It is with absolute confidence that I call “Infra-Man” one of the most memorable films I have ever seen. That’s because I have yet to forget the sound the movie makes. A Hong Kong knock-off of Japanese superhero TV shows like “Ultraman,” this production from the prolific kung-fu studio Shaw Brothers is an endless barrage of noise. In the United States, it was promoted as “beyond bionics,” in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of “The Six-Million-Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.” The heroes of those shows had every superhuman action punctuated with a distinctive sound that let you know something bionic was happening. When the sound designers were working on this movie, they wanted to make sure everyone knew that our guy Infra-Man couldn’t take a leak without it sounding like the start of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer B-side. Continue reading
“Attack of the Super Monsters” is a junk-drawer movie. For starters, it’s not technically a movie, but rather a handful of episodes of a Japanese kids’ show stitched together. It gets stranger than that, because it’s a weird combo of hand-drawn animation, Godzilla-style rubber monster suits and live-action backgrounds. If Osamu Tezuka and Ralph Bakshi ever worked together, it might look like this. Continue reading
It’s difficult to make 31 movies about a single character without repeating yourself a few times, and Godzilla is one of those characters. Whether he’s the hero or the villain, an intelligent creature or a mindless beast, the basic elements of a Godzilla movie have remained the same for the most part over the last 52 years. That’s why when a movie like “Shin Godzilla” is added to this long-running series, it’s something special. Like its star monster, “Shin Godzilla,” manages to take a familiar form but still be something unusual and unique.
On its surface, there isn’t anything about “Shin Godzilla” that hasn’t been seen before in any other Japanese monster movie. Godzilla emerges from the ocean, stomps on Tokyo, and it’s up to a brave coalition of scientists, military and civil servants to put an end to his rampage. Where the movie deviates from the rest of the series is in how the threat of Godzilla evolves over the course of the movie, its more grounded setting, and how it uses Godzilla as an allegory for real-world events. It’s a strange Godzilla movie, but it’s definitely a Godzilla movie through and through. Continue reading