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

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

Postby Stevo_1985 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:28 am

One thing I never took note of till I was older was the complete lack of a female role in this film putting aside random seatopian women.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby eabaker » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:36 am

Stevo_1985 wrote:One thing I never took note of till I was older was the complete lack of a female role in this film putting aside random seatopian women.


Combine that with the phallic nature of both Gigan and Megalon's "arms," plus Jet Jaguar's ability to control his own size and his ultimate resolution to submit to the control of the men in the story and to not be any bigger than they are and... geez, what is this movie really about???
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Godzillian » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:21 pm

Not to mention the two adult male leads are enjoying a nice picnic together at the start of the film
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Stevo_1985 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:56 pm

eabaker wrote:
Combine that with the phallic nature of both Gigan and Megalon's "arms," plus Jet Jaguar's ability to control his own size and his ultimate resolution to submit to the control of the men in the story and to not be any bigger than they are and... geez, what is this movie really about???


:lol:

I mean you can't help but wonder. Going off of memory here I believe every showa film had a somewhat prominent female role. What the hell happened here?
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Rodan » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:11 pm

eabaker wrote:I find that the music makes me very anxious in the context of the movie. For all of its juvenile silliness, at a gut level Megalon may be the most unsettling Godzilla movie for me to sit through. The score, the color scheme, the strange use of slow motion... it's all intensely uncomfortable.

I also find Megalon a little aesthetically uncomfortable, probably more so than any Godzilla movie, but that's because I think there's a level of uncanny discomfort in its brand of upbeat but off-kilter lo-rent late '70s aesthetics: pastel colors, dissonant music (I should find out what mode that driving track is in), post-mod, post-psychadelic designs (on the inventors' house, in the outfits), etc. It's a collection of elements I'd love to better pinpoint, or find a name for at some point, but they aren't unique to this movie.

Anyway, nothing about that changes the fact that vs. Megalon is a beautiful, forward-thinking film about gay kink.

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

Postby Tyrant_Lizard_King » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:24 pm

Never understood the hate. It's one of the most innocuous films I've ever seen. It's almost like a live action cartoon.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby edgaguirus » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:35 pm

The live action cartoon quality may be why. It never bothered me, though. I find the movie an enjoyable experience.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Gfanitzilla720 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:30 pm

I LEGIT agree with you, this is IRONICALLY my favorite godzilla movie (or at least in my top 5)

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

Postby Zarm » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:33 am

Godzilla vs. Megalon starts with a lot of noise and chaos, and then proceeds apace for a maddening amount of time without any explanation; things happen, action abounds, time passes in a montage sequence… and we have absolutely no context or explanation for any of what we’re witnessing. This is supposedly a kids’ film, but the level of violence is brutal (a child is struck unconscious by a blow to the head, and later shot! (Albeit, we discover a moment later, with a gas gun)), and there is graphic female nudity in the background.

What the heck kind of movie IS this?!?

Perhaps most maddeningly of all, it’s almost impossible to tell who are main characters are! Are the two adults brothers? Friends? Colleagues? Gay lovers? Based on the context we get, not a clue! It is TWENTY-SEVEN minutes into the film before the dialogue identifies Goro and Rokuro as brothers (and even that’s in one briefly-mentioned, easily-miss-able line that is never repeated)! And in multiple conversations- like when Rokuro is working on the surely-not-unsafe-at-all ‘baby rider,’ they almost seem to go out of their way to avoid dropping any information on their relationships to each other in the dialogue, carefully writing around any reference or inference to keep us totally in the dark!

…Well, I say ‘in the dark’ and ‘no clue’; that may be a fault of the subtitles. Hiroshi is clearly calling Goro ‘sempai,’ and Rokuro and Goro seem to call each other by titles other than their names, to my ears; so to a Japanese audience, there might already have been enough contextual clues from the manner of their address to identify the relationships. But for heavens’ sakes; whoever translated things from media blaster might’ve given us a clue, rather than just replacing every form of address with a character name!

