The movie lineup at Ikebukuro's Shin-Bungeiza. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Shin-Bungeiza in Ikebukuro hosted an all-night Godzilla move marathon on the evening of August 12 through the morning of August 13. While I don't usually go for all-night events (for what I hope are obvious reasons), this one was an exception.
The marathon kicked things off with a rare screening of the 4K-remastered King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This was something I certainly wanted to see, so I braced myself for a bleary-eyed evening (and morning) of no sleep.
I was surprised at the turnout. The theater, which holds 264 people, seemed nearly sold out. I couldn't believe so many others wanted to spend a muggy August evening in a crowded movie theater, but I guess I wasn't alone. The digital projection of King Kong vs. Godzilla in 4K was truly a revelation, and there were many small details I'd never noticed before.
Also, the movie was loud. The monster roars and other sound effects were about as noisy as any you'd find in Hollywood these days. Seeing the movie so clearly was a reminder of what a lavish production the film really was, which often gets ignored by fans who'd rather focus on the King Kong suit. The number of extras, locations, and special effects stand out more than ever before.
The next screening was Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971) in 35mm. Before the movie played, Japanese trailers for Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla (2014) were shown. I don't believe I'd ever seen Smog Monster projected in Japan before, so I was pleased to have the opportunity. Having lost Yoshimitsu Banno and Haruo Nakajima recently, it was a great way to pay tribute to their careers.
After another break, a few trailers were shown. These included original Japanese trailers for all the '70s Godzilla films, as well as the ones for Son of Godzilla (1967) and Yog Monster from Space (1970). Once those were finished, it was time for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) in 35mm. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love this movie. After having first seen the movie more than 30 years ago, it's part of my DNA. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it, but it never gets old.
Last but not least, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) screened in 35mm. Unfortunately, this was the Japanese version, so all the English lines were dubbed over in Japanese, taking away a lot of the fun of the movie. With maybe about 20 minutes left, I have to admit I left the theater early to go home. Not because I hate the movie (far from it), but by this time it was almost 6:00 a.m. (!) and I needed to get some sleep.