Due to extenuating circumstances, we’re taking a break from the Universal Monster Movies. We had difficulty getting the Claude Rains version of Phantom of the Opera, which we were planning on watching. I considered subbing in the Lon Chaney Sr. Phantom, but the silent version, though effective, would be too confusing to follow. I watched it last night to see if it would work, and unfortunately it’s too slow in places. So while we’re deciding whether or not to skip Phantom, and until then we’ve decided to find another classic monster movie to pinch hit.
O’s choice? Naturally he wants to watch The King of the Monsters, Godzilla. Part of his interest is having watched Frankenweenie for a second time. Toshiaki, Victor’s classmate in Burton’s movie is based off the scientists who appear in Godzilla movies, and learning that has had him talking about Japanese monster films for over a week now. While Godzilla isn’t a Universal movie, the whole purpose of watching these is to go back to the source material, why not begin with one of the greatest monster movies?
Right off, this is a clear hit, he’s completely into the movie, both for the story and to figure out how they put the effects together. When we were in Hollywood this summer, we saw a presentation on practical, in-camera effects, and O is enjoying identifying which techniques are used for what scenes. Even though the models are obvious, they’re so detailed they’re still impressive (his comment: “I can tell that was a mini, but it was still awesome!”). We’re watching the Raymond Burr version (obviously, as neither of us speaks Japanese) and it’s actually helpful to have his running commentary.
O is less frightened by than rooting for Godzilla, which makes total sense. He thinks getting to wear the costume and rampage through models would be really fun, and I’d have to agree. Although he’s been reveling in the explosions and crushed models, he’s caught up as we move to the conclusion, to see how they stop Godzilla. After the movie ends he says he really thought it was fun, but ranks it after The Mummy, still our champion. He wants to watch other Japanese monster movies, so perhaps we have the beginnings of our next Monster Project? Time will tell. In the meantime, we’re going to watch The Invisible Man next, which O’s the most eager to see.