Even if we had been provided the character relationships right off the bat, it wouldn’t have solved the film’s problems, though. We thrust into situation after situation with nothing to do but puzzle out in retrospect what’s going on. Clearly, Goro is some sort of inventor, and appears to be raising his brother. He’s working on a robot, with his (student? friend? colleague? lab assistant?), and they are broken into and attacked. But 15 minutes into the film, when Hiroshi leaps into a car to chase the burglars, Rokuro finds some red sand, and Goro both has it analyzed and finishes building his sentient robot in the SAME MONTAGE, we have absolutely zero idea what’s going on! Heck, after Rokuro nearly DIES at the start, the group immediately drives home without comment- having just watched a lake disappear into the depths of the Earth before their very eyes and nearly having a child DIE from it- with an easy-listening station on and languid comments about the troubles of nuclear testing on their unconcerned, expressionless faces.

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!

…Okay, back to the beginning. Which, in this case, is a really rubbish water-toy that looks as effective as the prototype airplanes on newsreel in the start of Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines.

And frankly, that’s more interesting to discuss than the characters, because the plot is paper thin. Inventor has created a robot (before movie started). Burglars break in. Then, with no explanation or exposition (even about his intentions for the robot), inventor completes robot in montage. Burglars break in again and stick inventor and brother in the back of a truck. Inventor and brother get out of the truck and watch the kaiju fight. Inventor’s (friend?) who like racing has several car chases to pad things out. That’s it. By the end, we don’t know much about their personalities, their goals, their hopes, their dreams- heck, other than the ‘Sempai’ honorific, we don’t even know who the third guy is to the other two! (And yes, I suspect that’s a western failing; but to be fair, the subtitles don’t even give us ‘sempai’! If my wife hadn’t recognized the word outside of our cultural context and in contradiction to what the subtitles were showing it as, we wouldn’t have even had that clue!)

All of which to say, not only is the human story utterly insufficient for a 90-minute film, but the characters are literally nothing. There’s nothing to talk about, because these are not characters. They are walking plot devices to facilitate the existence of scenes, nothing more. The kid is stoic in the face of traumatic near-death, Goro is a bit… reflective and philosophical, I suppose, when he muses on Jet Jaguar and the nature of will… and Hiroshi likes race-cars and is very determined. That’s IT. And the Seatopians are just as bad! Their leader seems like a decent actor, but he doesn’t do much save for serving as a combination Shobijin and Controller-X; his agents have almost no personality and are both killed horribly. (Are we sure this was a flippin’ kids’ movie???)

Heck, the truck drivers practically have the most character development in the whole film, on account of being sleazy and lazy and cowardly; they have a secret touch-signal developed and work together well, and can take care of themselves. They are cameo-level characters, and I can write more about their actual personality traits than any other humans in the film!

And that leaves the kaiju. Oh, dear.

Here’s the thing. I kind of like that they tried something different with Megalon; in contrast to an increasingly-human Godzilla, he is more animalistic and requires guidance from a human handler (or their avatar) to act effectively. But in practice, he comes off as… well, a moron. If Gigan was the comic-relief scaredy-cat kaiju, this guy is just the Gomer Pyle of the giant monster genre. He’s just not… very competent.

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.

Worst of all, he is a terrible tactician; he proves this early-on when he tackles the dam and gets himself caught up in the flood; but throughout, he proves pretty darn ineffective. (Except when he went underground- though Jet Jaguar slowly pulling him out by the drills really decreased his menace-factor by a LOT- and when he shot Jet Jaguar out of the air, his one legitimate moment of awesome).

I appreciate that they were trying to do something different and new, but… I don’t think it worked.

We also get the return of Gigan, and it’s a bit strange to see him as the senior, competent partner. (Well, semi-competent. He doesn’t use his buzz-saw at all- even when Godzilla is sitting on it, which you’d think would have the potential to do some serious harm. He only implicitly uses it in the stock-footage fly-by sequence; which, props to the filmmakers, when intercut with Godzilla tumbling down a hill and stumbling around in the wind-blown fog, looks even more devastating this time around!) He shows a little more backbone- but a lot less battle sense- this time around.

