Destroy all Monsters! (1968)
Destroy all Monsters! was the last hurrah of Toho's Godzilla series, the high-water mark before the wheels came off. Following this one, beginning with the indescribably bad Godzilla's Revenge, the series became goofy cartoonish fare aimed deliberately at kids and their parents' wallets. Destroy all Monsters! was the last dying grasp at creating an old school Godzilla movie with the same theme of the first half dozen or so. In that respect, it worked just fine.
First released in Japan in August of 1968, the movie didn't do that well compared to previous outings, which only hastened the fall. It was easily adapted for American screens, however, opening over here less than a year later. I'll be using a 1998 AD Video VHS cassette for this review. There are no subtitles, but the film quality for a six-year old tape is pretty good.
This movie has the largest monster ensemble of any of the Godzilla flicks, though some of the beasts have just fleeting cameos. Despite all these monsters, however, you will be surprised at just how much of the movie is non-monster human interaction stuff. The much ballyhooed monsters-smacking-the-worlds'-capitols bit is remarkably short, and the battle royale at the end gets started too late in the action to really impress me. But, still, this is a lot of giant reptiles and mutants in one sitting, and I likes it.
What I don't likes, unfortunately, is the horrendous, atrocious, abominable English dubbing. No words can adequately describe how bad the dubbing was for this movie, especially for the leading men. It was as if they just went out onto the street and grabbed the first guy who walked by, stuck him in a booth and told him to "read this line".
All right, here we must deal with something unpleasant, the matter of the date of this movie. We're told in the film that it's the year 1999, though rather little of the film is all that futuristic, considering the technological advances in the 1960s of Toho's Godzilla universe. All the other movies in the series take place in the years they were released, except for Destroy all Monsters!. As well, in other Godzilla movies released after this one (and set in the year they were released) references are made to places and events in Destroy all Monsters!. As well, the date 1999 is mentioned only one time, and is in fact the fourth word spoken in the entire movie, and as such is easily ignored and forgotten by the time you get into the movie. By simply assuming that the filmmakers at Toho read the script wrong when they went with the 1999 date, and adjusting it back to the more logical 1968 date, we can nicely fit Destroy all Monsters! into the total chronology of the series. This also explains why Minya is still a cute little hellion. I know that many purists out there will slaughter me over this heretical change, but I don't care. It's not real, you fools, it's a movie.
Ok, now on to our show...
The opening sequence is a nifty montage of shots with a droll narrator voicing over. It's a quick and dirty way to get the audience up to date on what's happening and set the scene for the opening act of the movie. Again, I have changed the date from the 1999 that the narrator uses to the conventional 1968 that I'm sure was intended.
We first get some clue as to the technological level of this year. We're told that the "United Nations Science Committee" has recently constructed a scientific base on the moon. We're also told that space flights to the moon are almost daily occurrences. The phrasing leads us to believe that there's just one spaceport and perhaps just one interplanetary ship doing all the work. Certainly we only see one active ship throughout the movie, and no references are made to any other space capability. While this might be fuel for the 1999 supporters, remember that in past movies (especially 1965's Godzilla versus Monster Zero) the Earth was in possession of spaceships and lasers and all that. Add all that stuff to what technological treasures that the last three years of contact with Planet X have provided, and it's very easy to see regular flights to the moon by 1968.
We get our first view of the spaceship in this sequence, the one that will be featured in the entire movie. Called the "Moonlight SY-3", this ship is pretty impressive, big and sufficiently sci-fi looking for 1968. It's shaped like an ICBM, with a front-end that looks like a Concorde or a Mirage 2000, and a crew of six men, all in the forward cabin. It takes off and lands vertically, like most 1960s spaceships were known to do, and can fly just as well in atmosphere as in outer space. This capability is pretty dubious as the ship's wings are clearly too small to generate enough lift to keep it flying. It must rely on sheer thrust power from its engines to stay aloft.
We also get a quick look at the "Moonbase N-1". It seems like less than a permanent base, more of a collection of lander modules linked together. An establishing shot of the moon base shows a smaller spaceship on a booster rail in the background. Perhaps this is one of the earlier generations of the SY class, since we don't know about the SY-1 and SY-2.
The narrator also tells us that all the Earth's monsters have been "collected" on "Monsterland", an island preserve in the Ogasawara Island chain. The Ogasawara Islands are also known as the Bonin Islands, home to the famous Iwo Jima of WWII and John Wayne fame. They're about 1,000 miles south of Tokyo.
The Ogasawara Islands.
In future movies, it will be called "Monster Island", but here it's "Monsterland". It's basically a Jurassic Park-like isolated island where the monsters are kept contained by nifty magnetic walls and such. On the island and in the surrounding waters the monsters are free to roam around belching and eating coconuts.
I'll wait until later to describe all the monsters present, as they show up elsewhere for monster munching. However, the coolest bit here is seeing Rodan snatching a dolphin out of the water for a snack. I could spend a month trying to explain just how much energy in the form of food that a monster the size of Rodan would have to consume (not to mention all the other monsters). They would have to eat like my friend Joyce to maintain their size and output. But then again, it's just a movie.
Rodan munching a dolphin.
We're never once told how the hell we managed to "collect" all the monsters on this island. Certainly nothing we have seen in the past films has suggested that humans have any means of doing this. Perhaps they used some of the captured technology from Planet X (who after all controlled the monsters with "magnetic waves" during their aborted invasion). If not, perhaps they just built a scale model of Tokyo on the island and waited for the monsters to be naturally attracted to it.
We're also not told why the monsters aren't constantly trying to kill each other. In all the other movies, as soon as a monster detects another, they begin mortal combat. Here on Monsterland, however, they seemingly live in peace together. Perhaps they're lacing the food with Prozac.
They're not alone, of course, as the silly humans are intent on studying the beasts. The United Nations Scientific Committee operates an underground facility on Monsterland, a secure base from which the control and study of the monsters can be conducted. Apparently, unlike Jurassic Park, this is a multinational governmental project, not a private enterprise.
We see our first shots of the monsters from a UNSC helicopter as it flies over the island. This is a little, two-seat Bell that is flying quite low. Godzilla is shaking his fists at the helicopter's camera and other monsters are reacting to the visitor in less than friendly ways. Now, isn't this suicide? Godzilla is a known helicopter-roaster, having done so in numerous movies. Rodan can fly and has also shown a taste for aircraft. How would any aircraft ever survive in that environment?
Egress to the facility seems to be through a narrow vertical shaft. Through this we see the helicopter descend. There's just a few feet of clearance on either side of the spinning rotors, so we certainly hope that there's some remote control at work. Trying to manually enter such a shaft in a chopper is also inviting suicide (later, we will see the huge spaceship SY-3 enter the same shaft).
We join now the staff of the facility. There are about a dozen men and women here, mostly oriental, but some westerners. The only two that are fleshed out at all are an annoying scientist and a young woman.
The annoying scientist is Doctor Otani, and he's also the Base Commander. He's played by 41-year old Yoshio Tsuchiya, a popular actor in Toho's stable, having appeared in some 80 movies in his career. Audiences just saw him last as the Controller of Planet X in 1965's Godzilla versus Monster Zero, but there he was under so much makeup and sunglasses that he was unrecognizable.
