Monday, March 14, 2016

MEGAGUIRUS INVADES JAPAN! A Trio of Toho Vets Discuss Their Toho Careers!

Hiroshi Kashiwabara, Masaaki Tezuka, and Kenji Suzuki talk about their work in the Godzilla series. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Sunday, March 13, I attended a screening of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) in Yokohama, which was followed by a Q&A event. Megaguirus looked great in 35mm, although the film itself is not one of my favorites. When I first saw it in 2001, I thought it was a vast improvement over Godzilla 2000 (1999), which I never really liked. Although there are things I still enjoy about the film, it's too long, and too many of the SFX shots don't work at all.

Director Masaaki Tezuka shares his memories. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Three guests were in attendance for the film. Director Masaaki Tezuka (who also directed the two Mechagodzilla films later on in the Millennium series) was joined by screenwriter Hiroshi Kashiwabara (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) and SFX director Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000).

After the movie screened, the three guests sat down at a table and answered questions about the making of Megaguirus and other Godzilla films. The interview session lasted over an hour, and many stories from the set were told, often causing uproarious laughter from the audience!

Screenwriter Hiroshi Kashiwabara listens to his colleague reflect. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The autograph signings came next. I first spoke with Kashiwabara-san (who waved to me when he saw me in the audience). We had a brief chat about the upcoming Godzilla Resurgence. It was great to catch up with Kashiwabara-san again.

SFX director Kenji Suzuki reveals the secrets to directing Godzilla ... and living to tell the tale! Photo by Brett Homenick.

After that, I spoke with Tezuka-san and Suzuki-san and got their signatures. Shortly thereafter, the dinner portion began, and we all sat down for a nabe (hot pot) meal. It was rather tasty as usual, and everyone seemed to enjoy their conversations as much as the meals.

The three filmmakers laugh at one of the more humorous memories from the set. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I suppose my favorite part of Megaguirus was seeing some familiar actors onscreen. Shigeo Kato has a small cameo toward the beginning when he greets the main characters as they enter the G-Graspers' headquarters. Of course, Yuriko Hoshi (Godzilla vs. The Thing, Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster) returns to the series in a big way with her role as a scientist. Otherwise, I do have to agree with a lot of the criticisms I've read over the years. Megaguirus' evil grin and Godzilla's belly flop are not the series' highlights, to say the least.

Yours truly with Hiroshi Kashiwabara, Masaaki Tezuka, and Kenji Suzuki.

All that aside, I enjoyed seeing all three guests last night. They all enjoyed meeting and mingling with those in attendance. Hopefully they'll return again soon!

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