Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taste the Rainbow! Gamera vs Barugon

Daiei realized they had a hit with Giant Monster Gamera, so they did what Toho and Universal did before them: produced a sequel in just six months. They did so with a larger budget, more care, and color. Gamera vs Barugon (who should not be confused with Baragon, who fought the Frankenstein creature last year) is one of the most adult of the Gamera films, containing no child actors. It also follows the Godzilla sequence in giving the titular giant monster another giant monster to fight. In 1966, Daiei would produce this film, as well as all three Daimajin films, all in the same year. This is the first year that any studio would surpass Toho's giant monster output.

What were the odds that Gamera's giant capsule would smash into a gigantic meteor, anyway?

After Gamera's rocket encounters a meteor and is smashed apart, the gigantic turtle returns to Japan, the Kurobe Dam specifically. The Kurobe Dam was also featured in Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster, although where Ghidorah only features a visit to the dam, Gamera takes a opportunity to trash it.

Gamers trashes Kurobe Dam.

Some impressive miniatures effects as the Kurobe Dam floods ther valley below.?

The action then shifts to the human characters. We have a plot to recover a gigantic opal from New Guinea. The 1966 interpretation of New Guinea is not particularly convincing, with the dancers in plastic grass skirts and waving pom-poms, but the dancers themselves are quite good. Our female protagonist, the chief's daughter, is of course lighter than the rest of her people, and can speak excellent Japanese.

The dance is fairly interesting, but the costumes are laughable.

In keeping with with the 'ancient civilizations that have left warnings against giant monsters' trope begun in Giant Monster Gamera, the New Guinea village has a monolith carved with that looks to be some Egyptian hieroglyphs. This ancient piece of wisdom, possibly left by the same Atlanteans who carves the stone from Gamera, warns of the danger of Barugon.

Ancient wisdom, and possibly evidence that the Egyptians sailed to New Guinea.

The plot starts with four associates seeking a fist-sized opal once glimpsed in New Guinea. The main mover of the plot is a character named Onodera, who is an enormous jackass. A relentless double-crosser, he deceives at every possible moment, which leads to a lot of the human plot's tension. He beats a man with his own crutch, and breaks a chair over the the man's wife. It's difficult to think of a more despicable person in film, let alone in giant monster film, which is riddled with unethical characters. This makes his end, stuck to Barugon's tongue and devoured, quite satisfying and memorable.

First date, too much tongue!

The opal is in fact the Barugon egg which, exposed to sufficient heat, hatches. Barugon seems to come from a line of monsters, rather than being a single aberration. But the background of the monster is not important. Its role is to show up, destroy stuff, and fight the other monster.

Who's a cute wee Barugon?

Barugon takes a number of attributes from the chameleon, including the forward horns and long tongue. It's screetchy roar is distinctive but lacks menace. The suit design is interesting, boasting such achievements as light-up eyes and spines and sideways-closing eyelids. But because Barugon is played by a man in a suit while being a quadruped, the majority of the shots are not full-length, which reveal that Barugon goes on hands and crouched back legs. The most effective showing of Barugon is from the front, and I think the director was aware of this. In keeping with Gamera destroying a landmark, Barugon stomps through Kobe, pausing to smack the Kobe Port Tower with it's long tongue until it falls.


Later, rampaging through Osaka, Barugon reveals that it can project a freezing vapor out of its tongue, and the city becomes encased in ice and snow as it passes. He freezes Osaka Castle, last seen (and destroyed) in Godzilla Raids Again. When the Japanese decide to strike at him from long distance using missiles, Barugon pre-emptively retaliates with a destructive rainbow that comes out of his back horns. While it's lovely to see his deploy a new power, since the more powers he's got, the more powerful Gamera will have to be to defeat him, I wonder how he knew about the missiles. How close were they during deployment?

Barugon poses with Osaka Castle

Setting off the rainbow lures Gamera to Barugon, since Gamera is constantly looking for more energy to devour. And then the fight is on.

Gamera tastes the rainbow

One major difference between this film and all other Gamera films is that we do get scenes of people huddled in subway stations. So the film conveys a sense that the giant monsters aren't just stomping on buildings, they're also rampaging across peoples' lives. We have a number of shots that humanize the destruction, but the sequence is brief.