The young woman is our film's female lead, the comely Kyoko Yamabe, played by 22- year old Yukiko Kobayashi. She doesn't have a lengthy film career after this movie, just six more appearances before apparently retiring from film in 1971 at the young age of 25. Her last notable role was as Saki, the native girl from 1971's Yog: Monster from Space. She's in no way a beautiful girl, with bad teeth and a distracting haircut. Her figure is trim, however, and she does have nice legs.
Kyoko is apparently new to the island, as they make a big deal about her possibly being all freaked out being this close to the monsters. She's cool as a cucumber, however, proving that she's a true scientist (I guess, we never really learn what her official capacity here is).
Kyoko now gets a phone call. Bad, getting a phone call on her first day at work, that'll get you fired some places. It's her older brother, a famous astronaut, who's calling from the Moonbase N-1. It's a cool round screen videophone, a direct rip-off of an identical scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I guess if you're going to steal, steal from the classics.
Her brother the astronaut is our film's leading man hero, Captain Katsuo Yamabe, played by 32-year old Akira Kubo. Kubo is a well-known actor still working as of the late 1990s, known in his younger days for playing restless rebel heroes. He might be best known to Godzilla fans as the goofy inventor Tetsuo Teri in 1965's Godzilla versus Monster Zero. He would later cross over to the rival Gamera series of movies.
Again I must state that the man dubbing Katsuo's lines into English is truly the most terrible voice actor in the history of cinema. He delivers every line with a catatonic, near-death sort of monotone read, as if he's reading the notes from the monthly planning and zoning commission meeting in Wheeling, West Virginia. With Katsuo being the leading man and all, you'd think they would have got a more dynamic (maybe alive) actor to read his lines.
Brother and sister chit-chat a bit, saying nothing important. In the middle of their conversation the line goes dead. At the Moonbase, everyone gets excited. We see that the base crew wears red jumpsuits, while the ship crew wears yellow.
Back at the Monsterland facility, there's some confusion and concern. Apparently all the control apparatus for the monsters are failing, some unknown force is disrupting the power! What, no backups? What, no decentralized secondary control system located in Tokyo to prevent a disaster? Also, the staff isn't sure what's actually happening. What, no diagnostic computers? What, no training for a disaster of this type? Everyone seems to be standing around lost or running around pointlessly.
Suddenly, someone notices that there's a thick, yellow gas seeping into the room! It's coming under the doors, through the vents, everywhere. In a great scene, the staff run up to a door that has gas seeping in from underneath it and open it!!! Gas billows out in a great cloud, knocking them over. Morons, what did you expect? They try and run, but it acts quickly and they're all knocked out unconscious. Keep in mind how quickly the gas worked here, it will come back later.
As well, we see that the gas is covering the entire island. All the monsters are affected, falling over unconscious. Rodan even topples off his perch and onto Angilius! That was funny. This gas must be very strong to affect the nervous systems of monsters this large.
We cut now to Tokyo, where an emergency meeting of the UNSC is going on. It seems that all communication with Monsterland has been lost, and they're forced to use satellites to try and find out what's happening. From the graphic, we can assume that there are six orbiting satellites in the UNSC's command. One of them picks up the island, but the monitor shows the island from a sea-level perspective. What? How can a satellite pick up this view? I hate this movie already.
Ok, I might as well again address one of my biggest pet peeves from all movies. That's the shot-on-the-television-monitor-of-something-happening scene. This is when, to use an example from later in our movie, the stoned Doctor Otani says, "Look at Manda." And we see on the TV monitor a side view of Manda slithering along. Then the shot in the monitor changes to a top view of the whole environment to show the train tracks, then the shot changes to a front view of the train racing down the tracks, then the shot changes to another side view of Manda working on the rail, and so on and so on. Where are all these angles coming from? And who's making these editing cuts, real time, to be fed out. Even worse is when the shots on the monitor are clearly stock footage from other, better monster movies. Most modern movies get this right, the footage in monitors looking like it was fed from a guy with a video camera somewhere on the ground watching the action. But most older monster movies make this annoying mistake.
Anyway, the monitor goes fuzzy as someone is jamming all the signals. The room is abuzz with concern. There are two people in this scene that we need to worry about, both high-ranking officials in the UNSC who will do all the talking for the group throughout the movie.
The first is Doctor Yoshida, who's perhaps the head of the UNSC. Doctor Yoshido is played by 58-year old Jun Tazaki, a veteran and well-recognized actor in Japan, best known for playing generals, doctors and scientists. Audiences just saw him as Doctor Sakurai in 1965's Godzilla versus Monster Zero.
The other important person is the film's Token White Guy, Doctor Stevenson, played by Andrew Hughes. Hughes is an interesting case. He was originally a lawyer appointed by the US Military to serve as legal council for Japanese officials in the war crimes trials following WWII. He did his job so well that he was able to trade his favors into bit roles in numerous Japanese movies. He's an old white guy with a bad white mustache, wearing a fine London-cut suit.
Stevenson and Yoshida debate whether this is a deliberate attempt at jamming the satellites or not. What nobody bothers to ask is, "Are all the monsters still on the island?". This seems like the logical first question to ask.
The monitors fuzz out again and now they're picking up a video and audio feed from "Radio Moscow” (Radio Moscow has a video feed?). It shows Rodan attacking the city. We see on the TV monitor (from multiple angles, damn them) Rodan smashing up Red Square. Rodan, of course, is the familiar flying reptile from 1956's Rodan.
We get mostly these sort of framed-monitor shots here, very irritating.
Say, how did Rodan make it all the way from the Pacific to Moscow without somebody detecting him on radar? You'd think that with the massively thick air defense environment that the Russians have, they would have seen the big monster coming.
Then "Radio Paris" comes on another TV monitor, also with a video component and a variety of multiple camera angles to cause my skin to boil. We see Gorosaurus bursting up through the ground at the base of the Arc de Triumphe. The monument shatters and collapses as the radio announcer laments the end of Parisian civilization. Please, don't tell me that he burrowed underground undetected all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Paris.
Gorosaurus is a mutated 8,000-ton Therapod dinosaur. He has some sharp claws and teeth and can defy the laws of physics with some impressive ninja kicks. Gorosaurus is a crossover from Toho's King Kong universe, first seen in 1967's King Kong Escapes, where his burrowing ability was legendary. His suit design is brilliant, and I can say with certainty that he's the best looking monster in this movie. The level of detail and believability in his suit is ten times that of the limp rubbery Godzilla.
This is a very well-known error in this movie, but I'll give it to you here anyway. The Radio Paris announcer names the attacking monster as "Baragon", even though it's clearly Gorosaurus. The problem was that the script called for Baragon, but later they found that the suit was so badly damaged by neglect and overuse that they couldn't use it. So they substituted the Gorosaurus suit in the attack on Paris. They just forgot to change the dialogue to reflect that.
We cut to another announcer who tells us that (along with the above seen attacks) London is being smacked up by Manda, a 3,000-ton mutated undersea worm/dragonfish. He has little power except to squeeze and bite. Manda is another crossover from one of Toho's other series, having first appeared in 1963's Atragon. I guess he swam up the Thames River.
