What is this “Kaiju Kountdown” business all about?
In the never-ending mission to spread the goodness that is Godzilla to all, LIVE! from Planet Zero has undertaken the task of ranking every film with the potent patent-pending power of our proprietary ranking matrix. and place the good ahead of the bad. In truth, all Godzilla is good Godzilla, though some Godzilla is gooder than others.
Why are you doing this?
Why not? It’s fun to rank things, especially on the internet. And while all Godzilla is good Godzilla, some Godzilla is gooder than others.
So it’s just another series of plot recaps, eh? Oh joy.
Heck naw! While the world can always stand more Godzilla, the last thing the internet needs is another page of Godzilla plot retreads. These reviews will be more about general feelings, points of interest, and non-sequiturs that strive to be relatively plot-recap and spoiler free because…
A) If you’ve already seen the movie, you know what happened, and…
B) If you haven’t seen the movie, we at LIVE! from Planet Zero wish not to deprive you the wonderment of surprise and discovery!
What are the rules?
There are no rules! Just as Godzilla can somberly represent nuclear terror one day and dropkick a giant cockroach the next, anything is possible!
But certainly there must be some sort of criteria?
But of course. LIVE! from Planet Zero may embrace chaos, but we’re not complete anarchist! Just to clarify things, when we say “Godzilla” we are referencing the related scope of works in the larger Toho scheme of things. Thereby in order to qualify for a spot on the Kaiju Kountdown, a movie either
A) (simple) Has “Godzilla” in the title, or…
B) (a bit more complicated) Features a monster that at any other point of time appeared in a movie with Godzilla in it. Basically if you were in Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, or Godzilla: Final Wars, then your cinematic point of origin makes the cut.
What constitutes “quality” in your mind? How is this all scored?
The Kaiju Kountdown ranking matrix is broken down into these categories…
Music sets the mood. And if you’re as talented a composer as Akira Ifukube, your tune will stand the test of time.
This Monster, This Menace
What are we here for? Monsters! The crazier the better.
Oh, the Humanity
Get out your stop-watch! Godzilla and friends may be a presence but are rarely present. Staging scenes of monster mayhem were costly and limited, therefore whether it’s a general, scientist, or plucky reporter, it’s the human plot that carry the bulk of the films.
Stakes is High
From stomping on a few humble countryside domiciles to the whole planet, the bigger the collateral damage the bigger the threat!
Real world science is boring. Pseudoscience is exciting! The transformative powers of radiation, random black holes, robots that grow simply because it's convenient... as long as you wear a lab coat, all things are plausible!
Da Art of Storytellin’
From extraterrestrial invasions to the trials of childhood, a good Godzilla tale has but one requirement — don’t be boring and logic is strictly optional. When it comes to acting, ham is delicious.
Let’s be honest... Only several times in his entire collection has Godzilla truly been treated with the utmost seriousness. Still, there’s always a lesson to be learned, if you know where to look.
Add it all up, and you calculate your overall level of Godzilla-goodness, though the final tally is a bit more fluid than that. You see, what truly constitutes a good Godzilla film is the overall feeling. You don’t last 60 years by smashing building alone… there’s heart and an intangible spirit that makes this franchise endure.
I noticed Special Effects aren’t part of the criteria. What gives?
Special effects have never the be-all of Godzilla. If that was the case, the franchise would have never achieved its level of admiration — no, OUTRIGHT LOVE for all these decades. Special effects technology has and will always continue to evolve, and what seems ground-breaking today will always seem “cheesy” tomorrow, especially to the slack-jawed yokels who lack the capacity for thought and are easily distracted by shiny things. With said, SUITS WILL ALWAYS TRUMP CGI.
With CGI, the only limit is the time allowed to run a strong rendering engine. However practical effects require ingenuity and the confidence that come with having just once chance to destroy a set of carefully placed models and explosives. Ishiro Honda could have used stop-motion (The CGI of it’s day), but instead ushered in new technique and created an entire genre upon itself!
There have been many imitators, but no one has ever executed the art of a man in a suit traipsing among elaborate models of an urban landscape as well as Toho. Suck it Gorgo and Reptilicus!
You make a great point. But who are you?
Just some folk who love themselves some Godzilla.
Yes, but what makes you the authority on Godzilla, for your reviews to hold so much weight and bearing?
Cuz we’ve paid our dues! New fans are always welcome into the fold, and it’s always an occasion to celebrate when someone experiences the joy that only Godzilla can bring for the first time. But in this modern era of streaming, it has become all too easy. If you’re of a certain generation, Godzilla had to be earned with blood, sweat, and tears. There was a time when the only way to see Godzilla was to have a local TV station that had “Creature Feature” or some form of weekly monster movie showcase that only aired in the wee hours during the weekend, and you dared not miss a minute when Godzilla-month came into rotation. This was followed by the age of home video, where one had to keep a sharp eye out for any instance of Godzilla on cassette.
Oh the wonder of learning that Toho had made more movies after Godzilla 1985, that were only known of and available in Japan, and having to send away for a bootleg copy that was not only subtitled but also in widescreen! It wasn’t until the turn of the century that masses would finally experience the wide commercial release of the entire catalog, even Varan the Invincible. LIVE! from Planet Zero can’t speak for the nation of Japan, but we proudly declare that Godzilla would never have endured on these shores all these years if not for the dedicated fans who have been holding the fire since the beginning, and to that we salute you!
Although, it’s the lure of our spending dollar that made Godzilla 1998 possible, so we have some things to take blame for too…
What happens if I disagree?
Among civil folk, discord breeds discussion, and that is what Godzilla-fandom should be about. With over sixty years of cinematic history, there’s sometime for everyone. It all comes down to a matter of tastes, it’s just that our palette is more refined than yours.
So let the debating commence. What we do, we do for the people, and all in the name of fun! But if you lack the capacity to articulate you’re dissenting opinion because you’re just another mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodyte that can only express their views with a simplistic “it rulez” or moronic “it sucks” because you lack the brain-capacity for critical thought, LIVE! from Planet Zero has a policy for handling the likes of you…
I can dig it. One last thing… Did aliens put you up to this?
You… you mean the Controller of Planet X? Nah, he’s just a neighbor and came over to borrow some of our precious H20… err I mean what we humans call water… uhh I mean sugar… CHEEZIT, FELLAS — THE JIG IS UP!