For the past several years, acclaimed French director Denis Villeneuve has been quietly working on a new, big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's monumental science fiction opus, Dune
. While information about the cast and crew have been known for some time, as well as the fact that this will be they will be splitting the adaptation of the novel into two movies, all we've gotten as far as concrete visuals from the production side has been a few scattered photos and screenshots.
Until now. Now, we finally have the first long-awaited trailer.
Dune has been adapted for the big screen before, of course; by David Lynch in 1984, in a movie
which starred Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, Jose Ferrer, Max Von Sydow, Linda Hunt and Brad Dourif, among many others; and again in 2000, in a miniseries
produced by the Sci-Fi Channel. Both efforts were, well, mixed
. The Lynch movie was epic and grandiose, with a particularly memorable musical score and full of truly over-the-top acting, but it had the burden of trying to compress a 412-page novel into 2 hours and 17 minutes, and took some controversial liberties along the way. The miniseries, meanwhile, was longer and more true to the book, but had to make due with a much
lower budget, and ultimately failed to impress.
With all of that in mind, I'm quite eager for this movie. I was very impressed by Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049
, and I think the decision to split this adaptation into two movies is a very good one, because there is sooooo much background info that needs to be properly established and explained.
And based on this trailer, it is looking damned impressive so far.
star Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer on Friday.
The following message was posted on the actor's Twitter feed
This is truly shocking news. Apparently he had been battling cancer for years, but had never publicized his condition.
I don't know very much about Boseman personally, but from what little I saw, he seemed a genuinely decent person, unlike so many of the pretentious fools that populate Hollywood. I remember being struck by an event a couple of years ago where he received some award, and gave it to a man who had been injured stopping a shooting at a restaurant.
August 25, 2020
So DC just had their big FanDome
event, and hell if it doesn't look like they may actually be trying to make a comeback of sorts. There were trailers for the long-awaited Snyder Cut of Justice League
, Wonder Woman 1984
, James Gunn's Suicide Squad
reboot, and last but certainly not least...this.
I think it actually looks shockingly good, and at the same time, very different from all the previous Batman movies (with the possible exception of The Dark Knight
), striking a very deliberately cerebral tone and promising an ominous new take on The Riddler. I've had my doubts about Robert Pattinson as (a very young) Batman, and I still think he'd be a more natural fit as Dick Grayson, but having said that, I also had a lot of doubts (to say the least) about Ben Affleck in the role, and he completely surprised me. So this looks like it could be very, very interesting.
I'm also not familiar with director Matt Reeves' previous work on the recent Planet of the Apes
trilogy, but they were obviously pretty popular.
So, you might not have heard about this, but there's another big presidential election here in the U.S. this November. Unfortunately, it looks like our choices will once again boil down to:
- More Of The Same
- Even Worse
This is a particularly raw deal because, as you may also not be aware, the country is currently in a bad way. (And that may be the single greatest understatement on this entire website.)
First, an outbreak of a virus from China threw the country into a panic and prompted the government to destroy our economy, which caused more than forty-four million people to lose their jobs and decimated countless industries. Then the same government decided to spend several trillion dollars to try to compensate, because if there's one thing the country needs, it's more debt
. Then, a video came out showing a police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of a man who subsequently died, and a bunch of people across the country decided that the best response to this was to burn down their cities, loot and destroy local businesses, and physically assault and/or murder a bunch of people who had nothing to do with the incident everyone was supposedly so enraged about. A lot of people also decided to tear down, vandalize or otherwise deface countless historic monuments to everyone from the nation's Founders, to President Abraham Lincoln, to Frederick Douglass, many of which had stood for decades or even centuries. People in several cities also decided to claim parts of those cities for themselves and set up so-called "autonomous zones", complete with armed checkpoints, which they declared to be their own sovereign nations. Most of those have finally been broken up, but several of them were allowed to stand for several weeks.
This has all been allowed to go on, to a greater or lesser extent, for nearly two and a half months, and counting. One almost gets the impression that the country is suffering from a complete and utter lack of leadership.
And to add insult to injury, come November, we will in all likelihood be asked to choose between President Donald Trump, who I am beginning to seriously think does not even want
a second term in office, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who, depending on the time of day, may not even be aware that he's running for President.
This is why I began this post by quoting The Comedian, from Watchmen
: because it's all a joke.
