Godzilla King of the Monsters
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Godzilla On Monster Island
* [Cheesy]
What a cheese fest... Fat corn eating japanese hippies, a comic book artist with a kung-fu fighting girlfriend, spacemen, and a giant monster theme park are just some of the elements twisted and forced into this movie. Oh, and somewhere along the line comes Gigan, a giant cyborg monster with a buzz saw in his belly! This film has lots of other little gems. Like the fact that Godzilla talks. Yes indeed. He and Angilas gab to one another before swimming to Japan to beat alien ass.

'Hey, Angilas!' 'What do you want?' Godzilla on Monster Island begins with the wacky exploits of a frustrated comic book artist who is offered a job by a strange corporation. Their plan is to build replicas of all the monsters on Earth, then kill the real ones off. That way, people can come see the monsters and ride roller coasters out of their mouths, but there will be no real danger to humanity, and as a result, we will enter a golden age of peace and harmony or something. I love me a good roller coaster, and though I don't know if amusement parks are the key to global harmony, I'm certainly willing to give it a try. And although I would hate to see all the Earth's monsters killed, those plans for a giant monster themed fun park sure sounded like a good idea.

Let's play Legos Sure enough, though, the corporate guys aren't totally friendly. Nor are they totally human. Yes, once again, we are the target of marauding invaders from space. These guys were all over the place during the 1970s. But just because they are here to conquer us and set up a peaceful Eden doesn't mean they can't take time out to build a giant replica of Godzilla. You know that thing is getting smashed by the Big G before the credits roll.

Wake up so we can whup your butt There are certain things in these sorts of films that are givens. For example, the bad guys will always tie up the hero and explain the whole plan for world domination -- making certain to highlight all the possible pitfalls and weak links in the plan. Then, while they are watching one of those rounded-corner TV screens, the hero will somehow manage to loosen his bonds. We accept this. It's a time-honored convention. But these are the only villains who not only explain their plan in detail, but actually present charts, graphs, and a short documentary on the subject. In that sense, their disguise as corporate cogs and middle managers is perfect. If you made this film today, they would come armed with a lengthy PowerPoint presentation.

We would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids The dashing comic artist and his cute karate-trained girlfriend team up with a chubby hippie guy and a disgruntled woman who used to work for the sinister corporation. Together, they intend to stick it to the aliens. Okay, so maybe it's not the elite team we'd hope would combat marauding aliens if ever they came to Earth. I mean, A cartoonist, his checkerboard-dress wearing karate girlfriend, the corn-lovin' hippie, and the marketing woman team up to fight the aliens disguised as amusement park owners. All they need is a dog and a van covered with flowers, and you have a whole different series.

The aliens decide to raze the Earth because, well, why the hell not? Foolish ETs. Don't they know we humans have a guardian? That guardian is Godzilla. And to a lesser extend, Angilas.

The aliens send Gigan out to smash things up. Gigan looks cool, but you have to question the hand design there. The hook looks tough and all, but you'd think at some point some fingers would come in handy. Maybe one hand and one big hook or something. Anyway, Gigan gets a little help from everybody's favorite three-headed dragon thing, the mighty King Ghidrah, who has certainly looked mightier in previous days. In this film, it looks like they found the costume out in the alley and were like, "Remember this old dude? Let's use him one last time!" Ghidrah has certainly seen better days. It was like watching Andre the Giant during the end of his wrestling career when he was having really bad health problems. Or watching Ric Flair now. Anyway, the big advantage for the heroes is that neither evil monster has any damn hands.

So you have your teams: Godzilla and Angilas versus Gigan and Ghidrah, and on the mid-card, hip Japanese heroes versus the square corporate aliens. Look at it as a counter-culture sort of thing. The fringe fighting back against a massive corporation that wants to impose global homogeneity, "peace" corporate style and at the expense of free thought. Godzilla, the living breathing creature versus a heartless cyborg.


CREDITS

Chikyu Kogeki Meirei-Gojira tai Gaigan
[Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs Gigan] (1972)
Released in U.S. as Godzilla on Monster Island (1978)

CAST

Gengo Kodaka...................Hiroshi Ishikawa
Seisaku Takasugi...............Minoru Takashima
Machiko SHima......................Tomoko Umeda
Takeshi Shima.......................Kunio Murai
Tomoko Tomoe.....................Yuriko Hishimi

CREW

Director.............................Jun Fukuda
Screenplay....................Shinichi Sekizawa
Special Effects................Teruyoshi Nakano
Music.............................Akira Ifukube

Running Time: 89 minutes

U.S. VERSION

Released by Cinema Shares
Alternate title: Godzilla vs. Gigan

Running Time: 89 minutes

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