Sony // 1972 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 9th, 2004
No one is safe!
So you've got this humongous Japanese lizard -- and boy, has he got a temper!
Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa) is a struggling comic book artist, looking to turn his vision into some money. He specializes in creating monsters, and after you see his ideas, you'll wonder why he isn't starving. Creations like "The Homework Monster" and "The Too-Strict Mother Monster" (seriously) are failing to make an impact on the comic tycoons.
He gets lucky one day, when he's invited to the new "Children's Land," a mega-theme park run by some oddballs. The centerpiece of the park is a life-size replica of Godzilla, inside of which is a comprehensive monster museum.
Gengo's dream job? It certainly appears that way. But, this being a Godzilla movie, it isn't long before some weird-ass aliens show up. Turns out the owners of the park are actually a group of extraterrestrials looking to claim Earth as their new home planet after theirs had been destroyed by pollution.
To facilitate the hostile takeover, the aliens have enlisted the help of two of the baddest space monsters around: the three-headed King Ghidorah, and Gigan, a nightmarish amalgam of a chicken and a Radio Shack Armatron.
But Earth won't go down without a fight! Godzilla and his buddy Anguirus, a stegosaurus-looking giant reptile, take off from Monster Island to do battle, while, thankfully, the humans sit on the sidelines and gape.
Godzilla movies often seem to blend together in an indiscernible blur. Each film uses a pretty steady formula: introduce some characters that nobody cares about, develop a ludicrous plot that may feature (a) tiny fairies or (b) hostile aliens, and in the final act let the men in rubber suits do vigorous battle.
Godzilla vs. Gigan sticks to the formula, but will ultimately stand out because of three things, none of which I have ever seen in other Godzilla movies:
1. Godzilla talks!
Thanks to some enigmatic, extraterrestrial reel-to-reel tape player, the lucky audience is actually privy to Godzilla's voice (which sounds a bit like a plumber with a sinus infection). Surreal.
Godzilla takes a swipe from Gigan and blood spurts out! Nifty! I don't recall this level of gore in other Godzilla movies. By the end of the brawl, the big guy looks like Rocky Balboa.
While Gengo is talking to his girlfriend, she pisses him off (I guess), causing him to say under his breath, and in utterly malicious fashion, "Bitch!" I was truly taken aback by this; as such, Godzilla vs. Gigan leaps to the top of "Hardcore Monster Movies Featuring Japanese Guys in Suits" list.
The climactic fight is indeed a blowout, and sports some excellent melee moments. Godzilla gets his ass handed to him for a good stretch of the bout, but of course comes back with a power-slam on King Ghidorah as well as numerous "who's your daddy?" moments on Gigan. The highlight? when the 'zilla is holding king ghidorah in a full nelson and anguirus does some weird flying attack where he rams his spiky back into kg's gut. sure the strings are blatantly obvious, but...willing suspension of disbelief, people!
A 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen treatment is clean enough, though the 5.1 mix isn't as aggressive as Godzilla deserves. Some weblinks and previews comprise the extra features.
Another round of Toho craziness, with a smidgen of a cable cop show tossed in.
The court feels bad for mainland Japan and their surely exorbitant property insurance rates.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Rated PG