The announcer then tells us that Godzilla is wading into New York harbor! Hmmm...that's a bit of trivia I never knew about, Godzilla attacking New York City a full thirty years before the heretical and utterly unwatchable TriStar Godzilla. We cut out to Godzilla standing off Manhattan. He torches an oil refinery (I don't think there are any in Manhattan), and then Fire Breath lances the famous United Nations Building. This is rather ironic, as it has been established in this movie that the new UN HQ is in Tokyo. I wonder what the old building was being used for? Probably a Wal-Mart.
Godzilla torching the UN!
We move now from all this destruction back to the UNSC, where a big press conference is being held to talk about the monster mess. Doctors Yoshida and Stevenson are both in attendance. The reporters query Yoshida about the mess, and he says that "All I can say now is what I said twenty years ago. Remember that typhoon? We must be on our guard."
Umm...what the hell? Assuming this movie is set in 1999 (which it isn't, right?), then this typhoon was in 1979. If it's indeed set in 1968 (which it is), then it came in 1948. Neither date makes any sense, and no explanation is given. The way that the crowd of reporters reacts, however, makes me think that perhaps something was dropped from the original screenplay.
The question is also raised about why Tokyo hasn't been hit yet. With Toho's obsession with leveling this city, you just know that can't last. Yoshida has no answers. BTW, with so many cities being trashed, Destroy all Monsters! officially becomes the Godzilla movie with the largest off-screen body count by far.
We cut now back to the Moonbase N-1. The segue is cute, with the backdrop to the press conference being a large photo of the moon. The SY-3 is still on the moon, but is currently away from the base doing something in a crater.
They fly back to the base, showing us the ship in flight. We can really see the size and cool shape of the SY-3 here. It's a pretty impressive design, with lots of fins and sharp angles. However, the effect is ruined by the flames shooting out of the three tail nozzles. The flames bend upwards, and the smoke trails also bend up, kind of like the ship was shot on a soundstage on Earth rather than in outer space. You can almost see the strings...
Moving inside, we join the crew as they return to the base. We see that they're wearing ugly yellow space suits with tacky upside-down-bucket space helmets with glass faceplates. Strangely, they wear these suits with helmets on inside the ship. Does this mean that the cabin of the ship is not pressurized? Even the late 1960s NASA Apollo missions had pressurized cabins. [Editor Pam: The spaceship in Godzilla vs. Monster Zero didn't seem to be pressurized, either, since the astronauts wore their helmets all the time. Perhaps it's a design feature they retained when they built this new spaceship, although what purpose it serves is beyond me.]
Here we're introduced to the six-man crew of the SY-3, all of whom will play parts in the coming battle with the aliens. Despite this, only two are ever named. Captain Katsuo (who we've already met) and Ogata (the arch-typical hot-headed First Officer).
Suddenly, their radar picks up a contact ahead. The large round radar display dominates the central control panel of the ship. Out the windows they see a glowing, pulsating UFO moving along a parallel track. They're surprised, but not so surprised. After all, the Earth has been visited by alien ships numerous times in this timeline. They give pursuit, but the UFO veers off.
Inexplicably, they choose to go on to the Moonbase instead of investigating this alien craft. Surely, all the destruction to come might have been lessened or even stopped if they had chased this UFO down like they should have. Captain Katsuo appears to make this call on his own, without asking his superiors for orders. If he had asked, they might have told him to stay with the UFO.
The UFO, as seen through the window.
Anyway, they get back to the Moonbase. They are told to go and investigate the mysterious silence at the Monsterland UNSC complex. Hmmm...aren't there any assets closer to Monsterland than a spaceship on the moon? Certainly there must be something closer, a warship, a plane, something, that could check on the silent base in a shorter time. Perhaps budget cuts have left the UNSC virtually dependent on outside agencies for such things. We will soon see that the Japanese military is quite large and sophisticated, certainly they could send a plane or a platoon of commandoes or something? Ah, but then we wouldn't get our heroes onto the island, eh?
And, why did they have to go back to the Moonbase again? Why couldn't they just relay this information and new set of orders to them over the radio and save everyone a whole lot of time and effort. Then the ship could have just left the surface from the point they were at and been at Monsterland hours before they were.
The dude at the Moonbase looks like Rocky Jones...
Anyway, they zip back to Earth. Along the way, probably in moon orbit, they pick up a booster section. I assume they later leave it in earth orbit when they descend. So the SY-3 lands on Monsterland. The entry bay is open, either left that way on purpose or the SY-3 crew has the access codes. They descend vertically, thrusters blasting, down into the underground base.
Four of the crew leave the ship, Captain Katsuo, the First Officer, and two others. The officers carry handguns, the other two lug big rifles. These are fancy sci-fi guns, they make laser ray gun noises when fired, but clearly shoot projectiles. I guess that they're gauss guns, using electromagnetic rails to shoot pellets.
They work their way through the empty complex to the control center. It's abandoned, but suddenly Kyoko and Doctor Otani arrive. Clearly something is amiss, as neither shows any emotion and they seem to be in a pleasant daze. They're quite lucid, however, and "were expecting them".
When accosted about the monsters on the loose, Otani takes them over to the control center. Otani shows us Mothra on the monitors. Mothra, of course, is Japan's favorite giant mutant moth. Here she's in larvae form, looking like a huge brown caterpillar. This version, the Showa version, is 40-meters long and weighs 8,000 tons. She has that web spitter thing going but not much else. After this one, the once-insanely popular Mothra was absent from Toho movies for about 24 years, finally returning in 1992's Godzilla versus Mothra II.
Mothra is "now near Peiping" (note the use of the old style name of Beijing). We see on the monitors (from numerous camera angles all cut together, you bastards!) that Mothra is about to intercept a bullet train. She wriggles onto the track and the train smashes into her. Ouch, this has got to hurt. Mothra doesn't have a lot of offensive weaponry in the larvae stage so having things run into her is about the best she can do.
Then Otani shows them Godzilla on the monitors (again from several different camera angles, why doesn't this annoy anyone else?), as he attacks a boat somewhere on the open sea. He zaps it with a Fire Breath, causing the ship to burst into flames. Strangely, the superstructure explodes nicely, but the actual hull of the ship doesn't even shake. It's as if the ship model is mounted on an anchored wooden base that's just barely covered with water...
Lastly, Otani shows them Rodan. Apparently he's still over Russia, though that's not for sure. Where ever he is, he's still denying airspace, as we see him crash into a fancy looking commercial jet. The jet looks like that supersonic airliner that Tupelov was working on in the 1960s, very nifty.
Tu-135, a beautiful aircraft...
Now that they're sufficiently impressed by the carnage, they're taken into another room to meet the "Kilaak Queen". She, of course, is a Japanese woman dressed in a silver cape and skull cap. How very alien. You'd think they could put some makeup on her at least, maybe a Klingon wig or something. The Kilaak Queen is played by Kyoko Ai. Ai never appeared on film again, perhaps shamed into voice-over work by this horrid movie. It's strange that an actress with a leading role in a Godzilla movie never parlayed that into a career. She's actually a very pretty girl, though the tight silver hood makes it hard to see much of her features.
The Kilaak Queen.
