When I was younger, I used to watch the old Godzilla movies (or at least record them with intent to watch). However, I really don’t remember much of anything about them. So I figured… why not take a gander? It’s October, so it’s an excuse for a monster movie! What I was not expecting was a film more about the characters and (convoluted) plot than the actual monster mayhem. Bear with me on this.
So there’s this cop named Shindo (Yosuke Natsuki) who is assigned to protect this Princess named Selina (Akiko Wakabayashi) during her trip to Japan because her uncle is trying to assassinate her for some unknown reason. The uncle sets up a bomb on Selina’s plane, but Selina is saved by Martians who have her jump off the plane before it explodes. One of the Martians inhabits her mind and has her go around the city telling everybody a bunch of disasters are going to happen, including the return of Rodan and Godzilla. All the while, her uncle’s top assassins are sent after her to try and kill her, and it’s up to Shindo and his reporter sister, Naoko (Yuriko Hoshi), to protect her.
Meanwhile, a geologist that Naoko may or may not be dating named Miura (Hiroshi Koizumi) is investigating a fallen meteorite that hit the earth during a big meteor shower. As it turns out, the meteorite holds a three-headed dragon monster named Ghidorah who will destroy the planet and all its inhabitants, just like it did to the Martians. So a couple twin faeries that live on an island with Mothra call in a reborn, caterpillar version of Mothra to help talk Godzilla and Rodan into stopping Ghidorah instead of fighting each other… all while this whole assassination plot is going on for a Princess who is possessed by a Martian whose home world was destroyed by Ghidorah.
So… yeah. And as silly and convoluted as that plot sounds… it kinda works in the realm of the film. To a degree, anyway. I think my biggest issue with the film was how inconsistent people’s reactions to things were. For instance, the common public knows that these giant monsters exist, and they also know these famous faeries that live with Mothra. They also have no problem going around announcing that a space monster is attacking. But Martians is where they draw the line? I just couldn’t believe that, looking at everything else they know and/or buy into in this established world, that aliens is what makes them go “You’re insane! Let’s all point and laugh at the silliness of this!” But besides that, I enjoyed the plot. I’ll give it this–it’s definitely not what I was expecting. It’s unique, and it definitely resides in a pre-existing universe of films and mythology.
Otherwise, everything else was about what I expected. The acting wasn’t great, and the special effects are the laughable Godzilla effects everybody knows whether or not they’ve seen a Godzilla movie. But that’s what gives it its charm. Watching these people in suits or what have you doing the most ridiculous fight scenes ever between monsters was a lot of fun to watch, despite not actually being a major part of the film. The monsters don’t really show up for at least 45 minutes, and the fighting probably isn’t until the last 20. But what’s there is just goofy fun.
In the end, I came for monster silliness and I left with a unique plot. At least half of it is never explained, nor does any of it make a lick of sense. But for a cheesy, Japanese monster movie from the 60s, it delivered enough. If you’re a fan of the style or genre and haven’t seen it, I recommend it. But if you think guys in monster suits throwing rocks at each other like volleyballs and throwing each other around sounds like a stupid waste of time, then don’t bother. It’s not high art, but it is pure entertainment.