Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster ~ 1964, Ishiro Honda -Japan

ghidorah three

Hell yeah! After the somewhat less than thrilling Mothra VS Godzilla, we are again back on the right track with the excellent Ghidorah; The Three Headed Monster, one of the best Godzilla films released up to that point. This movie is relevant for a couple reasons, but also it’s really, really cool. End of review?

THE PLOT- Strange, global anomalies are on the rise. Both Godzilla, and Rodan have returned from wherever the hell they were and for however the hell long they were gone, UFO sightings are becoming more frequent, and a strange meteorite falls to Earth and lands in the mountains, eventually cracking open to reveal Ghidorah, a three headed douchebag from space. Initially, Godzilla and Rodan are disinterested in Ghidorah, or the threat he poses to humanity, as they are much more interested in kicking each others asses simply because the other chose to exist, but Mothra, understanding Ghidorah to be a death sentence to Planet Earth, makes a desperate appeal to them to unite with her against the onslaught of Ghidorahs crazy lightning breath and loud dragon shrieks. The forces of Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra (only a larva this whole movie) combine, and beat the hell out of Ghidorah until he flies away.

Ghidorah; The Three Headed Monster has a pretty involved plot, with multiple characters who are conneghidorahcted to one another in various ways, but all the film’s events center around one character – a Princess with amnesia who believes herself to be from Venus, and who also seems to have some psychic abilities. Is she crazy? Maybe? Probably not? Anyway, hot on her trail are some menacing would-be assassins, and she’s really the anchor that holds the narrative together. Everybody wants to either kill her, save her, or exploit her in some way.

This complex plot is welcome, though the film still makes use of scientists and journalists as it’s main stable of characters, it manages to avoid the recycled vibe that had started creeping into the series in prior instalments, and that’s really important. The human characters are all likable, and we don’t feel like we’re wasting our time with them, plus the tiny singing ladies from Infant Island show up, as well, and they’re always good.

Even more crucial; Ghidorah; The Three Headed Monster delivers on the kaiju front. List time;

  1. Four monsters! – That’s two more than two! At this point, this was the closest to a wall to wall monster fest a kid could hope for, and these are quality kaiju we’re talking about here, none of that Jet Jaguar shit. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and the424440-giant-monster-movies-ghidorah-the-three-headed-monster-poster-2 newly introduced King Ghidorah is a pretty A-List line up.
  2. The fights– The monster fights in this movie are all great. The big, four-monster brawl at the end starts off strong and kinda ends on an off note, but it’s still very enjoyable.

Something to mention, though… Although the Rodan VS Godzilla fight is still pretty cool, there are a lot of points during that one that start to look less like a fight, and more like a sex scene. Kind of a lot. And the Ghidorah fight at the end does look slightly gang bang-ish at times, too. Am I suggesting that Toho was having some fun with us? That Ishiro Honda was really into monster porn? No. I don’t know what I’m saying; but turn this movie on and tell me it doesn’t look a little bit like Godzilla and Rodan are doing it.

  1. Monster personality!!! – This is, for sure, the first time in the series we actually get an insight into these monsters individual personalities, and it is surprisingly fun and rewarding (also a little silly, but who in the hell cares, this is a movie where two radioactive dinosaurs and a caterpillar battle a three headed asshole dragon from beyond the stars. I would hope that you could pardon a little silliness). Mothra literally speaks to Rodan and Godzilla. Apparently, these skreeonks and assorted beast screams are actually a universal monster language, and the Tiny Women from Infant Island translate the conversation for us. Mothra comes across compassionate and magnanimous, and both Godzilla and Rodan are grumpy, stuborn dicks. Awesome. They both refuse to help, until Mothra says “Okay, looks like I’m gonna have to go it alone,” and wiggles off to her certain doom, at which point Rodan and Big Papa G quickly decide “F that, no way!” And rush to Mothra’s rescue. The whole sequence is a really fun insight into a side of these characters we haven’t seen before, and in fact, it makes them enjoyable characters in a new way. It is at this point that Godzilla really begins his transformation from the terror of Japan to the likable, ornery, anti-hero he would be for most of the remaining Showa era films. It’s a major turning point in the series, and it helps to boost Ghidorah; The Three Headed Monster up, making it one of the better films in the entire cannon.

Plus, Rodan isn’t in enough movies.


