Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters

Sometimes studios have to retire a property for a while. When they do they sometimes try to have a celebration to show just how incredible the franchise was and all the joy it brought to others. Destroy All Monsters was this type of movie and was supposed to be the final Kaiju film from Toho. Then something glorious happened. It reignited the love and kept the series alive.

In the far future, mankind has quarantined the monsters of the world on an island called Monsterland and people no longer have to worry about their rampage. Until an alien race known as the Kilaak take control of the island and release the monsters onto the human race. Now a group of humans must work you to find a way to bring the monster under control and fight back against these alien invaders.

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This movie suffers from a bit too much human interaction. Captain Yamabe and his crew essentially save the planet but they aren’t exactly the most interesting bunch. Also there is the whole “earring” scene where Yamabe removes the device controlling her is a bit disturbing. I mean how many other scenes in movies involve ripping a woman’s earring off her? Not many or at least not in Kaiju scenes. Also, it probably wasn’t the best idea of the Kilaaks to decide not to leave any of the monsters at Monsterland, especially when they decide to make it their base of operations on Earth. For an advanced race they really seem to make a lot of stupid mistakes.

The monsters attacking the world is cool enough. Seeing them rampage at the different locations across the globe is definitely the highlight of the entire movie. The final fight scene at the base of Mount. Fuji is a pretty good beat down against King Ghidora. It would have been better if there had been more evil monsters for the Kilaaks to send against the monsters of Earth. Ghidora had previously defeated by a pair of monsters the last time he came into the picture in Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and in this movie he is terrible outnumbered to the point he doesn’t really stand a chance against the monsters of earth. Also, the whole, firebird monster turning out to be the Kilaak’s ship is totally lame.

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This was supposed to be Tohos last giant monster movie but it did so well they made more. It is good but it could have been better if their was more actual focus on the monsters instead of the humans. Still it resulted in more movies getting made so it’s influence can’t be overlooked.

RATING: C+

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PODCAST: Rodan Roundtable

Rodan

Monster Kid Radio had me back again. This time it was to talk about Rodan on his 60th anniversary. The Podcast’s host Derek M. Koch invited me, author Stephen D. Sullivan and Illustrator Mark Maddox (who drew the above picture) on to talk about how much we loved the movie. Check it out and see what it scarred the crap out of me when I was a kid.

Rodan

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When I was a kid Rodan freaked me out and made me not want to watch Giant Monster movies ever again. Lucky for me I eventually recovered from the experience and stayed true to the genre even to this day. It wasn’t because of terrible quality or because I came to the insane belief that Kaiju films was not worth my time. It was because Rodan and War of the Gargantuas (which I watched on the same day, but I’ll get to that review another day) showed me the first scenes in a film of someone drowning. I know for most people, the first drowning scenes they seen in cinema were from Jaws, but for me Rodan was my Jaws.

6a00d8341bfb8d53ef00e553d0741a8834-800wiWhen miners start to go missing in a small town, Shigeru, the head of security for the mine starts to become worried, especially once his fiancee’s brother disappears. As he starts to investigates the strange appearances he soon discovers large insects called Meganula are to blame for the miners’ disappearances. As Shigeru takes a team to seal up with the mine and kill the insects he becomes trapped himself. As strange phenomenon in the sky start to be reported, Shigeru returns, without his memory and near catatonic over what he saw in the mine. As he starts to recover, he reveals that he has seen the birth of a monster that consumed the Meganula as it awoke as food and my just threaten to devour all mankind.

This was the only film to start Rodan exclusively and sadly the only time when he has something of a unique theme associated with him. While Godzilla is a force of nature, Gamera a friend to the children, and Mothra is a being of peace, this first interpretation of Rodan is something else all together. The two monsters that appear are the last of their kind and trying to cut out a place from themselves in this new world. Unfortunately, cutting out a place for themselves results in an insane amount of property damage. They are just trying to build a nest and start a life together as two last of their kind species would do. Sadly, they never addressed this idea again with the monster. More on that later.

