Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby CyberZilla » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:50 pm

I remember watching this one late at night in a hotel. Weird memory, but the movie was quite charming and it hardly ever had a dull moment. Despite some quite honestly cheesy moments (I'm sure you immediately thought Dancing Godzilla) it never failed to entertain me. :mrgreen:
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Stevo_1985 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:04 pm

CyberZilla wrote:I remember watching this one late at night in a hotel. Weird memory, but the movie was quite charming and it hardly ever had a dull moment. Despite some quite honestly cheesy moments (I'm sure you immediately thought Dancing Godzilla) it never failed to entertain me. :mrgreen:


I never actually found the dancing bit that cheesy now that I think about it. I find his flying tail kick (GvM) and his ability to take flight (GvH) to be much more cheesy and cringe worthy.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby CyberZilla » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:46 pm

Stevo_1985 wrote:
CyberZilla wrote:I remember watching this one late at night in a hotel. Weird memory, but the movie was quite charming and it hardly ever had a dull moment. Despite some quite honestly cheesy moments (I'm sure you immediately thought Dancing Godzilla) it never failed to entertain me. :mrgreen:


I never actually found the dancing bit that cheesy now that I think about it. I find his flying tail kick (GvM) and his ability to take flight (GvH) to be much more cheesy and cringe worthy.


Those moments definitely were cheesier- it's hard to imagine Godzilla having enough breath to continue flight for longer than a few seconds, let alone that whole scene!
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby edgaguirus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:11 pm

Not to mention his body is the opposite of aerodynamic. But I digress.

The dancing bit is kid of funny. It definately gave him some personality.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Zarm » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:24 am

Invasion of Astro-monster is a bit of an odd duck when viewing just the Godzilla canon; stylistically, it really is an outlier between the title-match epics that came before and the south-seas era to come. It’s the first returning villain, and it’s a cementing of Godzilla in the hero status- albeit very briefly. Like only Godzilla Raids Again before it, it’s a direct sequel… and like Godzilla Raids Again, it can at times be dull as dishwater.

Looking at the overall Toho canon, there are precedents for this sort of high space fantasy- Warning from Space, The Mysterians, Battle in Outer Space, Gorath, etc. However, it could be argued that this genre is a bad fit with kaiju… especially because the kaiju seem to be heavily sidelined for the majority of the story. There are two title bouts- rematches with King Ghidorah- and honestly, by the time the second one rolls around, I was just wishing for the movie to end. The majority of the story is a long-telegraphed alien-invasion plot, and frankly, it had no business taking as long as it did to unfold.

There really doesn’t seem to have been any need for the whole song-and-dance at all, in fact; the aliens could’ve easily taken Godzilla and Rodan without anyone being able to stop them, and could then have issued their ultimatum without wasting any time on the ruse.

Our quartette of protagonists is not particularly engaging; Tetsuo is probably the most interesting of the bunch, and just barely. I care a little bit about his prosperity and ability to marry Haruno… but I also don’t get why either of them care so much about Fuji’s approval. If it’s just a matter of family harmony that’s important to them both, fine. As un-PC as it is these days, I even understand and agree with the import of gaining a father’s permission to marry his daughter. But a brother…? They act as if he can annul the marriage or something. Perhaps there’s a Japanese cultural dynamic that I’m not familiar with, but it made the whole drama come off as annoying to me.

The Xiliens have a great look ad presence, at least; unsurprising that Final Wars elected this as their alien race to pay tribute to. Their language is a bit reminiscent of Klingon, and the performance of the Controller is pretty strong (if a bit two-dimensional). His final order- to escape ‘into the unknown future’ as a command to commit suicide- is pretty effectively chilling. Namikawa had an interesting-but-clichéd ‘love is forbidden by the computer’ subplot, and a pretty strong presence, but she got too little screen time, sadly.

I wish I could say that the thin characters are only neglected because the focus is on the monsters, but… no, the human characters carry the plot. The kaiju are pawns, used in a sequence in the middle of the film, and then a rampage/battle in the finale, and that’s pretty disappointing.

