Invasion of Astro-Monster
Fuji: "Look at Godzilla and Rodan. They seem to resent us for leaving them behind."
Glenn: "They cause troubles sometimes, but I can't help feeling sorry for them."
release year: 1965
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/7/19 and 5/9/98
synopsis: Aliens from the newly-discovered Planet X ask the Earth for help with their giant monster problem, but all is not as it seems.
impressions: Titled Monster Zero for its American release (although I watched the Japanese version) this was the one that took a sharp turn into the future: it had casual spaceflight, UFOs, aliens, a new planet (which is actually a moon of Jupiter according to the dialog) and the aliens had advanced technology, enough to transport giant monsters from planet to planet, as well as flying saucers and 1/10-lightspeed travel and lasers. There was also a good human story, perhaps the first one that really grabbed my attention...one of the two main astronaut guys has a sister who's in love with a geeky inventor, whose invention is crucial to the plot...and the other main astronaut guy is dating a woman who has some secrets tied back to that invention. And these guys aren't just astronauts, they become scientists too when it's called for! Anyway, some other memorable elements I noticed: an American co-protagonist named Glenn (no doubt a tribute to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth a few years before this movie came out)...aliens who all wear identical leather costumes with helmets and antennae and sunglasses, and are controlled by a master computer of some kind...the unaddressed mystery of how King Ghidorah got from Earth to Planet X since the end of the last movie...Japan's housewives having a representative on the government council...people wearing coats and ties everywhere, even in the wilderness...a secret evil alien plot...the astronauts being smartasses while being interrogated...the aliens saying things like "Our plan will be executed according to item 4 of plan 5" while sitting around a constantly-rotating model of the Earth in the middle of their control room.
Now for the details of the giant monsters. Godzilla looked okay, but his neck was really thick, moreso than before. His breath looked good this time. Rodan looked about the same, as did King Ghidorah. All three, by the way, demonstrated the ability to survive in a place without an atmosphere. As for battles, there were two. The first lasted only three minutes (about the 48-50 minute mark) and featured Godzilla using a ridge as cover, throwing and kicking boulders, and leaping at Ghidorah to knock him down and drive him away, and then triumphantly doing what looked like the Riverdance at 50:20. Rodan used a big rock as a bomb to drop in that fight, too. Sometime in-between, Godzilla took an artillery shell directly to the face, at 1:17:55. The second battle lasted from about 1:30 to 1:33 and was set off by the alien's control over Godzilla and Rodan being broken...the first thing Godzilla did when he stood up was cast a pissed-off look at King Ghidorah, then charged him and started the fight! There was a good bit of Godzilla boxing while King Ghidorah's tail was held by Rodan; in fact, Godzilla was pretty feisty overall in this one. The two good-guy monsters displayed some effective teamwork, with Rodan even picking up Godzilla and using him as a dropped bomb at one point. After Godzilla and King Ghidorah fell into some water, the latter just...flew away. This continued the trend of these battles ending with a hasty retreat by the loser.
number in Godzilla series: 6
previous Godzilla movie in series: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
next Godzilla movie in series: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
other giant monsters appearing in this one: Rodan, King Ghidorah
total giant monster battle time: about 6 minutes
acting: Akira Takarada (who was the main rescue diver in Godzilla and the main reporter in Mothra vs Godzilla) is the main astronaut in this one. Nick Adams is the American astronaut Glenn. Yoshifumi Tajima (who was one of the unsavory businessmen in Mothra vs Godzilla) is a general here. Keiko Sawai is Fuji's sister, and Akira Kubo is her dorky inventor boyfriend. Kumi Mizuno is the beautiful alien agent.
final word: Good, fun, ambitious plot but very little giant monster battle time.
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