director Ishirō Honda
My childhood favorite Godzilla movie. The title itself is just plain awesome. But the real reason that this movie was a childhood favorite was because it featured “all of the monsters” (more my perception at the time).
It’s not just Godzilla versus so-and-so but it’s got Rodan, Mothra, Anguirus, King Ghidorah, Varan, Baragon, Minilla, Manda, Gorosaurus, and Kumonga!!!
Okay, half of those you’re probably not going to know who they are or where they came from. Part of what’s cool and funny about the movie is how all of the characters recognize them like movie stars: “Look! It’s Manda!” (This Manda appeared in Atragon “Undersea Warship” (1963) — I didn’t know. I’m taking Wikipedia’s word for it.)
I had actually seen this about 10 years ago while on hiatus from the film diary, so I hadn’t written about it at the time. So, I’d kind of learned that this wasn’t really the “best” Godzilla movie of all time (though it still gets credit for concept and title).
All of the monsters are living on “Monsterland” or “Monster Island” depending on the translation. That’s when an alien race appears and takes control of the monsters’ minds and has them attack spots around the globe. Eventually, they besiege Japan, of course. When the humans take control of the monsters, the aliens bring in space monster Ghidorah and at the end, we get an all out monster battle. But it takes a while to get there.
I think the best Godzilla movies are typically the ones with Ghidorah (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) or Monster Zero (1965) or the ones with MechaGodzilla (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) or Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975)), but this one still deserves some kudos.
It had been a while since the kids and I had watched a real Godzilla movie. Oddly enough, Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) were the two of the original Godzillas that I couldn’t get my hands on via Netflix back in the time we originally were watching them. Now, those two are on Fandor. And interestingly enough, Christmas weekend, Roberto Rodriguez’s El Rey television network was having a kaiju-fest, featuring a lot of Godzilla movies, but these two were not on the list.