Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Chikyû Kogeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan" (1972) d/ Jun Fukuda

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From Japanese corn-eating hippies to giant monsters that converse casually back and forth in English to interstellar cockroaches with notions of world domination, director Jun Fukuda shows he'd come a long way in handling daikaiju action since his first go back in 1966 when Godzilla made a crispy coconut shrimp dinner out of Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Here, he packs eighty-nine minutes with as much silliness as anybody over four years old not wearing teeny-tiny shorts and a crooked baseball cap could possibly stand.

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"Is that another banana in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
Unemployed Manga artist Gengo scores a job at Children's Land, where from the top of Godzilla Tower, some alien cockroaches from Space Hunter Nebula-M have assumed the identity of some dead humans to launch a scheme attacking the planet with two monsters, King Ghidorah, and Gigan, a bird-like cyborg with metal hooks for hands and a table saw inside his belly button. The space beasts are controlled through a series of "Action Signal Tapes" as played through a common reel-to-reel. When one of the tapes is played out of sequence (by Gengo and his nosey pals), it alerts Godzilla, who's been hanging out with his buddy, Angillas, on Monster Island. Godzilla raps in Monster-ese to Angy (think: dubbed kung fu voices over noisy scratching, a la Cooky Puss by the Beastie Boys), who swims to the mainland to check out the funny goings-on, but gets his worthless kaiju ass handed to him him by the army. Congratulations on being the only monster in Japanese history that couldn't handle those guys.

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"All of your go-go girls and most smokable hallucinogenic plants is now belongs to us guys, plix..."
Godzilla then tags along with Angillas, and both of Earth's defenders take a hearty beating at the...feet(?) of the interstellar invaders (Gigan has no hands, Ghidorah's got no arms, period), and a nifty laser cannon located inside the mouth of the Godzilla Tower turns the tide in favor of the unwanted guests from space, until Gengo, his black belt bitch of a girlfriend, Tomoko (Yuriko Hishimi), and his corn-munching pal, Shosaku (Minoru Takashima) manage to destroy the control panel, after which Godzilla dismantles his namesake tower, with the power-starved aliens fatally trapped inside. Gigan and Ghidorah get ganged up on, and fly their defeated asses back into space from whence they came. Godzilla and Angillas begin their long victory swim home (Godzilla on Monster Island is a deceiving alt title, since there's only roughly a minute of footage on the island altogether) when Big G turns for the cameras and gives his signature roar.

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"He brought Angillas ?!!? He actually brought fucking Angillas !"
Despite being a lazy, insulting diaperful of childish excrement (Not nearly the worst of the lot, though. Fukuda's earlier Godzilla's Revenge stands all alone atop that particular poo mountain), second only to G vs Megalon for blatant overuse of stock footage, and extensively showcasing well-pulverized monster suits (If you think the Showa era King Ghidorah suit has seen better days, wait 'til you get a load of Hedo-Goji falling apart before your very eyes), G v G is not without its empty-headed charm, that keeps worldwide daikaiju fans revisiting it, over and over, myself included. Along with Megalon, the next in the series, and Shaw Brothers own Super Infra-Man, Gigan remains a glorious drive-in memory of mine, though it's one Wop score on the rating scale feels generous at times, more often than it does penurious.

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As Big G approaches, his ferocious breath poaches the cooked cockroaches.
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