Godzilla vs the Smog Monster
Toru: "This means they can reach enormous size."
Ken: "Bigger than Godzilla?"
Toru: "Yep...as long as we keep feeding the ocean with sludge. If this thing came up on land, it would be a disaster!"
release year: 1971
viewing setting: home Bluray, 7/12/19
synopsis: Alien material + pollution = giant toxic monster.
impressions: Another Kraken Releasing Bluray, same deal as before (American name and presentation, nice 2.35:1 widescreen presentation, inconsistent subtitles compared to the audio track dialogue.) The original Japanese version was called Godzilla vs Hedorah. Whatever you call it, this one was...odd. It not only beat you over the head with an environmental message, it also contained scenes and music right out of the late 1960s and early 1970s culture. There were also some logic holes. Among possible points of interest were: a James-Bond like opening sequence...some messed-up fish...a brave little kid who among other things uses his knife when faced with an attacking monster...underwater diving action...a psychedelic nightclub...some sort of hallucination where everyone in the nightclub is suddenly wearing fish masks...the luckiest cat in the world...a spinning throw by Godzilla...Godzilla chasing and posturing after one battle...actual human casualties from the monster's acid...Godzilla's atomic breath seemingly bringing back Hedorah from the dead, which causes Godzilla to stop and contemplate...random insertion of cartoon sequences...only one family in Japan who's able to get together and figure out a solution to the problem...the kid's outer space theories which reminded me of science lessons from the 1970s...overheard line from a teacher “It was so frightening when the students started collapsing. That’s no learning environment.”...random science lessons in the middle of the movie...some sort of youth movement in which they decide to have a party on a mountain since Hedorah may destroy the world...news coverage clearly showing the four life stages of Hedorah...some really crazy news broadcasts (if you look closely you'll see one picture of what appears to be an infant floating in sludge)...the little boy being taken to the teenagers' music festival and dancing with a girl who's 2-3 times his age...some random old creepy people watching the festival from afar...both Godzilla and Heodrah deciding to attend the festival too...what appears to be a really bizarre doll in Toru's home office at 54:40.
Godzilla looked the exact same as the last time which I found out was due to the same suit being re-used. He rages and postures a lot in this one, and even does some human type expressions such as thinking and taunting his foe. Hedorah is basically a pollution-based monster, which looks like a big, dirty, upside-down dumpling with big red eyes. It consumes waste and chemical exhaust, and can emit globs of caustic ooze that dissolve metal. It also gains new powers as the movie progresses: flight, acidic exhaust fumes, laser vision (?!) and the ability to transform into other shapes as needed. It's also very sneaky, as a couple of kids found out to their surprise. As mentioned, its flying form could literally melt people in its wake which is actually a pretty gruesome concept, and when it flies by, plants wither and random crap is splattered everywhere like when a baby has explosive diarrhea while going really fast on a Sit-n-Spin. Also, Hedorah chuckles a couple of times after getting the best of Godzilla in a fight. Speaking of which, there was a good bit of battle in this one, spread out over five or six scenes. At one point, Godzilla uses a rock as a decoy to move in and punch one of Hedorah's eyes out. He also gets picked up, flown, and then dropped, and then covered in toxic waste...only to reappear a few minutes later as he randomly powers the humans' electrical trap with his atomic breath. After killing Hedorah, he forcibly rips two white spheres out of the carcass and destroys them. Were these eggs? Eyes? Brains? Gonads? Who the hell knows. Things get even weirder, when he kicks a rock at the corpse, causing another Hedorah to emerge and fly out! And then Godzilla uses his atomic breath to fly while parade music plays. I'm not making this up, though I wish I was. When the electrical trap's fuse blows, Godzilla deals with it by charging the thing up again with his breath. Let it be noted that Hedorah dessicates like a turd in the sun, but that's not enough for Godzilla, who starts ripping out guts and gleefully slinging them all over the place...while marching band music plays! The person in charge of music for this one must have been on hallucinogens or something. Later, after it's all over, Godzilla just wanders away while more parade music plays.
number in Godzilla series: 11
previous Godzilla movie in series: All Monsters Attack
next Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs Gigan
other giant monsters appearing in this one: Hedorah
total giant monster battle time: about 21 minutes (and the longest fight scene goes back and forth between human scenes)
acting: Main characters: Toru the scientist (played by Akira Yamauchi) who takes charge of the planning to stop Hedorah, despite being badly burned...Ken, Toru's son (played by Hiroyuki Kawase) who deals well with stress and keeps a positive outlook at all times...Toshie, Toru's wife (played by Toshie Kimura) who does whatever her husband needs her to do as he thinks up the master plan to stop Hedorah...Miki the teenager guy (played by Toshio Shiba) who seems to care more about partying than staying alive...Yukio the teenager girl (played by Keiko Mari) who takes care of the boy Ken when he gets into dangerous situations, and also dances with him.
final word: Good message and decent Godzilla film, but executed in a really weird way.
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