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Andy Camble (of the podcast Kaiju 101) and I had similar ideas on different genres of cinema: does more mean better? In my case, the ‘more’ was ‘more kung fu ass-kicking’ while in Andy’s it was ‘more giant monster time’.
Does more kung fu action hint at a better movie? We both had similar thoughts and decided to combine forces for this podcast.
Andy’s research: Watch every Godzilla film with a stopwatch and chart ‘Monster Screen Time’ as a percentage of overall screen time, then chart that compared to two other things: (1) the IMDB rating (to represent casual moviegoing public) and (2)ratings from a recent fan poll in G-Fan magazine, a publication dedicated to giant monster fandom (to represent die-hard Godzilla fans).
My research: use data from the book ‘The Ultimate guide to Martial Arts movie from the 1970s’ (Dr. Craig D. Reid) as the basis for ‘kung fu time’, in this book he details the kung fu percentage for almost 500 martial arts films (!!!!). I charted Kung Fu percentage against IMDB rating as well (but don’t think there’s any particularly reliable data to represent die-hards).
So what’s the verdict? Does more on-screen giant monster time hint at a better giant monster film?
First, you should listen to the episode here:
Then you can check out the charts below.
Here’s the chart for Kung Fu time.
Not pictured, the R-squared value (measured between 0 and 1, with 0 meaning no correlation and 1 meaning a VERY strong correlation) is 0.03. What does this chart combined with that information mean? Briefly, that there’s no correlation between Kung Fu action time in a film and how good the film is – one has nothing to do with the other.
Here’s the chart for Giant Monster Screen time:
In this case, the R-squared value is 0.08, so still there is very little correlation. However, the interesting thing is that there is a negative slope to the line; in other words as giant monster screen times goes up, the quality of the film DECREASES. This holds true for both the casual fans (IMDB) and die-hard Godzilla fans (G-Fan).