Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Godzilla X Mechagodzilla

Spored to Death: Welcome back Sporefans. This week we'll be reviewing the second movie in our two part Mechagodzilla and mechanical monster special, "Godzilla against (or VS or X depending on who you ask) Mechagodzilla". Now last week I announced that I was reviewing the 1993 version of Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla, but as it turns out I was mistaken about what version I had. I actually had the 2002 version of this fight, and, well... I hadn't actually watched it until just before I began the review.

Spored to Death: Joining me once again this week will be two of the finest villains ever to associate with a towering metallic doppelganger, Dr. Who and Madame X from "King Kong Escapes".

Madame X: Thank you Spored to Death. I hope that this will fulfill our contractual obligation to you and your company. Now, about our fee? I think...

Spored to Death: We really shouldn't discuss money until after the review Madame, its very uncouth. Rest assured that we here at Spored to Death publishing are prepared to compensate you for your valuable time. Speaking of which, can you hand me that bottle next to you?

Spored to Death: Oh yeah... that's the stuff. So where is Dr. X? He also has to be here for the review.

Madame X: He said that he would be a little late. Are... are you drinking?

Spored to Death: Wha, me? No, I would never do that. Not on the job. My profession is a sacred and time honored tradition that I take very seriously. Hand me that ice bucket, would you?

Dr. X: I have returned! And now I have a surprise for you all. Do you remember last week how Spored to Death insulted my mighty Mechani-Kong? And you, Madame X! You claimed that I was attracted to machines and insulted my honor! Now you shall both pay dearly for your insults.

Spored to Death: Oh hey doc. Did the Daleks keep you from getting here on time? I hear they can... oh yeah, you're the other Dr. Who. Sorry, my mistake.

Madame X: What do you mean? Explain yourself!

Dr. Who: After the movie last night I took the liberty of taking my newly restored Mechani-Kong to the North Pole! I was able to use my upgraded Mechani-Kong to extract element X from the polar ice cap, and now I shall show you the fruit of my labors. Mwahahaa!

Madame X: Are you mad? Element X is highly radioactive! You can't handle it without proper protection!

Dr. Who: Ha! What do you know? You are no scientist! And now you shall both witness the awesome power of element X!!!

Madame X: No don't! You'll kill us all!

Spored to Death: Huh? Did you say something? I'ma... just a little drunk... you know...


Spored to Death: Heya, Doc... if I'm not mistaken, isn't that the titanium ball that the Russians sunk at the North Pole? The one with the Russian flag inside?

Dr. Who: What? No, its element X you fool!

Spored to Death: Then why is it a perfect sphere? And what's that seam?

Madame X: There's a little button here. See, if I press it... oh look, a little Russian flag! And a little note too! How cute!

Spored to Death: Congratulations Doc. You just un-claimed the North Pole. Hahaahaaa!... Why is that so funny? Anyhoo, don't we have a movie to review?

Madame X: What are you talking about, you drunken fool? Didn't you notice that he just tried to kill us?

Spored to Death: Yeah, but he's so bad at it. So this week we're reviewing the 2002 movie, "Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla". Its a fine piece of film, if you're into giant monsters and robots, but I was left with the feeling that I've seen a lot of this content in a non-Godzilla environ. This new Mechagodzilla movie strikes me as a fusion of old school Mechagodzilla with Neon Genesis Evangelion. There are a lot of similarities, such as locking struts on the robot, a limited battery life, detachable conventional weapons, and the fact that Mechagodzilla is reconstituted from DNA taken from the first Godzilla that was killed in Tokyo bay and is now a cyborg organism designed to fight its own kind. So, yeah, its exactly like Evangelion.

Neon Genesis Mechagodzilla anyone?

Madame X: I am confused? Why do they speak in the movie of this being the second Godzilla attack on Japan? Were there not other Godzilla movies where the monster attacked Japan before this?

Two noticeable cameos in the movie are New York Yankees star Hideki Matsui and this guy here, Takehiro Murata who was the star of Godzilla 2000.