Actually, let me zoom-back for a moment, to talk about the kaiju as a whole. They’re even more bizarrely-anthropomorphized this time (except maybe Godzilla, who doesn’t seem quite as intelligent in this film). As a team, Gigan and Megalon are literally cackling bad guys, high-fiving upon Gigan’s arrival (no, really!), and rubbing their hands together with malicious glee when it looks like Godzilla and Jet Jaguar will burn up. Likewise, the ‘good guy’ duo shake hands, help each-other up, hold villains while the other punch, and circle back to back in alarm. It’s really weird, because the absolute casualness of these behaviors seem really out of character all around; all pretense of animalism has pretty much been dropped. Also, just as Gigan doesn’t use his buzz-saw, Godzilla barely uses his atomic ray (except right at the end), and Jet Jaguar lets himself be bamboozled a lot, making poor use of his flying ability, for instance. I suspect that- despite the absolute lack of child-friendly content in the film- this is why people see it as a kids’ movie… because the fight scenes are juvenile and simplistic. And it’s strange- because they’re a mixture of goofy (the aforementioned flying-circles-around, the infamous flying drop-kick) with the surprisingly-excellent (when Gigan and Megalon are kicking a sparking, damaged Jet Jaguar back and forth, the legitimately-thrilling (if you forget that Godzilla is entirely durable enough to be totally unthreatened by fire, and ignore the kinda-ruining-it bit of the villain kaiju doing a victory dance) scene in the ring of fire, and the battle sequences after sunrise.) This film has some of the best kaiju fight scenes we’ve had in the series- certainly the best that we’ve had in the 70s!- and possibly the best since Ghidrah, The Three Headed Monster in terms of choreography and visual excitement… they’re just interspersed with some of the absolute worst and cartooniest right alongside them.

…Anyhow, back to Gigan. He’s shown to be smug, and cruel, taking full advantage of those hook-hands (even warping time and space to assist Megalon before his arrival, because in the scene where the jets attack Megalon, every time he reaches out to strike one, the stock footage clearly shows Gigan’s hook hands swatting them out of the sky rather than Megalon’s drills! ;) ) He has a cool ‘hostage’ sequence that is very well-executed and, for once, actually manages to make him menacing. Enjoy your one moment in the spotlight, Gigan…

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?)

Truthfully, we know exactly what powers Jet Jaguar- the popularity of Ultraman. (Turns out Jet Jaguar was designed by a kid, who was an Ultraman fan, in a contest, so… okay, that makes sense of a number of things.) Even so, he is the laziest, most inexplicable character here (not that I don’t love him, and his theme song!)… and he’s also the strangest robot. Clearly emotional toward Godzilla, gets dizzy (how?!?), lies on the ground exhausted, has an inexplicable knowledge of martial arts (not to mention a super-transmitter, universal kaiju-compliant sign-language, and flight capability that I’ll assume he was supposed to have, but they come out of nowhere as much as anything else since we never get a scene explaining what he was built for or what his capabilities are!)… he showcases an extreme number of biological traits, and almost none of the intelligence or useful traits of a machine. And for crying out loud, man- when your enemy’s diving under the ground and trying to ambush you with drill bits coming out of it, just fly!

And then we have Godzilla. This isn’t really Godzilla’s movie; he’s almost an afterthought. (And indeed, the film was originally meant as a Jet Jaguar solo film, and hastily shot in a few weeks after Godzilla was added in, which explains a lot!) His new suit has a terrible face, and his big arrival scene to save the day is laughably interminable, as he walks, and walks… and walks some more- then finally appears in the distance and walks toward the battle, posturing and snarling to drive the duo away from the giant robot he just instantly accepts as an ally. (As a contemporary reviewer said, this completes the canonization of the character; the dragon is now St. George.) It’s all so perfunctory, it really rather feels like this was a Jet Jaguar pilot that guest-starred Godzilla to boost ratings. (And it turns out that… yeah, it was!)

