The King Is Dead. Long Live The King of Monsters.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a love for a LOT of different things. Some wonder how I can keep track of it all, but I’d say if you ask the people who really know me what my favorite things are, they’ll tell you, tacos, coffee, road trips, Dinosaur Jr, cardigan sweaters, and Godzilla.

So it is with a very, very heavy heart that today, we say goodbye to Haruo Nakajima. Better known as Godzilla.

Not just ANY Godzilla either. Nakajima was THE original King of Monsters in the 1954 film. However, perhaps more importantly, he remained to play Godzilla in throughout the Showa era until his retirement from the role, ending with 1972’s Godzilla vs Gigan. These are the Godzilla movies that most of us who grew up with them know and love the best. From starting out as the frightening, then transforming to the goofy, the crazy, the occasionally trippy, the monster, the hero. The King.

Below this, I’ve listed all the kaiju movies he’s done. You’ll notice that he wasn’t JUST Godzilla. He was the original Mothra, Rodan and Mogera as well as a host of others.

Outside of the beloved Kaiju movies, he was also in a few of Akira Kurosawa’s famous samurai film, notably, Seven Samurai.

Nakjima is still considered the best suit actor ever. To the Japanese film industry, he was what Andy Serkis now is to mocap. You knew when he was in that suit because he had certain moves, the way he walked, fought, waved his hands around, reacted to things… So many people are dismissive of Godzilla movies as rubber-monster-camp. To an extent they’re right. Just watch some of the goofier entries. I won’t deny the campiness of those films. What you can’t be dismissive of, is the talent that really brought Godzilla to life for so many of us. I’ve often said that the greatest actors are the ones that make you forget who’s behind the portrayal. With the heavy suits on though, Nakajima instead reminded us who was inside the portrayal.

In an interview, he was asked, “What is Godzilla to you?” and his response nails it;

He’s my partner! He’s my partner. He can’t be a character without me, but I get inside and he’s the boss.
He’s the boss, but I’m his partner. We can’t stand alone. We’re partners because we share the same feelings.

The wonderful thing is, he never stopped being a hero to legions and generations of kaiju fans. Up to this past year, he was still making the rounds. Hitting the convention circuit, always smiling, always happy to meet new and younger fans. He was kind and humble for his station. In this new age of CGI, as wild as it is, you can never replace the fun and heart of those older films.

Just as you can never replace Haruo Nakajima.

Here’s a short video of the last time Nakjima donned the Godzilla mantel. In 1983. The suit he’s wearing here was made for Godzilla’s 25th Anniversary in 1979. However, the wonderful thing is, once he’s going, he IS Godzilla. Those classic, signature moves, the stance… That’s love.

  • 1954 – Godzilla (Godzilla, Newspaper Writer)
  • 1955 – Godzilla Raids Again (Godzilla)
  • 1956 – Rodan (Rodan, Meganulon, JSDF Officer)
  • 1957 – The Mysterians (Mogera, JDSF Officer)
  • 1958 – Varan the Unbelievable (Varan)
  • 1961 – Mothra (Mothra)
  • 1962 – King Kong vs. Godzilla (Godzilla)
  • 1963 – Matango (Matango)
  • 1963 – Atragon
  • 1964 – Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla)
  • 1964 – Dogora, the Space Monster
  • 1964 – Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (Godzilla)
  • 1965 – Frankenstein vs. Baragon (Baragon)
  • 1965 – Invasion of the Astro-Monster (Godzilla)
  • 1966 – The War of the Gargantuas (Gaira)
  • 1966 – Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (Godzilla)
  • 1967 – Son of Godzilla (Godzilla; water scenes only)
  • 1967 – King Kong Escapes (King Kong)
  • 1968 – Destroy All Monsters (Godzilla, Military Adviser)
  • 1969 – Latitude Zero (Gryphon, Manbat, Giant Rat, Lion)
  • 1969 – All Monsters Attack (Godzilla)
  • 1970 – Space Amoeba (Gezora, Ganime)
  • 1971 – Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla)
  • 1972 – Godzilla vs. Gigan (Godzilla, Comic Book Publisher, Defense Forces Officer)

Credit to who ever made this collage. It’s awesome.

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A Worried Man Searches For The Human Highway

This started out as a Facebook post. Then it got long. Then it turned into a story that I thought was better shared here. If you enjoy it, awesome. If you don’t, I get it. It’s long, but not as long as my wait for a song.

Here’s one of many tales of being a nerd in the days before the internet. I’ll peg this around 1989 – 1990-ish. Continue reading

Beauty, Beast, and the 4DX Theater

beautyandthebeast

After months of hearing about this new 4DX Theatre experience, I finally got my tickets to see “Beauty & the Beast” hoping that the scene with “Be Our Guest” would include a lot of scents of croissants and freshly baked goodies. Sadly, it didn’t.

