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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #549  (Vol. 11, No. 40)  This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2010.

"Let Me In"  by Mike Smith
"The Social Network" by Mike Smith
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 13. The Works of John Randal McDonald, Part Two, The Church Building: Transcending the Material to the Spiritual  by William Moriaty
Forgotten Films: Stop, Look, and Laugh  by ED Tucker
September Album of the Month: Neil Young Le Noise  by Terence Nuzum
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)  by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Rock And Roll Honors .... How Much Money Can I Make From These Movies - Let's Find Out .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)

Thanks to WTOG's Creature Feature, Saturday afternoons will always remind me of Sci-Fi and Horror movies and my introduction to all things Godzilla. Mechagodzilla is surely one of the most entertaining entries from 70's era, Toho Studios. This film works so well, mainly because it combines two of Japan's greatest loves, Kaiju movies and robots. The Japanese have always adopted and loved robots and are less freaked out than Westerners.

There is so much to like in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla because it combines spy movies with the usual sci-fi and horror. The first thing that comes to mind is an old Okinawa legend that states that a black cloud will appear in the sky signifying that a monster will come to destroy the world.

The movie starts out with a young female archeologist and an engineer finding a strange statue in a cave in Okinawa.

I really enjoyed all the scenes where a thief suddenly appears and tries to steal the statue from the archeologist. Luckily she is assisted by a spy who jumps in to stop the thief. Eventually the thief is shot and his true nature is revealed. Mainly, that his face is that of an ape. That was a funny moment when I first realized that extraterrestrials can look just like apes with a human shape.

The other amusing scene is when the statue is used to bring the monster, King Caesar, to life. Something that you just have to see for yourself. It takes a lot of big monsters to combat Mechagodzilla. In this movie, Mechagodzilla is indeed intimidating, from his space titanium construction, to his rocket fingers, and the unintentional comedy of his rainbow laser blast that knocks even the mighty Godzilla right on his booty. As great as the rainbow blast is, it does not hold a candle to this rare ability that Mechagodilla has, when his head can spin 360 degrees super fast, thus forming a force field that not even Godzilla's fire breath can penetrate.

As for the Giant Monster Combat, Mechagodzilla succeeds on this point as well. There is a great shot of Godzilla getting zapped and shot at as blood flies from his neck. Godzilla gets knocked down several times. In an early scene, King Caesar, really gets knocked around like a rag doll. For awhile during the fighting, Mechagodzilla actually gets the upper hand and it is only when the professor who worked on Mechagodzilla and a spy, team up and destroy part of the computer that is running Mechagodzilla, that all is not lost. After human intervention, Godzilla and King Caesar are able to combine their efforts and teach Mechagodzilla a hard lesson. My favorite scene from the end fight scene is easily when Godzilla twists Mechagodzilla's head off. Take that, metal head!

Mechagodzilla contains a wonderful 70's Jazz music score by Masaru Sato. There is even a killer song sung by Beru-Bera Lin, who plays Nami Kunito, the Princess of the Azumi Royal Family. Beru-Bera sings to King Caesar just before he awakens.

There are many fine performances from the cast including Goro Mutsumi as the Alien Leader, Shin Kishida, the agent who helps the professor stop Mechagodzilla, and Reiko Taijima as the archeologist.

To truly enjoy a movie like this, you have to go back to that childlike state of mind that even hardened adults probably still have somewhere inside. Forget the daily work grind. Forget all your responsibilities and just lose yourself in the story. This is the way that Godzilla should be viewed. Not the Godzilla of the 90's and the 2000's but back in the 70's when he was much more entertaining.

Highly Recommended: 5 stars out of 5.

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.