And the flying drop kick… a day that will live in infamy. In context, though, by that point, the brain has already become so numbed to the nonsensical that it hardly makes an impression. Godzilla’s arsenal of actions has grown increasingly-ludicrous since Astro-Monster, and this is the culmination of the crazy. And indeed, after the disastrous excesses of this film, they will try and pull things back… but probably a little too late to save the showa series from declining ticket sales.

The special effects are… not that great, unless they’re cribbed from an earlier film. There’s a lot of stock footage, irritatingly; and what there is original isn’t great. Seatopia is represented by a few miniatures of stone heads and a strangely fish-eye matte painting (plus the aforementioned extremely-limited sets). Megalon is portrayed… drilling upwards, I think? But he’s in a clear shaft and his drillbits aren’t moving, and while it’s visually striking, it’s nonsense. Megalon’s leaping is okay, but his wires are visible a lot. His scene appearing over the treeline at the dam is awful, even thought he actual dam-bursting and metal-container scenes are effectively-realized. (That would be completely fatal to Goro and Rokuro, though. They are dead. It is the ghosts of their broken, shattered bodies we see for the rest of the film.) I’ll admit a fondness for the scene of Jet Jaguar suspended in front of the helicopter, and both Godzilla’s atomic breath and the flames during the ‘pulling Jet Jaguar up/surrounded by flames’ sequence look great. (The flames in the grenade left behind by the car are hilariously-bad, though). The draining of the lake is very effective, the opening destruction scenes (if a bit tiresome, after a moment) are strong, and a lot of the takeoff sequences are good. So, like the fights, a lot of good mixed in with a lot of bad.

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?)

In the end, the story got a little more comprehensible as we moved into parts whose inciting incidents and motivation we’d actually seen, but it never got any depth. It was a paper-thin kidnapping plot and a series of setpieces (mostly based around the one character whose relationship to the others is never explained!).

And Seatopia, like Prince Namor (and, in some continuities, Aquaman), could stand to learn that when you don’t tell the entire flippin’ world about your existence and their weapons-testing unknowingly endangers you, it’d be a heck of a lot more effective to just make a phone call up to the surface and say “Hey, we exist! Knock it off in our backyard!” (which would probably work) than to launch a war of aggression and invite further reprisals. And it seems like a quick phone call to the U.N. or whomever, which Seatopia hasn’t bothered to make (along with any overtures) at any point during the last three million years, would be a LOT simpler than making a phone call across interstellar space to a completely different planet that they’re apparently best buds with to sick a kaiju on the surface world that still has no idea they even exist or that any harm was being done to them by the end of the movie, except for Hiroshi! 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!

(The Seatopian origin is questionable, too; in addition to making up a bunch of nonsense about Easter Island’s age and nature… just what kind of ‘bubble’ were the people in to survive descent down to the sea floor… and how, without the aid of a dome, oxygen machines, or an artificial sun, did these primitives even live long enough to build a dome, oxygen machines, and an artificial sun?! Much less developing the ridiculously-advanced technology to do so, in the dark, underwater, while using up the little oxygen existent in their ‘bubble’? And how did they install a transmitter on Easter Island? I suppose this may be intended to imply that they were already extremely technologically-advanced at the time of the disaster, having wi-fi accessible deep-space transmitters… but still, unlike Monster Land in the last movie, this doesn’t make sense even in comic book logic!)


The music was as mixed a bag as the other elements of the film, mixing jazzy nonsense (which fails to be as memorable as Ebirah or Son of Godzilla) with a genuinely fun, catchy theme tune for Jet Jaguar, and… oh, for pete’s sake, WHY would they EVER choose to reprise the ‘drunken lout’ theme from vs. Hedorah? Of all the things to never bring back, that is the one. Why, movie? Why would you do this???