Waiting to hear their fate in the bomb shelters of Japan

In the middle of the film, for Gamera and Barugon's first fight, Gamera crashes into the former headquarters of the Japanese 4th Army, which could be a reiteration of the common theme that the military is useless. We have seen jets and tanks be ineffectual against Barugon. On the other hand, it could just be a large building close to Osaka Castle for Gamera to crash into.

One of the differences between Toho's Godzilla team and Daiei's is the weight of the costume. Toho created a series of linked sections for Godzilla's tail, so the tail doesn't bag like a piece of cloth. I wasn't aware of the craftsmanship until I watched this film. Barugon's tail and legs don't stretch like skin, and show a tendency to pucker where they attach to the torso.

Baggy, baggy joints

In a change from the Godzilla formula, Gamera loses his first round to Barugon. Barugon's ice vapor overcomes Gamera's fire, and after a brief fight, Gamera is frozen. But we know Gamera is the franchise's darling, so he'll be back.

The two combatants size each other up.

The end of the film is rather abrupt. Once it is determined that Barugon can be killed by water, Gamera, who apparently knows this, drags Barugon into the water and its freezing breath and rainbow beam do it no good. It's not so much a fight as Gamera showing up, dusting the monster, and the flying off.


The ending makes the film feel rather empty to me. I love many giant monster films that aren't Godzilla, but the Gamera films have so little below the surface. They aren't trying to mean anything, they are just trying to entertain. I find little complexity to them.

The commentary on the Shout Factory disk is pure pleasure. Jason Varney and August Ragone are very informative and speak of a lot of facts and interesting details, but it's very strange to realize that Jason Varney watched the same four o'clock films I did, on the same Connecticut channel, WVIT, broadcasting out of Farmington.

Next week, we returen to Toho, and my first viewing of the highly respected War of the Gargantuas, sequel to Frankestein vs Barugon.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Godzilla and the Giant Lobster: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, made in 1966, starts off borrowing a note from the original Godzilla, with the disappearance of a fishing boat. The laid-back attitude here is in stark contrast to the original, with people trying to push through to get news of their lost loved ones. Here, is serves as the impetus to try a crazy scheme to join a dance marathon to win a sailboat. This is typical of Godzilla's new direction, and certainly of his new director Jun Fukuda. Fukuda, who had been Honda's assistant director on Rodan, would direct some of the franchise's worst films, Godzilla vs Megalon and Godzilla vs Gigan. He would also write and direct the film that began Godzilla's recovery, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla.

Are you worried?  I'm not worried.

Remember when I talked about the dances in Frankenstein vs Baragon? Early in the film, we have a character who is in a dance marathon, looking to win a sail boat. The script disposes with the usual scientists and reporters as main characters, replacing them with a failed dance marathoner of no determines occupation, a thief, and an Infant Islander.


The Red Bamboo, our antagonists, are an unlikely organization. They've got their own uniforms, a shitload of guys to throw around, jet planes, a nuclear reactor, and this isn't even their main base. The fat guy who sits on the not-throne comments about getting orders from headquarters. These guys have to be as wealthy as Bond's SPECTRE. And they're dumb. Kidnapping the people of Infant Island which is known to have a vengeful giant monster god? Incredibly dumb. Building a base on the island where Godzilla is sleeping? Colossally dumb.

I defy monsters from my throne and my gadget-laiden wall!

This touches on Ebirah, Horror of the Deep's theme of monster control. Ebirah is kept away from the Red Bamboo ships by use of a yellow chemical, derived from bananas, called X-13. All boats that do not pump the X-13 overboard are attacked by the world's largest lobster. This is a contrast to Mothra, who voluntarily guards the inhabitants of Infant Island. Since Red Bamboo are entirely human, and have no mystical connection to Ebirah, they don't have the technology to fully control it. Which leads to their downfall.

Ebirah.  Good construction, terrible direction.

The Peanuts do not return as the Shobijin this time around. The are replaced by "Pair Bambi" another set of musical Japanese twins. It seems that Mothra is asleep, and won't be wakened by the prayers of her subjects at the beginning of the film. Or perhaps she is no longer amused by the old man in the astonishing feather hat, who is absent from this film.

Mothra sleeping through the liturgical dance.  What the heck, I did too.

