Saturday, August 18, 2012
Godzilla vs. Megalon Review
Ah, Godzilla vs. Megalon, a title fans cringe when hearing it. However, over the years, the fanbase has gained a liking for the film, becoming what the critics call a 'cult classic.' Back in the day I would hear fans call this the worst Godzilla movie ever. Today, things are different. Final Wars has taken its place and is the hated one now. (A lot of people tend to even like All Monsters Attack more than Final Wars, though most agree that it's still better than the 98 film.) Godzilla vs. Megalon is the most low-budgeted Godzilla film since All Monsters Attack. Thought Godzilla vs. Gigan had stock footage? That was nothing. Here the majority of Megalon's 'attacks' on the city are stock footage from Ghidorah and a few others. Also, you'll notice that Japan seems like a ghostown. It's like everyone died in the previous film and it's just these people that are left. Seriously, on the highway, it's just those two cars! This film defines the 70's for Japan. Just look at the groovy outfits and disco music. It's no surprise that this film has a slight comedy undertone. The monsters are representing the 70's with energetic moves and personality that put the Heisei era to shame. There are car chases in this man. You just can't dislike this movie, it's too entertaining.
I remember many years ago when my dad put on the Sci Fi channel, there was a Godzilla marathon airing. (Those were the days.) The scene that had always stayed in my head was when Gigan and Megalon did their monster 'high five.' The film never got an official North American DVD release, until now of course. Fast forward over ten years later and the awesome people at Media Blasters has released the first ever official American release of the film. Besides it being a bare-bone release with no special features, the video and audio are impressive. (Yes, you get to hear the horribly dubbed kid's high pitched voice in all its glory.) The story is also not something that would usually be found in these movies. Atlantis, I mean Seatopia, has decided to take revenge on the surface world for doing atomic tests. So they send their 'god' Megalon to cause destruction. It's a lot more silly than it sounds, trust me. While Zone Fighter is a second rate Ultraman, Jet Jaguar is pretty awesome. (The only Godzilla film where a robot gives a thumbs up.) Eventually Seatopia sends a message to Space Hunter Nebula M so they can borrow Gigan for a bit. (Apparently undersea people has connections with outer space.) With Megalon and Gigan ganging up on Jet Jaguar, Godzilla arrives to even the score and the stage is set for the most colorful battle in all of Godzilla history. If you're one of the people only remembering Godzilla has a hero of Japan, this is the film defining that. No longer do the people fear Godzilla, in fact, they welcome him!
This is the first new Godzilla look in awhile. (The previous one lasted four films starting in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.) Isn't he just cute? It's amazing to think how far (or behind) the series has come in terms of tone from Gojira. There Godzilla was a horror icon, people feared him, he was scary. Now here he has a Pug-like face and people cheer him on. C'mon, this is good stuff. Godzilla is acting all 70's with his gestures and boxing like moves. He's really into it, in fact, this is the first time when he starts acting all karate like. This is the heroic Godzilla a lot of people know. He's there, ready for a fight, no retreats and helps his teammates. This Godzilla has so much personality, he's just a blast to watch on screen. This is also Jet Jaguar's film. Created in a contest, the robot is pretty darn awesome. For awhile fans disliked him, but over the years he's been more liked. Who doesn't love a robot that can magically 'program himself' to increase size? Despite what you might think, Jet Jaguar (love how Hiroshi just thinks the name out of the blue) has a lot of personality. When he's getting doubled by Megalon and Gigan, que sadness from the audience. Megalon is the new monster this time around. Excellent and unique concept, a giant beetle thing with drills for hands. (Gotta love TOHO and its crazy creations.) This weakling of a monster fits right in with this era. (Really should have been him instead of Hedorah in Final Wars.) The giant cyborg chicken Gigan returns. This guy is just awesome with his 'I-enjoy-killing-you' persona. He actually threatens to Godzilla that he will chop off Jet Jaguar's head if he comes any closer! (Godzilla then just blasts him away with atomic breath, good stuff.)
The final fight is what makes the film. It actually has a lot less stock footage than I remember. The actual battle is much better choreographed than the battle in Godzilla vs. Gigan. There it felt like it dragged on too much, the fight in this film is long enough, fun enough, and awesome enough. There's just so much energy and personality in the fight! You gotta love the monster expressions, like when Megalon watches Jet Jaguar in awe as he turns monster size. My personal favorite is when Gigan and Megalon think they have Godzilla and Jet Jaguar trapped in a ring of fire, they're dancing around mocking the two heroes, then Godzilla grabs hold of Jet Jaguar and they fly out! Gigan and Megalon stop dancing and look in disbelief to see the two flying. They're like "You've got to be kidding..." Man I LOVE this stuff. The soundtrack takes some ques from Godzilla vs. Hedorah. (Yes, Godzilla's goofy theme returns.) I was not a fan of the soundtrack in Hedorah, but here it sounds good cause it fits the non-serious, slightly (let's change slightly to very much) humorous tone. (At the end you'll hear Jet Jaguar's song, it is worth the wait for its amazingly cheesy lyrics.)
Godzila vs. Megalon is the type of film hardcore critics hate. It's not the most well-made movie, with stock footage throughout and non-existent character development and a pretty poor (but funny) human antagonist. However, as a fan of the genre and one who likes a fun time with a film, I, as many others, enjoy this movie. It's just too much fun, you will be left smiling. Critically it deserves a 4/10 because of its low production values, but it gets a 7/10 from me for having personality, fun, and most of all, heart. Plus it has Godzilla defying gravity with his famous and infamous double kick. (He's Godzilla after all.)