Destroy All Monsters
Katsuo: "The monsters will fight, even if there's no machine!"
Kyoko: "They know their enemies by natural instinct. Now the Kilaaks must pay!"
release year: 1968
viewing setting: home Bluray, 7/10/19 and home VHS 5/13/99
synopsis: Aliens take control of all of Earth's monsters.
impressions: This one was a Bluray, which was a mixed bag. The video was widescreen and very clear, which was great. The audio, however, offered some confusing choices. Option 1: listen to the original Japanese track. Option 2: listen to the translated English track. Option 3: do option 1 but with English subtitles. Option 4: do option 2 but with English subtitles. It would have helped if the English audio and the subtitles matched, but I found them to be greatly different, which begs the question: which is closest to the actual intention of the original movie? (I ended up going with option 2, figuring it would best help me make sense of things.) The good news was, there appeared to only be one version of the actual movie made, so I didn't have to worry about that.
This movie was really just an excuse to get a whole bunch of giant monsters together. Other interesting elements: space travel was commonplace and easy...Monsterland, an island designed to be a home for all the monsters...Godzilla raging against the island's security system...a gassed Rodan falling on top of Angirus...aliens who take over the monsters and send them to destroy Earth cities...tiny mind control devices...the government publicizing their discovery of the aliens' tiny mind control devices, which seemed strategically unsound since the aliens appeared to have TV...a giant monster team-up to trash Tokyo...a flaming meteor...the aliens' headquarters, a large white sphere, randomly being unearthed early in the big battle, and then being not-so-randomly destroyed by Godzilla...aliens turning into worms which turn into small rocks. And I need to make special mention of "Moon Rocket SY-3" and its six-man crew, because these guys are like a super A-Team; they do it all: patrol the moon, serve as commandos to re-take Monster Island, search for alien transmitters, go into battle with the regular military, fight aliens back on the moon, take on the flaming meteor in an aerial dogfight. Their ship can get to the moon and back fast and with no trouble, and it contains a tank with maser cannons. It seems that these guys get called upon to do pretty much everything.
Godzilla at times looked kind of crude and also had more and thinner teeth this time, almost like needles. And the others...boy, were there a lot of them. This was the ultimate monster-fight-fest to that point, featuring Godzilla, Rodan, Anguirus, Mothra, Gorosaurus (a giant allosaur), Minila, Manda (a giant snake with feet), Baragon, Kumonga/Spiga (a giant spider), and Varan. After the aliens lose control of them, they all converge at Mt. Fuji to confront the aliens, and the newscasters narrate this like a pre-fight commentary, naming each monster as it shows up. I didn't see them name Varan, by the way, but later on he glided past in the sky, so he gets the check mark for attendance here. Anyway, the collected monsters soon find themselves teaming up against King Ghidorah. The battle only lasts 7 minutes, and several of the monsters don't do shit to help. I'm calling you out, Baragon and Manda and Minila and Varan. Lazy bastards. The lesser contributors were Mothra and Kumonga (who fired webbing) and Rodan (who flapped his wings and made a lot of wind.) The heavy lifting in the battle was done by Godzilla, Gorosaurus, and Anguirus, all of whom engaged King Ghidorah in direct physical combat multiple times. Gorosaurus even did a flying kick attack at one point, and he seemed to get along with Godzilla pretty well. Overall, it was a good battle, but very short.
number in Godzilla series: 9
previous Godzilla movie in series: Son of Godzilla
next Godzilla movie in series: All Monsters Attack
other giant monsters appearing in this one: Rodan, Anguirus, Mothra, Gorosaurus, Minila, Manda, Baragon, Kumonga/Spiga, and possibly Varan.
total giant monster battle time: about 7 minutes
acting: Akira Kubo (who was the geeky inventor in Invasion of Astro-Monster and the main guy in Son of Godzilla) is the main astronaut/pilot/commando here. Jun Tazaki (who was a general in King Kong vs Godzilla and the editor in Mothra vs Godzilla and a scientist in Invasion of Astro-Monster) and the commander of the bad guys in Godzilla vs the Sea Monster) is the main scientist here. Yoshio Tsuchiya (who had various roles in #s 2, 6, and 8) was a mind-controlled scientist here. Yukiko Kobayashi was a mind-controlled girlfriend of the main hero. Kenji Sahara (who had various roles in #s 1, 3, 4, 5, and 8) is the calm and cool moon base commander here. Yoshifumi Tajima (who had various roles in #s 4, 5, and 6) is a military officer here. I really think I'm going to stop noting all prior appearances/roles for all of these people, it's just getting too tedious. And last but not least, Haruo Nakajima was in the Godzilla suit, as he had been for all eight previous movies (and would be through the twelvth.)
final word: The biggest battle yet, but it probably should have lasted longer.
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