So, instead of putting up my usual serious election-year thread, I have decided this year to treat this as what it is. So here's what we're going to do. Rather than hold a limited debate and/or poll featuring the candidates who are actually
running, I say we instead pitch our own. Everyone is invited to contribute to this, and be as serious about it as you wish, or go as nuts as you want to. Propose any candidate you want, and make a case for them. And I mean any
candidate; historical figures, alive or dead, or even fictional characters are all fair game. Thomas Jefferson, Steve Rogers, Megatron, or Commander Shepard would all be valid and acceptable options.
I'll add my own proposal in a subsequent reply.
So you may or may not have noticed, but the forum was down for a couple months. But now it's back, and with a fairly dramatic new look, too.
I'm curious to hear what everyone thinks about that.
So... how is everyone?
I'm currently fine. My parents are a little stressed, but coping. New Zealand's currently going into a hardline lockdown over this pandemic
, with large events being cancelled left and right, and anyone coming here having to go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days, except for people coming from the Pacific Islands. A recession is pretty much inevitable.
And we're already dealing with the worst drought in a century to boot. This is a major double-whammy.
So I recently watched the first two seasons of the recent Castlevania anime, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed with it.
I was expecting it to more or less follow the plot of Dracula's Curse
, with Trevor setting out on his epic journey to the castle, meeting and teaming up with his new allies along the way to eventually confront Dracula and put a (temporary) end to his reign of terror.
I was not
expecting nearly the entire first season to center almost exclusively around how much Warren Ellis hates Christianity, which, even if that's your thing, has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of any Castlevania game, ever. The second season was nearly as bad, with the majority of it getting wrapped up in vampire politics, Carmilla manipulating everyone, and ultimately making the main character of Curse of Darkness
her personal bitch. Meanwhile, Dracula just sat and stared at his fireplace in a state of complete apathy, and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard literally spent half the season sitting in a library, with the show barely remembering to come back and check on them for a couple minutes per episode, before going back to the Transylvanian equivalent of some stupid reality show.
Having said that, the (one) episode where the heroes finally
stormed the castle and fought Dracula was flat out incredible. But that only served to underscore what the show should
have been doing, all along.
My bottom line: the animation was decent, and the voice cast was terrific. But as it is, I think most of the series has been a huge missed opportunity, spending far too much time on boring side characters who weren't even in the games, and not nearly enough
time on the ones who were. If they'd followed the games more closely (which Ellis is on record as not having bothered to play or research any of them), the series could have been a lot better.
Insert bad pun about hindsight here.
Also, now Blade Runner
is no longer in the future.
Must be midlife that's leading me back to past things. Been a while since I've been here. Hello to all.
Well, it's that time of year again. And while none of you will be surprised to learn that I spent the past hour or two hunting for some very specific topical images, apparently Goji doesn't do Christmas so here we are.
I have spoken.
Whakaari (White Island) should be a goddamn case study on learning where to draw the line on casual visitors approaching an active volcano. The sad news is that a few days ago, the volcano erupted while tourists were visiting the island. So far we have 16 confirmed fatalities and many more suffering horrific burns. Some of them have virtually no skin left anywhere
A few weeks before, GNS
issued a bulletin putting the volcanic alert level at 2, indicating significant volcanic unrest. This is also 1 step away from alert level 3: a localised eruption. Despite that, tour operators chose to head to the island anyway. I suppose they rationalised that eruptions can happen at any alert level - which is true - and felt that the risk was worth it. All visitors to the island have to wear hard hats and gas masks, which in normal circumstances
would have been enough to ensure their safety. After all, White Island is constantly active and churning out steam and poison gas, and that activity lulled us all into a false sense of security. We thought the volcano to be predictable.
I've tried putting up a bird's eye view of White Island, but I've had no luck. Google Images has plenty of them, so if you want a visual aid, go there. I was going to try to visually demonstrate why any visitors would be absolutely fucked
if there was an eruption - which there just was. And why it may be time for these tourist visits to STOP.
Here's the gist: White Island is a stratovolcano that is about 70% underwater, with only the tip-top of the mountain above water, and the crater is only 30m above sea level. Part of the crater wall is collapsed, allowing easy access by jetty to the crater itself. But that means there's only one way in, one way out. You're hemmed in by high crater walls on all sides except the part open to the sea, the air is thick with toxic gas, there's no man-made shelters and the main crater is only 700m away. In an eruption - if you're on the island, you have nowhere to go.
