Godzilla VS Megalon ~ 1974, Jun Fukuda – Japan
Even the poster is lame.
The trajectory of the Godzilla franchise has never been a straight line. Sometimes these movies are real home runs… Other times Jet Jaguar shows up. Now, I don’t want to blame everything on Jet Jaguar, but 100% of the movies he shows up in suck. Anyway, moving on; one year after Godzilla VS. Gigan, we have Godzilla VS Megalon, another kinda sorta almost recycled Godzilla film, which is still much better than the full on totally definitely recycled Godzilla films we often see. This time, the aliens who use a monster to destroy us aren’t aliens, they’re humans, from the Earth’s core… So, kinda sorta new, but not really. This movie is pretty mediocre, and that’s probably being generous…
THAT’S a poster.
THE PLOT~ The people of Earth have begun conducting all their nuclear bomb tests underground. They think this is totally no big deal, but unbeknownst to them, all these subterranean H-Bombs are really pissing off the people of Seatopia, a lost, Atlantis style civilization, which exists beneath the Earth’s crust. (Also, Seatopia looks like a “Ancient civilization” themed Las Vegas casino, and their leader is an aging swinger in a toga.) Seatopia has had enough of this surface people bullshit, so they launch their defender, Megalon, which is basically a giant humanoid cockroach with drill hands that can spit fire bombs. “That outta take care of it,” they think.
Meanwhile, up on the surface, we have our three human characters, Goro (Apparently before growing a pony tail and two extra arms) his constantly present, loyal, male companion Hiroshi (are these dudes a couple?) and their young child Rokuro, who they probably adopted together. When we meet these three, Goro and Hiroshi have brought Rokuro to a nearby lake for a nice afternoon of recreation, and Rokuro is out on the lake piloting what can only be called some sort of Aquatic Goof-Mobile.
Just then, a fissure opens in the lake bed, creating a whirling maelstrom of danger and death. Perhaps this was caused by Seatopia, the subterranean bomb tests, or perhaps the lake was just tired of something so stupid looking as Rokuro’s Goof-Mobile splashing about on it’s surface and chose to commit suicide. Regardless, just when it looks like his goose is cooked, Rokuro is saved by Goro and Hiroshi, who employ the use of a Liferope Gun that they had with them. LIFEROPE GUN!? What kind of technology is Japan holding out on us? They gave us Playstation, but not the Liferope Gun? Bizarre. Not only that, but check it out, Hiroshi and Goro have also built a humanoid robot called Jet Jaguar, presumably for sexual purposes. Jet Jaguar attracts the attention of some secret agents from Seatopia who are concerned that the robot might thwart their Megalon related plans. They must not know that Jet Jaguar is totally lame. Anyway, there are some twists, some turns, Jet Jaguar is highjacked by these spies briefly, but then escapes their control and somehow gains sentience. He then zooms off to Monster Island to ask Godzilla for help clobbering Megalon, and Godzilla happily agrees because by this point he has completely turned the corner from menace to hero. Anticipating Godzilla’s involvement, Seatopia sends for Gigan’s help, because they apparently work with whatever cosmic temp agency manages him, but they couldn’t afford Ghidorah. Jet Jaguar grows to kaiju size (he can do that, I guess), and the four players beat the shit out of each other for the rest of the movie. It’s not that awesome…
Monster role call!
- GODZILLA- Just a big ol’ softy. In this one, Godzilla’s head has been redesigned, his eyes are much larger, and more frontal, which gives him a more humanoid and friendly appearance. Godzilla also observes different human customs, such as the shaking of hands, and feeling insulted when Megalon taunts him with his weird monster butt-slap dance. Things were getting a little Gamera by this point.
- JET JAGUAR– A giant piece of garbage.
- MEGALON– A giant bug.
- GIGAN- Hey! Gigan’s back!
So, yeah… The movie has like, several car chases in it, which is new. There’s also a lot more human on human violence, some of which is kind of goofy. The whole film is much more light and silly than recent entries, and this is the movie where Godzilla does his much despised flying missile kick, a fighting move so ridiculous it was immortalized in the opening of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a program designed to mock cinematic insolence. In fact, Godzilla VS Megalon, as a whole, was riffed left, right and center by MST3K in 1991.
GvM is a lull, an awkward misstep between the introduction of the relevant and much loved Gigan in the previous film, and the introduction of the relevant and much loved Mecha Godzilla in the sequel the following year. It’s a fumble, but it’s not super terrible. Really, GvM isn’t much of anything.