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Best Introduction to Godzilla/Kaiju for a 4 year old? 
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Burning Godzilla
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First, is there any giant monster movies that are appropriate for a 4 year old (a mature one, but a 4 y.o. nonetheless)? And which ones will keep his attention, pack in the giant monster action, while not scaring the 1upmushroom out of him?

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Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:50 pm
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Hmm... I know I loved monster movies even at that age, but I'm having a hard time stringing the memory fragments together. I can recall making a big point of catching the DC-area television premier of Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1979, and enjoying it immensely when I did, but I would have been five by then. Probably I was also five-- or maybe even six-- when a TV screening of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster instilled in me a lasting affection for Hedorah in all its guises. In any case, the fact that both of the titles that spring to mind as early favorites are among the darker Showa Godzilla films may suggest that I'm not the best person to be giving advice on this subject in the first place.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:56 am
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Destroy All Monsters has the most monsters in it, along with a rocket ship. When you're four, that's the BUSINESS.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:05 am
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My favorite Showa Godzilla is the original Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, although that one's a bit gory - it has, among other things, a bit where Godzilla is stabbed in the neck, and full-on Lone Wolf and Cub-style arterial spray starts gushing out. On the other hand, it also has Godzilla fighting his robot duplicate; an adorable puppy-esque monster in King Caesar (who's actually supposed to be an Okinawan shisa, but really, he does look like a Pekingese puppy); and one of the few human plots that's not utterly boring, because it's played as a spy thriller where the bad guys are space gorillas. So if you don't mind some heavy monster blood, that's a potentially pretty ideal giant monster movie for a kid.

I would also recommend Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster: it doesn't have the propulsive "kid-friendly James Bond" human plot of MechaGodzilla, but it's less gory, and its human story is still fairly compelling, involving as it does psychics, alien prophecies, and an assassination plot - if this kid is anything like I was, he should be entranced by that stuff. Plus, it's got Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah all in the same movie.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:53 am
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Hummm...maybe King Kong Vs. Godzilla? If you think she won't be put off by the big ugly octopus. It grossed me out as a kid. The fact they used a real one for most of the Kong intro scene likely did the job.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:59 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I actually own Godzilla vs. King Kong and I was thinking of trying that one out, but it does have surprisingly little big monster action in it, which might make it a no-go. The Mechagodzilla suggestions are good, as I think he might like to see that kind of monster/robot dichotomy. Destroy All Monsters was one that I hadn't seen but thought might be good from the reviews I've read. I can remember being scarred by some of the imagery in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster as a single-digit kid (even with US broadcast cuts made in it, I'm sure), so I might not go that route.

Danny is a, lord help me, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fan. Would any of the Jet Jaguar or similar movies be good (and, equally as important, not make me insane with inane rage at the sight of it)?

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:24 pm
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JOHNNY SOKKO! And before ya watch it, watch this riff job. It's a-number 1, K-o san.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRzP2whIu_8

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You watch, and riff away. Explain the jokes when she's older.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:46 pm
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Son of Godzilla has all sorts of monster action and the only one that features scenes that are the closest the series ever got to touching, what with the scene in which the big G teaches the son to shoot fire and ride his dad's tail and the final scene where the winter snows cover son and the big G as they clutch to one another.

OR

Revenge of Godzilla! While it is mostly despised by us all because its nothing except recycled material - a four-year-old who has seen nothing and is barely cognizant of the idea of recycling footage from previous movies will think its the bomb. It's got the action stuff and the son and dad stuff from Son of Godzilla, plus the volleyball scene from G vs the Sea Monster. It's also got a somewhat likeable Kenney fighting back against bullies and outsmarting robbers and talking with Minya. The only drawback is that it take a bit of time to get going, but once the Kenney goes to Monster Island, it hits a good gear.

I don't remember if Godzilla: Final Wars had cuss words in it, but it's pretty much wall-to-wall Japanese style sci-fi action. I am not as big a fan.

In Heisei, Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle for the Earth features Battra and it's pretty kid friendly. And the plot line for Godzilla vs King Ghidora is just plain loopy - I can imagine any four-year-old could get behind that bizarre, disc-driven cyborg guy - though your child might just be savvy enough at 4 to point at the compact discs and say, "seriously. That's the future? Why did they go backward?"
It does have the whole bizarre relationship between G and the former Japanese soldier in which he willingly allows himself to get toasted, but I don't know ifd your kid would get all that damaged by it.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:52 pm
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Quote:
Would any of the Jet Jaguar or similar movies be good (and, equally as important, not make me insane with inane rage at the sight of it)?