Whakaari often erupts with bursts of hot ash, steam and gas that certainly rises upwards, but just as often travels across the land via the path of least resistance. That is to say, it follows the same route to the sea as the tourists. And anyone caught in that shit gets steam broiled.
You've probably already heard about this, but it demands a forum thread for posterity because...well, I'll just let it speak for itself.
So Rolling Stone published an interview with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy
the other day, and the opening paragraph must be read to be believed.
Interviewer Brian Hiatt asked Kennedy, "Jurassic World
director Colin Trevorrow was slated to write and direct Episode IX
before you brought J.J. Abrams back in. Is this final entry in the trilogy a particularly hard nut to crack?" Her answer:
Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.
So. Yeah. Compared to, say, comic book movies, Star Wars movies are harder to write because there's no existing source material to draw on. She really, honestly said that.
And to be fair, I'm sure she's right. I mean, it's not like there was 20+ years of published material by highly accomplished, distinguished authors and creators that they decided to arbitrarily broom in its entirety
when they took over the company, or anything like that. It's gotta be tough.
Okay, let's cut the bullshit now. This woman is a complete embarrassment and a disgrace. She's an ideologically-driven hack
, which might be excusable were she not also a staggeringly incompetent airhead who has no idea what she's doing, and as supporting evidence for that
I direct you to the production of every Star Wars movie after Rogue One
. The development of Solo
was such a legendary train wreck that it's nothing short of a miracle that anything remotely viewable came out on the other side (and for the record, I don't think it was a terrible movie). Both in that case and now with The Rise of Skywalker
, they hired unqualified directors only to fire and replace them well into production for one reason or another. The developers of Game of Thrones
just walked away from a planned trilogy Lucasfilm wanted them to make -- not just one
movie, but an entire trilogy
of movies. And you'll notice I haven't even mentioned that other movie
, though on that note, Rian Johnson's public statements about his own long-planned trilogy have grown increasingly vague, evasive and self-contradictory of late. Disney's Bob Iger has also announced
that theatrical Star Wars movies would be going on "hiatus" after the release of TRoS, for an undetermined period.
So yeah, go read the entire interview
for yourself. 'Cause if you think I just cherrypicked the worst of it...you'll quickly find out, I didn't
If you had to rate every game you've ever played on a scale from 1 to 10, how many would you actually rate a full 10 out of 10? And which ones would they be?
Mind you, this does not
mean the games in question have to be without any flaws whatsoever. Only that their strengths, in your view, so outweighed their weaknesses that they might as well have been flawless, or that you felt truly raised the bar for their entire genre. Games that you can play for hours, days, weeks or even months on end, and never grow tired of or lose your appreciation for.
Anyway, here are mine.
- Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Bioshock (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Castle of Illusion (Genesis)
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation, Xbox 360)
- Chrono Trigger (Super NES, DS)
- Final Fantasy IV (Super NES, Playstation, Game Boy Advance, DS)
- Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
- Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)
- Gunstar Heroes (Genesis, Xbox 360)
- Halo 3 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
- The Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past (Super NES)
- Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
- Metal Gear Solid (Playstation)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (Playstation 2)
- Metroid 3: Super Metroid (Super NES)
- Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Genesis, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
- Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
- Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Xbox)
- Starcraft II (PC)
- Super Street Fighter II (arcade, Super NES, Playstation 2)
- Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Playstation, Playstation 2)
- The Walking Dead (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
We've all heard about the Saudi oil fields being hit by drones and the Trump administration is blaming Iran. The Saudis are also blaming Iran. I'm more inclined to believe it was the Houthis in Yemen, though, seeing as Saudi Arabia has been invading their country and committing genocide against their nation for several years now. A strike on Saudi oil facilities is logical, as it would slow their war effort and hit their bottom line.
I don't see Iran benefitting from a brazen attack like this, which would invite an attack from the US, which has been practically begging
for an excuse to invade since Trump took power. Make no mistake, I don't like the regime in Tehran. AT ALL. But if the US decides to invade Iran on false pretenses, we'll be looking at the biggest conflict since WWII, and millions will
die. You can expect Israel and Saudi Arabia to join you as they're equally eager to see Iran destroyed, but don't count on anyone else. The sentiment I've picked up indicates the rest of the world is fed up with America right now.
I hope it doesn't come to war. But the way things are going, war seems inevitable.