Otani explains that the Queen is a Kilaak, an alien race who are from a small planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. This presumably means in the asteroid belt, which was still a bit of a mystery in 1968.
The Queen is very polite and pleasant, with a soothing personality that would make a great suicide hotline councilor. The Queen assures them that all is well, they are just here to raze all Earth cities and create a new civilization over the ashes. Really, everything is fine, nothing to worry about.
This does not sit well with the hot-headed young First Officer, who rushes at the Queen, only to be stopped by an invisible force field. Captain Katsuo, only slightly less hot-headed, tries shooting the Queen with his pistol. The force screen deflects the four shots.
Hey, hands off!
The Queen, despite several attempts on her life, is still happy, smiling and calm. Otani and Kyoko give some sappy love to the Queen, trying to get the SY-3 crew to join them on the dark side. Katsuo seems to hesitate slightly when his little sister implores him to relax and give up, but he quickly recovers his spine and says, "No way." They then grab Otani and Kyoko and make to exit with these two captives.
The Queen, still smiling sweetly, releases the red knock-out gas into the room. Everyone freaks out. Four more of the complex staff, now just smiling walking mind- controlled zombies, come at our heroes. Katsuo fires a few warning shots in the air, to no avail, and then they start kicking and punching everything in sight.
They exit the room, barely getting under a closing security door, and are now in the control room. One of the crew fires a burst from his gauss rifle, but we don't see the effects. Here they are met by the other two SY-3 crewmen, wearing gas masks and carrying a case with four more masks. Hmmm...now how did they know that the four guys needed gas masks so quickly? They must have already been out of the ship and nearing the men when the gas started flying. Perhaps the ship's sensors detected the presence of the gas? I'll give them that.
And what about that gas. Clearly it's not instant-acting, as even with exposure, the men recover completely once they're breathing clean air again. There's clearly a level of exposure that is effective, then, and it takes time to work. This doesn't seem like the most efficient gas to be used. You think an advanced race like the Kilaaks could come up with something that acts quicker. And also, once you have been "taken over" by the aliens, you are immune to the gas, as Otani and Kyoko clearly are.
In the confusion, Kyoko escapes. Otani tries to run, but is held fast. Having decided that they can't let the crew escape, the zombie staff now attacks them with guns. They seem to be armed with ray guns, or maybe gauss guns as well, by the sound. Clearly, the base staff are not well-trained in firearm usage, as they can't hit anything. The ship crew is better trained, despite their weaker weapons.
The gunfight is short but brisk. Two of the zombie staff are hit, one in the chest and another in the forehead, and both are killed. Apparently, they're not immune to bullets. None of the SY-3 crew is hit and they make their escape. The gun battle over, the SY-3 blasts off from the island.
Please note that we see the cabin of the ship as it flies back to Tokyo. The regular crew all have their sealed helmets on, but Otani does not. So clearly the cabin is pressurized, at least on earth. Then why do they have the helmets on? Sure, it looks cool, but there's no logical reason.
We now cut then to what's apparently Doctor Otani's apartment in a building overlooking the sea. Doctor Yoshido and Katsuo are here with him, and no one else. They're trying to interrogate him for info, but Otani is not talking. Why is it that such an important person is been questioned in his own apartment by an astronaut and a scientist? Why isn't he locked away in some UNSC cell while a legion of professionals try and extract info from him?
We learn here from Yoshida that the Army has checked out Monsterland and no one is there. Clearly the Kilaaks have moved their base to a secret location. This is what they want from Otani, but he keeps quiet, just smiling and looking all glassed-over.
Then, Otani suddenly gets up, smoothes out his suit coat, walks over to the window and jumps out! He falls way down and lands on the beach, splat. Yoshida and Katsuo rush down to the beach to find him dead, of course.
Just then, they're interrupted by Kyoko! And four zombie henchmen, who I guess are former staff members of the UNSC complex. They're all dressed better, so I guess the Kilaaks took them with them when they moved bases. Kyoko actually looks pretty cute here, wearing a cream dress, with white hose and gold pumps. In fact, she looks real cute.
They try and take our heroes away. Suddenly, they see that three men are running towards them down the beach. They're wearing identical mauve suit coats and pants. Kyoko yells that the "Secret Police" are coming and they should run away. Umm...who are the Secret Police? Is this some sort of Japanese government group that watches for alien incursions? And why the matching suits, don't you think that they would stand out like that, ruin the whole "secret" thing they got going?
A running gun battle ensues, as the henchmen attempt to beat a retreat with Otani's body. Yoshida and Katsuo manage to punch and kick their way loose and dive for cover. The henchmen are armed with gauss pistols, but the police are packing standard automatics. This disparity in firepower between the police and the bad guys is distressing. Still, the bad guys pull back. One of the henchmen attempts to cut something from Otani's lifeless body under fire. Katsuo, recognizing that this must be something significant for him to take this risk, jumps on the man and shoves him away. The henchman runs off, foiled. Even running in the open across the beach at less than fifty yards, none of the police can score a hit on the five targets. Terribly bad shooting, someone needs to reexamine the firearms accuracy tests given to Secret Policemen.
Apparently, the bad guys had a boat waiting just behind that rock, as suddenly we see it zipping off. This, despite the fact that the police were running full tilt and Kyoko was wearing heels. Bad policemen.
The gun battle over, Katsuo and Doctor Yoshida recover Otani's dead body. They take it to an operating theatre where Yoshida performs an autopsy. We're never told just what field Yoshida is a doctor in, but apparently it's a multi-disciplinary degree. In these movies, it seems like any one with a doctorate can do everything from surgery to nuclear reactor repair.
Anyway, they find this little alien artifact dot behind his left ear. Somebody call Art Bell, we got us a bonafide alien implant here! They yank it out and check it out. While it's alien technology, they deduce that it's some sort of transmitter/receiver. This is good, in most of these movies, they instantly know what every alien artifact is, regardless of how foreign a technology it is. Anyway, from this they figure out that the Kilaaks are controlling people by these implants.
Removing the implant.
They also make the leap that the Kilaaks are controlling the monsters the same way. So they decide to go out and hunt for the transmitters. As it turns out, the alien control over the monsters is tenuous at best. Apparently, the Kilaaks have been placing their control instruments inside fake rocks and such and scattering them across the globe. What the hell? Which screenwriter came up with this lame idea?
In short order, the UNSC holds a press conference to announce that they have located many of these transmitters. These were ferreted out by searching the spectra for tell-tale emissions and tracking them down. Sneaky humans. To help us, the filmmakers give us some obvious postcard photos of famous landmarks with white arrows painted on. The arrows supposedly point to where the transmitters were found. It's the most laughable thing you can imagine.
All this makes no sense. Why did the Kilaaks put their control mechanisms into such normal things as rocks? And why were they so easy to locate by the humans? You'd think a technologically advanced people like the Kilaaks would be able to shield their machinery better. If they could jam our communications, then why couldn't they have a centralized control center or two, and protect them with electromagnetic shielding?
In many ways, this Kilaak invasion seems to be run on a shoestring budget. We only see one group here on earth, with just a handful of aliens and little assets. If it wasn't for their control of the monsters, this would be a weak invasion attempt.
