Well, that didn’t last long. Godzilla Vs Gigan, though flawed, felt like a step back in the right direction had been taken for the Showa era Godzilla series. Better plotting and characters. Decent monster action. No focus on small children as leads. And then, last night, I sit down to watch Godzilla Vs Megalon. Having heard the derision this film receives before now I was hoping to be a little surprised. After all, the film features Jet Jaguar who is a pretty decent character to play as in Godzilla Save The Earth. Plus I always liked how blatant an Ultraman clone he was. I knew of the films most talked about shortcomings. How Godzilla wasn’t really in the film much. How it was never meant to be a Godzilla film in the first place. How it had a rushed production. But hey, similar arguments could be made against other Godzilla films. So, how bad was it? Click the link below and I’ll tell you.
Godzilla Vs Megalon begins with us being informed that subterranean nuclear bomb tests have rocked the undersea world of Seatopia. This is depicted by an island falling apart. The damage caused by these tests goes as far as Monster Island where Godzilla and his friends live. We see the monsters in danger as the ground shakes. We don’t see them again for another 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in Japan, two very fashionable young guys are enjoying a picnic whilst a child, whose relationship to them is never explained, plays on a dino-boat-thing in a lake. From what I can figure the child, Rokuro (Hiroyuki Kawase) is the younger brother of one of the two men named Goro (Katsuhiko Sasaki). An Earthquake starts up and a whirlpool appears. Luckily, the child is saved and they all go home to their stylish apartment/laboratory. They find the lab trashed, for seemingly no reason and scare off two trespassers. Going completely unexplained for the next few minutes is the headless robot in the middle of the apartment/lab. By the way, we have not been told what these guys do. There is no mention prior to them returning home that they are some sort of scientists or that they’re making a robot.
So the film stinks at establishing anything. I suppose we should take it all in via the visuals but none of the visuals back up what we see either. Why would you introduce scientist robot builders by showing them having a picnic by the lake with a small child? They don’t even discuss anything to do with their work. When they get home we just end up with more questions than we should have by this point. Why are they making this robot? What is its purpose? Why are they such snappy dressers? Why are they driving a vintage car? Why is there cube shaped things hanging up in their hallway? Later the two home invaders return when the robot, now named Jet Jaguar (Tsugutoshi Komada), has been completed. If they had a method of finding out when the robot was completed why didn’t they just wait until that time in the first place? If they were there to plant a bug to track if the robot was ready, why trash the whole place? Unexplained events are the order of the day in this film.
The two men, it turns out, are agents of the Seatopian Empire who need the robot to guide their god/pet giant monster Megalon (Hideto Odachi) to key places around the globe that need destroying. Good job those two guys were making just that robot then otherwise this war wouldn’t have got off to a very good start. Much like this film. When Megalon surfaces Godzilla’s greatest foe, stock footage, makes an appearance. Pretty much the entirety of Megalon’s attack on Tokyo is taken from various previous films. Conveniently for the editor, Megalon fires yellow lightening from his head, just like King Ghidorah did. He also seemed intent on only attacking buildings that were blown up in previous films, such as a Mobiloil petrol station that has now been blown up 3 times.
There was a fair amount of stock footage used in Godzilla Vs Gigan to be fair but it was retained mostly for shots of the army and moments of destruction edited into newly filmed scenes of chaos. Here it’s just shots of destruction from previous films edited around Megalon making various motions. Even the fight at the end of the film, which includes the return of Gigan, features many shots from the fight in the previous film. They even included a shot of Gigan being dropped into a very distinct building seen in Vs Gigan when the fight takes place in the middle of the countryside.
The film is full of all kinds of nonsense. By the time Godzilla decides to show up you will have witnessed the following. Two characters survive being flung hundreds of metres through the air whilst inside a shipping container. The only women in the entire film playing the role of dancers in Seatopia. Two characters breaking into a model shop, stealing a toy plane, just to throw it at the face of one of the Seatopian agents. This wasn’t them throwing the plane because it was to hand, it is plotted out as if that was their plan. Why not just throw a rock? We see Jet Jaguar grow to 50 metres tall because, and this is the scientific reason given by his creator, his sheer determination made it happen. Also, we get to witness Jet Jaguar, who you have to remember was meant to be the star of this film, basically getting his arse kicked continuously until Godzilla arrives, and then continuing that trend during the rest of the finale. Jet Jaguar sucks. Well, apart from how much he rules for being so stupidly unoriginal.
There really is very few saving graces to this film. The fight at the end is fun enough but edited horribly. At one point we see Jet Jaguar and Godzilla back to back surrounded by flames inter-cut with shots from a few seconds earlier of Godzilla helping Jet up. Characters change location between shots too. The most fun you’ll have with this film is trying to spot any gay subtext between the two main characters. Not sure if it was on purpose but the film really is littered with it. The two guys are stylishly dressed. Appear to share a very flashy apartment in the middle of nowhere. There’s no female characters at all. The villain looks like he’d fit right into a gay Swedish nightclub in the 70s with no trouble. If anything this is easily the most fabulous of all the Godzilla films, and for that, you’ve gotta kinda like it.
Except you don’t cos the rest of the film sucks. No Godzilla review tomorrow because it’s The Film Dump’s 3rd birthday! Will have a special review for a special film up. We’ll also get to the end of the Showa era over the weekend with Terror of Mechagodzilla. Having to skip Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla due to it being too expensive to obtain. One day I will get that film covered. After Terror of Mechagodzilla we’ll be hitting another milestone review with review No.300! What will it be?!