Son of Godzilla~ 1967, Jun Fukuda – Japan
THE PLOT- A group of scientists (And one plucky, interloping journalist) work tirelessly in a top secret research laboratory located on a remote island. Their experiments, focused on climate control, backfire, heating up the island to near unlivable temperatures, as well as causing a freak mutation in the island’s already pretty giant bugs, this time making them really, really giant. Things couldn’t get any worse, just kidding, of course they can- the giant bugs dig up an egg, which hatches. The hatchling? Apparently Godzilla JR! Eager to buck the absentee father kaiju dinosaur stereotype, Godzilla trods up onto shore for some good old fashioned monster child rearing. Things with our scientists are bad, they all got weird jungle fever, there is increased tension amongst the ranks, and now the island has turned into a full on Kaiju ass-whooping zone, so these are for sure stressful days. Their only hope for salvation comes in the form a mysterious woman found living on the island, and, of course, through Godzilla’s innate skill at clobbering the hell out of anything and everything.
Son of Godzilla is good! It’s a fun one. It looks cheaper, the monster costumes look a little less masterfully crafted than they have in the past, although there is passable use of insect puppetry here. It’s clearly meant to be more of a children’s film than past Godzilla flicks, but it’s not so over the top that adults needs be concerned, and little Godzilla Jr. (I should stop pretending that I don’t know his name- it just wasn’t ever mentioned in this film) doesn’t approach Jar Jar levels of annoyance by any means… At least, not in this movie, he doesn’t.
Really, the biggest flaw in Son of Godzilla is that while it is clearly geared for a younger audience, it’s too slow for kids, and it takes way, way too long for the monsters to turn up. When I used to watch these movies as a kid, the human sequences were a brutal chore to endure, I always wanted that monster on the screen right now. For Son of Godzilla, there’s a lot of work leading up the monsters, and possibly not enough payoff.
Regardless, the true test of how well Son of Godzilla performs for a young audience would be to let some kids watch it. From an adult perspective, the film is lighthearted, but still very enjoyable.
Check out these cool posters.