Thursday, March 10, 2016

Movie Review: Ghidora - The Three-Headed Monster

There are some really special monster-moments in this movie to surround the pretty non-nonsensical human story. In this 5th Godzilla movie, which was released very shortly after “Mothra vs Godzilla” in 1964, the franchise takes it's first baby steps towards space and pseudo sci-fi.  The story begins with Princess Selina heading to Japan but having her plane blown up. To everyone's surprise she shows up again just a while later very much alive and claiming that she has been embodied by a Venusian alien. This alien has given her power to predict the future, which she quickly demonstrates.

The first prediction Selina makes is that Rhodan, who was thought dead (he appeared and was thought to be destroyed at the end of his own movie in 1956) would come back to destroy mainland Japan. The second prediction is that Godzilla would be back to haunt Japan. One would think to move out of the country by now, but that wouldn't be any fun now would it? The two monsters do appear and do not take a liking to each other and soon begin fighting. Luckily for Selena their fight saves her from a further assassination attempt and allows her to make another fateful prediction. Ghidora, a three-headed monster who had destroyed the home planet of the alien inside her would be coming to Earth to wreak havoc – sadly for humanity, and the Japanese in particular, this prediction comes true also. 

This is all too much for the Japanese government so this is where the movie takes a left turn, as if it wasn't crazy enough. The Shobijin, famous from the last film “Mothra vs Godzilla” (read that review here) are asked to bring Mothra in (actually the larvae offspring of the original Mothra) to convince Godzilla and Rhodan to team up against Ghidora. This requires a pow wow between the three monsters, and we are treated to a subtitled translations of their monster growls. It ends up that they are just two misunderstood monsters who feel that humanity hate them and that is why they do what they want. Furthermore, it is for this hatred that they feel that they not to protect Earth against Ghidora. Mothra goes off after calling them both bullheads and attempts to fight Ghidora alone. Eventually Godzilla and Rhodan come around because they appreciate Mothra's courage. A huge battle ensues with all the classic chessyness where have come to expect.

Meanwhile there are still men trying to assassinate the princess, but she manages to escape just as the fight between the four monsters draws closer. The assassins do their best to kill her, but in usual Godzilla movie fashion fall victims to the monsters destructive path. The princess does eventually get her memories back, and the Venusian alien returns whence it came. The three Earth monsters also coordinate their efforts to defeat Ghidora, which flies off into space as the clear loser.

This movie is a definite step up from “Mothra vs Godzilla.” Ghidora's three heads must have been dreadful to operate in those days, but it's a very masterful job done by the monster operators. Rhodan never impressed me much, he simply flies and claws. I never liked the flying Godzilla monsters much, as I prefer it when Godzilla can get into hand to hand combat like he did in “King Kong vs Godzilla” (review here). That said, this movie doesn't pretend that the franchise has completely divorced itself from the very serious and somber first film from 1954 (review here). That is appreciated, as now the camp B-movie classics will have all the space they need to breathe, and Godzilla will reign as king of the monsters for many decades to come. Check this one out, you may really enjoy it.

Post by P. Ray

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