Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving review: Rodan

Happy Thanksgiving Sporefans! This week's review is special, as I've picked a movie that goes well with the Thanksgiving holiday. Its a movie that really captures what Thanksgiving is all about: roasting a giant bird. That's why this week's movie is the 1956 Kaiju classic "Rodan". Lets take some time to look at this classic through a Thanksgiving tinted lens and try to find that spirit of Thanksgiving feeling, which is all about eating too much and falling asleep in front of the TV.

The movie starts with a montage of stock footage which points to the evil of Nuclear (or Nukular) weapons and the love/hate relationship that we Americans have with them. It presents an ill omen, warning the viewer that Mother Nature may strike back at us for attacking her with these forbidden weapons.

Cut to a coal mine.

Yes, its not the American lust for nuclear power that sets this plot in motion, but the lust of the simple village people of Kitamatsu for coal which brings the monster's ire to bear. Yes, the people of Kitamatsu's contemptible lust for coal, which they use to keep their houses warm in the winter and earn money to feed their families in the cold of Winter that earns them the wrath of giant monsters. Oh, when will humanity learn that it should be content to burn bits of gathered dead wood outside a small cave while wearing the skins of small dead animals? It is our hubris which is our downfall! Hubris!!

All that aside, two coal miners get into a fist fight outside the mine. Tensions rise as they all fear a new mine shaft that goes deeper than they have ever dug before. It appears that in this specific mine shaft there exists a "creeping floor". No Sporefans, a creeping floor isn't another movie that I have lined up to review, but it refers to something better known as a downhill creep when soil and debris slowly falls down an incline.

But if any of you know where to get a movie about a floor that creeps up and eats people, I would definitely review it.

Later that day during an emergency, the two miners who fought disappear. When one of the miners turns up dead from horrible wounds, the second miner Goro (played by Rinsaku Ogata) is branded as the suspected murderer. Goro's sister Kiyo (Yumi Shirakawa) is crushed when the townspeople brand Goro a murderer. But don't worry Sporefans, I'm sure she'll feel much better after Goro's body is discovered in the mine crushed under a pile of rocks that fell during the initial catastrophe, subsequently clearing his name.

This is further substantiated by the release of the book "If I ate them" by flea/crab monster number 712.

Flea/crab monster 712 interrupts a tender moment between Kiyo and Shigeru.

Soon, Shigeru Kawamura (played by Kenji Sahara) the leading man and safety engineer gets trapped in the mine, and tries to avoid being eaten but flea/crab monsters numbers 1-711 and numbers 713-1,294. This is made much easier as a large winged creature hatches from an egg and begins to eat the flea/crab monsters. But as you may have already guessed by the fact that the title of the movie isn't "flea/crab monsters that attacked Kitamatsu" that the winged creature escapes and creates havoc around the world. What's more is that there's a pair of them, a male and a female... I think... that they might procreate and take over the world.

How exactly does one check the gender of a Rodan monster?

At this point, Rodan begins to differ from most Kaiju movies of its time. In most Kaiju movies, the monsters attack the cities of man, and casualties result from the destruction of the buildings and vehicles of man. The deaths are indirect, and though the monsters are blamed for them its not portrayed as if the monsters were out specifically to kill people, but only do so as they punish man by destroying his creations.

In Rodan, the monsters actually eat people. The human element shifts from beings who were at the top of the evolutionary ladder who are punished for their hubris, to being knocked down a rung on the food chain. Instead of our works being destroyed, we become the targets of the Rodan's attacks because we are their food supply.

Rodan decides to have Japanese for lunch.

Well, us and cows. Dolphins. Whales. Horses. Sheep. Actually, they'll pretty much eat anything they can get their beaks around.

Then the Japanese Self Defence Force hatches (pun definitely intended) a brilliant and tasty plan. Because the Rodan's nest in the crater of a dormant volcano, the JSDF intends to blow up the crater with cannons and ballistic missiles, trapping the Rodans under tons of rock. Shigeru points out that the missiles might have the opposite effect, re-activating the dormant volcano. Instead of finding a new plan, the hungry JSDF general (Hideo Mihara) orders the evacuation of Kitamatsu so that he can roast the tasty Rodans over the warm coals of Mount Aso.

Too much lighter fluid will make your giant bird into Cajun food.

The plan proceeds after the evacuation of Kitamatsu, as the JSDF bombard the crater atop Mount Aso, reactivating the once dormant volcano. As the Rodans try to make their escape, one of them falls victim to the intense heat and fumes generated by the volcano. It falls into a river of molten lava and bursts into flames. The other Rodan circles above, crying out to its fallen mate until either out of despair or because the fumes made it totally high dude, it voluntarily plummets on top of the first Rodan and burns as well.

Dinner is ruined.

Unfortunately for the JSDF, they didn't count of the Rodans bursting into flames. As such, the JSDF was unable to insert the giant probe thermometers to make sure that the Rodans reached the required internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus the Rodans burned to a crisp and were inedible, and the premiere of Japanese Thanksgiving was ruined. But Americans as well as Japanese can still celebrate the day the Rodans burned, by burning turkeys every year, making them into inedible smoking piles or char. And why not give thanks, for if there's one thing we should all be thankful for, its not being eaten by giant birds from the sky.


Anonymous said...

"But if any of you know where to get a movie about a floor that creeps up and eats people, I would definitely review it."

Dinner is served.

Spored_to_Death said...


esuarez said...

What was not shown was that Rodan poops coal statues of the people he eats. Ironic? In a sort of the don't know the meaning of the word ironic sort of way.

Spored_to_Death said...

That was supposed to be the soylent green stuffing, but it got burned in the volcano.

See what happens when you don't chew your stuffing? It comes out the same as it went it. That'll teach ya!