We get some more scientific facts about the transmitters. They seem to have a limited range, only 2,000 kilometers, and so there a lot of them around. We see a map that shows us the Earth with locations of the found transmitters on them. They are on every continent. There is only one in Japan, and it was found as we saw. So, unless there are other transmitters out there in Japan that they haven't found, which is unlikely as they have the ability to track them by now, then Japan has nothing to fear. Is this right? But if the monsters are only controlled when within the range of a transmitter, then what happens when they pass out of the range of one? The map shows us that there is little overlap between the locations, so there must be much "dead space" where the monsters would not be under control, right? This makes no sense.
The map of the transmitter coverages.
So while the search is on for more hidden transmitters, Doctor Yoshida and a bunch of UNSC scientists reoccupy the Monsterland complex. There they begin working to reverse-engineer the transmitters to find a way to control the monsters themselves. First, however, they have to track down the radio waves that are controlling the monsters. They determine (how?) that they're coming from the moon!
Ok, I'm really confused now. So the controlling waves were coming from the Kilaak base on the moon? So what the heck were all those transmitters hidden in rocks that they found? I don't understand. Oh, hey, maybe the control beams are line-of-sight and they have to have transmitters around the globe so that the monsters are always in control? No, that sounds stupid.
OK, back up a little here. While all this is going on, the fates of the Monsterland staff that were converted to zombies by the Kilaaks must be dealt with. The UNSC sends an APB out across the globe to watch for these men. We get some visuals and audio of some of these suspects. They include a British citizen and we learn that Kyoko is 23- years old.
We segue from here to Kyoko, who is now in Tokyo. We see that the Secret Police are stopping women seemingly at random on the streets to check for bulges of implants behind their ears. In reality, it looks like this is just an excuse for the guys to grab and fondle women on the street. Kyoko is stopped, but there is no implant visible so they let her go after one of them runs his fingers through her silky hair a bit. Sicko.
We do see that she has some spiffy ear-rings. We will soon see that the Kilaaks are controlling her through these ear rings. Why? Why her and no one else? Do the implants only work on men?
Anyway, Kyoko is walking through the streets of Tokyo when the air raid sirens start up. Tokyo is under monster attack! Finally! While everyone else screams and runs, Kyoko just beams proudly. We see that Manda the worm, Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla are all stomping through the city. Since the air raid sirens started just minutes before the first explosion, we can assume that the Japanese early warning people were asleep when they let all these monsters approach Tokyo without giving the populace adequate warning. The death toll must be horrendous.
Ah, but we hear from a military talking head that, "All the people have taken shelter." Right, like we are supposed to believe that several million people all took shelter in about five minutes. So we can sit back and enjoy the destruction of an empty city with no guilt, eh?
She loves her monsters.
And we have to marvel at the awesome coordination of the monster attack. When last we saw these four beasts, they were scattered across the globe attacking different cities. Now, all of a sudden, they're all in Tokyo at the same time. They must have joined up somewhere and then all marched on Tokyo as a group. If so, then surely there would have been more warning, right?
In the coming trashing of Tokyo we see some interesting things. We see prominent billboards for Toshiba, British Overseas Airways, and Volkswagen. We see that Manda is pretty useless in city smashing, having little weaponry except wrapping around monorails. The scenes of Godzilla stomping the docks are very impressive, some of the best in the Showa series to be sure. Rodan just does that whole supersonic typhoon wing thing that always pisses me off. His wings are not moving anywhere fast enough, and even if they were, would the wind created really be able to cause that much damage? And wouldn't there be an equal and opposite force reacting to push Rodan backwards? I hate Rodan.
I hate you.
The Japanese military is not taking this lying down. We see that out in the countryside are banks of surface-to-surface missiles, rising out of underground bunkers and rolling out of mountainside caverns. They are twin missile racks, looking just like Standard SAM mounts found on ships. On the rooftops of several downtown Tokyo buildings are pop-up missile mounts, firing a rack of 24 small missiles. All this weaponry is impressive and a clear indication that Tokyo is sick and tired of getting smashed by monsters once a year.
So the Army opens up, raining missiles down on the four monsters. Hmmm...knowing the terrible accuracy of the Army in these movies, the fact that they are shooting into the center of the city is scary. Indeed, we see nearly all the missiles miss the targets and hit buildings and roadways. In the end, the Army's response probably causes just as much damage as the monsters themselves. But it's ok, right, because all the people are in shelters?
The battle is thick, with monsters smashing and the rockets and missiles trashing what is left. We segue neatly from here to the aftermath, the city in ruins, horribly smashed and mangled. We pan down into the UNSC HQ, which is in an underground bunker somewhere in the city. It has survived and is busy with people trying to sort out the situation. Apparently the monsters have left the city and are off doing something else. Maybe they're resting. Maybe they're sleeping. It takes a lot of work to smash a city.
We visit here with Captain Katsuo and some Army general, as they talk about the events of the day. Apparently, while Japan's attentions were focused on other nations, the Kilaaks were building a secret base of operations somewhere on the Izu Peninsula. This peninsula is in Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo and southeast of Mount Fuji, and jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. They have also spotted the monster Baragon in Izu. It also seems that all the hot springs in the area are drying up, "just like on Monsterland", and that means the Kilaaks are there. Hmmm...what? Hopefully we will have that explained later. So I guess then that the monsters only attacked Tokyo after the Kilaaks built their base? Wouldn't it have been more distracting to have Tokyo being attacked while they built the base some distance away?
Helpful map of the Izu Peninsula.
We now see that Kyoko, looking really great in a sleeveless red dress, is coming down into the bunker. Down here are Doctor Yoshida and her brother Katsuo, amongst many others. They are stunned to see her, and they gather around. She tells them that she's an emissary from the Kilaak base in Izu. The Kilaaks will send the monsters back to Monsterland and let everyone live in peace if the humans agree to abide by their laws. Blackmail, I say!
Enraged that a mere girl would be so bold, Katsuo grabs her roughly and rips (!!!) the earrings from her ears. How did he know? Lucky guess, but he sure would have looked stupid and brutal if he had been wrong. Released from the mind control, Kyoko collapses in a heap. She's dazed and confused and remembers nothing after the attack on Monsterland in the beginning of the movie. Thankfully for her, she also remembers nothing of the silliness that has happened since then.
Ouch, that hurt!
She is, however, also unable to tell them exactly where the Kilaak base on Izu is. Therefore, they call upon Katsuo and his SY-3 again. The general utters the immortal phrase, "...you must use your spaceship to go underground...". Which is just great if you think about it.
In the meantime, they're hedging their bets by mobilizing the Army to move into Izu. It's not stated, but perhaps this is a diversionary attack to allow the SY-3 to sneak in. The coming battle sure seems that way, so that's what I'm going with. Ah, now I see where all the monsters went after trashing Tokyo. They went down to Izu to protect the Kilaak base.
OK, first we see the Japanese Army moving up. This looks like an armor-only thrust, with no infantry support. We see a variety of sci-fi looking vehicles here, all kits built for this movie. The coming shots of these vehicles in action will appear as stock footage for decades of movies to come as they are very good. The actual names of the vehicles are not important, and I detailed them in another review (from stock footage), but there are three basic types: radar vans, missile half-tracks, and missile tanks.
