This is one of my
favorite films of all time! This film did better
(1954) in theaters in America, and it introduced
everyone’s favorite pterodactyl, Rodan.
I have a Classic Media release DVD, and watch
it every couple days. I have almost all the film’s
have been occurring in a small mining village.
Goro, one of the miners, is supposedly murdered.
There is a widespread investigation all over the
town to discover the cause of the deaths. Several
people are under suspicion. One day, Shigeru
and his crew of miners walk into the cave only
to find a huge insect called Meganulon. These
creatures attack the miners, and a few days later,
the Meganulon attacks the village. Shigeru escapes
and contacts the police. The police venture into
the cave to find the creature, but their machine
gun has no effect. There is a cave-in, and Shigeru
manages to escape, but he is barely alive. The
sight of an egg triggers frightening memories
from his experience in the cave, just as Rodan
begins to attack jets all over the country. Shigeru
remembers that he saw a baby Rodan hatch and devour
the Meganulons. The SDF ventures to the erupting
Mount Aso, where Rodan attacked a couple, and
there they discover Rodan, inside a crack in the
mountain. The SDF escapes, and Rodan soars overhead.
Shortly thereafter, another Rodan (a female) is
discovered. The two denizens of the cretaceous
proceed to attack Japan. When they arrive in Tokyo,
they are pursued by SDF jets. Tokyo is ravaged,
and the Rodans retreat, but only after decimating
the city. The SDF prepares a plan. They will utilize
super explosive rocket shells to defeat the two
Rodans. Will this plan succeed?
The acting and character development
is great, some of the best I’ve seen. Shigeru,
played by 24-year old Kenji Sahara (who is known
for normally playing villains) is a very good
character. His shock at the sight of a hatching
monster egg during the flashback is well played,
up to the moment where he snaps back to reality
in a hospital bed (which is technically the end
of the sequence). Shigeru’s girlfriend is
very over dramatic. She panics often, like anyone
in a stereotypical "damsel in distress"
The stars of the movie are, of
course, the monsters. Rodan looks his best in
this movie, a far cry from the silly-looking suits
of the 60’s. He looked so silly, especially
All Monsters (1968). The Meganulons,
who look like Mothra Larvae with stinging tails
and claws, look very menacing. The technique used
to portray them, however, is not very convincing.
The suitimation itself is very good, with the
legendary Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla) portraying
Rodan. He manages to make the performance very
lifelike, unlike most other monster suit actors.
I am a big Rodan fan, personally. There is no
campy monster action, unlike that which is seen
in future films featuring Rodan. This is deadly
serious. Regarding the miniatures, I am very impressed.
The planes look like planes, not toys, as in other
contemporary movies. The tanks and rocket launchers
still look good today. This film’s special
effects are still very sleek.
Regarding music, from the main
titles to the Meganulon theme, I can honestly
comment that the score is very chilling here.
The Rodan theme is also quite unique, much less
repetitive than the one heard in subsequent films.
Ifukube did a very nice job on this one.
This movie is rare, and very enjoyable.
I’d recommend this movie to any daikaiju
eiga fan. There is only one Region 1 release of
this, Classic Media’s 2002 release. Despite
Classic Media’s poor video quality presentation
of the movie, I’d definitely recommend getting