Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Destroy All Monsters" (1968) d/ Ishiro Honda

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Growing up in the seventies, seeing tonight's review listed in the TV Guide for the coming week usually led to prolonged bouts of unbridled kid giddiness, if not lengthy negotiations with the M & P to stay up late and watch, if it was on after that grey, fuzzy area known in my house as "bedtime". After all, this wasn't just Godzilla and Mothra, or a couple of Gargantuas, this was ALL MONSTER territory. Besides the usual culprits: Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and the three-headed King, you were getting Gorosaurus, Kumonga (Spiga here), Manda, Angillas, Minya, Baragon, and even Varan the Unbelievable shows up for a brief pair of shots. That's unbelievable. Read on...

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Remember when astronauts wore this lemony get up, way back in 1999?
In the distant future of 1999, the United Nations Science Committee has somehow managed to rustle up all of the earth's giant monsters and supplant them on an impossibly tiny island they've christened "Monster Land". They're all there despite long shots that make the place look cramped for even two guys-in-suits. Everything is controlled from a subterranean base on the island, until it isn't. On the human front, you've got Dr. Yoshido (Jun Tazaki) dispatching his sixties-tastic Moonlight SY-3 rocket spacecraft and crew to investigate the sudden loss of communications with ahem, Monster Land. Wouldn't you know it, the researchers stationed there have been slipped a gaseous mickey and rendered subservient to a race of pushy alien women in silver lame capes n' hoods known as the Kilaaks. All the monsters are sent out on a worldwide rampage by the interstellar bitches, with Godzilla stomping the Big Apple, Gorosaurus burrowing up into Paris (Why does Gorosaurus burrow anyway? Strikes me as a poor man's T-Rex.), Rodan flaps through Moscow, Mothra headbutting oncoming trains in Beijing, and Manda flopping around limply in London, respectively. We foolish earthlings are indeed in for it now.

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"I removed the transmitter from behind your ear. I may also have elbow-titted you in the melee. Sorry."
While the world deals with its sudden monster infestation, the Kilaaks are building a stronghold under Mt. Fuji. The UNSC manages to uncover the extraterrestrial (While we're at it, why do the alien races all look like Japanese in these movies. Just a thought, I'm not complaining about hot Japanese cooze in go-go outfits, trust me...) plot, and most of the trainsmitters they've supplanted in rocks...coconuts. Basketballs. Yeah. Anyway, with control of the daikaiju transferred back to the good guys, the Kilaaks send for their three-headed trump card in the form of King Ghidorah, who squares off against the whole damned lot of them. Ghidorah manages to bully Angillas some, before ultimately getting punked the fuck out by an Angillas neckbite, Gorosaurus jumpkick (Why didn't he break out this stuff against King Kong two years earlier?), and Godzilla roughhousing, topped off with a silk casket woven by Kumonga and Mothra in unison. Godzilla stomps one head into the dirt, and as a final slap in the face, Minya smoke rings the last conscious head into defeat. The Kilaak's final hope lies in a mysterious Fire Dragon, which turns out to be little more than a flame-engulfed flying saucer, and that, too, is pulverized. Hooray for Earth. Wave goodbye to the monsters, cramped once again on their archipelago.

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"Spare us your lightning, you're about to get clowned, bitch."
I don't wanna sound too much like the kid who grew up into Mr.Elitist Prick, but overall, if you're not into Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra larva, Rodan, Manda, Angillas, or Gorosaurus, there's not nearly as much daikaiju as advertised, hardly enough to merit "All" in the title. And though Godzilla, Gorosaurus, and King Ghidorah are all cool as fuck, nobody's settling in,  in front of the big screen, jonesing to cheer on a flimsy-looking Manda puppet or the perpetually piss-weak Angillas. Not even a gaggle of ironic kaiju hipsters in fedoras. I'm doubting Mothra larva's fan base as this juncture, too. Still, gonna lay two Wops upon it, in any case. Worth a look, for hardcore daikaiju freaks.

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As a Vikings fan, Godzilla did a lot less of this, especially in playoff games last season. Oof-ah!
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