At $30 a ticket, the price may seem a bit steep but it is the novelty you are paying for. You are able to reserve your seats ahead of time and there is an option to turn off the water spray (but why bother). The movements of the seats were not jerky but incredibly smooth and flowed great with the film without taking you out of it. Air blew in your face at the right times but the water felt forced. When it was raining, a spritz of water hit your face and then that was it.
Continue reading

The “Kong: Skull Island” May Be the Greatest Trailer Ever 

ksiThere really are too many movies coming out in the next few months to be excited about, but by all the gods, old and new, the final trailer for Kong: Skull Island has to be one of the most skillfully edited I have ever seen. For such an effects laden movie, the visuals take a back seat here to the sound. The music, effects, the timing…THE TIMING…. It deserves an award. So, without further ado, sit back, put on a pair of headphones or turn up your volume and behold:

Kong: Skull Island releases on Friday, March 10th in theaters nationwide.

Han Solo Begins

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Disney has officially begun production on Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, and released a cast photo for Day One of filming.

A few years ago, when Disney first announced the new trilogy of Star Wars films, they also alluded to a series of standalone films taking place in the universe of the Force.

The first of these, of course, was Rogue One, which we now know was a smashing success. Along the production line, it was also announced that we would be getting a few character-centric solo films. Speculation begun, as it does, on just who these stories would be about. More so, who we, the fans, wanted them to be about. With a rousing, but cautious cheer, we all shouted for Yoda, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, Bib Fortuna, and of course, Han Solo. That lovable scoundrel himself. The question was raised then, “Who would play him?”. Of course we wanted Harrison Ford. But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen.

Well, now we know. The Han Solo solo movie has begun principal photography, and we have our cast. Playing Han will be relatively new face, Alden Ehrenreich. Alden has had some pretty high-profile roles as of late, but if you’re a Supernatural fan, you’ll recognize him as the Wendigo from the 2nd episode of the series! He recently had a generous role in the Coen Brother’s film, Hail, Ceasar!.
As Han’s semi-friend, the inimitable Lando Calrissian, we’ll be getting geek-favorite actor Donald Glover. Glover is best known for his role as Troy in Community. Chewbacca will, of course, be joining us again (it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever have canonical closure on the story of how they actually met), now being played by Finnish basketball player and actor, Joonas Suotamo, I haven’t yet heard if Peter Mayhew will be working on the film (last I heard his health is failing, so send our OG Chewie some positive vibes!!).
Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Woody Harrelson are also on board as yet-uncomfirmed characters. However, it has been rumored that Harrelson will be playing Garris Shrike, Han’s mentor and a character resurrected from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe now decanonized and rebranded as Star Wars Legends. Particularly, the first book from the Han Solo Trilogy, The Paradise Snare.
As the film takes place before the events of A New Hope, the current rumor-mill has been that the film will be adapted from that book series, lending credence to the rumor that Emilia Clarke will be playing Bria Tharsen, who is a love interest of Han’s, also from The Paradise Snare.

Death Race 2050!

death-race-2050-bd-trailerFinally got around to watching Death Race 2050. 

SO. MUCH. FUN.

My love of Death Race is a semi-personal tale.

6986208-3As a young lad, I caught the original Roger Corman classic, Death Race 2000 on TV late one night when my parents weren’t aware. I was floored. By this point, I had already sewn the seeds for a love of weird and
cult films due to a) being a tv baby raised the late 70’s/early 80’s, and b) once I’d moved to the NYC market area, that’s about all they showed on weekends. However, I had not yet seen anything quite this raw. Gore, boobies, etc. Dirty heaven for an 8 or 9 year old. As you might imagine, it left a mark.
Fast-forward to 16 years old, well-versed in cult film, Roger Corman was now as fully engrained on my consciousness as David Continue reading

The Greatest Robots of Sci-Fi Cinema

Greatest Robots of Sci-Fi Cinema

Man….who loves science fiction that doesn’t love robots?

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of the best robots of Science Fiction Films!!

The only real rules on this list are, a) I’m going to stick to just robots. No androids (an easy excuse to not actually create a robot for the film, or save money by just having an actor walk around claiming robotness) or cyborgs (with one arguable entry). Also, I’m going to Continue reading

Revisting Rylos: The Last Starfighter

Last Starfighter Title Screen

In 1984, I was still reeling from the after-effects of Return of the Jedi. My mind was chocked full of dreams of the universe once more being filled by the Jedi order and huge space battles, but the knowledge that there would be no more Star Wars was troubling. I yearned for quality science fiction on the big screen, some new tale, a new hero. Sure, 1984 saw the release of some true classics like Star Trek III: The Search for SpockConan the Destroyer, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Dune, The Neverending Story, and of course Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, all great films in their own right and truly deserved of their status in the pantheon of cinema greats, there was another film that I saw and immediately loved, one it seemed has been buried in time. Continue reading

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – A Treat for Witches and Wizards Everywhere

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

2016 has been a special year for Harry Potter fans. First we were able to get our hands on another Harry Potter book focusing on the children of our beloved characters, The Cursed Child. Now, JK Rowling has given us a brand new set of amazing characters in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

In Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter and friends do not even exist yet. Set in the mid 1920’s, we get to experience the wizarding world across the pond in New York City focusing on the adventures of Newt Scamander, author of one of the famous Hogwarts textbooks, wait for it, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t Continue reading