Godzilla on Monster Island

"This is the latest monster news. The two space monsters responsible for widespread damage are now heading toward the coast. Refineries and industrial complexes are being destroyed as we speak."   - newscaster

release year: 1972
genre: Godzilla
viewing setting: home Bluray, 7/13/19 and home laserdisc 5/24/98

synopsis: Aliens want to wipe out humankind so they can come live on Earth, but Godzilla has other ideas.

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.) In Japan, this was Godzilla vs Gigan which was a much more accurate title. Notable elements in this one: a "Children's Land" amusement park...the secret tape reel...monsters actually talking to each other (though there were no subtitles for that, and it was impossible to determine just what they were saying, which is probably for the best)...a shady company with a man-child chairman and headquarters inside Godzilla Tower in the park, and henchmen who say things like "he will make a good specimen"..."Nebula M Space Hunter, whatever the hell that is...absolutely no explanation of how Godzilla and Anguirus managed to get away from Monster Island...improved ordnance that can mow down trees like the minigun in Predator and actually knock Gigan down...a pretty useful karate girlfriend who nevertheless faints upon seeing the aliens' true cockroach-like form...actually, I knew they were aliens when I first saw them in human guise, because sometimes you just know...no explanation about how Anguirus, a dense armored dinosaur, can swim countless ocean distances without sinking...people sliding down a long rope without using gloves, and not getting their hands burnt off...human saboteurs making short work of the overconfident aliens' tower.

Okay, that's all I have to say about everything except the giant monsters. Godzilla looked decent this time around. King Ghidorah looked really sharp, I think they fixed up his suit since last time. And then there's Gigan, an alien monster who can fly and has hooks for hands and feet and also a GIANT BUZZSAW in his chest. This guy's basically built to fight and looks cool too. King Ghidorah and Gigan have quite a party, and they mess up Tokyo big-time before Godzilla and Anguirus show up at around 58:00, at which point both sides have a face-off for a bit. The Japanese air force tries to stop Gigan, but they're terrible pilots and get within range of his claws and mandibles, after which Japan needs a new air force. The battle is great - just one big fight, which is long and has a lot of action, the most yet in any of these films. Some of the footage is recycled from older films, but who really cares? King Ghidorah makes effective use of his triple breath weapons, including one shot to Godzilla's nuts! Gigan them kicks a rock at Anguirus, which he bats to Godzilla, who bats it back at Gigan, who gets clocked and falls down. Hilarious. But Gigan just gets pissed and takes to the air, then turns on his giant chest-sawblade and divebombs Godzilla, actually drawing blood. Other good bits: Godzilla sees the Godzilla tower and slaps himself in amazement...the aliens' control of King Ghidorah and Gigan ceases but they still want to fight...Gigan toys with Godzilla too long, resulting in Godzilla hulking up (just like in the old wrestling matches) and proceeding to kick Gigan's ass...Anguirus displays stealth mode and sneaks up on King Ghidorah...repeated use of the Anguirus rear-launch maneuver, in which he stands up and then leaps backwards to slam the enemy with his spiky back...Godzilla suplexes King Ghidorah not once but TWICE...the defeated space monsters fly away.

number in Godzilla series: 12

previous Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs the Smog Monster

next Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs Megalon

other giant monsters appearing in this one: Anguirus, King Ghidorah, Gigan (there were some others shown early on but those were basically one-second appearances, as they never left Monster Island or did anything else...this was a four-monster movie all the way.)

total giant monster battle time: about 29 minutes (with some footage recycled from previous movies)

acting: Main characters: Hiroshi Ishiakawa is Gengo, a cartoonist with bad ideas who also faints under duress. Yuriko Hishimi is Tomoko, his girlfriend who has more ambitions than he does and also knows karate. Tomoko Umeda is the sister whose brother got kidnapped, and Kunio Murai is Takashi, that brother who's also some sort of engineer that the aliens need. Minoru Takashima is comic relief Shosaku, who's kind of a hippie dork. Zan Fujita is the man-child chairman of the fake company, and Toshiaki Nishizawa is his sinister right hand man Kubota.

final word: With the most giant monster battle to date and the rookie appearance of a cool and dangerous new foe, this is definitely one of the classics.

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