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Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
Movie Connections:
Godzilla
> Godzilla (1954)
> Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
> Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! (1956)
> King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
> Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
> Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)
> Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965)
> Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)
> Son Of Godzilla (1967)
> Destroy All Monsters (1968)
> All Monsters Attack (1969)
> Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
> Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
> Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
> Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
> ...Show All Connections?
Genres / Traits:
Creature Film, Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction, Kaiju
Director:
Jun Fukuda Jun Fukuda
Starring:
Katsuhiko Sasaki Katsuhiko Sasaki
Hiroyuki Kawase Hiroyuki Kawase
Yutaka Hayashi Yutaka Hayashi
Robert Dunham Robert Dunham
Kôtarô Tomita Kôtarô Tomita
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4.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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The underground kingdom of Seatopia sends out Megalon, a giant beetle, and Gigan to destroy the above ground dwellers. In an attempt to stop them, an independently thinking robot brings Godzilla into the fight. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: June 08, 2014
The early seventies were a rough time for Godzilla. Characterized by an undeniable kiddy-fication and an ever increasing reliance on stock footage to save money, most of these films aren't remembered that fondly by his loyal fanbase. In fact, Godzilla vs. Megalon ranks amongst the bottom of the franchise for most fans, but was it really that bad?

When will man ever learn? Despite the horrors that atomic bombs have wrought in the past, we still insist on further testing, and those tests have been felt far below the surface. There, the ancient civilization of Seatopia is fed up with the "surface-dwellers" constant assault on their peace and have taken matters into their own hands. After breaking into the home of inventor Goro Ibuki and his kid brother Rokuro, they've taken control of his flying robot Jet Jaguar and are using it to guide their god, the giant beetle Megalon, to wreak havoc on the surface. Able to regain control of his creation, Goro sends him to summon Godzilla to fight off the insect kaiju. Realizing they need some help to deal with the King of the Monsters, the Seatopians call in a favor to the Hunter M Space Nebula and the fearsome cyborg Gigan is sent to Earth. Jet Jaguar notices that he needs to buy some time as Godzilla swims from his homeland on Monster Island, so reprograms himself to grow to the monsters' size in order to fight alongside Big G to save mankind.

From the beginning, this movie wasn't even supposed to be a Godzilla movie. Toho had run a contest for kids to create a new hero, and the winner was an elementary school student's creation, Jet Jaguar. As kids are wont to do, it was basically a rip-off of the popular Japanese hero, Ultraman, but Toho still went ahead and started planning his solo debut against the giant beetle, Megalon. Realizing that Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon probably wasn't going to sell as many tickets as they'd like, they altered the project, bringing in Godzilla and Gigan. Unfortunately, this meant that they had to throw a new Godzilla suit together on the double, and boy, was it an ugly one. The biggest problem with it is the face; between the big brows and plastic eyes, he looked so much less menacing than he did before. Considering the drop in target audience age over the last few movies, perhaps it was to be expected. The addition of a robot that can randomly change size didn't help this kiddy feel either, but then again, it was actually easier to take Jet Jaguar seriously than Megalon. The beetle costume looked god awful, and the way they had him hopping around was absolutely hysterical. Hard to take the monster seriously as the destroyer of worlds if he brings to mind Peter Cottontail. That's not to say he should be taken lightly however. Firing lightning from his horn, spitting a never-ending barrage of bombs, and boasting a pair of drills for hands, Megalon could easily have been one of Godzilla's more dangerous opponents if they decided to play him a bit more seriously.

For as much shit as this movie takes and as heralded as Godzilla vs. Gigan is, the fact is that this two-on-two fight is so much better than the last one. A big part of the reason was that this relied so much less on stock footage. Sure, it's there. The trademark scenes of the last bout were re-used, and scenes of Ghidorah's lightning wreaking havoc were used when Megalon fired an identical blast from his horn, but it flowed so much better with the new material. Not to mention there was a lot less of it. I'll concede that swapping between the two Godzilla costumes is a little distracting, but I can live with that. Again, with the majority of the footage being newly shot, the benefits to the cohesion of the fight are immeasurable; both teams frequently use two-on-one maneuvers, and there's a lot less standing and watching. Even though some of the attacks are pretty cartoony (this is the one where Godzilla slid on his tail a good hundred feet to deliver a kangaroo kick), it's still an incredibly enjoyable fight. There's one scene in particular where Megalon traps his opponents in a ring of fire that had me cheering. It's a shame it has the reputation it has; I'm sure a lot of people are avoiding it completely and missing out.

I've closed out the last two Godzilla reviews with mentions that while they're good, they both had the potential to be great. Well, that streak ends here. Godzilla vs. Megalon is as good as it could hope to be. It's certainly not a good movie, but it's a fun one, and that final battle earns a definite recommendation for genre fans. 6/10.
Recommended Movies
Godzilla vs. Gigan Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Godzilla vs. Hedorah Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster Invasion Of Astro-Monster Destroy All Monsters King Kong vs. Godzilla All Monsters Attack
Terror Of Mechagodzilla Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! Son Of Godzilla Godzilla Shin Godzilla
Bill Wolford #1: Bill Wolford - added 06/08/2014, 08:51 PM
I wonder if they'll EVER release "Godzilla 1985" on DVD.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 06/08/2014, 09:05 PM
The rights are tied up somewhere. Toho's plan is to let them expire and then move forward with a release. SumoGorilla has a nice bootleg for a low price though.
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