Michael Gingold wrote:Ishiro Honda’s 1954 GODZILLA (a.k.a. GOJIRA) still stands as a landmark in genre cinema, and it’s getting its due in new Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray editions coming in January. Full specs and the cover art have been revealed, so read on.
More than just a monster movie, GODZILLA is an allegory for the H-bomb destruction suffered by Japan a decade before its production—one that was compromised in the U.S. edition released in 1956 as GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS with copious added footage featuring Raymond Burr. Both versions will be present on Criterion’s discs (streeting January 24), each in fresh high-definition digital restorations, presented at 1.37:1 (with uncompressed monoaural sound on the Blu-ray). Special features include:
• Audio commentary on both versions by kaiju historian David Kalat
• New interviews with actor Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Godzilla performer Haruo Nakajima and FX technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
• Interview with legendary GODZILLA score composer Akira Ifukube
• Featurette detailing GODZILLA’s photographic FX
• New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato
• “The Unluckiest Dragon,” an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo fukuryu maru, a real-life event that inspired GODZILLA
• Theatrical trailers
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• Booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman
Retail prices are $23.96 for the DVD, $31.96 for the Blu-ray.
Eric Shirey wrote: Godzilla purists everywhere are in celebration over the announcement that their favorite lizard king will again be played by a man in a rubber suit in Gareth Edwards' ("Monsters") upcoming Legendary Pictures reboot of "Godzilla." The news came via website Infamous Kidd, the announcement also noting that the head of the monster will be controlled through animatronics and everything will be cleaned up using CGI. It sounds like we're going to be getting the best of all effects worlds.
The news was accompanied by recent design pictures that sculptor Hecter A. Arce had apparently made for "Godzilla." Arce's name has come up as one of the individuals on the design team for the new Legendary Pictures adaptation. It shows a much scalier and angrier-looking lizard beast than we've seen even from the Toho Millennium series of films that ended in 2004 with "Godzilla: Final Wars."
Something all the fan and news sites seem to keep missing in their excitement is another sculpture that was posted right next to the images of the new Godzilla on Arce's official website. There are three images marked "Biolantte Redesign" that appear suspiciously sandwiched between what appears to be an earlier version of Godzilla and the newest version. What could this mean? Is Godzilla's archenemy from 1989's "Godzilla vs. Biolantte" making a return for Edwards' American version?
Biolantte is a bizarre fusion of Godzilla's DNA, a rosebush, and the DNA of a scientist's daughter. In her first form, the monster looked like a mutated rose with teeth. In its second form, she had a head in the shape of a mosasaur's and a jaw with knife-like teeth. There are three large tusks on each side of her mouth. The Arce version looks absolutely frightening.
It's not surprising "Godzilla" would be filmed using practical effects. Recent movies like "The Thing" prequel and "Real Steel" have both used a lot of practical effects versus CGI. If done correctly, the use of a man in a realistic-looking costume could make the monster look more fluid while stomping through whatever city director Edwards decides he wants to destroy.
"Godzilla" is being written by David S. Goyer ("The Dark Knight," "Superman: Man of Steel"). The movie isn't scheduled to be released until 2014. We have a long time before we'll be seeing anything "official" pop up anywhere.
Borys Kit wrote:Max Borenstein has been tapped to write the planned remake of Godzilla.
Gareth Edwards, the director of the indie sci-fi movie Monsters, is attached to direct the creature feature centered on the giant city-destroying and monster-fighting lizard, which is in development at Legendary Pictures.
Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing along with Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Warner Bros. will distribute per its deal with Legendary.
David Goyer (The Dark Knight) previously worked on the script.
Borenstein, who just turned in his script for Art of the Steal for Warner Bros and producers Kevin McCormick and Zac Efron, is well acquainted with Legendary. He worked on the company’s in-development Jimi Hendrix biopic, Jimi, and rewrote the outfit’s supernatural fantasy The Seventh Son. The latter, based on the Joseph Delaney YA book, is due to go into production with Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes attached to star.
Borenstein is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and Rosen Feig & Golland.
MrDisgusting wrote:My inside sources tell me that is hasn't been an easy task finding a writer to crack the code. How do you keep the integrity of the "man in a rubber suit" lore while modernizing it? It's not an easy concept to pitch. Therefore, Borenstein must have something special up his sleeve. What would you guys like to see?
Ken Hulsey wrote:According to other sources associated with the production Toho is heavily monitoring many aspects of this new American Godzilla movie, presumably to ensure that the film won't turn out like the heavily bombasted "Godzilla 98". It has even been suggested that the studio insisted that Godzilla be played a man in a suit rather than a CG creation.
David Kalat wrote:The cat is out of the bag–I had been under orders not to tell anyone until now that I provided the Vin Scully style play-by-play for both versions of Godzilla (1954/1956) on Criterion’s new Blu-Ray edition. I guess some Godzilla fans sensed something in the air, the way animals perceive a coming tornado, because I’ve gotten quite a few email inquiries about whether I was doing a commentary for the Godzilla vs Megalon Blu-Ray. Close, but not quite, fellas.
Over at the Criterion Forums, speculation about the Godzilla Blu-Ray led to this exchange:Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:43 pm
What value does this have besides kitsch? This is an honest question; I’m not trying to troll anyone who likes this. I’ve never seen anything Godzilla-related, and I’m curious as to what the appeal is.
Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:53 pm
You have to look at the first Godzilla movie quite differently. It was a lot more serious in tone, a reaction to the bombings in WWII, the destruction of Japan, the hydrogen bomb testing in the Pacific that killed some fishermen (a newsreel on the BFI disc shows it).
Fair enough, but it does rankle me a tad how respect for the austere horror parable of Honda’s original Godzilla tends to come at the expense of the later, sillier films. The 1954 ‘Zilla is a masterpiece, a work of apocalyptic art. But the crazy sequels are fun, too, and I hate to see them thrown under the bus.
David Kalat wrote:My professional association with Godzilla began in 1995, when I wrote an essay called The Importance of Being Godzilla for an obscure arts journal I had a grudge against. That essay won me a literary agent, an aborted book contract, and eventually an actual published book from a different publisher.
It also won me enduring decades of tension and conflict with the entities that own Godzilla.
I have to emphasize the “owns” part because they care a great deal about that, and much of the perception of Toho as a company antagonistic towards their own fans and supporters is an consequence of their necessary defense of their property rights in the Godzilla brand.
In order to get that first book published, I was obliged to hire a lawyer and engage in months of negotiations. But I made those concessions, and jettisoned a lot of what I wanted to achieve with that book, in order to show good faith with Toho.
In 2006 I was asked to contribute an audio commentary to the DVD edition of GHIDORAH THE THREE HEADED MONSTER, which initiated a new cycle of negotiations and compromises. They had to approve my script before I was allowed to record it, and any deviations from the official company line had to be excised. This was tricky, since much of what motivates me in Godzilla scholarship is to challenge existing orthodoxies, question the company line, and attempt to offer alternate theories and competing points of view.
When I was asked to record audio commentaries for Criterion’s GODZILLA/GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS, the situation was complicated in new ways. This time around there were numerous competing entities, organizations, corporations, and estates that all claimed some degree of ownership and authority over the films in question. Every step had to be approved by all parties.
I recorded my commentaries in the spring of 2011, and then on the eleventh hour, as the disc masters were being shipped to the factory for replication, renewed discomfort from the various competing entities involved in the project forced several minutes’ worth of material to be removed from the two commentary tracks.
This controversy erupted too late in the process to do anything else but cut out the offending sections and leave gaps. Those of you who’ve heard my commentaries before know I rarely stop for air. Many of the changes were reasonable enough requests, and had I been presented with the objections back at the start of the year I’d have more than happily rewritten the material accordingly.
But two deleted sections, addressing the European distribution of GODZILLA, meant a great deal to me, and I was sad to see them go. With Criterion’s permission, I am reprinting those deleted passages here, this week and next. This is actually a superior venue for this discussion, because I can now take advantage of the ability to play clips to provide support for my assertions and illustration of my points.
SciFi Japan takes a look behind the scenes of the upcoming release with details on how Criterion acquired the film, the materials being utilized for the DVD and Blu-ray, an updated press release, and an interview with audio commentator David Kalat.
Drew McWeeny wrote:You can treat something with reverence. You can treat it with irreverence. You can be sincere or silly, faithful or free to reinvent. You have to approach each property differently, and always… always… you have to give it to people who would make it for you for free. Morgan Spurlock's Comic-Con documentary has one storyline in particular that I think is just tremendous, inspiring and cool and funny. It's the story of Holly Conrad, a costume designer who is also a raving "Mass Effect" fan. She and her friends enter the masquerade at the Con and they win. More than that, though, she's now actually working on the Legendary Pictures film version of "Mass Effect" in some capacity. And when you're talking about genuine fans, you have to include Thomas Tull, the CEO of Legendary, who is as sincere a genre nerd as I've ever spoken with, but with a bigger checkbook than anyone else making fanfiction right now. He can pay for "The Dark Knight" because that's the version of Batman he wants to see. And ultimately, that is what fanfiction is,,, using whatever resources you have to make something about the properties that you love. If all you have is a Text Edit program and some inspiration, fine. Write the story. If you want to do a homemade video thing and shoot it guerilla and do all the FX yourself, and you want to spend $500 total, that's awesome. Do it. Directors are getting jobs now based on the fanfilms they make, and it seems like execs don't care. They're just looking at the skill set on display, and if the film punches some nostalgic button to give the exec that little extra squirt of Dopamine while he's watching, even better. And if you end up running a giant hedge fund and you think Godzilla's cool and you know he's got to fight other giant monsters and you think they screwed it up the last time Hollywood tried, and you want to pay to see that version, then fantastic. That's Hollywood 2012. That's where we are, and I don't see that changing.
But I hope as this age continues, and I think it will for a while still, these filmmakers take the time to also try the new. Thomas Tull may be making "Godzilla," an actual licensed version of the giant monster that still looms larger than any other internationally, but he's also the guy who finally had the stones to make "Pacific Rim" with Guillermo Del Toro, a giant monster movie with some pretty radical twists built in. It's like he's making both "Flash Gordon" and "Star Wars" at the same time. It is encouraging, certainly, and I hope more and more filmmakers take that step past the fanfiction that something like "Cabin In The Woods" represents next year, a film that is not just a show-off know-it-all ode to a genre, but also a very new and different expression of that genre. It seems to me that the Age of Fanfiction could give way to a new Age Of Invention, but that's going to require us to let go of the familiar at some point.
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