The JSDF moving up.
Now it's fully dark and we watch the SY-3 trying to land somewhere in Izu. They descend vertically as normal, and then we get a shot of a small tank-like vehicle being lowered from the bottom of the ship. What is this? It's never explained and never seen again, but I suspect that it originally had a larger role but it was edited out. This is not the Land Car that we will see later, it's much smaller and looks unmanned.
Anyway, before they can land, Godzilla appears. The monster smacks the SY-3 with an Atomic Fire Breath blast, which doesn't even dent it. What!!! This blast would have blown down a skyscraper but here it just bounces off the spaceship. What is the SY-3 made of? Can they coat the sides of buildings with it? The SY-3 pulls out, discretion is the better part of valor.
Godzilla now turns his attention to the armored front. As he stomps towards the tanks, they open fire on him. Missiles fly and guns boom, stuff explodes everywhere. This is very impressive, but if you watch it closely you can see that all the firecracker bottlerockets miss the monster by wide margins.
Godzilla is now on them and the tanks scatter. Why the hell they let him get that close is beyond me. Perhaps this was some sort of Banzai attack gone wrong. Only slightly annoyed by all the firepower being hurled at him, Godzilla stomps two of the tanks, they burn and smoke nicely.
Suddenly, Angilius appears from another side. The tanks shift their fire to the new monster, with little affect. Angilius crushes two tanks himself, rocking one of them back and forth under his foot. Nice.
The Army retreats in disarray. In the SY-3, they're bummed out. Suddenly they see a Kilaak saucer flying towards Mount Fuji and they steer to follow. They're then bounced by Rodan, who was apparently playing fighter escort to the saucer. The SY-3 has to pull up and open up the throttles to escape Rodan. Katsuo laments the day, but is sure that if they investigate the Mount Fuji area they will find their base.
Now, certainly he meant that they will use the ship, or even call in the Army to do it for them, right? Certainly they don't plan on disembarking and wandering around on the ground themselves, right? Why leave the utility and mobility of the spaceship just to walk along the foothills with a pair of binoculars? This is what they do.
Katsuo and First Officer Ogata join up with a company of soldiers led by a Major. They go for a stroll near Mount Fuji, but are soon surprised by Godzilla. The soldiers retreat running as Godzilla lumbers after them. Oh, crap. Why do we always have to have the guy-slips-and-falls scene? And why does he always just have to lie there staring up in shock at the approaching monster until one of his buddies pulls him away? Arg.
In the rush, Katsuo, Ogata and the Major get separated from the rest of the men. Great leadership skills there, Major. Your men have just been routed and you will show no urgency to rally them, or even to locate them for the next hour. Godzilla stomps off, leaving the three of them alone. They start to leave, but then feel some air being expelled from a cave opening nearby.
Clearly this is an air vent for the oh-so-secret Kilaak base that we all know is underground. The men work their way into the cave, suddenly a stone door slides shut behind them, cutting off their escape. So they keep going, and soon another door slides behind them. Soon they're deep into the cave.
Then, bam, they run into this invisible force screen. On the other side appears the Kilaak Queen and five lovely attendants. They look like Padme's entourage from The Phantom Menace, except not as hot.
Meeting the Kilaak beauties.
The Queen tells the men that the Kilaaks are here to stay and they better get used to it or die. Resistance is futile, yada yada yada, we've heard it all before. She then shows them a projected image of the underground Kilaak base here under Mount Fuji. It's a truly massive complex, complete with saucer launching facilities. They must have some advanced excavating skills to create all this in a short time.
After sufficiently wowing the men, the Queen fades off and the stone door open. The men are free to leave to spread the word of Kilaak domination.
We now cut away quickly to Monsterland, to the complex where Doctor Yoshida and his team are feverishly working to figure out the control mechanism for the monsters. Triangulating something (?), they determine that the main Kilaak control beam is coming from the moon.
The control room at Monsterland.
The SY-3 must go back to the moon (man, that thing must have a lot of miles on the odometer) and destroy the Kilaak moon base. The UNSC moonbase relays their orders. The ship is to fly nap-of-the-moon to the Cassini Crater, land in the crater and neutralize the Kilaaks based there. It seems like a suicide mission to me. Six guys in a single spaceship taking on a fortified base operated by a race several technological levels above them. Couldn't they have brought along a platoon of Space Marines? Or maybe nuked it from orbit?
We see that the Kilaak base holds maybe just three Kilaak women, all fine looking Oriental girls. There are also a few human zombies here. Since they are wearing the uniforms of the Monsterland staff, we can assume that they were brought up here. The interior of the base is filled with glowing orbs and flashing light panels, very sci-fi.
So the SY-3 races along the moon's surface, flying low to avoid trouble. But trouble finds them as a UFO is seen tracking them. Despite the fact that the element of surprise is clearly lost, they continue their frontal assault. Landing vertically in the crater, it's no surprise to anyone when suddenly multiple jets of flame shoot out from the crater walls. The flames begin to heat up the ship and there is great danger that the fuel tanks are going to blow.
So they take off and try an...wait, no they don't take off. They decide to continue the plan, even though there is serious risk of having their ship destroyed, leaving them stranded. The SY-3 is equipped with a "Land Car", a tracked buggy armed to the teeth. It's lowered and the six men clamber in and zip off. The Land Car is armed with four energy cannons, each capable of shooting a spiffy blue electric bolt.
SY-3 Land Car.
They find the "entrance" to the Kilaak base and begin blasting it with their energy cannons. Several sustained bursts blow in the walls. The three Kilaak ladies inside collapse to the floor. The flaming jets peter out, saving the SY-3 from cooking off. Wait, so that was it? Just flamethrowers? No other defensive weaponry? No minefields, booby traps or automated phaser turrets? Nothing? Man, these Kilaaks are lame.
They pull up to the opening they created and get out. They're all armed with rifles and pistols, the officers with the latter. Four of them head off, the other two stay with the Car. The four of them enter the blasted base, working their way through the rubble. They find the remains of the three Kilaaks, now reduced to inert lumps of stone about the size of a bowling ball. Somehow, Katsuo knows that these rocks were once the lovely Kilaak ladies.
They explain it later, but it seems appropriate here, so I will explain what happened to the Kilaaks. Apparently, they only exist in "sexy human girl form" at a temperature of several thousand degrees! If it drops below that, then they revert to this rock form until it warms up. I guess, the science is all freaky and wrong.
Anyway, back to our men in the cave. They find what is clearly a fancy alien transmitter, a spinning cube with sprouts on it. I guess they want to bring it back, so they bust out the power tools. A long time spent with a power saw accomplishes nothing, the metal post the transmitter is on seems to be ultra-super-strong.
So they head back to the Land Car and pull off one of the energy cannons on the front. They have to use a powered grinder to get the cannon off. What? There are no latches or anything, they have to use power tools to open it? Bad design, must not be a Lexus. They haul the cannon back into the cave, trailing a long power line and a powerpack. Setting it up, they blast away at the support to the transmitter.
Blasting the transmitter.