Masaru Soto replaces Akira Ifukube as the composer, and I find his musical invention jarring. There's a jaunty, modern aspect to every piece, whether it's attempting to be stealthy tension, or waiting for lightning to strike Godzilla. I find it undermines the feel of the film, even though Fukuda's direction trends towards a lighter, action-adventure film. The combat music often sounds like 50's beach music. Modern, I suppose, but it dates itself rather quickly, unlike the classical work of Ifukube.

Godzilla is at his most human and emotive, and it doesn't serve him well here. It comes across as goofy. And damn if he doesn't look like Cookie Monster from the side.


The Giant Condor that shows up is very strange, and about as well put together as the Giant Claw. It flies in to disturb Godzilla's nap for no apparent reason other than to give Godzilla something to fight. It could be an homage to King Kong, similar to the pterodactyl that tries to snatch Fay Wray. But it's not done nearly as well. It's two saving graces are that the sequence is short, and that it never shows up again.

The Giant Claw just can't seem to not suck.

The first encounter between Godzilla and Ebirah features some more of that rock throwing. This time, the rock is volleyed back and forth between the two giant monsters through the use of some creative animation. David Kalat sees this as an indicator of the original intent to use King Kong in the Godzilla part. I have to disagree. Rock kicking and throwing has been with the franchise since King Kong vs Godzilla, and showed up in Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster.

Lobster, rock, joke.

This, on the other hand, is MUCH more impressive.

Kalat sees the lightning strike as stengthening Godzilla, as it did with Kong in King Kong vs Godzilla, but I can't say I see evidence of that. The lightning strikes waken the sleeping Godzilla, but I don't see anything, even in dialog, to indicate that it makes him stronger. In fact, when he encounters the hundred thousand volt electrical wires that surround the Red Bamboo base, he staggers back for a moment. He finds a rock to destroy the tower with, and with that, he's free to rampage across the base.

Godzilla gets a jolt to the nads

The Ebirah suit looks pretty good, a gigantic shrimp, with nobby armored plates and a pair of vicious claws. Unfortunately, the brightly-colored unsubtle direction does it no service, and good design and suit acting drown in a rising tide of uninteresting direction.

That yellow stuff was butter, wasn't it?  WASN

Kalat is very positive about the role of Dayo, the native girl who escapes the Red Bamboo. I am not to happy. She shows toughness when she is introduced, but then quickly becomes a silent partner in the business, following the men. She has to be rescued from Godzilla, she often stumbles as she runs.

In the end, Godzilla tears Ebirah's claws off. Returning to the island, he tries to pick a fight with Mothra, but she will have none of it. As Mothra bears the escaped slave labor off the island, our heroes consider that Godzilla has done them no harm, so they shout at him to get off the island before the nuclear powerplant goes critical. And he does, leaping into the sea just before detonation.

And boil

Just throw your discarded monsters into the ocean.

Ah, volcanoes triggered by nuclear meltdowns.  Those never get old.

Overall, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is on the downward slide of the Showa Godzilla franchise. Jun Fukuda lacks Ishiro Honda's deftness. The script is uninteresting, more about the wacky adventures of the humans than their interactions with the monsters. The suitimation combats are pretty good, aside from the Giant Condor. This is not one of the classic Godzilla films, and really doesn't add much to the franchise.

Next up, Gamera and the amazing technolcolor rainbow!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Turtle-zilla! Giant Monster Gamera

I almost didn't include the Gamera franchise in My Year of Monsters. I remember watching Gamera vs Gaos, and cringing from the terrible Sandy Howard dubbing. And I understand the Sandy Frank version is worse. Fortunately, Shout Factory has put out subtitled versions of the series. While they may not be great achievements in film, the Gamera franchise is much easier to take, weird 60's plots and all, in their original form.

Gamera was the creation Daiei studios, who had worked with Akira Kurosawa to create Roshamon. Unlike Godzilla, who began as a metaphor, Gamera was intended from the beginning to be a child-friendly giant monster money-maker. Many tropes were already established, and but Daiei's films found their own path, borrowing from Godzilla and other giant monster films rather than apeing them. Daiei would continue to make a Gamera film a year until running out of steam after Gamera vs Zigra in 1971.

Magical firey breath!

