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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Sunday, July 25, 2004

King Mecha-Ghidorah

If you've been reading TOT this past week, you know the drill. I've been writing a week's worth of columns in a little over as day so that our web-wizard Justin could have them before going to San Diego for Comic-Con International. During my meal breaks I've been watching GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991).

The photo above should give you some idea how seriously wacky this movie is. That's King Mecha-Ghidorah, rebuilt after Godzilla blew off one of his three heads, blasted a hole in his wings, and dumped him into the sea for a couple hundred years. He reminds me of one of those stupid armored-up super-heroes who came into vogue during the 1990s. You know, when editors were telling good artists to draw as badly as possible in imitation of what their publishers, also no geniuses, perceived as being the "hot" style.

But I digress.

Watching GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH fifteen minutes or so at a time reveals a movie that doesn't quite seem to know where it's going. It's got treacherous men from the future trying to destroy Japan in the past. It's got the secret origin of Godzilla. It has a heroine from the future who is apparently in on the future plot to remove Godzilla from history and created Ghidorah in his place, but who somehow doesn't realize Ghidorah will prove to be every bit as big a threat as Godzilla.

The time paradoxes alone will drive you crazy. An exhibition to 1944 - to move the pre-Godzilla dinosaur away from the nuclear-bomb test which will turn it into Godzilla a decade later - doesn't include two men who saw the dino while in the Japanese army. The stated reason for their absence from the mission is that their past and present selves can't be in the same time period at once, which doesn't seem to be a concern when the amped-up Ghidorah is brought to the present from the future while his mangled past self lies on the ocean floor a few miles away.

The pre-Godzilla dinosaur is moved to a distant ocean in 1944 - I guess it can live underwater - but still mutates into Godzilla by virtue of exposure to atomic submarines or atomic waste or maybe radium in the watches of the era. The movie doesn't quibble about the details.

Godzilla is supposedly removed from history, but everyone in our time remembers him anyway. Including the author character who received an advance copy of the Godzilla book he's going to write in the future. My head hurts.

This Godzilla isn't as friendly as the original Tokyo-chomping version, as various characters tell us over and over again. After he takes out pre-mecha Ghidorah and the evil futuremen controlling the tripolar monster, old Radiation-Breath starts dancing the funky chicken on Japanese cities and citizens. He even incinerates the former Japanese commander - now a tycoon - whose garrison he saved during a World War II battle with American troops commanded by the father of Steven Spielberg.

You only *think* I'm kidding about that.

A further digression.

During the making of GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH, there was an absurd amount of coverage in the American press - as in that there was *any* coverage in the first place - about Godzilla stomping on American soldiers in World War II. Some writers seemed incredibly angry about this, which made no sense to me.

We dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities. They had a rubber dinosaur stomping on us in a movie.

How dare they?!

Hmm...better make a digression within the digression. Japan was one of the aggressors in World War II. I know that. I don't know if nuking them was the right thing to do, but I'm not going to criticize those who are convinced it was necessary. All I'm trying to say here is...rubber dinosaur suit.

What? American soldiers can only be smashed and devoured by good old American dinosaurs?

End of digression within the digression and, though it's hard for me to tell at this point, the digression itself.

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH - despite all my carping - is still a fun movie if you don't take it seriously and just give in to the general goofiness. The Godzilla suit is a fine piece of costuming in this flick, the special effects are decent, and there are even two memorable human performers.

Anna Nakagawa, who plays future girl Emi, is cute enough to be an anime character. Emi wears mini-skirts and go-go boots for most of the movie. She beats up futuremen. She re-programs an android to follow only her orders. She revives/upgrades Ghidorah. She can turn the world on with her smile. I think I love her.

Robert Scott Field came to Japan to play baseball. When that didn't pan out for him, he remained, became an actor and, according to the Internet Movie Database [www.imbd.com], considers himself to be Japanese. He plays the android M-11 with an appealing certainty of his mechanical abilities. Smiling hugely throughout the movie, M-11 proclaims that he can do almost anything.

Except possibly hit a curve ball?

This exercise in cinema levity has been your daily recommended dose of TONY'S ONLINE TIPS. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 07/24/2004 | 07/25/2004 | 07/26/2004 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
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ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

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TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

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THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

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FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

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FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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