Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974) Not Bad But Not Great Either


GodzillavsmechagodzilladvdcoverGodzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 1974
Director: Jun Fukuda
Writers: Jun Fukuda, Masami Fukushima, Shinichi Sekizawa, Hiroyasu Yamamura

In 1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla became the fourteenth installment in the Godzilla franchise. This movie had four writers and you can tell. There were easily four different plot lines woven together with varying amounts of success. There was an alien plot line woven in with a secret agent plot line mixed merrily with a legend about a royal family that involves a princess and a prophecy and a scientist whose daughter is held hostage by the aliens. Oh and the giant robot, let us not forget that.

I find it interesting that in this particular Godzilla movie there seems to be a real attempt to create a James Bond type character out of a shadowy Interpol agent. James Bond was created in 1953 by writer Ian Flemming which makes that venerable character just a year older than Godzilla who debuted in 1954.

In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla aliens have hatched an evil plan to take over the Earth (why?) by convincing the human population that Godzilla has gone rogue and is wantonly destroying the countryside. It turns out that it’s a huge frame job as the Godzilla we see beating up on his friend Anguirus is actually a robot in disguise! That’s right, Mechagodzilla gets caught wearing a Godzilla suit.

Once the jig is up and everyone knows it’s aliens then we have the battle with Godzilla and King Cesar against Mechagodzilla and King Ghidorah. There’s a lot of plot getting in the way of the action and in this movie the special effects and make-up team get a lot of mileage out of some gorilla suit heads that are painted green. It’s a bit silly but not on the level of say Godzilla vs Gigan.

In a movie full of strange things loosely tied together perhaps the strangest in my opinion is the need for a human scientist to repair Mechagodzilla. Aliens are remote controlling their own super high tech robot Godzilla and it gets damaged by Godzilla in battle. Rather than fix it themselves they kidnap a human scientist and threaten to kill his daughter if he doesn’t affect repairs. I guess that was their excuse for getting human operatives, especially our secret agent from Interpol, into the heart of the alien command center.

After the previous few Godzilla movies Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a nice call back to some of the classics like Destroy All Monsters. It’s not bad but it’s not all that great either. K.

Godzilla’s Revenge: MST3K Bait If Ever There Was

Godzilla's Revenge DVD Cover

Godzilla's Revenge DVD Cover

Godzilla’s Revenge DVD Cover

Godzilla’s Revenge
Starring: Kenji Sahara, Machika Naka, Tomonori Yazaki
Director: Ishiro Honda
Writer: Shin’ichi Sekizawa

I’ve been reviewing all of the Godzilla movies in order at The Geek Girl Project and I’m moving the reviews over to M31 and Random-words. I’ve also been putting off Godzilla’s Revenge because it is, in my humble opinion, the worst Godzilla movie ever made. 1969’s Godzilla’s Revenge kicked off almost a decade of awful Godzilla movies. As I’ve said before: The 70’s were not kind to Godzilla. But they do get better than Godzilla’s Revenge.

So it is with a box of Swedish fish and a pint of beer (with more in a growler in the fridge) I am girding up my mental loins and pushing play on this movie. A movie I own more for completeness sake than because it’s worth watching. I make this sacrifice for you gentle reader, and it has taken me months to brace myself for this viewing.

Godzilla’s Revenge makes no bones about how awful it is. It starts off with a soundtrack that lets you know exactly what you’re in store for. This movie is about a little boy (and you know my thoughts about children in monster movies) who is bullied by other children. The name of the biggest bully is Gabera, which in another shout out to what we are in for as hapless viewers, is the name of the big monster that Godzilla must fight.

To keep things spicy there is also a robbery and whilst running from his little tormenters Ichiro finds and pockets one of the robbers’ driver’s licenses. Worry not; the soundtrack is rife with extraneous and ridiculous sounds so that we never forget we are watching a painfully bad movie.

Most of the movie is actually the vivid imagination of young Ichiro. But don’t worry if the effects aren’t enough to let you know you’re in someone’s imagination the Disney-esque music will. And that’s perhaps the most insulting thing about this affront to Godzilla fans everywhere; the whole thing is this little boy’s dream. It’s like the Dallas of Godzilla movies, only with super annoying voice dubbing.

Little Ichiro, in his imagination, with no one else around, apparently feels the need to announce the name of every monster he sees during his imaginary trip to Monster Island. He also seems to feel the need to mispronounce about half of them. Then again these voice actors aren’t the first, or perhaps that’s last to mispronounce Anguirus.

Ok I said that it being a dream was the most insulting part but I stand corrected. The most insulting part of this movie is the way young Godzilla was voiced as if he was auditioning to be Goofy. Yes Disney’s Goofy. And since this movie is goofy I guess it stands to reason.

So the real plot is the giant, possibly full grown, Gabera who looks like he might be Gamera’s cross-dressing brother and has the cry of a strangling rooster (actually that could be what his cry is) bullying the little Minella and how big daddy Godzilla tells him to pretty much suck it up and punch the bully in the face. Not really a great message for young monsters or young humans. I do have to give them credit for taking on the topic of bullying almost 50 years before it became popular to do so.

Not to be outdone Minella has a misshapen head that reminds me of some of the things kindergarteners might make with clay in art class and sounds like a jackass, no really–the animal.

There’s also a lot of stock Godzilla footage in this movie. It’s a budget movie on a budget. We see a lot of footage from previous Godzilla movies. Then we get to the new footage, hooray….oh, wait…dear lord the new footage is of Godzilla teaching little Minella how to throw a punch, well ok nuclear blast breath. Again, not the best lesson an adult can teach a child.

For fun they throw in a gratuitous attack on Monster Island by the Japanese air force. I don’t know why and they fly off without ever hitting anything or explaining themselves. Maybe they were getting tired of waiting for Godzilla to head into Tokyo to knock over Tokyo Tower and wanted to give him a little reminder missiling. After all, nothing says, “I miss you,” like a missile attack.

Godzilla’s Revenge makes us long for the straightforward monster terribleness of such painful gems as Godzilla vs. Gigan or even, dare I say it, Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster.

I don’t know what the makers of this film were on but their greatest crime was not sharing with everyone who sat through this awful movie. Children and Godzilla as a fuzzy, cuddly protector do not mix. Godzilla is not cuddly. Godzilla is not a friend to children and Godzilla will not march into town to protect a kid from his tormenters.

If you’re tempted to watch it—don’t. It’s billed as a children’s movie and even kids know this is awful. To be fair Godzilla’s Revenge was filmed during the time Ichiro Honda and company were experimenting with humor and humor is a tricky thing. But this movie, and I say this as a long time Godzilla fan; is just awful. K.