Reviews by andersonb
Classic Atomic Horror
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Them is the classic atomic horror film in which irradiated ants grow to giant size and terrorize a small town. Though this film is fairly cheesy it is an excellent example genre. Also, if you are a fan of the movie Aliens, this is a great movie to watch as it is a direct inspiration to James Cameron's classic sci-fi horror film. From the orphaned girl with the doll to the final scene's in the ant's lair, you will find parallels between these two films that are hard to ignore.

I highly recommend this film for any one who wants to see what genuinely good atomic horror looks like or people who love the Alien franchise and want insight into its film DNA.
In space, no one can hear you scream.
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Classic horror. Alien is suspensful and intense. Sigorney Weaver as Ripley is the original tough female lead that so much of sci/fi now tries to recapture, but seems to fall miserably short by not remembering the character's humanity. The effects are amazing even now and go a long way toward showing you exactly what we loose by going to digital heavy effects.

If you are a fan of horror or science fiction, this movie is a must watch.
The Movie That Launched a Thousand Rubber Suits
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This is the original 1954 classic Japanese version of the film that launched a myriad of rubber-suited giant monster flicks or Kaiju films. For those of you who grew up with Godzilla, this film is a must. This rare version of the film was only brought to the US in 2008 and saw an extremely limited art theater release. It brings the series back to its more serious, gritty, film noir origins and reminds us that for the Japanese, who had seen the devastation of nuclear war first hand, Gojira truly was the King of the Monsters.

Though Godzilla is not the first of the atomic monsters, he certainly has become the most iconic and long lasting. With 28 films produced in Japan, 1 in the United States, and another U.S. production scheduled for release in 2014, Godzilla is the longest currently running film franchise. He has been born, had children (though there is no Mrs. Zilla) and died several times, and yet continues to return again and again. Though he first sets foot on the screen in Gojira as the living embodiment of the horrors of atomic war, he was re-imagined as the defender of the humanity, friend to children, the guardian of the earth and nature, and the punisher of man’s hubris and aggression. He has fought against and alongside monsters from outer space, creatures from the future, cyborgs, a living embodiment of pollution, a robot version of himself, and even a genetically engineered rose made using his own DNA.... Don't ask.

In this film, H-bomb testing in the Pacific awakens the beast that time forgot who instinctively lashes out at Tokyo. Leveling city block after block and meeting all attempts to stop him with his trade mark atomic breath. Meanwhile the noted paleontologist, Dr. Yamane turns to his future son in law and tortured scientist, Dr. Serizawa, for a way to defeat Godzilla. Serizawa has come up with a weapon that can destroy all of the oxygen within an area of the ocean. But, he struggles with the need to defend his homeland and the terror that would result if the "Oxygen Destroyer" were ever to be unleashed upon the world. In the end, Serizawa, does the only thing he believes he can, he agrees to use the oxygen destroyer against Godzilla, but first destroys his research and finally sacrifices himself to ensure that the device is never used again.

It is important to point out that this film does lack the additional scenes added for the American version which included Raymond Burr. However, though I will always have a place in my heart for that version of the film, this movie is, in all ways, better. As opposed to its American cousin, which is essentially a disaster film, Gojira contains layers of meanings that, in my mind, were purposely removed to make the film more palatable to American audiences. Though you may expect the film to be a full-fledged criticism of the U.S. decision to use the bomb in WWII, I find the film to be much more subtle than that, if any giant monster film can be called subtle. In fact, far from being a slap at the US, Gojira is almost portrayed as Japan’s natural punishment for its sins in WWII. Though the film is certainly a bit of a melodrama at times, it is also dark, gritty, and a bit nihilistic. Whereas the American version is more flat, taking its perspective from that of the spectating reporter Steve Martin (Burr) instead of following those actually involved in the events.
The Movie That Launched a Thousand Rubber Suits
»
This is the original 1954 classic Japanese version of the film that launched a myriad of rubber-suited giant monster flicks or Kaiju films. For those of you who grew up with Godzilla, this film is a must. This rare version of the film was only brought to the US in 2008 and saw an extremely limited art theater release. It brings the series back to its more serious, gritty, film noir origins and reminds us that for the Japanese, who had seen the devastation of nuclear war first hand, Gojira truly was the King of the Monsters.

