Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla!

Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla ~ 1974, Jun Fukuda – Japan


It’s 1974, and Godzilla Vs Megalon is now a year behind us. Toho, no doubt still coping with the grief of knowing they had birthed Jet Jaguar into the world, decides to get right back on the horse and gives us some of that same old same old; Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla; yet another movie that would pit Godzilla against a monster controlled by invaders from space. Returning director Jun Fukuda, who had salvaged past alien invader Godzilla films with his Zazzy directing, piles on the Zazz like a damn Zazz-machine, but at this point we’ve seen this exact plot so many times that keeping it zazzy is now easier said than done. I mean, they pile on that zazz, but right now, what we need is a new story. Not zazz.

…It’s still pretty fun, though.


THE PLOT~ While exploring the Japanese Island of Okinawa, archeologists uncover a centuries old mural hidden in deep underground in an ancient cave system. This mural tells of a chilling prophecy, the exact wording escapes me, but essentially it boils down to this:

“A monster is gonna show up to kill everybody, but then more monsters are gonna show up, so it’ll all be cool.”

Everybody flips out when this is discovered, even though by my count that prophecy has already come true like, a million times. Whatever. They also find some Space Titanium in the cave, and some serious science shit goes down. How wild and advanced is the science in Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla? Why, it’s so out there that the Subtitles can’t even keep up!


The subtitles didn’t even want to try on that word!

Soon, Godzilla pops in for his daily raid. It’s assumed immediately that Big G is the monster spoken of in the aforementioned prophecy, but something isn’t adding up. This new Godzilla sounds sorta funny, he doesn’t have the all too familiar Skreeonk style roar the Japanese have come to recognize… His spines are also shinier, and his dragon breath has a vague space-alien type quality to it… Plus, when Anguirus shows up to spend some quality dino time with his best buddy, Godzilla brutally kicks the shit out of him, which is totally out of character (Godzilla Raids Again). What the hell is going on?

Godzilla-vs-Mechagodzilla-fightHoly smokes! Another Godzilla shows up! The Japanese people’s collective mind is blown. After a short throw down between the two warring twin Godzillas, we discover the truth, the first Godzilla was a mechanized imposter, a robotic replica of Godzilla, who was coated in a false skin, not unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, and also probably in real life. Of course, this robot Godzilla, forever known as Mechagodzilla, is part of an alien plot to conquer the Earth. The aliens involved are pretty lame. They’re shape shifting gorilla people.


So, As part of the prophecy, King Caesar, the shaggy, lethargic guardian monster of Okinawa, is awoken, and he and Godzilla team up against Mechagodzilla. King Caesar is kind of cool, he’s a bipedal, somewhat humanoid dog/lion type creature, and I’ve never been secretive about my longstanding bias towards monsters with floppy ears. King Caesar makes Jet Jaguar look like a serious mountain of shit, but we don’t actually spend too much time with him, so he isn’t given much of an opportunity to shine. Additionally, his “guardian monster” status is slightly reminiscent of an underdeveloped Mothra, so what little we do get from him isn’t really breaking new ground. King Caesar is a bit of a missed opportunity.


Anyway, Godzilla and King Caesar put the beat down on Mechagodzilla something fierce, and eventually Earth is saved yet again. The final battle is sorta bloody by Kaiju standards, which is pretty cool. On the profoundly lame and bizarre end of the spectrum, however, Godzilla’s premeditated scheme to take down Mechagodzilla involves him absorbing electricity during a lightning storm so that he can magnetize his body and temporarily(?) possess metal based super powers like Magneto. I don’t know if you were able to actually read that without hemorrhaging, but the same thing happens in Ernest Goes to Jail, so I want you to think about that long and hard before you go to sleep tonight.


Really, the biggest thing this movie has going for it is that it introduced Mechagodzilla, a character who would become a favorite among Godzilla movie buffs. Aside from that, it’s really sort of a lesser entry in the series. The recycled plot is, by this point a pretty major problem to contend with, and nothing else brought to the table feels fresh enough to compensate. What’s here is pretty good, but honestly, not having it be aliens would have made a world of difference at this point. Really, anything else would be better.

We have one more Showa era Godzilla film left, and then Big Green takes a long break.


GZ backGZ next


Godzilla Raids Again~ 1955 (1959 in America, as Gigantis The Fire Monster), Motoyoshi Oda – Japan


(NOTE: For this review I only had access to the American version of Godzilla Raids Again. It’s widely known to be worse than the Japanese version, so I thought it was only fair to point out which version I had seen. The Japanese version is also not regarded as a classic. Guess Big G can’t win ’em all.)

Godzilla Raids Again is the somewhat shabby sequel to the masterfully crafted Gojira, as well as its slightly less awesome American counterpart; Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It’s not very good. I think they just wanted money. Fair enough!

return-of-godzilla-fr-2-panelTHE PLOT: A couple of tuna cannery pilots land on a remote Japanese island only to see two giant monsters kicking each others ass like crazy. They promptly return home and tell everyone that they just saw some sweet dragon combat, and of course, everyone believes them without hesitation. Scientists have been living in fear of this day, which they somehow knew was coming, and sure enough, soon the two monsters are in Osaka, Japan, duking it out like Popeye and whoever that guy is that Popeye used to fight. In this battle, Osaka is destroyed, and Anguirus, one of the two monsters, is killed leaving only Gigantis to be dealt with. Yeah, in the American version he’s called Gigantis. Apparently they thought he was more valuable as a completely new monster. They also changed his iconic ass roar, which is stupid. So, Gigantis/Godzilla returns to his damn iceberg island for some reason, and our tuna cannery pilots assist in an effort to blast him with rockets and bury him in an avalanche, thereby ridding the world of him forever (for like, a week.)


So, there are a lot of things about Godzilla Raids Again that are terrible. Firstly, the attempt to establish this as being Gigantis, and not Godzilla. That sucks, but is isolated only to the American version. Screw the American version. Secondly, and much worse, this movie is excruciatingly over-narrated. Seriously, our cartoonish and racist sounding narrator drones on and on and on, eventually transforming Godzilla Raids Again into something more like an audio book with visual accompaniment than a movie. I can only hope he shuts the hell up in the Japanese cut. The visual effects also kind of suck, but maybe the worst thing about Godzilla Raids Again is that it just isn’t that interesting. It feels like the slap dash cash in that it is.

That having been said, this is the debut of the ‘Godzilla fights another giant monster’ scenario, so that is absolutely something we can point to as being a positive contribution that is credited to Godzilla Raids Again.  Also, Anguirus is a cool monster, and he would go on to become a fan favorite, so there are some aspects of the movie that deserve to be appreciated.

The verdict is a little muddy. I want to like Godzilla Raids Again, and I really, really want to like the Japanese version, but even that has a reputation for being a sub-par entry in the series, and based on the Gigantis: The Fire Monster, it’s just not very good. On to bigger and better things, Godzilla fans.




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