Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla

"Two Godzillas? What does it mean?"   - Keisuke

release year: 1974
genre: Godzilla
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/16/19 and home laserdisc 5/27/98

synopsis: A robot Godzilla appears to wreak havoc.

impressions: This was the second-to-last Godzilla film from the first phase (1954-1975) and before the movie even started, I found something wonderful to report: there was a funny trailer for a modern movie deliberately made to look like one from the 1950s. It's The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and you can (and should) watch the trailer here. Okay, back to the Godzilla film at hand. It was released in America as "Godzilla vs the Bionic Monster" which was a dumb idea, because "Mechagodzilla" clearly sounds a whole lot cooler than "Bionic Monster." Maybe this was a ploy to capitalize on the popularity of The Six Million Dollar Man ? We may never know. Interesting bits from this one: Anguirus appearing and crying for no reason...the Azumi people of Okinawa...a random sinister guy who kind of looks like a vampire...space titanium...a prophecy...a fistfight...Godzilla with an oversized head and big eyes, who fights Anguirus briefly and is exposed to be something else, as a wound shows metal underneath...Anguirus getting a reason to cry, as fake-Godzilla bloodily rips his jaws apart...the fake-Godzilla running wild destroying things...the "aaaaaand we've got aliens yet again" moment...TWO Godzillas facing off...the real Godzilla being a little confused about this...the three-step revelation process of Mechagodzilla (step 1, step 2, step 3)...riddles to solve...a cruise ship...Godzilla riding the lightning a la Highlander (except with no Quickening)...a fight revealing an alien's true form as an ape-man with a green face...a scalding hot torture cell...another decoy car explosion to fool aliens (they used this trick in the last film too)...a Raiders of the Lost Ark style statue + sunbeam trick to reveal King Caesar...the necessity of singing to awaken a monster, just like with Megalon and Mothra in the past.

This one had some pretty good battle: a 3-minute fight between Aguirus and (what we didn't yet know was) Mechagodzilla, a 4-minute initial fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla that ends in a draw, and a final 12-minute fight with Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and King Caesar. King Caesar is some sort of lion-like thing that moves fast, knows judo, and can fire energy beams from its eyes. And it's also the protector of Okinawa. Mechagodzilla, though, was a much more exciting new character. From his space titanium body to his laser eye beams to his finger- and toe-missiles to his super laser chest beam to his rocket-powered flying, he was just damn cool. Most or all of the giant monster fight scenes in this one are new, not recycled, which was nice. Highlights of the final fight: King Caesar gets punted...Godzilla gets pissed when he misses with his breath weapon...Mechagodzilla utilizes his force field...and never runs out of missiles as he really blasts the hell out of Godzilla...Godzilla then displaying the new powers of electrifying and healing himself, and then magnetizing himself (!)...the professor helpfully explaining this with "So he's transformed himself into a magnetic pole"...some good teamwork by Godzilla and King Caesar...Godzilla finally ripping Mechagodzilla's head off!

number in Godzilla series: 14

previous Godzilla movie in series: Godzilla vs Megalon

next Godzilla movie in series: Terror of Mechagodzilla

other giant monsters appearing in this one: Anguirus, Mechagodzilla, King Caesar

total giant monster battle time: about 19 minutes (with little or no footage recycled from previous movies)

acting: Main characters: Keisuke, one main guy, a brother who's into construction/digging...Saeko, a female "archaeology investigator" who he befriends...the other brother Masahiko who's into caving...Ikuko, a lady who he befriends...Professor Miyajima, her father who knows all about metal and fixing robots (and was the main scientist Dr. Serizawa in the first Godzilla film)...Professor Wagura, who knows how to decode ancient writings and has a magical electromagnetic pipe (and had roles in Godzilla films 2, 4, 5, this one, and a couple more yet to come)...Nanbara, who turns out not to be a vampire after all but rather a secret agent with plenty of gadgets and a license to kill (and was played by Shin Kishida, who as it turns out actually played a lot of Japanese vampires in his career)...and Nani, the prophet-girl who also sings and dances and is the only one who can awaken King Caesar.

final word: Another classic, mainly due to the debut of Mechagodzilla and his awesome array of armaments.

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