Well, there's only Godzilla vs. Megalon; I actually haven't seen that one myself, so I can't say how much you might appreciate it.

I don't imagine they're super easy to get hold of anymore, but there were a couple Ultraman movies released in the US about ten years ago, give or take: Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna: Warriors From the Planet of Light (I guess just released as Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna here), and Ultraman Gaia: The Battle in Hyperspace. Likewise, the entire series of Ultraman Tiga got a US release (though it's also out of print, so it may not be cheap), and you can get the original Ultraman from the '60s on DVD. Ultraman is a franchise that's pretty much always been completely kid-friendly; the '70s shows like Ultraman Taro would go a bit overboard on violence occasionally (it was a frequent occurrence in the '70s for Ultras to be crucified as a means of demonstrating just how badass a given major bad guy was), and there are the very rare exceptions like Ultraman Nexus, Ultraseven X, and the movie Ultraman THE NEXT, which were made specifically for older fans of the series. But for the most part, you can grab pretty much anything Ultraman and it'll be perfectly fine. Ultraman is also produced by the company established by old school special effects guru Eiji Tsuburaya, who did the effects work on a lot of the classic Godzilla movies; which means that the suits and models on Ultraman shows are typically of a higher quality than things like Super Sentai/Power Rangers (although Super Sentai generally has better fight choreography, for what that's worth).

I highly recommend pretty much anything Ultraman, but I'm especially fond of Ultraman Tiga - so I'd say give either that series or the Tiga/Dyna movie a try if you think Ultraman is something he might dig.

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:25 am
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Even though Gamera was supposed to be the "friend of children" Godzilla alternative, I'd actually say most of his movies were too dark and violent for a four year old (especially the '90s trilogy). Possible Gamera introduction, though: the most recent movie Gamera: Little Braves about a little boy raising a baby Gamera. Starts out with some decent monster action, too, although it hits a pretty slow half hour lull before things ramp up towards the end again.

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:58 am
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Son of Godzilla -- that's the one we should have thought of first.

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:52 pm
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Here's my thinking:

Godzilla (1954)--NO. Automatically out. Waaaay too dark and grim.

Godzilla Raids Again--NO. Too dull for a young child and when Godzilla takes out Anguirus, it's by bloodily tearing his throat out.

King Kong vs. Godzilla--YES. The inserted white people kill the momentum, but it's not overly dark or violent and the fights are genuinely fun.

Mothra vs. Godzilla / Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)--MAYBE. It moves at a decent enough clip, but it takes a while to get going with the monster action and while the monster stuff never gets overly dark (despite elder Mothra's death at Godzilla's flames) keep in mind that the human villains go out very gruesomely. One gets his face bloodied by his companion before shooting him dead and then he's crushed by a falling beam.

Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster--YES. There are some dark aspects and a little blood, but nothing traumatizing and the monster action is not overly violent. Plus it's bound to raise some delighted giggles with how poor Godzilla keeps getting shot in the crotch or butt by Ghidorah's lightning bolts.

Monster Zero / Invasion of Astro-Monster--MAYBE. It's light on monster action, but the human stuff involves those delightfully goofy aliens. Plus, the Godzilla happy dance. Again, though, it might be a bit dull.

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster--YES. Granted, I was 7 or 8 when this was my favorite Godzilla movie but I loved it to pieces. Caveat, there is some dark stuff with Ebirah eating people and some human violence, plus Godzilla does literally disarm Ebirah, but that shouldn't be too dark.

Son of Godzilla--YES. Kumonga might be a bit scary, but Minilla's antics are surprisingly cute for such an ugly creature and it isn't too horribly dark.

Destroy All Monsters--YES. There are some very dark bits to watch out for (guy shot in head, suicide by diving out a window, and the heroine having her earrings ripped out to save her from alien mind control), but the combination of multiple monsters and fun sci-fi antics should make it pleasing enough. And while King Ghidorah does, basically, get murdered by Godzilla and co, it's not bloody or excessively violent.

Godzilla's Revenge--MAYBE. Definitely made for kids. I just know that when I was a kid I had zero interest in it since it's not a true Godzilla movie.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah--NO. I would label it a "Maybe" based on the fact it's kid-centric and, come on, Godzilla flies in it...but there's way too much dark stuff.