Overall, Godzilla vs. Megalon has a lot of elements to recommend it mixed in with the awful nonsense; it is not the least-enjoyable Godzilla film. Just the least coherent. (And up against Godzilla vs. Hedorah, that’s saying something!) It’s simplistic and childish in all the wrong ways, yet sleazy and brutal in an off-putting, very child-unfriendly way. And yet, for all it’s flaws, it IS fun! It’s more entertaining than a number of entries that have embodied sloth; it’s nonsense, but it’s pacy, visually-interesting nonsense with a few diamond-in-the-rough redeeming moments, and that puts it above any number of films for me… even the much-vaunted Astro-Monster and Destroy All Monsters. It’s not a bad film… just a badly-plotted film. But its good almost balances out the bad; it will never be accused of being a masterpiece, but it is a bit of mindless fun, as long as you’re all right being completely in the dark for the first third of the film or so (and only slightly more illuminated from there on out).
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Billzilla1974 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:43 pm

This movie held me over waiting for the 2014 Godzilla movie, it's more watchable than Godzilla's revenge, but only for the new monsters & over the top battles. Jet jaguar has a somewhat cool design, but his ability to change size just feels like a mary sue trait the way they don't give a proper explanation for it. That aside I just wished they utilized his glowing eyes more. Megalon looks amazing and has all the makings of a perfect new monster, but his lack of strategic intelligence in battle make him seem useless. Megalon's drills could've proven to be dangerous as could the "never seen in the film ability to swim at mach 4." :eh:
Gigan looks less menacing compared to the previous film, if he and megalon were controlled like Gigan & Ghidorah were then they would be a rather fearsome duo.
The Godzilla suit, particularly the face, looks awful however I can't say I completely dislike the suit because it was modified to look more badass and mean in the following films.

My biggest problems with this movie are the child character's voice, the horrible "music score" and the damage done to the reputation of the big G in the US.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Terasawa » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:11 pm

This was never at any point going to be a Godzilla-less film. Steve Ryfle gives the entire history of the Red Arone character, and the early stages of development, in the Godzilla vs. Megalon audio commentary:

"At that time [1972] there was an afternoon show for kids on TV Asahi called 'Katsura Kokinji's Afternoon Show,' and during the kaiju craze of the early '70s, this show would often feature monsters and Henshin heroes as guests. And according to a Japanese blog we found called 'Fantasy FX Aficionado Club,' Toho and Seibu -the big Japanese conglomerate that owns department stores and railways and whatnot- co-sponsored a monster design contest for kids, and the winner of this contest was announced on this TV show. So one afternoon, the kids who had submitted designs to the contest were invited onto the program to show their work, and at the end of that episode the winner was announced, and the winning monster was called Red Arone. And then a monster suit based on the winning design was brought out to show the kid. The boy who won was really excited, but when they brought out the costume, he had a WTF moment because the costume didn't really look like his design. The boy's version of Red Arone was actually white but the costume they created for it was red, blue, and yellow. So this blogger remembers the show's host trying to console the little kid who was visibly upset.

"So on this show, it was announced that Red Arone would appear in a Godzilla movie. Subsequently, Red Arone was used for publicity appearances at events sponsored by Seibu. Toho subsequently changed Red Arone's name to Jet Jaguar and had special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano supervise the redesign of it, and this blogger says that the only elements carried over from the Red Arone that was seen on this children's show to Jet Jaguar were the colors; the head was totally different and Red Arone actually had wings.

"We also found a Japanese website called Cyberkids 1954, which is a kind of repository of information on unmade Toho sci-fi projects. And this website reports that there were three early screenplay drafts for this film. In fact, they have the covers for two of them. They were written by Shinichi Sekizawa and these drafts went under the titles Godzilla vs. The Megalon Brothers: The Undersea Kingdom's Annihilation Strategy, which was completed in September 1972. A second draft called Insect Monster Megalon vs. Godzilla: The Undersea Kingdom's Annihilation Strategy was apparently turned in on September 5, 1972, and a third draft was apparently completed on September 27, 1972. It's not clear whether these were complete screenplays or just treatments, which seems more likely..."

"On the Japanese DVD for this film, there's an interview with Teruyoshi Nakano, and he says that Godzilla vs. Megalon was a replacement project for another film that was cancelled at the last minute, though he doesn't say what that project was. So there's a lot of intriguing clues about this film's early development, which apparently dragged on for some time. By the time it was greenlighted, there wasn't a lot of time to complete the film in time for the Champion Festival in March 1973, which is what this film was released under."