This whole sequence reminds me strongly of the pilot episode of Star Trek, called The Cage, which had a similar scene of a big laser cannon trying to blast through some alien metal. They even have a "Captain, it's overloading!"-kinda guy and a "Damn the overloads! Keep firing!"-kinda guy. Eventually, after shorting out the power pack and setting the power lines on fire (!!!), the Kilaak transmitter breaks off. Who-ho! They carry it back with them to their ship and take off.
Back on earth, there is much rejoicing. The scientist set to work sending out their own control signals to the monsters. It's never stated whether or not they used the transmitter that the crew worked so hard to recover. Perhaps disconnecting it from its alien power source was a problem.
The SY-3 returns to Earth, carrying a Kilaak rock with them. The rock is brought to the UNSC HQ where they do some fancy tests on it. They determine (how?) that it's alive but dormant. Again, it's stated that only temps in the several thousand degree range will revive them. Wait, wait, wait. We have seen them in the same room as their human zombies, right? How can any human, even one under mind control, survive in that environment? They would melt and get all icky. Why didn't anyone catch this? If they had just said that the key temperature was like 120 or something, then it could pass. Everyone is so sweaty in this movie anyway.
A Kilaak rock.
Suddenly, they hear a noise outside. It's Godzilla, back to light up Tokyo again! Hey, that's the same scene that we saw the first time he attacked Tokyo! They used stock footage from like fifteen minutes ago! But wait, the phone rings, it's Doctor Yoshida. He says that they are working on their remote control unit and he will try and use it on Godzilla. Apparently it works, because next time we see the big lizard he's firmly under human control.
Ah, the new plan is to have the monsters hunt for the Kilaak base near Mount Fuji. Pretty good plan, eh? We now cut out to the area, where a bunch of soldiers is setting up missile batteries and bazookas. I guess they're here to mop-up, because it's clear that the monsters are going to do most of the work.
And so the monster bash begins. A Japanese TV reporter, on the scene with dual cameras working behind him, will be doing the voice-over for the fight. He sounds like Marv Albert at a Knicks game, calling the opening lineup and espousing the virtues and skills of the competitors.
First Godzilla's son Minya appears, then Godzilla himself. In short order, Mothra, Rodan, Angilius, Gorosaurus, Spiga and Baragon show up. They fan out in an open plain just before the foothills of Mount Fuji. The land is scrub and rock, perfect battle conditions.
A few notes on two of the monsters here that we haven't described yet. Baragon is a mutated Triceratops kinda dinosaur. He is 25-meters tall and weighs just 250 tons, making him a small monster as they go. He has a Heat Ray that can fire from his mouth and some nasty claws and horns and can burrow underground at great speeds. He's a crossover from Toho's other universes, with his only other appearance coming in 1965's Frankenstein Conquers the World.
Spiga is a giant tarantula, 45-meters tall and 8,800 tons heavy. He can toss a web like Spiderman and shoot poison stingers. First seen in 1967's Son of Godzilla where he missed his chance to kill off the demonseed Minya, which would have been heralded as the greatest achievement of the 20th Century.
Back in the UNSC HQ, all is abuzz with excitement for the coming battle. The other group of scientists at the Monsterland complex is also watching intently. A few notes. Katsuo is wearing the red jumpsuit of the moonbase crew, which is strange as in all other shots he is wearing the yellow of the SY-3 crew. Perhaps the wardrobe master goofed. As well, Kyoko is here, clearly recovered from her ordeal. Her ears appear completely healed.
Suddenly, a "UFO" is detected. A monitor shows a dazzling light rushing in, slowly coalescing into a hideous form. It's Ghidrah, scourge monster of the universe! This is the only stock footage reused in the whole movie (I think), coming from 1964's Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster. Oh, no, the Kilaaks have called him in! Wait, didn't we last see him in the employ of the Devo aliens from Planet X? Did they trade him to Kilaak for Nomar and a first round pick? Ghidrah sure seems easy to manipulate in these movies. Maybe he just needs a hug.
No one seems very excited about Ghidorah's appearance, probably because he was just here last year. Then the "control system" goes out (why?) and the monsters are suddenly no longer controlled by the humans. This catastrophic failure in the plan is just blown off like nothing, and we hope that it's just a temporary loss of control due to jamming or something.
Just then the Kilaak Queen appears on the viewscreens of the UNSC. She's standing with a bevy of Kilaak beauties, broadcasting from inside the base at Fuji. Apparently, all the Kilaaks here are women, and hot young Oriental women at that. Is this a paradise planet, or what? The Queen basically tells them that they have called in Ghidrah to kick their asses and when they feel like surrendering they can call her at 555-BITCH. We also see that there's a zombie staffer from the Monsterland complex with them. Why is he in the shot? So that the Kilaaks can show that they have some humans working for them?
"I will fuck you all up if you don't hand over your planet."
And so the battle begins. The shots of Ghidrah flying in are great, especially when he is set against the majesty of Mount Fuji and the brilliant blue sky. He flaps his wings and undulates his necks very convincingly. He will not look so good in later movies.
Clearly, Ghidrah is at a serious disadvantage from the get-go here. The only way he can succeed is to make full use of his one advantage--flight. Only Rodan can fly (don't freakin' give me Varan, that chimp has got no bite), and Rodan has no weaponry save physically ramming. Ghidrah needs to stay aloft, strafing the land-bound monsters and keeping the smaller Rodan off its back. He could even latch onto a monster and carry it off to somewhere away where he could kill it without the other monsters interfering. He has the ability to do this, as we see him lift Angilius during the coming battle.
But, no, Ghidrah is a stupidhead. He gives up his one chance at victory by landing in the middle of the assembled monsters and flailing away. Surrounded, the end result cannot be a surprise.
That said, "Round One" of this battle goes to Ghidorah. Landing in the center of the monster pack, Ghidrah seems to single out Angilius for special loving. It is the painfully-obviously-a-dude-crawling-on-his-hands-and-knees-in-a-suit Angilius that gets lifted up high off the ground, though it's his own fault as he latches on to one of Ghidrah's necks and won't let go.
No biological science out there can defend this extreme load not breaking the neck, let alone being able to yank Angilius into the air. But it happens, I saw it on film. They fly off a distance and then Angilius is shaken loose. Falling quite a ways, he smashes down flat on his back. Ouch. The force of the impact shakes some dirt loose, exposing a glowing, glassy structure buried under the ground. This, of course, is part of the hidden Kilaak base, now fortunately located.
Ghidrah then lands on top of Angilius' prone body, and stomps his head in the dirt! Yes! He then roars, like he's saying, "Oh, yeah, come get some!". Gorosaurus and Godzilla exchange looks like, "Dude, he just busted up Angilius! Let's get 'em!". And so begins "Round Two".
Round Two doesn't go so well for Ghidrah. Distracted from the front, Ghidrah doesn't see Gorosaurus coming up from behind. Gorosaurus leaps up in the air and sells it out for a two-foot ninja kick to Ghidrah's spine. Down Ghidrah goes in a cloud of dust. The other monsters leap on him, pinning him to the ground. Even Spiga and Mothra get in some action, spraying the monster with sticky goo.
Oy, Ghidrah is really getting beat with the nasty stick now. The monsters continue to stomp and smack on his heads. Even Minya plays ring-toss with one of the heads with a radioactive smoke ring (seriously, you have to see it). Under such punishment, it's not long before the great beast Ghidrah expires. It's an inglorious death, writhing in the dirt while other monsters stomp on his back.
