Monster Mania

Welcome to the Monster Mania, where we'll review the exploits of some of the world's best-known monster movies.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the movie.

That said, on to the review!

Now Showing: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
Broadcast Dates: 1965 (1970 U.S. release)
Format: Cinematic, video cassette

When King Ghidrah, the three-headed golden dragon that destroyed the Martian civilization, arrives on Earth, it takes the combined efforts of a larval-stage Mothra, a reluctant Rodan, and an equally reluctant Godzilla to defeat him. But they didn't succeed in killing him. Instead, they drive him into space, where he can't harm anyone. For a year (or so) there has been no word of him, and Japan has proceeded on its path to the future...including space exploration. There, they come across a previously unknown planet, which they now call Planet X. The two astronauts aboard the exploration spacecraft investigate and are immediately apprehended and taken beneath its surface. Concerned at first, they are relieved when the reason for their hasty delivery becomes apparent: King Ghidrah flies the skies above Planet X, his cackling heads and their powerful and deadly discharges ravaging the planet!

The aliens of Planet X appeal to the astronauts, asking to use Monsters Zero-One and Zero-Two against Monster Zero, a.k.a. King Ghidrah. The other monsters are none other than Godzilla and Rodan, two of the three who successfully drove the golden dragon from Earth. The aliens know where the two are and want only permission to descend on earth to collect them. The Earthlings, more than willing to get rid of two of the most destructive creatures known to man, gladly agree to the plan, since in return they'll be receiving leaping advances in technology and knowledge. Or so they think. Because the aliens have other plans in mind for the three monsters...and Earth figures prominently in all of them! And even if Earth survives the aliens' attack, can they survive a clash of the monstrous titans--Godzilla and Rodan versus King Ghidrah?

Time for another Toho-monster Tag-Team rumble! Okay, this time Godzilla and Rodan don't have support from Mothra, but I guess it's sort of understandable. Mothra did its bit protecting Japan from Godzilla and Ghidrah before and the problems it caused during its initial appearance weren't exactly its fault, so my guess is the Japanese didn't consider Mothra as theirs, really (Mothra belonged to the people of Infant Isle) and therefore weren't the ones to whom the people of Planet X needed to appeal to...and you can bet the twin fairies would be able to tell the truth right away, which is probably why Mothra wasn't asked for. But Rodan and Godzilla do a good enough job on their own.

Perhaps what's most interesting in this movie is that the real monster-mash doesn't begin until almost the end. Or, at least, the real rumble. Any conflicts before the end would have been a construct of the aliens' schemes with the three monsters being as cleverly manipulated as the humans. It's only at the end that the monsters are really themselves and free to act. Then we get to see the free-for-all brawl we've been waiting for.

What stands out most for me--probably because it seems so unlikely--is that all it took to defeat the aliens was a single sound. Okay, maybe it isn't so unlikely, but to think that it was a sound in the human register of hearing that was needed? If it were something above or below the human's hearing range I might accept it more, just doesn't seem right somehow. I mean, I can accept saltwater working against the triffids since saltwater isn't the most suitable thing for watering plants with, and I can by electricity working against the Thing because of the work-up to that solution. I can even accept that a small, practically unnoticeable bacterium can save the planet from Martians in The War of the Worlds, but a sound that's simply unpleasant to humans but deadly to the aliens? I don't know.

Other than that complaint, I have nothing further to say. Well, aside from the usual mess the English dub caused, and Godzilla's boxing debut, that is. The actors were as fine as they could be, considering that I've had to match sometimes emotionless English voices with expressive Japanese facial features. Okay, that's enough. I'd better stop before I get started on the love story that saved the day. Stop! Enough!

Godzilla makes his next appearance in Godzilla versus the Sea Monster, where he battles a giant lobster, but Rodan and King Ghidrah won't return until Destroy All Monsters, before which Godzilla will battle four giant bugs to protect his son. But Mothra will be back to support Godzilla against the lobster. One of them, anyway: remember, in Godzilla versus The Thing there were two larvae that hatched. The one that appears next will have already metamorphosed into giant moth form. But stay tuned! Godzilla does all right against land monsters and can hold his own against airborne foes, but how about underwater?

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