Godzilla is somewhat abandoning his dignity here; first appearing curled into a ball, hugging his own tail, is the least menacing entrance he’s ever had, and undercuts his monstrous status… good for a change toward ‘Earth defender,’ I suppose, but not so great for taking him seriously as a frightening menace to be turned back against the Earth in the last act. I mean, it’s pretty clear- especially with the infamous dance- that they’re no longer going for the ‘destructive force of nature’ bit anymore; but they can’t have it both ways. He’s either intimidating, or he’s not… and in this movie, he’s not.

At least he has some pretty great moves- from his impressive leap on Planet X to his little-too-human boxing posturing and fancy footwork in the finale. And hey, he’s actually using his atomic breath against Ghidorah this time! (Perhaps to make up for the absence of Mothra…) And honestly, it’s a little insulting that the Xiliens keep acting like Godzilla and Rodan took on Ghidorah all by themselves. A little revisionist history there, guys. (I suspect they just knew they couldn’t take on the Shobijin and that Mothra would become too much of a loose canon if she broke free from their control, and decided to exercise the better part of valor and ignore Infant Island.)

Rodan is… well, he’s just kind of there. He doesn’t do anything particularly noteworthy of personality-filled in this film, just kind of repeats some stock footage form his solo film during the destruction sequences, then harasses Ghidorah at the end a little.

And honestly, that punk Ghidorah- I’m sorry, but this is surely the most pathetic foe that Godzilla has ever faced. Honestly, Anguirus took more punishment than KG did, and just kept on scrapping. This guy takes a few minor annoyances that would hardly even inconvenience Godzilla, and he’s running away again. What a paper tiger. Destroyer of worlds? I think not. Why this gut has a reputation of this devastating arch-nemesis, I’ll never understand; his power is an informed attribute that his portrayals never back up.

At least his effects are good here, especially the lightning carving up the ground. He manages to look a little more menacing than in the last film. So that’s a step up. But really… the guy is a wimp.

The effects were generally very good. The planets, planetscapes (particularly behind the P-1 landing) miniatures, etc., all looked great. I couldn’t tell whether they actually built a full-sized saucer for the beach landing, but it was flawlessly pulled off. And the aforementioned Ghidorah effects looked great. Animated lightning and static for the EM waves were nice, as was the destroyed P-1 and melting radar dish. The kaiju towing effects- minus wobbly animated bubbles that couldn’t quite stick with the live-action footage- all looked good, and the boiling water was pretty cool.

The only exceptions were the painful-looking dolls riding the elevator down the P-1 (okay, the waving one was at least a nice touch), and, sadly, the saucers themselves… which often looked too tiny and moved a bit wobbly…y. Still, this was largely an effects success, and visually pretty impressive- it was just a lot of glitz without a very solid story or performances to back it up.

The music made an interesting choice to focus on the original military march, and it worked well for the film, a nice spinning off of a motif that we don’t think of as a ‘headlining’ theme… but at the same time, it only serves to highlight how this is a human story. Human military fighting alien invaders, as in other non-Kaiju (or kaiju-cameo) Toho sci-fis… with the monsters incidental. It helps to subconsciously reinforce the impression that this isn’t really a Godzilla movie; that it’s a sci-fi movie with kaiju cameos only slightly more relevant to the plot than Maguma’s in Gorath.

And that serves pretty well as a last word, unfortunately. Invasion of Astro-Monster has all the makings of a lavish sci-fi that would have, frankly, been better off without name-brand kaiju (or possibly without kaiju at all, as the narrative doesn't really seem to have any room for them save as pawns). And regardless, its fairly-straightforward plot is complicated only by needless run-around; neither the characters nor the plot are enough to really carry it. It tries to be several things, but never actually has enough depth or focus in any of those elements to be successful. It lays out one of the all-time classic kaiju plots, but in such a clumsy and circumspect way as to not even be worth recommending for that concept; future films do it better.