So as I'm sure you've all noticed by now, I'm a recently-revived Godzilla fanboy. I've loved the character since as far back as I can remember; indeed, in my early childhood, my two favorite things in the world were Star Wars and Godzilla. It's something I've returned to in recent years, first out of sheer nostalgia, then in anticipation of the most recent movies, and finally, in the hope of sharing this particular joy with a younger generation.
But as there have been more than 30 movies over the past 65 years, the history and film continuity of the world's favorite nuclear-powered dinosaur has naturally become pretty complicated, if not downright convoluted. Luckily for anyone reading this, I've taken the burden of research upon myself (you're welcome
), and what better way to sort it all out than with a forum post?
...I mean...I guess I could also make a spreadsheet, but I have this forum so I might as well use it!
From left: Gojira (1954), Showa Godzilla (1955-1975), Heisei Godzilla (1984-1991), Heisei Godzilla (1991-1994), Zilla (1998), Millennium Godzilla (1999-2004), Legendary Godzilla (2014), Shin Godzilla (2016), Godzilla: Earth (2017-2018), Legendary Godzilla (2019)
Artwork by ULTRA-TAF, who has generously granted me permission to use their work. ありがとう!
The most basic thing to understand is that Toho Co., Ltd.
's first 28 kaiju
(monster) movies are divided into several distinct eras, which are referred to as the Showa
period (1954-1975), the Heisei
period (1984-1995), the Millennium
period (1999-2004), and now, the Reiwa
period (2016-). Each period is more or less a single and separate continuity, but they all claim the original 1954 Gojira
as their starting point. In addition, the 1998 Roland Emmerich film, Polygon's recent anime trilogy, and Legendary Pictures' current and ongoing "MonsterVerse" franchise are each a separate and self-contained continuity.
It's also worth noting that Toho was running with the concept of all their films sharing a single continuity over half a century before the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
.Gojira and the Showa Period: 1954-1975
The Showa era, and Godzilla's story, began in 1954 with Ishiro Honda's grim and somber original movie, which is by far the darkest and most serious film in the entire franchise. But as the character of Godzilla became more and more popular, particularly with children, the tone of the movies quickly became much more light-hearted and whimsical. Thus, what began as a bleak commentary on nuclear proliferation turned into an excuse for men in rubber dinosaur costumes to beat the crap out of each other and destroy miniature cities, because...well, let's be honest with ourselves: why wouldn't
you do that?
These are the movies I remember from my early childhood, and with the exception of the very first film, nearly all of them, particularly from 1962 forward, were aimed at a young audience. And make no mistake...I may be a Goji
fan, but some of these movies are laughably awful, with All Monsters Attack
, and Megalon
being the most cringe-inducing, in my opinion. And while the rest are still campy as hell, most of them are at least entertaining, often in their own tongue-in-cheek way.Showa Series:
Heisei Period: 1984-1995
- Gojira, AKA Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- Rodan (1957)
- Mothra (1961)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, AKA Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
After a nine year hiatus, the Heisei era began with 1984's Return of Godzilla
, also known as Godzilla 1985
. This series is much more serious and has a much tighter continuity than the Showa films, with recurring characters throughout and the plot of each movie picking up directly from where the previous one left off. To say nothing of having much higher production values across the board than the Showa films, thanks to advances in technology and special effects. That's not to say that there aren't still moments of extreme cheese (the American cyborg from the future in King Ghidorah...)
, especially looking back on them from 2019. Still, I think the Heisei series is arguably the best of Toho's live-action kaiju movies.Heisei Series:
TriStar's Godzilla: 1998
- The Return of Godzilla, AKA Godzilla 1985 (1984)
- Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
- Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
In 1998, following his success with Independence Day
, director Roland Emmerich and TriStar Pictures attempted to launch a Hollywood franchise with a heavily redesigned, CGI version of Godzilla. And, well...they failed. Very, very badly. In fact, the movie was such a ridiculous farce that Toho employees reportedly walked out of screenings. Although it was ultimately a financial success worldwide, the box office numbers and critical reception were far below TriStar's expectations, and plans for future sequels were abandoned. Interestingly, however, Toho still owns the likeness of this version of Godzilla, and has, in fact, subsequently used it in other movies and media. But they refer to it, rather derisively, as simply "Zilla". The implication of that is exactly what it looks like.TriStar Godzilla:Millennium Period: 1999-2004
If it accomplished nothing else, the TriStar debacle spurred Toho to end their post-Heisei hiatus and begin the Millennium series, if for no other reason than to restore the Big G's dignity. The Millennium era is somewhat odd as it really is not a series in terms of plot or continuity, but rather is largely a group of standalone and unconnected movies. The exceptions to this being Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
and Tokyo S.O.S.
