Sunday, January 22, 2017

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH! A Special Screening with Very Special Guests!

Writer-director Kazuki Omori (left) and actor Koichi Ueda (right) reminisce about making Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Today, I attended a great screening of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) in 35mm. Attending the screening were writer-director Kazuki Omori and actor Koichi Ueda.

Director Kazuki Omori describes filming Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The film print was showing some wear and tear, but overall it looked very good. I hadn't seen the film in its entirety for a long time, so there were a few things I'd forgotten. Overall, despite some glaring SFX flaws, I think the film holds up well.  

Actor Koichi Ueda recalls his many Godzilla films. Photo by Brett Homenick.

This was my second time meeting Koichi Ueda. I first met him two years ago at the memorial event for Koichi Kawakita at Toho Studios. I found him to be a kind, soft-spoken gentleman at the time, and that impression was only reinforced at this event. 

Yours truly in between Kazuki Omori and Koichi Ueda. 

Godzilla fans may know Koichi Ueda from his various supporting roles in the Godzilla series (he appears in every Godzilla film between Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla: Final Wars), and general audiences may recognize him from his turns in prestige pictures like Shall We Dance? (1996), but Ueda-san actually got his start in acting by apprearing in tokusatsu TV programs. With appearances in series like Kaiju Booska (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), Ultraman Taro (1973-74), Jumborg Ace (1973), and even Barom-1 (1972), among others, it's interesting to note that Ueda-san's tokusatsu career isn't more appreciated in the West.

Ueda-san had to leave a bit early, but I was able to spend a bit of time in his company. He's a very soft-spoken gentleman, much different from his onscreen role in King Ghidorah as the Lagos Island veteran who yells about the existence of dinosaurs through a loudspeaker.

Over the past couple of days, I've been able to spend quite a bit of time in Kazuki Omori's company, and even though I've met him twice before, I've never seen him in a better mood. Of course, I last met him at Koichi Kawakita's memorial event at Toho Studios, and it's easy to see why a person might not be in the best of spirits at such an occasion. So it's a very positive difference. It certainly made for an incredible weekend!

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