Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby eabaker » Tue May 14, 2019 7:33 am

To me, the juxtaposition between this and Gigan is pretty striking. Both have a heavy reliance on stock footage, both dedicate a huge chunk of runtime (in both cases, I'd say too much) to their final battle.

But, as LSD Jellyfish points out, in Megalon we have "a paper thin plot, and horrendously underdeveloped characters." Not that there's really a lot of shading or complexity to Gengo can company in Gigan, but they at least mostly have distinctive personalities (Machiko is probably the big exception here), and their involvement in the plot involves a lot more than "have already built robot off screen for no reason, get kidnapped, escape."

The villains of Gigan are also pretty entertaining, there's an air of mystery around them (which gives the heroes something to investigate), and it's paid off in a pretty unsettling reveal. The villains of Megalon? Most of them never interact with the heroes, they are set up through direct exposition right at the top (oh, and speaking of filler, how much time do we spend watching Seatopians dance in slow motion?), and once the monster fight starts, they're basically dropped from the narrative entirely.

Having said all that, I do want to put out there that I kinda love the score for this movie. At times it goes a long way toward providing an atmosphere that isn't really there in the footage otherwise, and it's a pretty cool listen independent of the movie.

I'm sure I've posted this before, but here's a little class project I did a few years ago which I edited using a piece from the Megalon score. The assignment was just to put together a one-minute video by placing the camera in one spot in a room, and then shoot as many different angles as possible from that position.

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue May 14, 2019 5:29 pm

Zarm wrote:It’s almost a relief when an unfortunately-costumed, overly-hairy Caucasian in the midst of fish-eye matte paintings and claustrophobic sets veers the film into a sudden left turn; their ceremony feels like a low-budget rip-off of every Mothra movie made to date (though keeping the dancers in slow motion while everyone else moves at a regular speed is a nice touch that does provide an otherworldly atmosphere, and, to their credit, they shoot the limited set and extras in such a way as to try and make it feel more vast than it is)… but at least it breaks the inscrutability of the indecipherable plotting and, with a hefty dose of exposition, kicks off a chain of events that we actually have all the information we need to comprehend!

It`s a shame how they instantly nail the weird surrealness of the Seatopians but then it just becomes two men in suits. I actually really like a lot of little details, such as the Leader`s Megalon crown. I admit I do like a lot of the few early shots of Megalon awakening and traveling to the surface.

His design isn’t great either; a drill-handed cockroach with a weird horn? It just doesn’t seem like anything… that makes sense as a combo, nor is he aesthetically-pleasing. His ability to fly is strange (he spreads wings from beneath their sheaths, then doesn’t move them- flying as if he had a jetpack or something, with a UFO sound. Well, why HAVE wings if they have nothing to do with flight? And later, when he flies circles around Jet Jaguar, he doesn’t even open the wing-sheaths at all! Are they vestigial, or something?). His leaping everywhere is… a unique quirk, to be sure, but it doesn’t look very efficient or natural to him. His ability to eject some sort of bio-matter grenade is interesting, at least; though his power-set is as random a collage as his visual design elements.

I feel like Megalon had a lot of really unique elements, like the grenades and drills, but he became a victim of the films use of stock footage. I can`t confirm any of this, and I`m sure Megalon was designed prior to the film, but I can`t help but feel they gave him a similar Design to Gigan, and a thunder horn, just so they could reuse stock footage. Notice that his feet and frontal portion are similar to Gigan`s. While not great it means that they can reuse the footage, albeit poorly, when Megalon destroys Tokyo. I also question how the Seatopians tie into Megalon, and if it`s just a case, similar to Megalon, of pairing villains with monsters.

Jet Jaguar is… extremely odd. He just… he gains sentience out of nowhere, totally without incident (later, it’s suggested, by his force of will… which one would think sentience was a prerequisite first to even HAVE), and then gains incredible size-changing powers with the same absolute lack of explanation. Maybe something happened to him on Monster Island that we didn’t see? (It’s like this is a film written at a child’s level but with completely inappropriate-to-children content, so it’s for… no one?)

Again, just a few more lines of dialogue could`ve saved this film. If They just had a few through away lines about Goro working on size changing machines, or AI a lot of Jet Jaguar`s randomness would make a lot more sense. Maybe the Seatopians weren`t just interesting in Jet Jaguar, but Goro`s size changing science, so that they could make more food or resources below. Likewise, if that seems complex, the simple solution is to make Goro a robotics expert, and Jinkawa some size changing scientist, and Jet Jaguar was made of a mutual collaboration between the two. It would give both more development, and would explain a lot. I know that making a movie is expensive, and this film had a very low budget, but still just a few extra lines of dialogue would`ve made the film so much better.

We get some harrowing physical action, too. Those car chases down extremely steep inclines? Yikes! Legitimately-terrifying. I wouldn’t want to do that. The thug thrown down the hill? Clearly a dummy, but boy does that look painful. And the other one, absurdly bloodied by a hit to the face with an RC airplane? Yowch! (he’s also down by an extremely slow, incredibly weak Tarzan-style kick from a little boy, so… glass jaw? And… eye?)

