Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Godzilla's Revenge" (1969) d/ Ishiro Honda

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Don't get excited, I'm only covering the top, less fantastic half of this sci-fi double bill here tonight. The tenth Showa era Godzilla film, far and away the worst of the lot (at least until Hollywood got involved), thanks, in part, to Kaiju FX God Eiji Tsubaraya being busy with other projects, forcing director Honda to handle the sparse new suitmation sequences himself and resulting in the most heinous overuse of stock footage from previous films in the entire series. But that's not the half of it...

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In those shorts, kid? You'll never make it.
Ichiro (Tomonoro Yazaki) is a latchkey kid with a pair of working parents who are obviously too wrapped up in their respective careers to buy the poor kid a pair of shorts that fit him. To make matters worse, he's bullied by a gang of toddlers, led by a Japanese chunkster named Gabara (Junichi Ito). I'm pretty sure one of 'em's a girl in there, too. He compensates by dreaming about visiting Monster Island by plane, where he witnesses stock footage of his hero, Godzilla, battling a triple threat of Kamacuras and Ebirah, the giant crawdaddy. After being chased by one of the monstrous mantids and free falling into a cave, the boy is rescued by Godzilla's mentally challenged offspring, Minya, who tells of his own monster-bully, who also happens to be named Gabara, only this one is a tailless, bump-ridden, saggy-assed blue cat monster with an asthmatic snicker and claws that conduct electricity through a lightning rod-spiked horn in the center of his toupee. You read that correctly.

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See how long you can stare at this screencap without feeling shame for everybody involved.
With his parents working late hours, Ichiro is forced to pal around with a bent old toy maker named Shinpei (Eisei Amamoto) who sends the boy out to get bullied some more and seek refuge in an abandoned factory where he finds the wallet of one of two bumbling knife-point(really??) bank robbers who then kidnap him. In the custody of the criminals, Ichiro returns to his Monster Island dreams, seeing Godzilla put a stock whooping on Kumonga before having to teach his doughy offspring how to defend himself against his saggy-assed assailant. Ichiro applies his newly acquired kaiju fighting knowledge on the pair of bandits with a fire extinguisher, and they're arrested soon afterwards. The next day, he follows suit by doling out a beating to his own human foe Gabara, before gaining the gang's friendship in the end by pranking a clumsy billboard painter. An hour nine never seemed so goddamned long.

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"Did Gabara scratch up my favorite recliner? Bad Gabara...bad Gabara."
Eisei Amamoto, who you'll remember as the yukkmouthed Dr. Who from King Kong Escapes two years earlier, should have said no to this. I might have had less problem with the gratuitous stock usage, had they filled the running time with footage from better movies. I've got no problem with Gorosaurus or Ebirah, per se, but did we really need to see Goji roast the phony buzzard on a string from Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster again? Also, Minya sucks...hard. If this thing is worth a single Wop at all, and that's a highly arguable case, indeed...  it's for the zany "March of the Monsters" theme song and title montage. Therefore, a single Wop it is. Barely.

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"Bully this charging skull butt, bitches!", exclaims Ichiro (Tomonoro Yazaki).
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