Godzilla vs Megalon
Goro: "I guess something stimulated Jet Jaguar’s brain while he was running, and it must’ve given him his own will."
Jingkawa: "His own will? You mean he’ll act on his own from now on, without listening to human orders?"
release year: 1973
viewing setting: home Bluray, 7/15/19
synopsis: A hidden undersea kingdom sends their monster to get back at Earth's surface population for ruining the planet.
impressions: This was one of the couple that always seemed to get the most airtime on WTBS Atlanta when I was a kid. Its basic plot has to do with a hidden land on Earth getting mad at the human race for all the damage they're doing to the planet. Unfortunately, rather than use diplomacy, they use Megalon, which leads to a lot of destruction. Noteworthy things from this one include: a reference to the year "197x"...Godzilla having a tongue now...cameos by Rodan and Anguirus...a really weird kids' water vehicle...a "life-rope gun"...a lake draining...a strange but advanced house...a couple of car chases that reminded me of old James Bond movie car chases...a home break-in where the owners weren't sure what the robbers wanted, although I had a pretty good idea about what they might have been after...an Easter Island reference...a kid riding right into a suddenly-opened car door...the undersea kingdom of Seatopia, where there's some weird shit going on and where their ruler is a dork, although to be honest, their cause is a just one, not unlike Magneto's in X-Men 2...bad guys with really bad haristyle and beard...the hired help just throwing the bad guy out of the moving truck and down the side of a cliff...the return of the super laser cannon from the last film...more recycled military-vs-giant-monster footage...a good destruction sequence with Megalon demolishing a dam...the Seatopians in cahoots with Space Hunter Nebula-M which means we're gonna see Gigan eventually...Megalon going apeshit after its guide flies away...the return of the worst pilots ever.
Okay, pause highlights. I need to talk about something. Yet again, it seems that whenever a squadron of planes approaches a giant monster, you know it's not going end well. Why fly within range of claws and teeth when you can fly above? Isn't that the whole point of being in a plane? (Don't answer that. Of course it is.)
Resume highlights: Jet Jaguar talks to Godzilla to get him on board with the plan to stop Megalon...Megalon fires little red hockey-puck-like grenades and I managed to capture a still of one...apparent ease with which monsters can come and go at Monster Island these days...good attempt by the filmakers to tie all the past movies' locations together in this one...a really goofy-looking henchman...kid flying a toy plane right into goofy-looking henchman's face...the kid helping in the fistfight...the kid not running fast enough and being picked up by the adult and carried...boulder randomly kicked by Megalon crushes bad guy...Gigan showing up as a star/gem that explodes...Megalon running wild destroying things...the kid knowing how to operate the control console for Jet Jaguar...Jet Jaguar gaining sentience and then the power to grow to giant size due to, and I quote, "his determination made him grow that big, I think"...Jet Jaguar celebrating his new stature by walking right up to Megalon and punching him in the face.
Time to talk about the monsters and their fights. Godzilla has a different snout this time. New on the scene is Megalon, a giant bug with metal blade hands that spin to become drills, and a star on a stalk atop its head, not unlike a Christmas tree ornament except that this one fires energy rays, which we never had at Christmastime when I was a kid. When Megalon gets tired of flying, or walking, or burrowing into and out of the ground, he just starts hopping along. Also new is Jet Jaguar, a robot that's basically Ultraman, or a Power Ranger before they were ever created. He is controlled by (alternately, depending who's got control at the time) old IBM punch cards, a locket, or someone just telling him what to do. He even has his own song (played at the end of the movie) and it's crazy.
Battle time...there was a lot, even counting the recycled footage of Gigan's fights from the last movie. Highlights: Jet Jaguar is a pretty good fighter...Megalon tricks him with the old "let me fly around you and make you dizzy" trick...Megalon tunnels into and out of the ground...Gigan looks on fascinated as Jet Jaguar falls from the sky...Jet Jaguar gets punted and then volleyed in what I like to call the "sports gone wrong" battle segment...Godzilla shows up for the save, and he didn't even have to tag into the match...Godzilla's judo hand motions...Godzilla being really fired up and beating both Megalon and Gigan for a while...use of the foreign object (a tree) before scornfully tossing it aside...Gigan playing dead...a Megalon grenade return by Jet Jaguar...Megalon likes to bang his metal hands together...Gigan takes a hostage...after a grenade and ray barrage, Megalon and Gigan laughing and carrying on because they're both in the "we have metal hands so let's bang them together and jump up and down" club...a seemingly limitless supply of Megalon grenades...Megalon's reaction to Godzilla and Jet Jaguar escaping the ring of fire...Megalon eating his own grenade, and nothing happening...Jet Jaguar breaking Gigan's arm and then overhead pressing him before throwing him into the air to get blasted...Gigan finally fleeing the battle entirely (and I bet it was a long space flight back for him)...the Jet Jaguar pin and Godzilla feet-first attack...twice! and then five body slams by the tail!...this really did resemble a wrestling match...the Seatopians giving up and sealing all fissures to block access to their world...and yet again, a kid waving goodbye to Godzilla as he wanders away.
number in Godzilla series: 13
previous Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs Gigan
next Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla
other giant monsters appearing in this one: Megalon, Gigan, Jet Jaguar
total giant monster battle time: about 21 minutes (with some footage recycled from previous movies)
acting: Main characters: Goro, a robot engineer who invented Jet Jaguar (played by Katsuhiko Sasaki)...Rokuro, his little brother who's fairly handy in that he finds clues, fixes things, and can operate the Jet Jaguar control panel (played by Hiroyuki Kawase, who was the similar little kid in Godzilla vs Hedorah)...Jingkawa, a man of action who fights and drives cars fast and helps his friends (played by Yutaka Hayashi)...the Seatopian Emperor, who looks somewhat goofy in his toga and crown, and likes to make sweeping declarative statements (played by American actor Robert Dunham, who actually led a very interesting life.)
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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