sábado, 4 de julio de 2009

The Daimajin Trilogy

In the late 1960’s, Daiei Studios decided to make three back-to-back films that mixed two popular genres at the time: the samurai drama, and the kaiju, also known as giant monster movie. What they came up with was Daimajin, a stone God/warrior who helps his people when in need by causing total destruction to his enemies and restoring peace to those who worship him. His design is excellent, with the samurai costume and jade green face, looking down with evil red eyes. Although he is not as popular as say, Godzilla or Gamera, he is still one of my favorite of the kaijus, and I really really wish they’d remake the films as they have with the two G’s. Plot-wise, the three films are basically the same: an evil samurai warlord takes over a peaceful town and forces them into slavery. The peaceful people’s most innocent souls ask for the Daimajin for help, and so in the last ask Daimajin comes to life and causes chaos. The first one is definitely the best, partly because the characters are more two-dimensional, and the stone beast is much more frightening, not being as good as in the sequels, but being more like an angry monster in the classic kaiju way. When he kills the bad guys he goes after the good guys, and it’s up to the woman who awakened him to stop him. The second film, Wrath of Daimajin, is much darker and has more drama, but sadly the characters are not so interesting. However, the third act where the Majin wakes up is definitely better than in the first one. First, the damn statue parts the seas ala Moses, then causes all sorts of violent deaths to the evil warlord and his men. His main henchman gets crushed like a tomato (literally) by a giant rock, and the warlord is both crucified and burned alive on a boat, all while Daimajin looks on, pleased about his work. The third one, Return Of Daimajin, is definitely the weakest. Like Godzilla and Gamera, it went downhill to try and appeal to children, and it makes the movie drag like a snail. Yes, he starts attacking and killing the bad guys in the end, but in this one you wish he’d get it over with already. Still, the first two movies are genuinely recommended, and a must for giant monster fans.

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