*Flips a coin over toward vagrant-looking Invasion of Astro Monster*
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Lain Of The Wired » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:54 am

OK, so I'm sitting here currently watching this, and marooni's all like "oh, it's not a toy" in response to Japanese James Rolffe's claim to selling his invention to a toy company, and I'm like, "why would a toy company even want that thing when it's obviously not a toy?"
I would have been sketched out a little by a random toy company being interested in a alarm to stop women from being assualted, but no, poor dude's too obsessed with that yen, even ignores his girlfriend and her brother when they try to tell him it all sounds fishy, tsk tsk. Doesn't ask questions, just blindly hands over the one device that just-so-happens to make the sound that stops these DEVO wannabe goons...
If you ask me, he's the true villian of this movie ;)

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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby edgaguirus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:04 pm

Lucky he kept a spare in his pocket.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Rodan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:41 pm

Lain Of The Wired wrote:I think Ishiro just pulled an Anno

He did as he liked with his Lady Guard. Now they can do as they like.

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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Billzilla1974 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:08 pm

This film is the first "true" Godzilla film I ever watched and owned. Looking at it in retrospect, I still have respect for what this film attempted. It's last of the hi-end sci-fi epics in the Showa series, every film afterwards could be good in their own right but they never got the recognition the first 5/6 (not counting GRA) Godzilla films did. For all of the flaws in the aliens method of invasion and seemingly scarce kaiju screen time, the science fiction elements blend well with the monster story, at least compared to the spy/assassin/venusian plot of the previous film. The battles are short, but they make up for it by being some of the most intense in the series. the whole plot might be a little loose but it's not as badly written compared to the next few films.

The only flaws that really stood out to me were the city destruction scenes being rather lackluster compared to before, Rodan still not looking as badass as he did in 56, and the horrible noise Tetsuo's invention gave out.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Zarm » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:43 pm

Nice review. Evocative and well-rounded. I enjoyed the perspective.
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Godzilla Vs Monster Zero on Svengoolie

Postby MikeSTZillak » Sun May 14, 2017 1:50 pm

Next Saturday at 10:00pm pt on MeTV

Just wanted to note this because, last time i saw this on a broadcast TV channel ,it had the original theatrical additions (the headlines and etc).
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Golden Bat » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:04 am

I find it interesting we hear about but don't see the scene where Adams wakes up in bed to see the Controller (or more likely, the Guard Commander) in his room. I wonder if it is meant to be just a co-incidental dream.

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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby GodzillaBurgh » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:28 pm

He must've been barely awake.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby eabaker » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:21 pm

Golden Bat wrote:I find it interesting we hear about but don't see the scene where Adams wakes up in bed to see the Controller (or more likely, the Guard Commander) in his room. I wonder if it is meant to be just a co-incidental dream.


Then they would have risked confirming the implication that he and Namikawa - gasp! - shared a bed!
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby edgaguirus » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:07 pm

just my opinion, but not showing it was a good choice. Bringing it up in conversation makes it sound more mysterious and sinister.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Tek » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:52 pm

edgaguirus wrote:just my opinion, but not showing it was a good choice. Bringing it up in conversation makes it sound more mysterious and sinister.


I agree with this assessment. Actually, my girlfriend and I just watched this movie together for the first time a few days ago. She likes Godzilla (did so before we met) and we enjoyed this movie. I watched it when I was in Kindergarten I recall -- I refused to eat lunch in public and my dad bribed me by offering to rent this movie. The rest is history, lol. Anyway, when we came to that scene part of me thought "Would showing it have been more effective?" but I quickly reasoned that I liked Adams mentioning it more. As Ed said, it came off more mysterious and sinister. Also, as a Godzilla film, showing a grown man and woman in bed might have been too "taboo" for its time? Could be another factor why Adams just said it in conversation. Also, saves filming time and money, however little it might have taken to film such a quick scene.

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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby G1G4N_27 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:48 pm

I remember watching this on demand once, pretty good movie.
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Cybermat47 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:17 pm

Why did nobody tell me that this movie's secret weapon is a goddamn rape whistle?!
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby MechaGoji Bro7503 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Cybermat47 wrote:Why did nobody tell me that this movie's secret weapon is a goddamn rape whistle?!

'Cause your not supposed to know...... so shhhhhhh. :-x :P
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Re: Talkback Thread #6: Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965)

Postby Maritonic » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:23 am

This used to be one of my least favorites growing up, but as I've rewatched the franchise many times as an adult, this is one of my favorites. Once that music starts i'm instantly drawn in and the film never lets me go. Top 10 material for me.
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