This is movie tackles an idea we don’t usually see in movies, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Shigeru comes back from seeing Rodan’s birth and is utterly traumatized by the incident. He has to take time to adjust to the terror of what he saw, considering the larger than a man sized Meganula were already scary enough but to see a creature even larger use them as food was too much for him to bear. Realistically, Rodan would probably be able to eat several humans as if they were bird seed. Luckily he has of those Meganula to munch on.

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It’s a shame we never seen Rodan like this ever again. For the rest his movie career he would be recast as Godzillas friend/foe and never once would his name be prominently displayed on the title for the films where he was cast. Not once has any attempt ever been made to try and retell the story of the two of its kind maintaining a nest, that unfortunately leads to them destroying humanity as they try to maintain a place for themselves. Instead of holding onto the theme that was presented for him in the first movie, the studio would forever abandon it in favor of Rodan being a creature that could show up in a film, kick some butt, and fly away into the horizon when he wasn’t needed anymore. Truly a shame they his humanizing role would be his first compared to his fellow giant monsters who have had multiple movies where they have been allowed to shine as individuals.

Rating: A-

Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster

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This is going to be a first on this blog. You see I have seen every Godzilla movie ever. Some more than others with how much I enjoy them. Today though I’m revisiting one of the films I have only seen once to see if a second viewing can change my mind about it. I didn’t enjoy Ghidora the three headed monster the first time I saw it. Let’s see if it can score any higher in my book.

After a foreign princess survives a plane crash, she appears before the world insist that she is a Martian and death and doom are coming. Meanwhile the Fairy companions of Mothra hear of the girls prediction and go to meet with her. They soon find that she is right and that the mysterious meteor in he mountains was in fact King Ghidorah the monster that destroyed Mars many years earlier. Realizing that he cannot fight such a creature alone, Mothra calls for the help of Godzilla and Rodan to stop the menacing Ghidorah or watch the rest of the world be a barren wasteland like Mars.

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Few things. What happened to the other Mothra larva? Did it die? How did a television station get the fairies without Mothra coming to tear the city apart to look for them? Why did only one Rodan survive the volcanic eruption? Why do they insist on having Godzilla blow steam the entire time? That last one was a point that I found myself having trouble getting over. I have seen footage of him using the steam breath at other times where it doesn’t bother me as much but when they happened I actually saw that the attack did any damage. Here he uses it on Rodan several times and without any type of effect. Castrating Godzilla’s signature power was a lot to get over.

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Still on the rewatch I was able to find some new aspects about the movie that I found entertaining. Watching Mothra attempt to play with the big boys, was entertaining. He was only a little larva but still found a way of two of offering his aid. When the three come together that they are able to succeed and it really is fun to watch them all fight a common foe. Later films would perfect the style of the monster team up to fight a greater monster, but this was the first time so we have to give it some slack.

The human aspect of this film is also quite interesting drawing aspects from a spy movie. Shindo the police detective trying to protect the possesses princess Saino is very moving. This is especially true as Saino seems hellbent on only spreading the message that Ghidorah is coming. Speaking of hellbent what about her assassins. You would think they would just leave her to get destroyed by the monsters that are lumbering towards the city but no, they are dead set on making sure that the princess is dead this time around. I would also be in the wrong if I didn’t mention the Fairies, who are doing all they can to help mankind despite their previous negative experiences with us. If it weren’t for their efforts, the attack against Ghidorah would never get off the ground.

So a revisit to this film did indeed help me to appreciate it a bit more. I wish I could to this with more films, but I can only do so much. I assure you though the different Godzilla and Gamera films I have reviewed so far on the blog I have seen countless times before. I have lost count of the number of times I rewatched the Gamera trilogy. Still, in the future if someone suggests watching Ghidorah, the three headed monster I won’t be so quick to shutter at the idea.

Rating: D (first time)/ B-(after watch)