Nov 24, 2014

Review: Wakusei daikaijû Negadon [Negadon: The Monster from Mars] (2005)

In 2005, it had been 51 years since the release of Godzilla in 1954. If that's not a reason for celebration, I don't know what is. There's just something irresistible about Showa era Japanese special effects films and that is clearly what director/writer Jun Awazu is looking to capture with Negadon: The Monster from Mars. It's an animated short film that took two years to complete which is too bad because it could've made the 50th anniversary of Godzilla if it were finished a year earlier.


Genre: animation, short, sci-fi
Directed by: Jun Awazu
Produced by: Kazuki Sunami
Written by: Jun Awazu
Music by: Shingo Terasawa
Running time: 27 minutes
Production company: Studio Magara
Distributed by: Central Park Media Corporation, CoMix Wave
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese, English (Dub)
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Dan Green, Masafumi Kishi, Takuma Sasahara, Sean Schemmel, Dai Shimizu, Marc Thompson, Akane Yumoto



In 2025, the planet Earth is completely stripped of natural resources and man must now find a way to ensure the survival of future generations. Colonizing nearby planets in the solar system is the next step and a terraforming operation on Mars has already begun. Japanese ship Izanami finds an interesting rock formation on Mars and brings it back to Earth. However something goes wrong during the trip back and the Izanami crash lands in Tokyo, unleashing an unknown alien life form.


So I was watching the English dub which normally would be something I absolutely hate. Good dubs are unbelievably rare and they usually take away from an actor's performance. With Negadon I was actually pleasantly surprised. Marc Thompson does the voice of the narrator in the dub and he finds a pleasant balance between mock-serious and slight cheese. Dan Green finds that same balance as the voice for the main character Seiji Yoshizawa and it helps that the dialogue is fitting for a movie like this that's trying to be a homage to Showa era special effects films. The fact that it's an animated film I think also makes the dubbing excusable.

Negadon: The Monster from Mars is grainy and the animation is an interesting piece of work. It's not as squeaky clean as something from Pixar but I wouldn't really want it to be that way either. It just wouldn't feel right. Some of the action sequences are a little choppy and that suits me just fine. It's definitely a unique style and it's one that just works.

The story is simple and well paced. It manages to squeeze in quite a bit before the inevitable monster battle and the assembling of the military. I get the feeling that Jun Awazu perfectly understands what it takes to make a movie like this. It's a suitably silly film that pairs action and cheesy drama just like it's supposed to in spectacular fashion.

Negadon: The Monster from Mars is a wonderful emulation of the early Godzilla films. Anyone who's familiar with this era of Japanese sci-fi will appreciate what Jun Awazu brings to the table. There's probably not much here for non-fans though. For those who feel like a quick romp through the Showa era, I'd definitely try to find this short.



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