, which are directly linked to each other, but the rest...not so much. There isn't really a consistent tone or theme to them, either, other than having much better special effects than their predecessors. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah
particularly sticks out in this respect, and from all
of Toho's other movies for that matter, as it drastically rewrites the origins, histories and fundamental nature of all three characters. The two Mechagodzilla movies, on the other hand, heavily reference a number of Showa-period movies, but in terms of their overall tone, they feel more like they'd fit in with the Heisei era. Lastly, Final Wars
, which was released almost exactly 50 years after the original Gojira
and was the last "rubber suit" Godzilla movie Toho would ever make, is as gleefully and unapologetically campy as any of the Showa films, only with a much bigger budget.Millennium Series:
Legendary Godzilla (AKA "MonsterVerse"): 2014-Present
- Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
- Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
In 2014, 10 years after Toho's last movie and just in time for the 60th anniversary of the original 1954 film, Legendary Pictures and Monsters
director Gareth Edwards made another attempt at bringing Godzilla to Hollywood...and this time
, they got it right. Like the '98 TriStar version, this Godzilla is rendered entirely in CGI, but his overall design was deliberately kept much closer to Toho's original, iconic rubber-suit creation. More importantly, unlike TriStar, Legendary Pictures has treated Godzilla with a level of awe and respect that borders on reverence, as the character truly deserves. The success of the films have allowed them to craft an ongoing shared continuity (nicknamed the "MonsterVerse") for these and future movies, in the vein of the MCU...or, for that matter, in the model of the original Toho movies, before them. As you're probably aware, I've been a huge fan of these movies thus far, in spite of their questionable inclusion of a certain giant ape. And while I've had a lot of difficulty determining exactly what their reception has been like among Japanese audiences, I do know that Toho themselves are extremely
happy with Legendary's take on Godzilla.Legendary Godzilla:
Reiwa Period: 2016-Present
- Godzilla (2014)
- Kong: Skull Island (2017)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)
I wasn't aware of this until recently, but apparently we've now entered the Reiwa
era, by Japanese reckoning. However, it really isn't accurate to call this a "series" because all of the recent movies have their own continuities which are completely separate from the others. So, that's how I'm going to list them, at least for now. This may change when Toho starts churning out kaiju
movies again, as they're planning to do starting in 2021.Shin Godzilla: 2016
Inspired by Legendary Godzilla's 2014 debut, in 2016 Toho released a new movie of their own, their first since Final Wars
, 12 years earlier. Originally called Godzilla: Resurgence
, the international title was ultimately shortened to Shin Godzilla
(literally, "New Godzilla"), a somewhat baffling decision since it has no meaning in English. Of much greater significance than the movie's title, however, was the fact that it was written and directed by Hideaki Anno...that's right, the same Hideaki Anno who created, wrote and directed Evangelion
. (And boy, does it show, which can make for a pretty surreal viewing experience if you're a big enough EVA fan.) Even though it's a complete top-to-bottom reboot in every way, it's probably closer in tone and feel to the original Gojira
than any other subsequent Godzilla movie, but updated for the Digital Age. The design of Godzilla himself was quite an extreme departure from all other previous iterations, however, as he actively mutated through three different bizarre and increasingly horrific CG-rendered forms over the course of the film. For the record, this was actually a really
good movie. It met with near-universal acclaim among Japanese audiences and critics, received no fewer than ten nominations in the Japanese Academy Awards, and actually won both Picture of the Year and Director of the Year for 2016, which was a first for the entire franchise. However, Anno's "Shin-Goji" design proved to be a bit too
radical, and Toho has stated that they have no further plans for this particular version of him.Shin GodzillaGodzilla Anime: 2017-2018
Next, Toho and Polygon Pictures released three feature-length, animated theatrical movies over the following two years. Set in a distant future timeline, the story followed a desperate population of human refugees who return to a devastated Earth which has been ruled by Godzilla for 20,000 years. Although another extreme departure from the series' past, in many ways, this proved to be an outstanding trilogy of films in their own right, and were frankly much more compelling and memorable than I had expected them to be. I must also confess to having originally been somewhat wary of these movies due to Godzilla's design, which makes him look very plant-like, but this is actually not the case; he's simply covered in 20,000 years' worth of overgrowth and vegetation.Godzilla: Earth:
- Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
- Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)
- Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)