Gojirathon Bonus 2: Always zoku san-chome no yuhi (2007)

G: plus 17 days

What is this, I hear you ask? Wasn’t I done with the Godzilla marathon until the next film comes out? Well. To tell you the truth. I have done some willful omitting. There are a few more productions where Godzilla creeps up. This is where I list them.

Always: Sunset on 3rd Street 2 (2007)

Yes. This is the last officially produced film that I know of where Godzilla appears. It’s a direct sequel to the first Sunset on 3rd Street film and the cameo is dealt with within the first ten minutes or so… So. Uhm… what about it?

This one centers around the same cast of characters in the friendly neighborhood under the shadow of the newly built Tokyo Tower. A couple of years has passed between this and the last film in our time. The passage of time in the film, however isn’t all that clear. They seem to have used the same actors for most of all of the roles and while the adults don’t show much change, the kids do however seem to be closer to puberty.

But about the cameo. The film opens up with a fairly ambitious sequence following the Suzuki-family (the one that now houses the teen from the first film) as they flee from a CGI Godzilla. The CGI modeling and animation isn’t really all that great and I would have preferred the more classic Suitmation technique but I guess the whole thing was part of the joke of the opening. It was the failed start of a story by the failed writer across the street from Suzuki Auto.

To be more precise about the story, it actually centers very much around the trials and tribulations of the writer this time around. Yes, the Suzuki’s (led by a father who dreams expanding his small repair-shop to sell cars over-seas… hmmm. A car-manufacturer called Suzuki… hmmm… nahhhh…. probably no reference here) temporarily take in a girl while her father is away working on some dam far away. But the story is still more about Mr Literature (as they fondly are calling him). They move more and more from picking on him for his failures and instead end up rooting for him when he decides to enter the prestigious writing-contest once more to prove his worth both towards himself and his love from the last film, but also as a proof that he can take care of that boy that was entrusted him in the first one.

Yes. There’s just as much sentimentality and idyllic saccarine to be had in this entry. But this is actually also one of those rare occasions where the sequel works better than the original. Because, leaving out the Godzilla-intro. This is a much more streamlined movie. Much more cohesive. And it definately  felt more like a single movie and not just like a expensive soap opera. Well ok. there’s a lot of soap-opera here to be had, of course. But what I’m saying is that I enjoyed this more than the last one because it was more focused.

The effects continued to irk me. Which is strange. Since Toho has long been one of the big studios for effects-films. Also, I find it strange that both this and the other one starts off with the TohoScope-logo. While both actually being shot on super35. I know it sounds strange as a point of nit-picking. But for me. If you are going to call it Shaw-Scope. Then at least shoot it on 4perf anamorphic. Heck. I would have loved to see what they could do with that format using the same script and team. But alas, one can only dream.

Anyways. Next one is the third and final (I think) entry. And the title of that one suggests that they are jumping ahead a few years down the timeline. 1964. This one ended with two of the kids promising to marry in ten years. Does that mean that the next film is set in that ten years forward point in time? Which would mean that this one was set in 1954. The same year as the first Godzilla (and the year of 7 Samurai, incidentally). And a few years before TohoScope was even a thing? Or maybe I’m reading too much into this as usual. It’s a sweet little film. With some lovable characters getting into some family-friendly hijinx. Godzilla isn’t really part of the plot but what is there is executed competently enough. I just wish they could make the acting and dialog flow a bit better. Still feels a bit unnatural at times.

Be seeing you!

Always07

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