Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three More Monsters

IGN.com has revealed three more confirmed monsters for the upcoming Godzilla: Unleashed game.


No surprise here; Anguirus is a staple of the Toho daikaiju universe, a monstrous Lou Costello to Godzilla’s Bud Abbott. I would imagine that his abilities and attacks will be pretty much unchanged from his previous Atari game appearances.

King Ghidorah

Again, an expected choice. My only concern is that this new release might follow in the previous titles’ footsteps and include two additional playable King Ghidorah variants; a “classic” Shōwa Era version and Mecha-King Ghidorah. I’ve never really cared for this maneuver in game design, as you simply end up playing what amounts to the same character multiple times with only slight differences in strengths, abilities and appearance between them. To me, it’s akin to giving the player the choice to play as “Character A” and “Character A wearing a hat”.

If Pipeworks really felt the need to have another three-headed monster in the game, why not at least consider using the red and black quadruped “Death Ghidorah” from the Rebirth of Mothra movie?

King Caesar

Well, I’ll be jiggered! It’s like Christmas come early and Santa’s a giant, Chinese lion-dog thing! I’m glad they finally put this guy into the game; he’s always been a personal favorite of mine despite only appearing in two films. It looks like King Caesar’s design is based more on his streamlined Final Wars incarnation (you can see it more clearly in the screengrab pictures at IGN.com) but he’ll apparently still maintain his original energy absorption and redirection abilities.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Host The Sequel

More news: preproduction has begun on a sequel to The Host, but without director Bong Joon-ho. No mention of what the plot will consist of, but hopefully they’ll do some sort of twist with this new movie verses just roughly repeating the exact same story with different characters plugged into it. Apparently the monster’s design will remain the same for this new film (which makes sense from a budgetary standpoint), so it wouldn’t surprise me if they do something along the lines of Aliens and have the human protagonists deal with multiple creatures. I‘d gladly watch that.

Cool link of the day:

Clicking here will take you to a Korean blog post that showcases what appears to be some conceptual artwork from The Host.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Godzilla 3D To The Max and Then Some

More internet buzz- the proposed 3D Imax Godzilla film that’s been sitting in development limbo for a few years has apparently been given the go ahead by Toho and is slated to start production early next year.

The effects will be handled by an F/X studio named Kerner Optical Research and Development. A blurb from their site:

Godzilla is returning to the big screen, for the first time in 3-D! This contemporary version of the largest classic cinema creature of all time will take full advantage of the growing popularity of digital 3-D theaters to bring Godzilla to its worldwide audience in a way that has never been experienced before.

Kerner Productions recently announced that Tokyo based Digital Motion, have provided initial development funding for the project. Kerner Productions and Kerner Optical LLC staff will also be providing miniature, creature creation, physical effects, and visual effects support.

Tokyo based Producer/Director Yoshimitsu Banno and Producer Kenji Okuhira, have teamed up with Hollywood 3-D veterans Producer Brian Rogers, Director Keith Melton, and Director of Photography Peter Anderson, ASC to form the core production team.

“Godzilla 3-D” will be designed to take full advantage of the composition, staging, and dynamic editing of original three dimensional photography. The film will also incorporate updated creature technology along with cutting edge motion capture and 3-D CGI animation to bring a more fluid and realistic energy to Godzilla. This will create more subtle facial moves and will allow the filmmakers to expand and enhance Godzilla’s character.

The anticipated start date for this original production is slated for February 2008, and will lens in South America, Mexico, Tokyo, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Casting for this English language film will take place in Los Angeles.

To be honest, I consider this announcement a mixed blessing at best. Allow me to explain.

Yoshimitsu Banno, who is set to helm this new project, is no stranger to giant monsters. As the director of Godzilla verses Hedorah (a.k.a Godzilla verses the Smog Monster), Banno is not only responsible for one of the more dated and clunky entries in Godzilla’s filmic history, but is notorious for his introduction of one of the most bizarre and downright embarrassing sequences in the entirety of the series- Godzilla using his atomic breath to propel himself through the air like a rocket.