The end of King Ghidrah.
With Ghidrah dead, the other monsters jump and roar in victory. We now see Rodan, who after catching some bolts from Ghidrah at the very beginning of the battle has been conspicuously absent, is seen flying over the area. Once back on land he has some serious explaining to do. But then again, so does Baragon, who we know was there also, but was clearly hiding behind a rock the entire battle. Cowards.
Suddenly, the "Fire Dragon" arrives. It's a flaming ball o'fire, racing in from outer space. It attacks Rodan, still flying CAP over the battlefield, striking the beast on its back. Flames and smoke gout from Rodan's back, staggering him in the air. The Fire Dragon then flies off.
We get a shot of the Dragon flying at Godzilla, who chases it away with an Atomic Fire Breath blast. Hey, now that I think of it, in the entire battle with Ghidrah, Godzilla only used his Fire Breath once. In the end he didn't need it, but it just seems strange that he didn't use his ranged weapon more.
Anyway, we now get a totally throwaway shot of the Fire Dragon flying through the middle of some unknown highrise building. Next we see that the Monsterland staff is freaking because the Fire Dragon is headed right for them. So perhaps the building it flew through was on the way to Monsterland.
While the scientists run for cover, the Dragon flies over the island. Some force projected from the Dragon causes the island to virtually explode and melt in upon itself. There's so much flame and shattering explosions that we would be amazed if anyone survived. The complex is totally wrecked.
The Kilaak Queen makes another appearance on the screen. Nonplussed that Ghidrah is down for the count, she makes threats that the Fire Dragon will torch them all. She gloats that Doctor Yoshido's control machine is now destroyed, leaving the monsters under no one's control. She is busy trash-talking when suddenly she is distracted by a familiar roar. Godzilla is mad.
Despite the fact that he is now acting on his own, Godzilla decides to pay the Kilaaks back for all the mind-control crap. Hmmm...wait, didn't the humans also try and control his actions? Why's he only sore at the Kilaaks? Anyway, Godzilla gives the exposed section of the Kilaak base two ferocious Fire Breath blasts. They have no effect.
The Kilaak base.
Godzilla then gives the glass bulb a serious Beckham side-kick, shattering it. Hmmm...the structure resists Atomic Breath that obliterates normal buildings, but is cracked like a brittle eggshell by a physical kick? Must be some sort of Andromedian power absorption panel. Inside, the temperature falls quickly. The Kilaak Queen and her escorts revert to their rock forms. That sucks for them, but that's what they get for messing with Godzilla's head.
The Kilaak's true form.
There is much rejoicing at the UNSC complex, but it's tempered by the fact that the Fire Dragon is on its way back to Tokyo. So Katsuo runs off to get the SY-3. Hmm...where is the Japanese Air Force? Don't they have any assets to contribute? Why is the SY-3 the only option?
The coming air battle takes place at night. We see that the monsters are still standing around in a clump, roaring and hand waving. Don't they have anything better to do? We also wonder where the Fire Dragon has been all this time, because it sure made it from Fuji to Monsterland in a blink of an eye. Since the turn-around, prep and take-off time for the SY-3 has got to be lengthy, the Fire Dragon was probably off torching Tokyo to cinders while it waited for the moon rocket to get into the air. Since it was daylight when Katsuo went off to get the ship and it's now fully dark, we can assume that much time has passed for the Dragon to cause carnage.
The Fire Dragon jinks around a bit and then latches onto the SY-3, right behind the crew cockpit. Its flames start roasting the crew inside. Apparently, this is the Fire Dragon's only weapon, ramming and attaching and burning and stuff.
Katsuo begins twisting and turning the SY-3 in a series of maneuvers designed to shake the thing off. The twisting and swerving is severe, certainly severe enough to snap airframes and pull off wings from the force. The crew is restrained only by simple lap belts, so that has got to hurt them also. The SY-3 and the crew hold together, however, and the Fire Dragon is shaken loose eventually.
Staggering away, the fire fades out from the Dragon, revealing a UFO! Ah-ha, the Fire Dragon was just a Kilaak saucer with some fancy flame projectors. The SY-3 fires a "Cooling Missile", which impacts the saucer, apparently "cooling it off". Whatever that means. [Editor Pam: "Rockifying" it, maybe.] The UFO careens into the ground, exploding in a gout of fire and debris. Yeah!
The Fire Dragon, cooled down to a plain old UFO.
In a lot of reading about this movie, I was led to believe that the SY-3 was armed to the teeth with all sorts of fancy weapons. But in the entire movie, we only see a "Cooling Missile". The port we see for it is on one side, so we can assume that there are two total. We can either assume that there are a variety of missiles stored in the ship, and they can choose a Cooling warhead at will, or that all they have are Cooling Missiles. Either way, it's a rather specialized weapon.
Hmmm...and that's about it, then. The rest of the movie is just a helicopter flight over Monsterland again, showing all the beasts back where they belong. We get a quick glimpse of Varan here, flying along stiffly like a plastic model. This is the only shot of Varan in the entire movie as far as I can tell, an ultra quick cameo designed to boost the monster count, I guess. Varan is weird flying armadillo type of monster. I like it. It's 50-meters tall and a lightweight 15,000 tons. Other than blinding fast flight, it has just its claws and spikes to do battle with. Varan is, of course, a crossover from another of Toho's many universes, first being seen in 1962's Varan the Unbelievable, making it one of the oldest monsters here. This is the last time that Varan will ever been seen in a Toho movie.
Varan the Lame!
For a while I was raging about the complacent way the monsters went back to their island preserve. Then I remembered that the Kilaak implants were still in the monsters, that's how they got them to go back to Monsterland so peacefully.
And that's all she wrote, folks. The end, bye-bye.
PS. What happened to Ghidrah's dead body? Did we learn any science out of studying the corpse? Did we make some great steaks out of it? Just wondering.
PS 2. What happened to the Kilaak stones? Did they keep them around, or what? Did they hold them for ransom?
PS 3. Monsterland sure looks fine for having been obliterated by the Fire Dragon. And I see that Doctor Yoshida is still alive, despite all that blasting.
Bonus! Some handy statistics for you...
6: Number of major cities stomped by assorted beasties.
1: Number of monsters destroyed, despite the film's title (unless they translated it wrong, and it was supposed to be "Destroy all, monsters!" or maybe the Yodaesque "Destroy, all monsters!", I guess either one could be quotes from the Kilaak Queen to her clawed minions).
1: Number of dolphins eaten.
0: Number of cigarettes smoked by our cast.
[Editor Pam: It's a reasonably good movie, despite a plot that seems to have been thrown together in five minutes. It may not have done well because it was a little too much like other monster movies Toho had done recently. It seems reminiscent of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero in its general atmosphere, and with so many of the same actors appearing in monster movie after monster movie, I'm not surprised audiences felt they'd seen something similar before. And I'm wondering why the invading aliens are always cardboard figures, so that it's hard to remember which aliens appeared in which movies. Would it have been so hard to give us a little background on the Kilaaks? It's still worth watching today, though.]
Written in July 2004 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.
comments powered by Disqus
that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...