Spored to Death: I'm glad you brought that up. Apparently the writers were looking for a fresh start with this new movie, and decided that this would be a direct sequel to the 1954 Godzilla movie. They acknowledged that there were other movies that coincide with this movie as a series, such as Mothra and War of the Gargantuas, but all of the Godzilla movies up until this point have been forcibly forgotten. Think of it as a cinematic lobotomy, or that sequence in the X-Men comics that got rid of the non-adamantium clawed wolverine because things were getting too wacky.

Spored to Death: So on to our brief synopsis of the film. Godzilla makes his "second" attack on Japan and the Japanese are powerless with their Maser technology. This is made apparent as the Anti-Megalosaurus Force suffers massive casualties before the title of the movie is even hits the screen.

Dr. Who: Ha! Those puny tanks are no match for a monster. But even more impressive is my Mechani-Kong!

Spored to Death: Young pilot, Maser operator and screw up Akane Yashiro (played by Yumiko Shaku) gets the brilliant idea to shoot Godzilla in the eye. Godzilla then decides to show the AMF why its a bad idea to shoot a giant radiation breathing lizard in the eye and squishes a bunch of them. Akane is disciplined for "missing" Godzilla, and given a desk job for four years. In the meantime, a scientist specializing in cybernetics named Tokimitsu Yuhara (played by Shin Takuma) works with a special team that makes up the greatest minds in all of Japan. Their goal is to create Mechagodzilla and defeat Godzilla once and for all.

Hey, I heard you survived that fight with Godzilla! So where's the rest of your... oh... uh... this is kind of awkward.

Dr. Who: Bah! Their scientific knowledge is laughable. In my day it only took one scientist to create a giant robot. Now it requires a team? Laughable!

Madame X: And why does Tokimitsu get to bring his daughter with him on the project? Is this bring your child to school day? Are you still drinking?

Spored to Death: Who me? Nah. I never touch tha stuff. Anyway, that chick Akane gets all, like, into this 80's training montage for four years so that she can pilot the Mecha-ni-godzilla. I dunno what push ups have to do with flying a giant robot, but she does a lot of them. Shouldn't they like, have some sort of simulator or something? I mean, uhh... what was I talking about?

Training is fundamental in becoming a Mechagodzilla pilot. Or boxer coming out of retirement. Or a ping pong champion.

Dr. Who: You were talking about how the girl was training to fly the robot. Preposterous! Giant robots need no human pilots. What kind of incompetent scientist makes a robot without a computerized brain? Has he never heard of vacuum tubes?

Spored to Death: Actually Doc, they got microchips now. The only thing they use vacuums for is to clean the house. Aw man, have you seen that new Dyson vacuum? That thing's pretty frickin' amazing! You know... they cost like an arm and a leg...

Its like a Dyson vacuum, except this one crushes your house instead of cleaning it.

Madame X: Are you all right? You're turning red. And your speech is slurred.

Spored to Death: Better never, baby! Got that... uhh... I mean never better. You know that right? What I meant. By that? Course you do, sugar-lips. Now as I was sayin', the chick Akuna... no, Aka... Abracadabra does a bunch of trainin' to fly the robit, an then she changes in the guys locker room fer some raisin. Guess they only got one locker room in Japan... er, the movie... or the military in the mov.... eh, you get the picture.

Spored to Death: Then they, like, get some planes and cables and SPORED, and airlift Mecha-no-godzilla to the fight... and he's got one of those freezer beams and SPORED, but it goes all angry and like, tries to be Godzilla again.

What is it she has to fight again? Dracula?

Dr. Who: You mean that the genetic computers that ran from the original Godzilla's DNA triggered a genetic memory which caused Mechagodzilla to turn against its creators. HA! These scientists of the future are truly pathetic. My Mechani-Kong would never turn against his creator!

Spored to Death: Yah! That thing. With the geneto computer an' the memory and such. Anyhoo, you should totally go see the movie while its in the thea-rers. Man, I need some more ice, its all startin' to melt on me here. So doc, that science-guy in the movie says' he's imma..immune to scurvy. Issat a science thing doc? You immune ta scurvy?

Dr. Who: That was just a line from the movie.

Spored to Death: Oh yeah, you can't be 'mune to scurvy, lookit your teeth. Ha. HA! Bad dennal plan innat evil mad scientist union? Gotta be.