Giant Monster Gamera draws a great deal from Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. From the nuclear/Arctic origin to a scene with a lighthouse, Gamera is more little brother to Godzilla, striving to catch up to big brother's achievements, than a direct spawn of the Godzilla franchise. However, the competition allowed the two franchises to swap ideas back and forth. Toho watched the success of Gamera, and began aiming their Godzilla films at a younger audience, and began including children in the stories. Daiei lacked Toho's Eiji Tsubaraya, with his eye for perfection and innovation. Daiei also wasn't willing to commit as much money as Toho, even in the middle sixties, when Toho budgets were plummeting. So the miniatures work is not nearly as compelling.

Does Giant Monster Gamera look melted to you?

There are nods to the 1954 Godzilla as well. Gamera's head appears over an ice ridge, threatening the Chidori Maru, in a similar way to Godzilla's first appearance over the creast of a hill. Dr. Hidaka expfresses sentiments similar to those of Dr. Yamane in Godzilla and Dr. Elson in Beast, that it would be sad to destroy such a unique specimen. The first attempt to destroy Gamera is with high-voltage wires, which we saw in Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Godzilla and Gorgo. And once the atypical geothermal plant has been destroyed, Gamera heads for the classic location: Tokyo.

When in tokyo, destroy the lovely Tokyo Tower.

In many ways, Gamera the Giant Monster is a throwback, more like something that would have come out in the fifties, rather than 1965. The film is black and white, and the monster is alone. We have the prototypical monster's rampage with no opposing monster to stop it. In one of the few more modern touches, there is a disco scene, with the careless, goofy kids dancing away before the police come in and tell them to evacuate. Ignorant and uncaring, the kids won't stop their sock-hop. They are unprepared when Gamera crushes the building.

Sock Hop of DEEEEATH!

According to David Kalat, the -ra ending, which ends so many giant monster names (Mothra, Ghidora, Ebira) serves the same function that -zilla has achieved in English. And since the name is Gojira in Japan, he makes a good case. So Gamera is literally Turtle-zilla.

Unlike Godzilla, Gamera was not created as a nuclear metaphor, although with heightened tension of the arms race, writer Nisan Takahashi (who would write all of the Gamera films until 1980) can certainly be excused for including nuclear weapons, even if they only serve, as with Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to awaken the giant beast. Gamera has some sort of thin backstory about being a gigantic turtle from Atlantis, but this is not well developed. Everyone is quite astonished when Gamera shoots jet flames out of the holes in its shell, but there's no explanation for this, either.

Well, can't say I saw that coming...

There seems to be a religious subtext within Gamera. I find it strange and unlikely that an Inuit would be wearing a cricifix, even more so as he's doing so outside his anorak. It may be a sign of foreignness. Fortunately, he has a stone from Atlantis, which explains that Gamera is the Devil's Envoy.

Have you heard the Good News about Eskimo Christ?!

Enter Toshio. Toshio is the kid, and there will be kids in all the subsequent Gamera films, and several Godzilla films. This film doesn't pander so much to the kids, but the low point of Godzilla's franchise comes when child actors are used. Toshio is a turtle-obsessed kid who has trouble making friends. As a turtle-obsessed kid who had trouble making friends myself, I still can't muster up much sympathy for the character. He's clearly deluded, his conclusions very much contradicting that action that's happening on-screen. Gamera appears, and while the adults are frightened, Toshio is excited. He is, I suppose a stand-in for the intended audience, who love giant monsters. But Toshio has no expectation of getting killed, where we as the audience do not live in a universe where gigantic turtles destroy Tokyo. Toshio's actions in the film therefore seem delusional, unattached to what is happening around him. On seeing Gamera, he runs up the lighthouse to greet him face-to-face, but Gamera knocks the lighthouse down. Fortunately, he catches Toshio, demonstrating his dual role as building-destroying monster that is kind to kids. In another attempt to meet Gamera face-to-face he catches a ride on an oil car that is about to be fed to the monstrous terrapin. Gamera reaches for the car, there's an explosion, and miraculously, Toshio and the guy trying to rescue him are on the ground, unhurt. But Toshio constantly says Gamera is a good turtle, and than he's only acting this way because people are attacking him. The statement doesn't hold up well, especially after we watch Gamera breathe flames on a building-full of adults.

