Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Class: User
Author: Hank Xavier
Score: (2.5/5)
July 28th, 2006 [Review May Contain Spoilers]

After watching Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) one could think its lack off effort can not be topped by any other film in the long story of Japanese Sci-fi History. But the truth goes far beyond that. When we conceive movies like Super Monster Gamera, or the even worse Gappa; we sometimes forget about the movie that made the Big G stand still. This is of course the well known Godzilla vs. Megalon. Its overused stock footage, its non-existent special effects, its irritating score; everything seems to be destined to fail in this movie. Yet it's not one of those flicks that can be considered good for being so bad. This movie, despite it's noticeable flaws; still stands on a higher level than many of the movies with which it is compared.

We start with a prologue that tells us about some subterranean nuclear tests done near the Aleutian Islands. It is explained that the toxic gasses from the blasts were transported directly into Monster Island, thus making it a wasteland, from which some monsters left immediately. But that's the least of the consequences of the tests. It appears that the Ancient Underwater Kingdom of Seatopia has suffered terrible geological disasters as a result of the explosions. In response, the good people of the Kingdom contact their evil deity Megalon, and order him to decimate mankind. Why are people so mean these days, couldn't they just tell humans to stop the tests? Well apparently no, so it's up to Godzilla and man-made android Jet-Jaguar to stop Megalon and save the Earth!

It appears that the whole thing about the whole world being in jeopardy was very popular in the 70's, because most of the Japanese flicks from those days seem to threat that topic, in difference from the previous Kaiju Eigas from the Golden Age, which seemed to be destined just for Japan. This whole logic would work quite well if it was done with better intentions, but it appears that Toho wanted to achieve instant successes with their movies, instead of taking their time to make something the audience would like.

Still, this film has been underrated. Many other monster movies have been than worse and received more acclaim. This is perhaps because of the way this movie departs from seriousness from one moment to another, and that doesn't help it much. But the kind of comedy we witness is, in fact, funny. Critics considered many moments to be unintentionally hilarious, while they were meant to be like that, although misunderstood by many.

Music is done by Riichiro Manabe, who gave us the ear-piercing score for Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). In this movie, he brings back some of the irritating themes present in the previous score, although this time around we do get to hear them better. The soundtrack is basically composed by a 12 note theme for Godzilla, played on a loud trumpet; and Jet-jaguar's theme, a march-wannabee theme that plays in any scene with the annoying droid. The theme repeats itself in the ending with the song "Godzilla, Jet-jaguar, Punch! Punch!", yet another ear-piercing cue.

Special effects were done by Terokushi Nakano, the man who made the special effects for all the Kaiju Toho Films from the 70's. This time we get even more stock footage than in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), repeating many mistakes from there. We get to see Gigan's hands destroying airplanes (the ones from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep [1966]) that Megalon is supposed to be destroying. We also get to see a brief glimpse of Gaira once again, hiding behind the trees in War of the Gargantuas (1966). The beams were OK, but they really didn't add anything to the fight scenes.

Monster costumes aren't really that bad, the only comment I have to make is the way the monsters move. Especially Jet-jaguar, that looks too much like a human, rather than a robot. Godzilla itself looks to have been doing some exercise, with his weird karate movements. Megalon didn't even bother to move properly, and in fact; his ability to fly doesn't look useful. Gigan is just the same case as the previous film; most of the scenes he appears in were from the previous movie anyhow!

I tried to search for some acting, but it gave me a 404 error, so I didn't bother to continue. This is really the movie's dark point. We get the worse expressions, reactions, and dialogues from the characters from start to finish. The kiddo was the best example. A kid like that, with his lame phrases, and annoying interferences, shouldn't star a monster movie.

So, if you're ready for this film's bizarre content, feel free to watch, but you may turn up wondering what the hell you smoked. Otherwise enjoy.