Madame X: You're drunk. I think that this review is over. Can we just get paid and leave now?

Spored to Death: Whattabout that... uh... that guy... who's like... "Cut the crap! We're fighting Godzilla here!" Like he's gonna win... Haahaahaaaa! Like he's gonna win. Oh, I gotta write that one down somewheres.

Spored to Death: 'Sides... gotta ask the doc about the Mech-uh... robot... Godzilla.... comparison. Whadda think doc? Which-a-one's better? New or old?

Dr. Who: The new mechagodzilla does have an impressive array of weapons, and is much faster and more agile than the older model... but its lack of automation and the fact that it was build by human scientists makes me think that the old Mechagodzilla was the superior model.

Spored to Death: And, uhhh... Medem.... Madame X... you got... any.... uh. Say some stuff. Gotta wrap it up here.

There goes one giant lizard.


How do I get home from here?

Madame X: The movie was a much better story than the older version. The costumes were not as unpleasant, and I really identified with the strong female lead.

Spored to Death: Really now! So I guess... uh... yeah, well that's kind of hot. Inna conclusion... gotta watch it again. Thanks fer comin' and doin' the review. Imma just gon' lie down here... and type tshiss out inna mornin'

Madame X: What about our money? You promised us compensation!

Spored to Death: Oh... that. Yeah. Well, we ain't got no budget... so there's no money. But, as far as I'm con.. concerned... you guys are honorarory Spored to Death publishing reviews. Reviewers! That's what I meant. Reviewers. You guys are hon... hono... yeah, you ROCK!

Madame X: Wait till he passes out, then grab his wallet.

Dr. Who: Agreed.

Quick note Sporefans. We're going back into our Fall schedule soon, so there will be less frequent reviews. I'm going to try and get one more really good review out before the end of the Summer. But don't fret! Even though I'll be too busy to make my review quota as usually as I can in the Summer, there will still be plenty of that Spored to Death Publishing goodness for you to read.

Just... a little less frequently... that's all.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Spored to Death: Welcome back Sporefans. This week we have the first half of a two part special review. We're going to be covering "Terror of Mechagodzilla" from 1975 as well as the 1993 version of "Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla". To help me with these two reviews, I've decided to call in some experts.

Spored to Death: What's that? Where did I find "experts" for a movie of this caliber? Well, some of you may recall that I once did a review for "King Kong Escapes", featuring two incredibly memorable characters, the villains Dr. Who and Madame X. So it is my pleasure to welcome both Dr. Who and Madame X to the Spored to Death publishing offices.

Dr. Who and Madame X. You may remember them from "King Kong escapes".

Madame X: Thank you Mr. Spored to Death. I'm glad that we could help with the review.

Dr. Who: What? Why are we here again? My Mechani-Kong is getting all rusty, and I need to get back to work on it.

Madame X: Shut up fool! We have to fulfill our contractual obligation, or we can't get the funding to rebuild Mechani-Kong and continue extracting element X from the North Pole.

Dr. Who: Oh no! Not the funding! My research is too valuable to stop now!

Spored to Death: Thank you both for joining me here. I'd like to discuss the movie at hand. Our first feature is "Terror of Mechagodzilla", a film I'm sure you're both aware of.

Mechagodzilla in "Terror of Mechagodzilla". Boy I really typed the word Mechagodzilla a lot in these last few days.

Madame X: Of course we're aware of it. You made us watch that dreadful film. Your people will be severely punished once we have extracted element X from the North Pole!

Spored to Death: Yeah, sure, whatever. Anyway, lets have a brief recap for our readers, so they know more about the film. It starts with a group of scientists from the "Ocean Exploitation Institute" who are looking for the remains of Mechagodzilla on the ocean floor.

Dr. Who: Don't you mean the "Ocean Exploration Institute"?

Spored to Death: No, they said "exploitation". The crew of exploiters are attacked in their submarine by a giant dinosaur and killed. The movie then shifts to an Interpol Agent, Jiro Murakoshi (played by Katsumasa Uchida) and a young doctor biologist named Akira Ichinose (played by Katsuhiko Sasaki) who investigate the disappearance of the submarine.