Aw, he's just misunder--AAAAAAAAA  THE BURNING!

The set piece in which Gamera destroys the geothermal plant is pretty good. And it marks the very brief intervention by the military. Toshio insists that Gamera doesn't mean to be bad, but what else do you do with a gigantic, invulnerable turtle that's eating the local fire?

And BOOM goes the geothermal powerplant!!

Gamera's Tokyo rampage is less impressive. He smashes buildings, tromps on overpasses, crushes highways. Unlike Godzilla, who doesn't breathe fire on civilians any more, Gamera opens a building, exposes the cowering humans, and then pours fire down on them. If Toshio is right and Gamers doesn't mean to be bad, he's sure not making any friends. And since director Noriaki Yuasa directed both the live action special effects sequences, we can rule out a miscommunication between the two portions of the script.

Stomping Tokyo, like all monsters should.

A third set piece happens at a petroleum refinery, and serves as a perfect example of the difference between a Tsuburaya production and one of Daiei's. The sequence starts of well, with the oil tanks burning and the occasional explosion. The rail line starts to send cars full of oil down the track to Gamera, who stands at the end of the railhead. The problem is, he's not doing anything. Not destroying, not looking around, just waving his hands around, waiting for his oil to be delivered. When a long line of oil tankers is presented to him, he pulls them in. When he's not doing that... he's just standing at the end of the rail head, waving his arms. He does the same when captured by the Plan Z platform. He moves to it, then stands there, waiting for the plot to happen.

What's that do?

With the military once again demonstrated as useless, the scientists must turn to science to save Japan. They decide to load Gamera into a gigantic rocket and shoot it off the Earth. This is called "Plan Z." Again, the absurdity of lifting something as heavy as a 60-meter turtle with a rocket is completely glossed. And off to Mars goes Gamara. Science has triumphed.

What's that do?

Giant Monster Gamera is a better film without the terrible dub job, but it's still not a good film. It's really only an acceptable monster film. Gamera has his fans, and that's fine, but I'm not one of them. Sixties and seventies goofiness is something I can take only in small doses, and Gamera is just full of thoughtless little pieces. Is Toshio right about Gamera? Without Toshio, Gamera is pretty much an ordinary monster film. With the child actor that is supposed to represent the audience's interest in the film, the weird Atlantean origin story that goes nowhere, the surprise deployment of jets from his shell, and the lack of attention to background detail, the film feels like one of those SyFy jobs that got slapped together. Nobody loved it. Nobody sat down and thought about what this meant. Things happen for the sake of happening.

Yeah I'm confused, and I'm not even a turtle.

Next week, the clock ticks over to 1966, when Daiei produces more kaiju than Toho, Frankenstein's monster gets a clone, and I discuss a lost film from another continent.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Monster From Another Franchise: Frankenstein vs Baragon

Toho wasn't the only company making monster films in the sixties. England's Hammer films were successfully mining the classic Dracula, Frankenstein, mummy and werewolf franchises. Following on the classic Universal franchise, Hammer released The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957, Revenge of Franksenstein in 1958, and The Evil of Frankenstein in 1964. Toho, never one to let a good idea slip away, produced its own Frankenstein film in 1965. They hedged their bets by making it gigantic, and threw in a new monster of their own invention. True to the film versions that have gone before, this is the unspeaking creature, not the literate and eloquent creature from Shelley's book.

Chemistry will kill us all.

Our first section is a nearly wordless scequence in which Nazi soldiers take Dr. Frankenstein's work, the immortal, beating heart of the Frankenstein creature. The brightly-colored chemistry lab recalls both the Universal and Hammer Frankenstein films. Invaded by the Allies, they send it by sub to Japan, in the hopes of creating soldiers more resistant to bullets. They bring the heart to Hiroshima Army Hospital, which sits in the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, known today as one of the few buildings left standing at the hypocenter of the Hiroshima nuclear detonation. With that small touch of foreshadowing, the atomc bomb does arrive in one of Eiji Tsubaraya's most firey sequences, one of the best atomic detonation sequences outside of the one in Terminator 2.

A rush of flames.

And an impressive approximation of a mushroom cloud.

With that dose of radiation, the Frankenstein Heart takes fifteen years to regenerate itself into a boy who continues to grow. The makeup designers clearly used the original Karloff as their model, with the vertical, square forehead, but as he regenerated without human intervention, there are no bolts in his neck.