Though Godzilla is not the first of the atomic monsters, he certainly has become the most iconic and long lasting. With 28 films produced in Japan, 1 in the United States, and another U.S. production scheduled for release in 2014, Godzilla is the longest currently running film franchise. He has been born, had children (though there is no Mrs. Zilla) and died several times, and yet continues to return again and again. Though he first sets foot on the screen in Gojira as the living embodiment of the horrors of atomic war, he was re-imagined as the defender of the humanity, friend to children, the guardian of the earth and nature, and the punisher of man’s hubris and aggression. He has fought against and alongside monsters from outer space, creatures from the future, cyborgs, a living embodiment of pollution, a robot version of himself, and even a genetically engineered rose made using his own DNA.... Don't ask.

In this film, H-bomb testing in the Pacific awakens the beast that time forgot who instinctively lashes out at Tokyo. Leveling city block after block and meeting all attempts to stop him with his trade mark atomic breath. Meanwhile the noted paleontologist, Dr. Yamane turns to his future son in law and tortured scientist, Dr. Serizawa, for a way to defeat Godzilla. Serizawa has come up with a weapon that can destroy all of the oxygen within an area of the ocean. But, he struggles with the need to defend his homeland and the terror that would result if the "Oxygen Destroyer" were ever to be unleashed upon the world. In the end, Serizawa, does the only thing he believes he can, he agrees to use the oxygen destroyer against Godzilla, but first destroys his research and finally sacrifices himself to ensure that the device is never used again.

It is important to point out that this film does lack the additional scenes added for the American version which included Raymond Burr. However, though I will always have a place in my heart for that version of the film, this movie is, in all ways, better. As opposed to its American cousin, which is essentially a disaster film, Gojira contains layers of meanings that, in my mind, were purposely removed to make the film more palatable to American audiences. Though you may expect the film to be a full-fledged criticism of the U.S. decision to use the bomb in WWII, I find the film to be much more subtle than that, if any giant monster film can be called subtle. In fact, far from being a slap at the US, Gojira is almost portrayed as Japan’s natural punishment for its sins in WWII. Though the film is certainly a bit of a melodrama at times, it is also dark, gritty, and a bit nihilistic. Whereas the American version is more flat, taking its perspective from that of the spectating reporter Steve Martin (Burr) instead of following those actually involved in the events.
Fear of the Future
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Kingdom Come takes an interesting look at what the hero's of yesterday might think of the anti-hero's of tomorrow. The comic has a great juxtaposition of optimism and hope that hero's like Superman, Wonder Woman, and to a lesser extent Batman against the anti-hero craze of the 90's and 2000's with hero's like Lobo. Though Lobo doesn't appear in this book for more than a panel or two, characters like him who will pursue 'Justice' by any means necessary and flout law and the value of the individual human life.

Superman has gone into retirement because he feels that the world has rejected what he represented and has turned to a more brutal hero for whom the ends justify the means. While he was away, though crime has almost stopped, the hero's themselves have become the biggest problem that the world now faces. They have no morals or ethics, and spend their lives endlessly fighting each other in battles that cost normal humans their lives and sense of peace. Superman decides something must be done.

I won't wreck anymore of the plot than that. Needless to say the story is deep and interesting, asking questions about the sorts of hero's we choose and what they say about us as a society and what our hope or lack there of is. The Art in this book is beautiful and fully realized.

Ultimately, even though this is one of DC's alternate universe books, I think it is essential reading for those who love superheros and enjoy digging into their place in our culture.