Godzillla vs. Gigan--MAYBE. The hero is a cartoonist and his friends are practically just missing a talking Great Dane; from maybe the halfway point or earlier the movie is a non-stop monster action fest; and Godzilla and Anguirus are a delightful team. However, Gigan really does a number on Godzilla and Anguirus. This film gets very bloody in its monster action. Otherwise it'd be an enthusiastic yes.

Godzilla vs, Megalon--YES. This movie is awful, don't get me wrong. I realized re-watching it last night that that's largely because this one seems to be an intentional comedy in its monster action and somehow that makes it really grating. And Godzilla doesn't actually enter the film in any real capacity (the prologue doesn't count) until around 50 minutes in. However, it's perfect for a kid. Silly inept villains, monster action that's more goofy than violent, and *shudder* Jet Jaguar. However, if you're watching the new DVD keep in mind that it's the international cut and the two inept Seatopian henchmen both meet violent ends (one rolled down a hill, the other crushed by a patently rubber boulder).

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla--MAYBE. This is one of the most delightfully fun Godzilla movies ever, but it's even bloodier than Godzilla vs. Gigan. Anguirus gets his jaw bloodily broken, Godzilla erupts gallons of blood from various wounds, and the chief alien dies after being shot in the throat and spraying out a firehose of black blood. So be wary of that.

Terror of Mechagodzilla--NO. The monster action is pretty fun, but it is a very dark film.

Godzilla 1985--NO. It's the first Godzilla movie I ever watched at age 7, and the dark stuff didn't give me nightmares but the sequence with the mutant sea louse on the boat at the beginning alone could traumatize a too-young kid.

Godzilla vs. Biollante--NO. One of my absolute favorites, but it is a bloodbath. Biollante has a giant heart that explodes, and let's not forget Godzila getting impaled through the hand and neck.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah--MAYBE. One of my least favorites, but it is goofy fun in parts. However, there is the scene of Godzillasaurus slaughtering the American troops and King Ghidorah gets his head blown off by Godzilla.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle For Eath--YES. Surprisingly fun, even if Godzilla is kind of a supporting character and the fights are not overly violent--until the very end when Godzilla rips Battra's throat out and then blasts the poor bleeding creature in the face. So use your own discretion there.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II--MAYBE. I'm inclined to say NO because I dislike this one more and more over the years anyways, but Baby Godzilla is adorable and it does have a really good opening fight between Godzilla and Rodan. However, poor Rodan gets his chest blown open in the climax and we see it gushing green blood in close-up. So hard to say.

Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla--YES. Don't care, I love this one and I think any kid would, too. Little Godzilla is cute enough for a young kid, Space Godzila rules, and to a kid even MOGUERA probably seems nifty. It's also not very bloody since most of the battles are beam battles.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah--NO. Godzilla Junior would delight any kid, I'm sure, but then they'd get to see him die and not get resurrected until the very last frame. The overall film is way too grim, dark, sad, and bloody.

Godzilla 2000--YES. Not very dark, most of the violence is sanitized, and not too much human violence. It's also a lot of fun, though not perfect.

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus--NO. This film's tone is way too untrustworthy. It's goofy absurdity one minute, the next a young couple is horrifically killed by a giant nightmare beetle. Also, it's terrible.

Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack--NO. Baragon is adorable and any kid would instantly love him and then get to watch him get Old Yeller'd. Not to mention the rest of the film's high casualty rate for humans and monsters alike.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla--YES. There are some dark bits and Godzilla isn't really the focus of the film, but I like it a lot and think a kid would enjoy the action the film has.

Godzilla: Tokyo SOS--YES. There's no denying this is not a good movie, but the effects are possibly the series' best and there's a lot of monster action. Some of it is rather dark, like the dead Kamoebas, and the ending is a bit of a downer I suppose. But a kid might still enjoy it.

Godzilla: Final Wars--YES. Some of the human scenes are a bit violent, but there's no denying this movie was practically made for kids with its insane energy once it gets going.

That's my two cents, anyways.

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Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:59 am
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Just keep the kid away from the Gargantuas movie!


Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:37 am
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I'm overwhelmed by the response guys! Thank you for the feedback (particularly your full canon review, Mud Pup! Awesome!)
I'll definitely recap his response the the first one I decide to show him.

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Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:03 pm
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You might also try the newer Mothra series from the mid to late 1990's. These were definately made with younger viewers in mind.

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Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:47 pm
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