Who doesn’t know about Godzilla? The bet is no one over the age of five. Godzilla, the fictional Japanese giant monster—originally created as a cross between a gorilla and a whale—remains one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide. And how about a “Big Ape” marathon? We did it (and you can, too) with this set: a Godzilla ultimate collection of sorts, a cult collector’s dream of five classic Godzilla films.
|Synopsis: Godzilla dukes it out with a giant cockroach that shoots dangerous laser beams. He gets help from some of his old monster friends.
Review: Oh, this one is bad. Incredibly, undeniably, mind-numbingly bad! O.K., so maybe it’s not quite that bad, but it still isn’t good! The underworld kingdom of “Seatopia”, ticked off at all the atom bomb tests going on topside, sends the fearful monster Megalon [picture a giant cockroach with two arms and legs instead of six] to level Tokyo [yeah, right—like Tokyo was responsible for the atom bomb tests?] Well, the surface dwellers aren’t completely helpless—they’ve got Jet Jaguar, a robot who can miraculously grow to gigantic proportions on demand, on their side! But Megalon is too much for Jet Jaguar to handle on his own, so he flies to Monster Island to ask (via semaphoric hand signals) Godzilla’s to help. But it’s not over yet—suddenly, Gigan appears out of nowhere to fight beside Megalon! What follows has got to be the tag team event of the year! I would have given this movie a “BOMB” rating, except for one scene involving a flying kick, Godzilla-style, which is so bizarre that I am shocked speechless every time I see it!
One interesting note: One of the American publicity posters for this film actually showed Godzilla and Megalon facing off while standing on top of the World Trade Building towers in New York. Don’t miss the infamous “flying kick”!
GiganGodzilla vs. Gigan (a.k.a. Godzilla on Monster Island)
|Synopsis: Japanese monster movie about towering lizard defending earth against monstrous invaders. Though series fans may wince at the ridiculous effects, Godzilla‘s first speaking role, camp lovers will love its absurdity.
Review: This is either almost the absolute worst of the lot, or one of the best, depending on your point of view. Everything about this movie is simply awful! The plot, such as it is, is absolutely ludicrous. The acting is even worse. I thought that it might be redeemed by having Ghidrah make an appearance, but when they show him flying they use a cheap, unmoving plastic model with painted on eyes! And to top it all of, Godzilla actually starts talking!!! Having said all this, however, this was truly the funniest movie I have ever seen in my life. I was rolling on the floor howling with laughter the entire time. If you are a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, this is definitely the movie for you. Otherwise, avoid it like the plague!
|Synopsis: Tokyo is menaced by a towering cockroach, but Godzilla rushes to its defense! Effects-seekers should avoid, but the hilarious four-montser tag-team finale will have humor-minded series fans howling with laughter.
Review: In this, the first film of the new series, Godzilla is once again portrayed as a destructive force of nature—a beast following only its instincts. Consequently, the previous 30 years’ films are ignored completely, as Godzilla returns to Japan in this sequel-of-sorts to the original 1954 classic. The ultra-high-tech Super-X flying weapon is unable to stop him, but when he is hit by cadmium rockets they shut down his atomic furnace and send him into a death-like state. Unfortunately, the inadvertent stratospheric detonation of a Soviet atomic missile revives the reptilian titan, and Japans fate appears sealed. In the end, though, Godzilla is lured to his doom, as his homing instinct causes him to follow a tape recording of migratory birds… straight into a live volcano.
|Synopsis: Mothra, Rodan, and the king of them all, Godzilla, join forces to protect the Earth from the alien menace of King Ghidorah, a thrice-domed, golden-scaled, bat-winged beastie with designs on widespread property destruction. This spectacular monster mash solidified the green guy’s conversion from villain to hero.
Review: This isn’t strictly a Godzilla movie—he shows up at the end to help defeat the title monster. The plot is basically about a princess who disappears from an airplane, only to reappear later claiming to be a martian, and trying to warn the world that a evil space monster is on its way. Nobody believes her, of course, until Ghidorah appears. Fortunately, Godzilla, Rodan and the baby Mothras are on hand to help out. The ending is really disappointing, unfortunately—no resolution whatsoever. All the monsters duke it out for a while until Ghidorah flys away. The end.
The movie is really only redeemed by the spiffy special effects used to animate Ghidrah—three heads, two tails and all. I mean, I really like the concept of Ghidrah, but couldn’t they make a better movie to introduce him in? My favorite scene—Baby Mothra and Rodan join forces!
|Synopsis: Atomic reptile battles cybernetic clone of himself while ape-aliens prepare to invade Earth. Fun for camp buffs; even hard-core series fans will be chuckling at this installment’s ridiculous rubbery effects.
Review: After salvaging the wreckage of MechaGodzilla from the bottom of the ocean, the Godzilla Defense Force uses this futuristic cyborg and weapons technology to construct a complement to its flying fighter Garuda: MechaGodzilla, the most powerful weapon known to man. Meanwhile, on a remote rocky island, yet another egg of the extra monster size variety is discovered. In an attempt to retrieve it for study, the discovery team is attacked by a prehistoric flying reptile: Rodan. Godzilla makes a surprise appearance, and in the confusion of the two monsters battling, the team sneaks off with the egg. Once in Japan, it hatches and out pops Baby Godzilla. Daddy comes looking for him (a la “Gorgo”), but MechaGodzilla attempts to stop him—to no avail: the robot is severely damaged in battle. After the necessary repairs, Garuda and MechaGodzilla link up to form an even more formidable enemy and succeed in almost killing Godzilla, were it not for the intervention of Rodan.