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The Unapologetic Geek


The Godzilla Reviews - Page 3

All Monsters Attack

Year: 1969
Era: Showa
a.k.a. Godzilla's Revenge

THE JIST: A young boy who is tormented by bullies gets kidnapped by bank robbers and retreats into his imaginary version of Monster Island to illicit help from Godzilla's son, Minilla.

THE VERDICT: Oh, man. Words cannot adequately convey how much I loathe this movie. It's filled to the brim with recycled footage, features a talking Minilla as a main character (and in the English language dub, the voice actor chose to imitate Barney the Dinosaur), features the lamest new monster yet, and ultimately ends on the confusing message that, in order to beat your bullies, you must become an abject douchebag. The only reason I am giving this movie a star is because my son, God bless his five-year-old heart, loves it.


Year: 1971
Era: Showa
a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster
Godzilla vs. Hedorah

THE JIST: A new lifeform emerges from manmade pollution, quickly evolves into a giant monster, and threatens to terraform the planet so that it is hostile to human life.

THE VERDICT: Godzilla vs. Hedorah is clearly a product of the late 60's and early 70's psychedelic culture. At one point, the teenage heroes literally try to stop the giant smog monster by holding a protest in the middle of a field while playing an acoustic guitar, and earlier in the movie, there's a completely inexplicable scene involving fish head masks that my own sanity prevents me from fully describing. The only way I can make sense of this one is if I assume the entire cast and crew decided to drop large amounts of LSD every day before they started production. With random animated scenes, painfully repetitive music, documentary-style educational transitions, and frame montages involving laughing skulls and screaming babies, this has the dubious honor of being the strangest Godzilla movie of them all and the one most likely to entertain serious drug addicts and mental patients. Did I mention that Godzilla flies near the end?

Godzilla vs. Gigan

Year: 1972
Era: Showa
a.k.a. Godzilla on Monster Island

THE JIST: A struggling comic book writer lands a job at a Godzilla-themed amusement park, only to discover that it's a front for aliens who are planning to kill Godzilla and take over the world by using King Ghidorah and a new space monster called Gigan.

THE VERDICT: Taking cues from comic books, this movie is unapologetically cartoonish--kind of a cross between Godzilla and Scooby Doo--but it never goes off the rails the way Godzilla vs. Hedorah or Godzilla vs. Megalon do. With colorfully silly characters and a ridiculous tongue-in-cheek plot, it hard not to have a good time with this one. Sure, there's some recycled footage and the entire score is also recycled from earlier movies, and sure, there's the infamous bit where Godzilla and Anguirus talk to each other by way of garbled tape noises and speech bubbles, but Gigan is the best new villain since King Ghidorah and the tag-team fight scenes that make up most of the second half of the movie are pure awesomeness.


Year: 1973
Era: Showa
Godzilla vs. Megalon

THE JIST: An underwater civilization called Seatopia, harmed by nuclear testing, decides to destroy the surface world by using a giant monster called Megalon, but in order to guide him, they need to steal and control an android called Jet Jaguar. When Jet Jaguar is freed from Seatopian control, he retrieves Godzilla from Monster Island and fights both Megalon and Gigan.

THE VERDICT: It's hard for me to be truly objective on this one, as it is the Godzilla movie I grew up loving. I had a VHS copy that I played so much it eventually snapped in half. As an adult, though, I can appreciate how campy and poorly conceived Godzilla vs. Megalon truly is, with its underdeveloped plot, weak characters, goofy battle scenes, and incredibly tiny budget. It's not even really a Godzilla movie, as Godzilla takes a back seat to Jet Jaguar ("punch, punch, punch!") for most of the action. It's not what I would call a good movie or even a good bad Godzilla flick, but it gets credit for its nostalgia and fun factor.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Year: 1974
Era: Showa
a.k.a. Godzilla v. Cosmic Monster
Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster

THE JIST: A prophecy concerning the end of the world appears to be coming true as Godzilla once again goes on a murderous rampage. When another Godzilla shows up, though, it quickly becomes obvious that the attacking Godzilla is actually a giant mechanical creation.

THE VERDICT: This is the best of the campy Godzilla flicks. It is snappy and fun, but it also has some surprising depth and subtle motifs (just count the number of false duplicates in the story, for example). It has excellent human characters, not one but two awesome new monsters (Mechagodzilla and King Caesar), amazingly cool battles, and more. When it comes to the Showa era of Godzilla, this movie and the original Gojira are all you really need to know.


Year: 1975
Era: Showa
a.k.a. Terror of Godzilla
Mechagodzilla's Counter-Attack
Terror of Mechagodzilla

THE JIST: With the help of a bitter scientist who has figured out how to control a giant beast called Titanosaurus, the aliens from the black hole rebuild Mechagodzilla and attempt to once again defeat Godzilla and take over Tokyo.

THE VERDICT: With a much bigger budget than other Godzilla films, this movie is also Toho's greatest flop, strictly because of disastrous economic timing. Still, it is one of the better Showa pictures, with some of the most interesting characters to date (Dr. Mafune and his daughter, Katsura, especially) and the darkest tone since Gojira Raids Again. The plot is a silly remix and direct sequel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, but never quite knows what to do with itself, which reflects the state of the franchise as it heads into a dormant period.

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-e. magill 4/22/2014


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