Dr. Who: What an upstart! That little pup knows nothing of real science.

Madame X: And his clothing is painful to the eyes.

Spored to Death: Agreed, his clothing is painful; as its some sort of mind bending 70's plaid, hewn from genetically altered sheep and created on a dimension beyond our ken. It has to be, because no clothing from this world should be that painful to look at.

Ichinose: Hey man, check out my new suit. You like it?
Ichinose: So... you don't like it?

Spored to Death: Murakoshi and his badly attired compatriot Ichinose eventually track down the theories of Dr. Shinji Mafune (played by Akihiro Hirata). When they arrive at Mafune's house they meet his daughter, Katsura Mafune (played by Tomoko Ai) who informs the duo that Dr. Mafune is dead. Dr. Mafune is actually alive and in hiding. He has been working with aliens and fostering his plan for revenge on the scientific community and the world... using his dinosaur Titanosaurus!

Scary sea-horse monster Titanosaurus. He sounds like an elephant with his... ummm... you know... well that part caught in a bear trap.

Dr. Who: I can respect a man who lusts for revenge. Ichinose was thrown out of the scientific community for being too far advanced beyond his fellow scientists, and I can definitely empathise with that. But he is a fool for entrusting his revenge to a biological monster. Better if he were to build a robot monster out of cold hard steel!

Spored to Death: Speaking of monsters made of steel, or in this case space titanium, the aliens have salvaged Mechagodzilla from the ocean floor and have repaired it. They now seek Mafune's help. Mafune pioneered a way to control Titanosaurus, and the aliens seek to capitalize on his advanced remote control technology. Mafune is obligated to help the aliens, as they rescued his daughter from death by making her into a cyborg!

Of course she is a cyborg. Look at her outfit. It is made of metal. Therefore she is a cyborg. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Dr. Who: Now there is a girl I can truly admire! She is beautiful and deadly, and has a heart as cold as steel.

Spored to Death: Actually she's made of space titanium.

Madame X: You would be attracted to a robot girl, wouldn't you? You scientists are all the same: technophiles!

Dr. Who: And what do you mean by that?!

Spored to Death: Let's remain on topic, shall we? We're talking about the movie "Terror of Mechagodzilla". Eventually Dr. Mafune jumps the gun, and unleashes Titanosaurs upon the people of Japan. For those of our reader's who don't know, Titanosaurus is a giant two legged seahorse looking creature that makes a sound like a drowning elephant.

Dr. Mafune: Soon I will have my revenge! Mwahahahahaa! What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a mustache before? Aha! Now you are on my revenge list. REVENGE!

Dr. Who: No! I demand that Madame X retract her statement! She's making me sound like some sort of freak for being attracted to a cyborg... er, cyborg-girl. That's what I meant. Cyborg-girl.

Madame X: Maybe its because you are a freak!

Spored to Death: I think that we're getting...

Dr. Who: What did you say?

Madame X: Shut up you! Or I'll cut the funding to your precious monkey robot and we'll scrap the whole thing.

Dr Who: ......Yes, ma'am.

Spored to Death: .......

Spored to Death: Anyhoo, Godzilla shows up and defends the city against Titanosaurus. The aliens then move up their plans to unleash Mechagodzilla upon the world. Ichinose figures out that Titanosaurus is weak to sonic waves, and the scientists build a sonic wave oscillator, which is later sabotaged by Katsura.

This will be the last time Godzilla appears in a film as a pure protagonist. Enjoy it now, for soon the Heisei series will be upon us like a nuclear disaster!

Spored to Death: Eventually Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus show up and have a large fight with Godzilla. The humans help out by using their newly repaired sonic wave oscillator to stun Titanosaurus, which gives Godzilla the opportunity to win the fight. There's actually a really good scene where they do several jump cuts between the helicopter with the sonic oscillator and Mechagodzilla's missile hands that really builds tension, and Godzilla steps in at the last second to save the humans. A really good shot considering that this is a Kaiju movie.

Its a Kaiju Handicapped match! Watch out Godzilla, we hear that Dr. Cube is somewhere in Tokyo with a steel chair!

