Destroy All Monsters~ 1968, Ishiro Honda – Japan
In 1968 Toho released their THIRD Ishiro Honda directed Godzilla film wherein a race of extra-terrestrials take control of Earth’s monsters in an attempt to force a surrender and usher in alien occupation of the planet. Each of these films feature Ghidorah as the ultimate monster challenge posed to Godzilla and co., and in each film, mankind discovers a way to release their monsters from the alien’s control at the eleventh hour and saves the day. To rephrase that, between 1964 and 1968, Toho released five Godzilla films, and three of them had essentially the same story. I’m not saying I dislike this run of films, but how can anyone argue that things were getting alarmingly “been there done that” by this point? This is the Super Street Fighter II of Godzilla films (Making Final Wars the Super Street Fighter II Turbo of the franchise.)
THE PLOT- Mankind is really kicking ass these days. We’ve managed to put together a pretty sweet international space program, complete with moon bases, and Earth’s monsters are all contained for observation on a tricked out island somewhere in the Pacific. Advanced science has been developed to prevent each of the monsters from ever escaping, and simultaneously we’ve designed a self sufficient Eco-system which can feed the creatures indefinitely while we study them from ultra safe bunkers deep beneath the surface of the island. Yes sir, nothing can go wrong now. Oh, wouldn’t you know it, aliens show up and want to conquer our sweet planet, and they have somehow managed to take control of all of our monsters. Really, really sucks how often this happens.
Long story short, there is some space warfare stuff that goes down, and in the end we manage to free our monsters from alien control and defeat the interloping space people once again. Sound familiar? This also won’t be the last time Toho does this in a movie.
It’s not so bad, though. It’s still a pretty good effort, and the alien/outer space stuff is actually done pretty well, much better than in Invasion Of Astro Monster. The daring human assault on the alien moon bases is an especially exciting and well done sequence for it’s lack of giant monsters, and the film does a good job upping the ante and making this movie feel more global and epic in scope. It does really feel like the very survival of mankind is on the line, and really, that’s the mark of a successful alien invasion film, so kudos on that, Ishiro.
There are also lots, and lots of monsters, and they look good. The big battle at the end where Godzilla leads a monster army against Ghidorah and the alien invaders is pretty cool, and it’s satisfying to see Ghidorah get his ass beat so, so hard by Papa G’s Kaiju Posse.
Overall, Destroy All Monsters does it right, but the problem is that we’ve just tread this ground so many times already. Had it not been diluted by the foul backwash of repetition, this movie would really shine. As it is, it’s still pretty good.