Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Return of Daimajin - 1966

In mid 2007 or so I purchased a boxset that was both Daimajin movies.  Except, as seen in the picture below, they labeled it as the "Giant Majin"
Additionally, I could've sworn that my set contained a third unrelated film that was also a monster movie, but not Majin.  Although I might just be confusing it with another boxset.  Anyways, I remember thinking at the time I first saw it that it was some third rate Godzilla knockoff.  In the world of Godzilla knockoffs made in Japan and other Asian countries, there's the second rate knockoffs, like Rodan or Mothra, and then there's the third rate ones, like Yongary or this movie.

It makes me wonder about the success of Godzilla in this country.  Sure, you can say that it's a technically great movie, masterfully made, but I think a large part of it is and was the West feeling bad about the atom bomb that led to the success of Godzilla.  I love the authentic-ness of  of a movie like Daimajin though.  It feels more homemade, traditional and like it hearkens back to the olden days.  This is one of those DVD's I then got rid of later, only to really regret getting rid of it.  I just had no idea what it was at the time, didn't appreciate it for what it was.

Daimajin means something like Giant Demon God, apparently.  Which is odd cause in the Daimajin movies he is always good.  Daimajin will usually show up to protect some hardworking village, to right some wrong that's taken place, etc.  He is a giant living stone statue.  The statue is of a protector of the people, so it makes sense that when it comes to life it protects people.  I'm just saying the translation makes no sense, that's all.

This sequel was actually produced in the same year as the first movie, and the same year as the third movie the Wrath of Daimajin, which I didn't know existed and haven't seen.  This one was directed by Kazuo Mori, who also directed some of the Zatoichi films from the 60's and 70's.  It's adept enough, it's just extremely slow paced.  It's mostly a drama movie, the drama of this village getting ousted by some baddies until the breaking point is hit like an hour in and the last 15 minute Daimajin does stuff and sets shit right.

Side note:  I would've been really quite a bit happier with this movie if it'd been called "The Death and Return of Daimajin" and was styled like the oldschool SNES game The Death and Return of Superman.  That game was badass.

It's pretty boring and despite the fact I regret getting rid of the DVD, that doesn't make it a great movie.  It's ok, I guess.

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