Spored to Death: So lets go to our experts for some opinions. Madame X, what did you think of the movie?

Madame X: Why is Japan full of American cars? They're everywhere in the movie. And what's with that cyborg-girl? She only has three outfits! That's ridiculous! In my movie, I had a different outfit for every scene, but I guess they spent all the money on American cars. I guess that's what happens when you don't have a good agent!

Spored to Death: Dr. Who, any thoughts?

Dr. Who: Yes! I have many, for I am a genius! Hahaha!

Spored to Death: I meant on the movie.

Dr. Who: Of course! I knew that! I think that Titanosaurus is a big waste of time, but it was on screen more than Mechagodzilla through the whole movie. Also, even though I think that Mechagodizlla was much better than Titanosaurus, Mechagodzilla is still vastly inferior to my Mechani-Kong!

Spored to Death: What do you mean?

Dr. Who: Well just look at it. Only aliens would concieve of such a clunky design for a robot. It appears that Mechagodzilla has a hard time moving. Such design flaws are truly the mark of inferior scientific minds!

Spored to Death: But... its just a big robot version of Godzilla. That's basically the same thing you did. You just made a big robot version of King Kong.

Dr. Who: Shut up! You know nothing of my work!

Spored to Death: But... I reviewed your movie.

Dr Who: Shut up! Shut up you! As I was saying, my Mechani-Kong is far superior to Mechagodzilla. Not only does it have lazers and grenades, but it also has a hypnotic flashing light which I can use to control King Kong through voice commands! Can Mechagodzilla do that? I think not!

Spored to Death: So, Dr. Who, tell me... when you got the idea to hypnotize King Kong and give him voice commands, how did you know that Kong would understand English? Or Japanese? I mean, he is a giant gorilla.

Dr. Who: .....

Spored to Death: Dr. Who?

Dr. Who: Shut up! You don't understand the power of Mechani-Kong! Mechagodzilla pales in comparison to its power!

Spored to Death: I'm sure that if we you ever cross paths with a giant robotic plumber that Mechani-Kong will be of great help by kidnapping the giant metal princess and throwing giant barrels at the robot plumber as he tries to rescue her.

Dr. Who: What are you talking about? There are no such things as giant robot plumbers!

Spored to Death: Looks like we're out of time folks. Join us next week for part 2 of our Mechagodzilla movie review special with our guests Madame X and Dr. Who. Until next week Sporefans, good night.

Dr. Who: Katsura, if you're reading this... call me.

Madame X: Give it a rest you old goat!

And now for your youtube link. Enjoy:

And now, a special preview of next week's review:

Dr. Who: And now you shall both witness the awesome power of element X!!!

Madame X: No, don't! You'll kill us all!

Spored to Death: Huh? Did you say something? I'ma... just a little drunk... you know...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Coming soon...

Sorry Sporefans, but Tuesday night's post will be a little late, as its part of a special review. We've got a 2 part review coming up for 2 Mechagodzilla movies, with some special guests. Stay tuned this week for part 1 of 2!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Greetings Sporefans. This week we'll be reviewing a movie that could arguably be one of the worst movies to come out of Japan since "The X from Outer Space". Strap yourselves in, because this week we'll be taking a look at the movie "Kairo", which translates into "Circuit". The movie was remade in the U.S. as "Pulse", and from what I understand, the American translation has been given pretty lackluster reviews.

For those of you who haven't seen either version of this movie, and for those of you who have seen this movie and are still confused about what the SPORE is going on, Kairo is about creepy Japanese ghosts that come out of the computer and depress the crap out of you.

Seriously, that's what this movie is about.

Oh god, I'm so depressed!

The premise of Kairo is that the afterlife has become full, and souls are escaping into this world because there is no more room for them. The dead souls get on the Internet and form a plan so ridiculous that it could only be unintentionally mimicked in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Because killing people would only create more ghosts, the ghosts decide to make everyone in the world immortal: by trapping them in their loneliness.