Tomoyuki Tanaka, who had been the producer of the first twenty-two Godzilla films was absent during the production of Godzilla verses Hedorah due to an illness that kept him hospitalized. When he finally saw the finished movie, Tanaka accused Banno of single-handedly ruining the Godzilla series and told him that he would never direct for Toho again. Unfortunately with Tanaka passing away in 1997, a loophole has seemingly been created for Banno to step back into the director's chair.

Banno had always envisioned a follow-up to Smog Monster involving Godzilla facing off against a second Hedorah monster which had materialized in Africa. From what information I’ve gathered about this new movie, it sounds suspiciously close to said sequel idea, with the substitution of a similar creature called Deathla in Hedorah’s place and having the monster action begin in a Brazilian rain forest as opposed to an African one. Godzilla not only revives his role as a defender of the environment (an odd thing, considering his atomic origins) but also sports a kind of Gamera/”friend to all children” vibe as well; a supposed scene involves a group of children reviving Godzilla (after being incapacitated by Deathla) by offering up prayers to him. Even worse, Banno has proudly claimed that Godzilla in this new film will once again take to the air, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it’s about the last thing that any self-respecting fan would EVER want to see happen again.

Needless to say, while I’m always up for a new Godzilla movie, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about this news. It’s almost as if Banno is out to pamper his ego and prove everyone wrong by creating a Godzilla film that exemplifies everything he had been criticized for on his original outing with the character. As far as I’m concerned, Toho couldn’t possibly find a more undesirable candidate to put in charge of this film. It’s sort of the equivalent of announcing a big-budget Star Wars television series and then handing the production reins over to the people responsible for the Star Wars Holiday Special.

It’s also strange that this newest incarnation of Godzilla is going to be brought to life using CGI motion capture techniques, which would seem to insinuate that Godzilla himself will still be based around his classic portrayal as upright, tail-dragging creature. While I’m not opposed to “suitmation” techniques or Godzilla’s traditional design, I would think that realizing the character by way of CGI would finally allow for the creators to exploit the fact that they could give the monster a more dinosaur-like appearance and structure which would be otherwise troublesome to pull off with an actor in a suit (rubber or motion capture). Consider the Ricardo Delgado proposed redesign of the character for the original, unmade version of the 90’s American remake:

Now picture THAT cool design, but flying around backwards through breath-weapon expelled jet propulsion!

Yeah, I can’t either.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

D-War... Finally

According to the recent buzz around the net, the South Korean monster movie D-War is at long last getting a theatrical release in its home country as well as a limited run in the U.S. (sometime in August). The film is rumored to be the most expensive Korean movie to date with a hefty price tag of around 70 million (equivalent U.S.) dollars or so.

Having watched a couple of the more recent trailers, I got a better sense of what the plot is actually about and it’s not a “monster on the loose” setup as I had initially assumed. Rather, the story is a fantasy adventure piece centered on two lovers from ancient Korea that have been reincarnated in modern-day Los Angeles; the giant cobra creature adorning the poster image is apparently the villain of the film. Hmm...

Official site (in Korean):


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Godzilla Unleashed Part Deux

More media and related interviews for the upcoming Godzilla game have been trickling out to onto the internet over the last month.

Most notably, the game’s official website has been put up but currently features a Flash-enabled graphic consisting of a collection of face down cards, save a few that are adorned with the images of playable monsters. Each one of those latter cards can be clicked and enlarged to view the particulars of a given character with accompanying animation on the reverse side.

I’d imagine the idea is that, as new characters are confirmed, more cards will gradually be revealed until all twenty-three of the game’s monsters are visible. That, or the whole thing will be overhauled in one broad maneuver a week or so before the game is released. Either or.

It also seems that Magmouth, the lava-spewing rock creature is the winner of the online monster voting contest that was to determine which one of four original creations would appear in the game as a playable character.

Now a second poll is underway in order to bestow the monster with his “official” name. Of the five choices given, I was disappointed to find that there was nothing along the lines of “Who gives a crap” or “Never going to play as him”. In a previous entry on the subject, I had expressed my disinterest in the addition of a made-up daikaiju to the game’s roster of Toho creations; as you can probably guess, my opinion hasn’t really changed a lot since then.

Besides, I preferred Magmouth back when he was a much more interestingly designed creature called “Magmo” in the War of the Monsters game for the PS2.