice anymore, giving us Minilla’s comedic smoke rings and Godzilla stepping on his tail to finally get the atomic fire out of him.

The suit acting from both Godzilla and Minilla is superb here, displaying a varied range of emotions that make these scenes so enjoyable and hilarious. Instead of Godzilla’s usual bestial presence, we get a more laid-back and slightly irritated Godzilla, while Minilla is as mischievous as he is adorable.

Although, if there is one complaint I have with this movie, it is the ugly Godzilla suit. The giant head and massive eye balls are really jarring, making it hard to look at after a while. But that’s just a minor nitpick to an otherwise lovable movie.

One of the themes in “Son Of Godzilla” is the current generations need to protect future generations. The reason these scientists are on the island is so they can run their weather experiments, which they could use on non-fertile lands in Africa and South America in order to produce enough food to sustain the growing human population.

The same theme is used with Godzilla. He is not just one creature now, but the provider for the next generation. He has to sacrifice his own needs and desires, so that his race can survive long past himself.

 

 

The screenplay for “Son of Godzilla” is perfectly paced, with each line of dialogue carrying weight and every scene serving a purpose to the overall story. The human characters are likable yet flawed, especially the professor in charge of the mission, who is so focused on completing the experiment that he doesn’t realize that this island is taking its toll on his students.

But what really made me fall in love with “Son of Godzilla” is its ending. My most memorable Godzilla films tend to have stellar endings – “Destroy All Monsters,” “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” “Shin Godzilla” and “Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II” save their best scenes for the ending, and “Son of Godzilla” does the same thing.

As the human characters start up their weather machine one last time, planning to use the ensuing storm to escape from the monsters, Minilla and Godzilla get in a battle with the other giant monster on the island, a giant spider named Kumonga. The fight is slower than most, but just as exciting when the spider injects his poison into Godzilla’s eye. This allows Minilla to step up and finally show some courage to protect his father.

 

 

The fight gets even better when the snow storm hits the island and three continue even as the snow builds up around them. As far as I recall, this is the only fight in the series to take place in a snow storm, which adds to the visuals as the monsters start moving slower, as well as seeing the snow and ice building up on their bodies.

The two Godzilla’s use their combined atomic breaths to defeat Kumonga and they share a hardy roar in victory. With the temperature dropping rapidly, it is becoming too cold for anything to survive. Godzilla has enough strength to leave the island, but Minilla is too weak, as he stumbles in the snow, reaching for Godzilla’s help. While Godzilla thinks for a second about leaving Minilla there, he cannot bring himself to do that and turns around, embracing his adopted son in a tight embrace as the two are covered up in snow together, entering a long hibernation.

And so Godzilla’s character development is complete. He goes from ruthless, cold and unforgiving to a creature with a purpose. This is the one Godzilla movie where it doesn’t feel like Godzilla is a monster, but instead a flawed guardian trying to protect the next generation.

 

 

This is also the only scene in the series that makes me cry. Sad scenes in cinema rarely make me cry, but incredibly happy scenes where everything works out perfectly give me the biggest smile and tears of joy. The ending to “Son Of Godzilla” is one of compassion, sacrifice and pitch-perfect character development.

It is like watching a father realize how much he cares about his son. That he loves his child more than he loves himself and he would do anything to keep that bond alive. No matter what happens him, his son deserves to live his own life. This is nothing short of breath-taking and heart-warming.

The fact that any scene between two actors in rubber suits while being covered in thick snow makes me feel emotional is true test to the power of “Son Of Godzilla.”

“Son Of Godzilla” is certainly the most unique and beautiful film in the Godzilla franchise. Complimented by a vibrant color scheme, great use of its island setting and a joyful score by Masaru Sato, this film is gorgeous to behold and listen to. Minilla is adorable in his child-like innocence and curiosity, and gives the film the emotional punch that it needs. The monster fight scenes are tense and interwoven into the plot without feeling forced or unnecessary. But most importantly, this film gives Godzilla a heart alongside his awe and power.