(1964) dir. Ishirô Honda
My kids have come to really enjoy Godzilla flicks. Particularly, my son, though my daughter goes in and out of how interested she is. This one I selected, another of my personal favorites of memory. Ghidrah, or Ghidorah in a more accurate translation, was the be-all-end-all of Godzilla villains, and now, looking online through the history of the films, I see that was not just my perception, but technically accurate. I think I also liked this one simply because it also featured Rodan and Mothra. The more the merrier.
Actually, this is a pretty good one. Felix was a bit disappointed (as he often is) with the long preamble to the battle sequences. To his point, the story is a bit odd. A princess from a Himalayan country, due to be assassinated by her own people, escapes her plane (presumably by jumping into the sea sans parachute) while under the influence of Martian mind control (or is she really channelling her true Martian geneology?) She tries to warn the people of Japan (and the world) that great disasters are coming, coming in the form of giant monsters.
Of course, Mothra (who is in larval stage here) is the intelligent and kind monster of the bunch, the only one that people can communicate with. And it takes Mothra’s intervention in the battle between Godzilla and Rodan to convince them (through Monster dialogue) that they should team up to beat Ghidrah.
There is some goofy intrigue with the shady assassins who look like they stepped out of a Japanese stage version of Guys and Dolls. And it’s a bit strange telling the cops from the scientists.
Ah, but there is good action. And Godzilla is converted to heroism. But where does Ghidrah go when he is chased off? He’s not killed. He just flies away. But to where? And then why do Rodan and Godzilla just hang out afterwards as Mothra heads back into the sunset to his island of peace?
I guess you’re not supposed to ask these questions. Of course, we are watching the dubbed versions, so some subtleties and nuances are no doubt lost.
Ah, but Felix is now asking for “All Monsters are Destroyed”, which will turn out to be Destroy All Monsters (1968), which was another favorite of mine, one that I caught at the Godzillafest at the Castro a couple of years back.
So, stay tuned.