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Mothra Versus Godzilla!!!!

Mothra Versus Godzilla (AKA Godzilla Versus The Thing) -1964, Ishiro Honda – Japan

The Godzilla franchise has displayed an impressive disinterest in continuity from early on. We see that reflected here in Mothra Versus Godzilla, a good, but not great, Kaiju romp from Ishiro Honda, director of the far better Mothra, and Gojira, and like, a million other movies also.

Mothra Versus Godzilla has a highly recycled plot; little more than a rehashing of Mothra and King Kong Versus Godzilla smooshed together. The characters are likable enough, however, the effects range from decent to good, and the art direction is also fairly well done. The film somehow feels cheaper than some of it’s predecessors, though, and it suffers from some less than top notch monster throwdown sequences.


THE PLOT- So, nobody remembers Mothra. You know, that bug the size of a skyscraper that decimated cities, destroyed famous landmarks and took countless lives like, two weeks ago? Yeah, I know, who can keep up on current events these days… So, anyways, when a typhoon washes an enormous egg up onto a beach in Japan, nobody thinks twice about turning it into a tourist attraction. This egg, we come to learn, belongs to Mothra, and her two tiny singing fairy girls show up to try to negotiate it’s return. Nothin’ doin’, the egg is now in the clutches of a couple of no good, money grubbin’ tycoon types, and they know they can make like, mad yen off that shit, so the fairies return to their island home eggless.

Well, it’s about that time that Godzilla shows up, fresh from his apparent loss to King Kong, so he’s all riled up and looking to reestablish himself as the king of smashing. Shameless, our three Japanese main characters (who I intend to talk about as little as possible) head off to Infant Island (That’s where Mothra lives) to try and ask for help. Eventually, this help is granted, the monsters fight, and the movie is over.

It’s not horribly exciting. The human characters are passable, but nothing special. They essentially come across as less developed, less likable clones of the three human characters from Mothra, with two of them being journalists, and one being a scientist (The actor playing the scientist is even the same guy in both films; franchise favorite Hiroshi Koizumi.)

The worst thing we have here is that the monster fights aren’t that great. Let’s face it, I love Mothra, but her offensive capabilities just aren’t up to par with Big Green. Throughout the franchise, there are various instances of Mothra pledging to “save mankind” or “protect mankind” from Godzilla, and honestly, who are they kidding? The fight between Godzilla and Mothra is something else, she just kinda flaps around him, blows things at him with her wings, drags him around a little, it just looks like she’s pestering the shit out of him. Nothing looks, painful, he does not look as though he is incurring any injuries, he just looks super, super annoyed and probably really wishes it would stop. Mothra doesn’t defeat Godzilla, but it really looks like he’s having a lousy afternoon.


Damn, he hates it.

It get’s worse; after she pisses him off and irritates the hell out of him, she just flies off, lands somewhere, and then dies, because her short insect lifespan has come to it’s natural end… So… Not the most climactic end to a monsters life, but that’s what happens (I’m not kidding that’s exactly what happens). So, Godzilla, now nowhere close to defeated, continues his raid on Japan, probably really upset and confused by what just happened to him, and people flip out.

So, what now? After that, the egg hatches, just like it always does, and two larvae emerge- just like they always do. The two little rolli-poli critters, now less than an hour old, are immediately expected to face off against the ultimate destructive force on the planet, which was born of a union between the second and fourth most destructive forces on the planet. (Second most destructive force; Atomic weapons. Fourth most destructive force; dinosaurs. The third most destructive force is Wilford Brimley.)

If you thought the Mothra/Godzilla fight was less than pulse pounding, this one is infinitely worse. The two larvae basically wiggle on over, find little hidey holes, and then just poke out their giant caterpillar faces and spray Godzilla with a stream of cocoon webbing from the safety of their sniper dens. They spray Godzilla, he flails around, they keep spraying, flail, spray, flail, spray, this goes on for some time. Finally, a fully cocooned Godzilla bumbles over and falls into the ocean. Victory? Okay… If Godzilla is no longer visible, apparently that means he’s done for now. Not really that exciting, Toho, but okay.

So, the movie is still really fun, but it really looks like the franchise is starting to lose some of it’s magic right about now. Luckily they’d go on to recapture it with varying degrees of success with a long line of sequels.


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