I wanted to note how weirdly inconsequential their deaths are despite how brutal they are. With the Caucasian guy, he`s killed by the two random truck drivers, and the Oscar Wilde Agent is killed by Megalon, rather haphazardly. It`s rather interesting how the American re-edits of this film, cut the shots of the man falling down the mountain, and the second agent being killed by Megalon and it has no impact on the story. There`s a dozen ways the movie could`ve wrapped at least one of their deaths or defeats better. For example, after, or even before the big fight, Jet Jaguar could`ve captured one of the agents. Because Jet Jaguar can freely change size, and is probably one of the easiest and most flexible suits, there`s no reason why there couldn`t have been a scene of him apprehending both of the agents. The film being low-budget doesn`t excuse how randomly they are offed, by little to no action of the protagonists.

And indeed, the film ends with a huge number of loose ends like this. Jet Jaguar is still out there, as is Megalon, and Seatopia… thwarted in one attempt at genocide, and in their attempt to kidnap a scientist to build them a robot army… but surely, this situation will result in further conflict!

It`s frustrating how the film has such an interesting idea with the Seatopians having a legitimate reason for hating the people on the surface. Instead of having a proper ending, where the Seatopians apologize, or maybe there is an agreement between the people above, that all of the fighting is pointless, it just randomly ends and no problems are solved. It`s also unclear what the actual Seatopians plot was. It seems like they wanted to use Jet Jaguar to make more robots, but at the same time, use it to guide Megalon.

Despite my critical tone in the past few posts, I want to address some things I do like:
-The opening Music/Credits in the Japanese Cut
-Jet Jaguar: While yeah he is basically Ultraman, he standouts as very unique compared to the plethora of dinosaur kaiju, bugs and mechs. I love Jet Jaguar, just wish he had more development.
-The brief moments in Seatopia
-The interior of the lab, and also the exterior. It fits the idea of an eccentric inventor.
-Moments of the fight, like Megalon drilling underground, the fire escape scene, Gigan taking Jet Jaguar hostage, Godzilla and Jet Jaguar beating Megalon up, etc...
Then, everything changed when the Giant Condor became the Giant Eagle.

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby eabaker » Tue May 14, 2019 5:38 pm

I'm really curious to see how this one plays as the last in a six-movie theatrical marathon. I mean, I'm sure I'll still be totally into it (I'll also be pretty high, as I'm Lyfting to the theater and bringing many edibles), but how much of the crowd is gonna stick around through this?

I'll let you know (unless any of you are gonna be at the Egyptian on the 25th, in which case, let's meet up)!
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Wed May 15, 2019 12:05 am

eabaker wrote:I'm really curious to see how this one plays as the last in a six-movie theatrical marathon. I mean, I'm sure I'll still be totally into it (I'll also be pretty high, as I'm Lyfting to the theater and bringing many edibles), but how much of the crowd is gonna stick around through this?

I'll let you know (unless any of you are gonna be at the Egyptian on the 25th, in which case, let's meet up)!

I mean, Megalon is the type of film to enjoy under the influence, or with the initiated, so I wonder. I guess they chose it as the last, because its the one that takes the least energy to watch or appreciate.
Then, everything changed when the Giant Condor became the Giant Eagle.

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby MikeSTZillak » Sun May 19, 2019 11:09 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:I mean, Megalon is the type of film to enjoy under the influence, or with the initiated

Or with these guys.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Freebleeper » Thu May 30, 2019 1:16 pm

Watch this with my mom yesterday and she kept asking me how does Godzilla know what Jet Jaguar was saying to him and don't get mr wrong my mom really loves these films so it's cool, but she was so confused at this scene but I guess it doesn't matter.

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Kinggoji1962 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:28 pm

I watched this movie and it was kino, I have no idea what all of you are thinking.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:45 pm

Freebleeper wrote:Watch this with my mom yesterday and she kept asking me how does Godzilla know what Jet Jaguar was saying to him and don't get mr wrong my mom really loves these films so it's cool, but she was so confused at this scene but I guess it doesn't matter.

You know, reading that made me realize how desensitized we are all to this.
Then, everything changed when the Giant Condor became the Giant Eagle.

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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Ivo-goji » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:42 pm

I remember the Interregnum Years. 2004-2014. There wasn't much to watch out there. You needed a strong stomach to sit through The X From Outer Space and random Asylum movies.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby edgaguirus » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:52 am

Off topic, I like the X From Outer Space. It can be amusing at times, and Guilala has a good design.

On topic, I don't think it matters how Godzilla understood the robot. To paraphrase a certain song, " tell yourself it's just a show, so sit back and relax."
Kaiju are just like people- giant, radioactive people.

Megalon went into a bar and saw Gigan. Megalon said, " Again? I thought you gave this up."
" What can I say," Gigan asked. " I'm hooked."


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