Flat head, big forehead.  Yep, it's him.

This is another film that features Nick Adams, as American scientist Dr. Bowen this time. The Frankenstein Creature grows and grows, implicitly because of the radiation he absorbed from the atomic bomb. The science boffins have trouble keeping him contained, partially out of fear from his enormous size. In an inversion of the usual Godzilla trope of reporters being seekers of truth, the Frankenstein creature is tormented by the lights of some reporters, like King Kong. This is not all that surprising, since the script is a derivation of the Willis O'Brien script King Kong vs Frankenstein. The Creature escapes the hospital by either pulling off or chewing through his right wrist, leaving a massive hand behind. This sets us up for the next film in the series, War of the Gargantuas, in 1966. Inserted for no reason that I can tell, we have a scene of young men and women dancing at a bar just before Baragon rolls over the town. I understand at this preiod, there was a lot of concern that the youth were wasting their time, doing nothing productive. These scenes will proliferate through the late sixties, in Yongarry, Godzilla vs Hedorah, and several others I haven't yet seen. The youth are always dancing their cares away just before the giant monster crashes in on the building.

Dance, dance dance, HOLY CRAP MONSTERS!

Although even I have to wonder what's with the guy carrying the pick-axe.

Pick axe.  At a dance party.

This is the first film in which the obscure but very popular Baragon appears. Its popularity is staggering considering that it has appeared in only three films, this one, Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, although the suit would be used several times in Ultraman. But the design is one from the endlessly inventive mind of Tsuburaya and company, and even if it's a bit cute, I like the design.


For a while, the film's military characters believe that the Frankenstein Creature is responsible for the destroction Baragon wreaks. This despite scenes of people watching Baragon tromp over their houses. But this also brings us to the more heroic Frankenstein Creature versus the Evil Baragon. This is the direction Godzilla is taking in his more heroic ascension for the rest of the Showa era.

The confrontation between the Creature and Baragon has a very different feel than most giant monster fights. Because Frankenstein is applied makeup rather than a full suit, actor Kôji Furuhata could be very nimble, performing some tumbles that no suit actor has ever been able to. In addition, the fight portrays Frankenstein as much more intelligent than his opponent, something King Kong vs Godzilla attempted to do, but never truly succeeded at. Again like the original Kong, Frankenstein attempts to pry Baragon's jaws open, similar to Kong and the Tyrannosaur. It's not a successful tactic this time.

Frankenstein vs Barugon!  FIGHT!

Toward the end of the fight, everything is backdropped by a very impressive forest fire. Again, some brilliant effects work by Tsuburaya.

This Frankenstein is not afraid of fire.

Frankenstein, as the sympathetic monster, is victorious, but the ground crumbles beneath him after Baragon is defeated. He is swallowed by the earth at the moment of his triumph.

I just defeated my first monst---AW CRAP!

The ending is a bit different in the International version. In it, Frankenstein roars his triumph and raised Baragon over his head, throwing him down on the rocks below. At which point, he is confronted with a giant octopus that happened to be taking a stroll up the rocky cliff. They fight. According to Wikipedia, the American co-producers were so amazed by the octopus fight in King Kong vs Godzilla that they insisted that there be one in this film. Honda shot it, but without any of the live-action octopus footage that made the original so good. The puppet is much better than the one original, but it's not particularly convincing. The alternative ending was cut from the Japanese and American versions of the film, but is part of the International release. Yeah, there's a lot of rock-throwing on the part of Frankenstein. It ends with the traditional fall into the lake ending so common after Kong Kong vs Godzilla. In this case, it would almost certainly spell doom for Frankenstein. He could barely hold his own against the octopus on land. In it's home environment, he's pretty well screwed.

Frankenstein wraps some monster tentacles around himself.

Frankenstein vs Baragon is an enjoyable film, a little slow in the middle, when Dr. Bowen and his associated are puzzling out what Frankenstein is, and what do do with him. it includes a surprisingly humanist question, as to whether Frankenstein is more monster than human, even though he was made of human parts. The question is never answered, and left for the audience, which I felt was a more subtle touch that I have seen in kaiju film for a long time.

Next up, the second most successful kaiju franchise of all time.