The Japanese Wikipedia entry for Jet Jaguar suggests that Tsuburaya Productions was also involved in sponsoring the monster contest. (Two Japanese texts are cited.)

TL;DR - The winner of the monster contest was set to appear in a Godzilla movie, which had been in various stages of development since at least September 1972.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Zarm » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:29 pm

Cool info- thanks for sharing that!
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby MechaGoji Bro7503 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:01 pm

Ive been wondering, there was a "Monster Island Control Center" in Vs Gigan , and in the beginning of this film a nuke hits Monster Island, so did the MICC get destroyed? Probably a plot hole.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby mikelcho » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:39 am

I've noticed that, in recent years, Godzilla vs. Hedorah has been gaining a lot of appreciation. Now that the unedited version of Godzilla vs. Megalon is readily available on home video (DVD and Blu-ray) and we basically don't have to worry anymore about that horribly-edited print that was released so many times on VHS back in the day, maybe this film will gain some of that appreciation as well.
Last edited by mikelcho on Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby cloverfan98 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:49 pm

It's a lackluster film to be sure, but I have a hard time hating this film like it's reputation seems to earn it. I mean they didn't even have the money to make a traditional film in a quality manner, never mind a special effects extravaganza like a Godzilla film. It's actually pretty amazing how they were able to make a competent movie with the lack of a budget that they had.

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

Postby eabaker » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:06 pm

cloverfan98 wrote:but I have a hard time hating this film like it's reputation seems to earn it.


It's interesting, while most fans agree that it's one of the worst movies in the series, very few seem to actually dislike it. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's just the fun monster action, maybe it's the silliness of it all, but largely we seem to criticize it with a certain amount of affection.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby mikelcho » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:18 pm

Terasawa wrote:This was never at any point going to be a Godzilla-less film. Steve Ryfle gives the entire history of the Red Arone character, and the early stages of development, in the Godzilla vs. Megalon audio commentary:

"At that time [1972] there was an afternoon show for kids on TV Asahi called 'Katsura Kokinji's Afternoon Show,' and during the kaiju craze of the early '70s, this show would often feature monsters and Henshin heroes as guests. And according to a Japanese blog we found called 'Fantasy FX Aficionado Club,' Toho and Seibu -the big Japanese conglomerate that owns department stores and railways and whatnot- co-sponsored a monster design contest for kids, and the winner of this contest was announced on this TV show. So one afternoon, the kids who had submitted designs to the contest were invited onto the program to show their work, and at the end of that episode the winner was announced, and the winning monster was called Red Arone. And then a monster suit based on the winning design was brought out to show the kid. The boy who won was really excited, but when they brought out the costume, he had a WTF moment because the costume didn't really look like his design. The boy's version of Red Arone was actually white but the costume they created for it was red, blue, and yellow. So this blogger remembers the show's host trying to console the little kid who was visibly upset.

"So on this show, it was announced that Red Arone would appear in a Godzilla movie. Subsequently, Red Arone was used for publicity appearances at events sponsored by Seibu. Toho subsequently changed Red Arone's name to Jet Jaguar and had special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano supervise the redesign of it, and this blogger says that the only elements carried over from the Red Arone that was seen on this children's show to Jet Jaguar were the colors; the head was totally different and Red Arone actually had wings.

"We also found a Japanese website called Cyberkids 1954, which is a kind of repository of information on unmade Toho sci-fi projects. And this website reports that there were three early screenplay drafts for this film. In fact, they have the covers for two of them. They were written by Shinichi Sekizawa and these drafts went under the titles Godzilla vs. The Megalon Brothers: The Undersea Kingdom's Annihilation Strategy, which was completed in September 1972. A second draft called Insect Monster Megalon vs. Godzilla: The Undersea Kingdom's Annihilation Strategy was apparently turned in on September 5, 1972, and a third draft was apparently completed on September 27, 1972. It's not clear whether these were complete screenplays or just treatments, which seems more likely..."