This ghost plan hinges on the Japanese culture's sense of fatalism. Kairo follows a cycle where someone finds some ghosts online, they become obsessed, the build a "forbidden room", then they encounter a ghost or a trapped soul, then they turn into a trapped soul and someone else stumbles upon them. Lather, rinse, and repeat until the Apocalypse is complete. No matter how much you think a character might want to survive, they all lose their will to live and are reduced to a stain on the wall, whispering "help me" for all of eternity. Its really kind of sad when the crux of your movie is undone by the concept of free will. Oops.

Man, I hope that we don't get depressed. Maybe we should do it now... just in case. No? Oh... well that's depressing.

That's not to say that there are no scary moments in this movie. There are a couple of pretty scary scenes in the beginning, but as the story progresses they become few and far between. The movie mostly focuses on the "survivors" as the struggle to keep the will to exist alive within them. Those who fail usually rake their own lives, but there is one scene where a victim literally spontaneously ceases to exist and becomes dust. Its actually pretty silly.

The girl in the back ground is about to not exist any more. Prepare yourself for spontaneous non-existence!

It seems that the will to survive is somehow tied into a character's need to be with other people. The more lonely and isolated the character feels, the more likely they are to succumb to the "undeath" that spreads over the world. The affected characters are put in situations where they are with other people, and yet they somehow still feel lonely. This is pretty frustrating to watch, as the young couple who met right before the apocalypse falls apart when the girl wants to be with her dead classmates more than the living boyfriend she just met. Behold the horror of motivation! Or lack thereof.

While this movie isn't really scary, what I did find interesting is that I could easily generate a list of things that Japanese people seem to be afraid of by watching this movie. As a matter of fact, I did make a list of things that Japanese people appear to be afraid of, at least according to the movie "Kairo".

By the way, this list is in chronological order, so it was written as the movie was playing. If you're brave, watch the movie and see if you can pick out the scene's where I came up with the items on the list.
  • Computers
  • The Internet
  • Ghosts
  • Children
  • Phones
  • Reflections
  • Duct tape or Red tape
  • Stains on walls
  • Libraries
  • Critical Mass
  • Hair
  • Televisions
  • Death
  • Loneliness
  • Separation anxiety
  • Living
  • The phrase "Tasketke!", which translates into "Help me!"
  • Spontaneous non-existence
  • Wind
  • Depression
  • Empty arcades
  • Shadows
  • Static
  • Rooms
  • Suicide
  • Seeing yourself online
  • Losing your girlfriend to a ghost
  • Silence
  • The Apocalypse
  • The future
  • Spilling gasoline
  • Acknowledging death
  • Blurry ghosts
  • Plane crashes
  • Dust

As you can plainly see, the movie Kairo depicts the Japanese as hopelessly neurotic. Not only are the characters afraid of all of the following, encountering some of the items in the above list will drive them into a fit of depression and eventual suicide... or spontaneous non-existence. Afterwards they either become whispering stains, or very blurry ghosts, and either choice leaves them horribly depressed.

There is a convention in the movie where one of the characters states that ghosts look like everyone else, unless you notice them. But the movie goes on and destroys that notion, as most of the ghosts in the movie appear blurry or walk really funny. I don't know about you Sporefans out there, but If there was a blurry person standing in front of me I think I might notice that. Sure, they get clearer as they get closer, but they all move in that creepy dead person walk the Japanese are so fond of portraying. That might just be a giveaway that you're staring at a ghost.

Can you tell if this blurry chick is a ghost? Or a girl? For those of you who said probably, you're probably right. The rest of you will be depressed and turned into stains.

I also noted that as the movie continued, the Internet as a conduit for souls was phased out of the movie, in favor of a "contagion" theme brought about by contact with souls in the forbidden rooms. I guess this is necessary, as webmasters and Internet service providers who got all depressed and turned into stains or ghosts wouldn't be around to maintain the Internet.

I totally knew this would happen! Why didn't we do it when we had the chance?! WHYYYYYYYYY??!?!?!!!

I'm so depressed now.

In short, if you're afraid that the Internet might be making you lonely while simultaneously connecting you to everyone in the world, you might be influenced by this movie. The rest of you will be too busy on MySpace. You're probably better off not watching this movie, as the concept of being horrified by spontaneous non-existence is really very si...

Click below if you want to see a ghost. Warning! This is creepy!