Destroy All Monsters (1968) [International Version]

Class: Staff
Author: Alexander Smith
Score: (3.5/5)
January 27th, 2007 [Review May Contain Spoilers]

This movie once held the record of "most kaiju", with 11 to be exact (only beaten by Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004). This was sure to excite kaiju hardcores. Sure enough, it did, with a successful box office rating. This was considered to be the "last great Showa Godzilla film" by many fans, due to the slide in quality and budget in subsequent entries. Almost all of the destruction scenes were devoid of stock footage, while the films to follow would use loads in comparison.

It is the year 1999. All of the Earth's giant monsters have been gathered and now live on Monsterland. They are kept within reasonable borders, to avoid the endangerment of lives. Beneath the ground, the creatures are monitored by underground control centers. One day, gas mysteriously seeps into the subterranean area, KO-ing most of the scientists. The monsters mysteriously vanish and soon, the UN receives calls about monster attacks all across the globe. Rodan attacks Moscow, Gorosaurus attacks Paris (destroying the Arc de Triomphe), and Godzilla attacks New York!

Usually the monsters are relatively peaceful, and its up to the crew of the Moonlight SY-3 to disembark from the UNSC Moon Base to find out who is the culprit behind this series of sinister events. They arrive underground, and discover their friends and fellow workers under Kilaak control. The Kilaak Queen, the leader of this colonizing alien race, believes that the Earth was made to inhabit the Kilaakian men, women (mysteriously, you only see the women in the film), and children; and the monsters of earth have been made pawns in her diabolical desire for invasion. Suddenly, the monsters head toward Japan decimating Tokyo and gripping the nation in fear. Eventually, the crew manages to destroy the Kilaaks' mind control device, and the creatures that were once under Kilaak control head to earth base of their former masters in a full-out onslaught. However, they are ambushed by King Ghidorah (YAY! my favorite) and engage in one of the most epic monster battles of all time!

The acting is a bit flawed here. The main characters barely show any emotion, even after discovering their friends under alien control. Akira Kubo's performance is flat out emotionless. Concerning the antagonist, the Kilaak Queen has an odd "calmness" about her, which lends that character to adopt a greater menacing persona. Concerning the English voice acting in the International Version; it matched the lip movements well, and seemed more realistic than other attempts.

Music-wise, this is my favorite Akira Ifukube score, due to it's militaristic quality and tone. My favorite theme is King Ghidorah's theme, which makes a great return in this film. I also like the SDF march, which plays when the military prepares to launch a counterattack against Godzilla. The Kilaakian theme is also fairly haunting, an eerie string piece that is used effectively throughout the movie. Great score!

Turning to the subject of special effects, this film is the last of the greats (before it all went downhill). The rotoscoping used to render the monsters' beams are fluidly animated, as with most other 60's Godzilla movies. Most of the monster scenes do not utilize stock footage (a plus). One last thing to note is the odd appearance of blood during the final fight. Usually, Eiji Tsuburaya does not allow bloodshed in monster battles.

This film is hard to find, with sub-par DVD editions released by ADV Films. These are bare bones and have no menus; however, I am just grateful to have the movie on DVD. This was the last Showa film to feature Godzilla destroying a city, just one more reason to enjoy it. Buy this, even if it means hunting down the Region 2 Toho edition. It's well worth the money!