GODZILLA'S REVENGE

Aka All Monsters Attack

(1969)
(Japanese Title: Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki)
With Tomonori Yazaki, Eisei Amamoto, Sachio Sakai, Kazuo Suzuki, Kenji Sahara
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Reviewed by JB

This review is of the American and Japanese versions of the film combined.

And Jerry Mahoney as "The Hulk"       GODZILLA'S REVENGE was the first Godzilla film made spefically for children.  It was inevitable, wasn't it?  After all, ever since the halcyon days of GOJIRA, RODAN and MOTHRA, Godzilla films had become more and more juvenile, so why not just make one for the kiddies market?

    The trouble is, years later, adults see the title GODZILLA'S REVENGE (or ALL MONSTERS ATTACK) and think they're in for another slam-bang, fire-breathing good time and what they get instead is a movie about a bullied kid who dreams that he is on Monster Island with Minilla (Godzilla's son).  As it happens, Minilla is being bullied himself by a monster named Gabara, and together, the two kids learn how to stand up for themselves and fight their own battles.  The film also dips into a subplot in which the kid is kidnapped by two thieves, and eventually applies the lessons he has learned and beats the bad guys, HOME ALONE-style.  There is even a leap back to the good old days of Harold Lloyd movies when, in the final frames, after his big adventure with the kidnappers, the kid meets the bully and beats the snot out of him too.

"I shall strike you with my hanky of death, silly goose!"    All of this is pretty dull going for your average adult, of which I am an average example.  Still, there are one or two interesting points about GODZILLA'S REVENGE.  It is the first and only Godzilla film that exists in the real world, meaning a world where there is no Godzilla.  The only time monsters appear is when the kid is dreaming, and most of it is footage from previous Godzilla movies, with some new scenes of the kid and a talking Minilla spliced in.  The theme tune, at least in the original Japanese print, references smog and pollution as being "the real monsters", a theme that would rear its head again in GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER.  While other Godzilla movies feature characters living in nice apartments and going out to fancy restaurants and night clubs, and the bad guys have gigantic headquarters often located in outer space, this kid and his family actually live in the kind of trash-strewn slums that Akira Kurosawa would visit one year later with his DODESKADEN. That he is a latchkey kid - both his parents work long hours - brings in another element of the real world that is rarely if ever seen elsewhere in this series.  Finally, some fans may admire the design of the monster bully Gabara, but to me, with his pushed-in face, blue-green skin and shock of orangish hair, he just looks too foppish to be frightening in any way, and would look more at home on an island run by an evil Oscar Wilde.

    Many fans hate this film.  It's not an easy film to watch if you are not five to ten years old, and it is an easy film to ignore as it adds nothing to the ongoing Godzilla saga.  You've been warned!  2 - JB

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