"On the Japanese DVD for this film, there's an interview with Teruyoshi Nakano, and he says that Godzilla vs. Megalon was a replacement project for another film that was cancelled at the last minute, though he doesn't say what that project was. So there's a lot of intriguing clues about this film's early development, which apparently dragged on for some time. By the time it was greenlighted, there wasn't a lot of time to complete the film in time for the Champion Festival in March 1973, which is what this film was released under."

The Japanese Wikipedia entry for Jet Jaguar suggests that Tsuburaya Productions was also involved in sponsoring the monster contest. (Two Japanese texts are cited.)

TL;DR - The winner of the monster contest was set to appear in a Godzilla movie, which had been in various stages of development since at least September 1972.
This is interesting, indeed. I never knew any of this information. You ought to put this information on the Wikipedia article for this film, as I think that it still mentions the Jet Jaguar solo film story and that Godzilla was a last-minute addition.

UPDATE: Never mind, it's already been done-and whoever did it did a good job! It just goes to show that I haven't looked at the Wikipedia articles for the Godzilla films in a long time.
Last edited by mikelcho on Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Grievous » Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:57 am

*Looks around for a few seconds to check the coast is clear*

So...I actually really like this film...even though its INCREDIBLY
flawed.

It almost feels like a low budget pilot episode of a TV show...
and I think it has a certain charm to it because of that.

This is Godzilla in full on "John Cena Hero Mode" & I love it...
and I will admit I've always liked the design of Jet Jaguar.

Megalon is kind of clumsy in his design (he really needs a
Gigan-like update) & he's as stupid as a bag of rocks...but
he makes a great partner for the returning Gigan.

I also have to state I really enjoy the MST3K version of
this film...and I find myself quoting Joel & the Bots when
watching the un-riffed version.

I have no idea why...but the 70's is my favorite era in the
Godzilla franchise...and honestly...I kind of wish they would
make an animated show featuring the 70's Godzilla to celebrate
that era of the character.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby Gothicserpent » Wed May 08, 2019 4:09 pm

In no way a good film, but man is it fun.
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Re: Talkback Thread #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue May 14, 2019 3:44 am

Rewatched this. I pretty much agree with Zane but let me add some stuff.

I actually think the film’s problem isn’t the stock footage. If you watch the sequence where Megalon fights the military, there’s a large amount of footage of Megalon getting blasted, that cuts to military men firing which is stock footage. However, it serves its purpose and isn’t too bad.

What is bad, however, is the nearly two minutes and a half that preceded this sequence, that shows stock footage of pretty much every film’s military march from 64 onwards. It’s not the film’s usage of stock footage that makes it bad, it’s bad how much filler it all is. They could’ve cut that down to maybe 30 seconds, if not less and the audience would get the same effect. The same thing goes for the Ghidorah stock footage. They don’t just show a few seconds of Megalon blasting away, no they show pretty much every Ghidorah sequence from the last few films.

The car chases are very boring and essentially filler as well. There’s too many shots of just basic cars driving along with little action. Again, total filler.

I’ll say something right now, but the end fight is way too long. It has a lot of fun moments, like Megalon vs Jet Jaguar, Gigan almost cutting off Jet Jaguars head, Godzilla and Jet Jaguar in the fire pit, and of course how both Godzilla and Jaguar beat the crap out of Megalon and Gigan. But after that, you realize how excessive a lot of the random kicking and flailing is in the fight. It’s also bad that this long fight happens all at the end. Would it have been too bad to have Jet Jaguar fight Megalon solo, and lose midway though the film? And cut down on the big brawl at the end?

I realized that the film’s problem isn’t stock footage, but how with a paper thin plot, and horrendously underdeveloped characters,we have a film that’s way too excessive. More time should’ve been payed attention to developing the trio, and Jet Jaguar, before the break in and before the monster action. Likewise, the seatopians should’ve been developed more. Rewatching it, they start out so strong with an interesting and unique location, only to instantly ditch them for two agents. It also doesn’t feel satisfying how they just randomly close the tunnels because Megalon is beaten.

Still, like Eabaker said, I can’t hate this film, because it has a lot to like, Jet Jaguar, the Seatopians, but the rest is so underdeveloped.
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