Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II

 

The cover for the soundtrack

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is not a sequel to the original Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, but a continuation of the 90s Heisei series. Continuing their strategy of rebooting older monsters, the producers at Toho brought back the two remaining mega-monster stars: MechaGodzilla and Rodan. They also gave Godzilla a son again, but rather than bring back the divisive Minya they opted for a more realistic take. There are two central plots to the film. The first is G-Force, an organization tasked with battling Godzilla and other monsters, creating a mechanical Godzilla in hopes of finally killing the Big G once and for all. The other is the discovery of an egg in Rodan’s nest. It turns out to be a baby Godzilla, and Godzilla and Rodan battle for custody of the child. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is full of good ideas, but I find the film to be somewhat lacking. I think it’s not absurd or good enough to draw me in. The real issue might be the monster battles. The Heisei series is infamous for having the monsters stand apart throwing beams at each other and I find it to get boring at times. It’s nice to actually have them sometimes grapple or fight like actual animals. The music, though, is probably Ifukube’s best from the 90s. Continue reading

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Akira Ifukube - King King Vs Godzilla - O.S.T. - Amazon.com Music

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Godzilla actually took a long hiatus after his second film. Toho instead put its resources into other solo monster films, introducing the likes of Rodan and Mothra. In 1962 it finally brought back the King of the Monsters, but only after acquiring the rights to American icon King Kong. In a rare event, two characters would cross universes to fight each other (or more accurately King Kong would enter Godzilla’s universe, as the big G starts the film encased in his prison from 1955). The end result was a pretty goofy film, shockingly butchered in its Americanization. The King Kong costume is terrible, but the final clash itself is one of the best fights of the entire series. Much of the crew from the first Godzilla film were brought over, including Akira Ifukube. Ifukube would have the chance to develop the Godzilla theme further, as well as introduce some other memorable tunes. Continue reading

Godzilla, King of the Monsters

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Toho, one of the major studios of the burgeoning Japanese film industry, decided to get into the giant-monster-created-by-nuclear-energy genre popularized in America. However, the Japanese actually had suffered the effects of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II, not to mention massive fire-bombing, so their film had a lot more weight and gravitas. Gojira, Americanized as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, is actually a deep and heavily thematic film. It’s incredible how the series progressed to kiddie superhero fare by the 70s. Imagine the Godfather turning into an over-the-top gangster action series. The film was even able to maintain some of its atmosphere in the Americanized version, which cut out much of the film and inserted scenes of Raymond Burr as an American reporter (all things considering, the Americanization did a good job linking him to pre-existing Japanese characters).

Godzilla himself is one of Japan’s most iconic exports, an amphibious dinosaur who looks like a mix between a tyrannosaur and stegosaurus and breathes atomic fire. His distinctive roar was actually produced with musical instruments by his first composer, Akira Ifukube. The roar was so linked to the franchise and its sound that it often appears on soundtracks. Ifukube himself is regarded as the franchise’s primary composer, scoring eleven of the thirty or so films. Though never having scored a film since the mid-90s and his death, each recent Godzilla film has featured at least one of his compositions. Continue reading