Sunday, September 07, 2003


A Video Review of "Godzilla vs. Megalon" also known as "Gojira tai Megaro"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

For serious fans of Godzilla, 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon is the cheesiest and most hated of all Godzilla films, hated even more than the accursed 1998 American remake by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.

This could have been the first G flick I saw in the theatres. It ended up being Godzilla 1985 nearly a decade later. I remember the newspaper ads of Godzilla and Megalon squaring off atop the World Trade Center a la the 1976 remake of King Kong. To no avail I begged my parents to take me to see it. It was probably a good thing. Had I seen this movie at that time my bet is I wouldn’t be a Godzilla fan now. It’s that bad.

At this point in the Godzilla series writer/director Jun Fukuda broke down and relented to current trends in popular Japanese television of the time. This is a shame because he’s quite good and didn’t need to resort to such cheap tactics. Fukuda was responsible for what was known as the South Seas entries to the series; Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla.

Fukuda brought in a giant robot superhero, Jet Jaguar, to help Godzilla. Holes in this robot’s back story are pesky. If we must put up with his existence, at least explain him! Why does he gain intelligence? How does he grow to giant size? What is with that stupid grin? And, yes, he does suck as much as the folks on "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" would have you believe.

This bad Giant Robo/Spectreman knockoff aids Godzilla against Megalon, a giant cockroach, and Gigan, a cyborg killer monster the big G had beaten the snot out of previously in (what else?) Godzilla vs. Gigan. Gigan is pretty nasty what with that buzzsaw in his chest but the big G has beaten him before. And Megalon? He’s a big cockroach with no hands. Why does Godzilla need help with these two losers? He certainly doesn’t need help from something called Jet Jaguar.

The Godzilla suit used for Megalon is quite possibly the worst one ever used. The more human eyes and the dopey friendly grin along with his usual blue gray coloring make him look like a reptilian Grover from "Sesame Street." I find it very hard to root for this Godzilla.

The story involving the human actors is pretty inane this time and there is too damned much of it. Play to your strengths - this is a Godzilla movie, let’s see some monsters fight! What plot there is revolves around the undersea nation of Seatopia launching an attack on the rest of the earth. They of course use monsters to do their bidding. Emperor Antonio, the leader of Seatopia is played by late veteran actor Robert Dunham whose other Toho credits include Mothra (1961) and Dogora the Space Monster.

You really want to kill the annoying kid who is the main character. Trust me, it’s not just the voice of the dubbing actor that is so irritating. I’ve seen the Japanese version and he is just as obnoxious. As an interesting sidenote, Hiroyuki Kawase was also the annoying kid in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. This is just another concession to popular trends. Rival kaiju eiga studio Daiei’s Gamera played to and about children as well.

The monster fights are staged like WWF (WWE? Hmmm, I'll never get used to that.) bouts and embarrassing ones at that. This stuff would make Hulk Hogan hang his head in shame. Let’s not even talk about the karate jumps and the visible wires.

The miniatures are sad and pathetic. It looks like next to no effort was put into this production. Not only are the scenes of city destruction lifted directly from previous movies they’re actually pretty lame scenes that don’t even match up with the new action.

This is a low budget low brow entry in the series that rightly deserves its reputation. Completists like me will have to have it in their collection but they’ll never actually watch it. This is an embarrassment. When I tell people I love Godzilla movies this is the one I pray they haven’t seen.

Take it away, MSTies.

The above originally appeared at the now defunct cinema website Project Popcorn in a slightly different, much shorter and much less interesting form.

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