Tuesday, May 31, 2016

IT'S A MONSTER MARATHON! Taking in Godzilla Flicks at the Jimbocho Theater!

The Jimbocho Theater, a building with a most interesting design! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Since I had the day off work, I finally made my way to the Jimbocho Theater in (where else?) Jimbocho, Tokyo, which is hosting a Godzilla movie marathon in anticipation of Godzilla Resurgence, which hits Japanese theaters at the end of July.

The screenings began on May 7 and run until June 17. There are four films screened every day, and each day the lineup changes (although the same set of films are screened throughout the week). This week focuses on the films made between Destroy All Monsters (1968) and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973). 

I arrived in time for the afternoon screening of Godzilla vs. Megalon and stayed on for the showings of Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) and Godzilla's Revenge (1969). Megalon looked fantastic in 35mm. Gigan and Revenge, however, had seen better days, as both prints were a bit faded and choppy at times. Still, nothing beats 35mm film screenings, and even with their flaws, they looked infinitely better than some awful DVD projections I had to sit through at some American theatrical screenings!

Before each film, the full trailer for Godzilla Resurgence was shown. I'd already seen a slightly truncated version of the trailer several times at several Toho Cinemas throughout Tokyo, but this was my first opportunity to see the unedited version. I have several (okay, many) reservations about the film, but I'm certainly curious to see it.

The Jimbocho Theater was decked out with posters of various sizes, and naturally a bit of merchandise was available. Thankfully, I resisted the temptation to break out my wallet.

The coolest display item of all was this small Godzilla statue. It's these little touches that put the Japanese Godzilla events above all others. You just don't see cool stuff like this anywhere else!

All in all, it was a fantastic day of Godzilla flicks. I usually don't like to do movie marathons (too much of a good thing is still too much), but this was an enjoyable exception. I can't tell you how many times I've seen these three films, but they still managed to hold my attention after all these years. Bravo!

I hope to return to the Jimbocho Theater to catch some other Showa-era Godzilla films. Hopefully, my work schedule will allow it.

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