GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA

(aka Godzilla vs. Bionic Monster) 1

(1974)
(Japanese Title: Gojira tai Mekagojira)
With Masaaki Daimon, Keisuke Shimizu, Kazuya Aoyama, Reiko Tajima, Akihiko Hirata, Hiromi Matsushita, Hiroshi Koizumi, Masao Imafuku, Beru-Bera Lin, Shin Kishida, Goro Mutsumi, Daigo Kusano, Takayasu Torii, Kenji Sahara
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Reviewed by JB

This review is of the original Japanese and the dubbed American/International version of the film.

And then after, they shared a 50-foot cigarette       Well, there may be life in the Big Guy yet.  GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA is a fun film when it's about giant monsters beating the bejesus out of each other, but a somewhat tedious one when it's about the human beings.

    Not that the human parts are all bad.  After all, it is the human side of the film that gives us the goofy and oft-repeated story of the aliens who want to take over the Earth.  Normally, aliens in these film use mind-control over the giant monsters to achieve their ends, but this crew takes a page out of Dr. Who (from KING KONG ESCAPES, not the British TV show) and build themselves a mechanical Godzilla, complete with about 75 different kinds of weapons to destroy everything in sight.  It is also the human part of the film that reveals the ancient prophecies about the giant monster who will set cities on fire, and the two giant monsters who will rise to defeat him.  There are several veterans in the cast, including Akihiko Hirata, who played Dr. Serizawa in the original GOJIRA and last seen in SON OF GODZILLA.  The problem is that there are two different sets of good guys and gals, plus several interpol agents (always the first ones to call during alien invasions) and not enough is made of their individual characters to keep them all straight.  They get the job done, but they are let down by the script.

    The monster parts, however, save the film.  Mechagodzilla originally shows up with an outer coating that makes him look exactly like Godzilla, but when the real Godzilla shows up, boy, is he pissed (the design of this particular suit makes Godzilla look angry all the time, every scene he is in - it's a good look).  When the outer skin of Mechagodzilla melts away, we have a giant robot Godzilla who can shoot just about anything - missiles, atomic breath, lightning bolts - out of some part of his body.  At one point, the real Godzilla gets goes down like Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth, bleeding profusely and with several missiles stuck in his body!  (Unlike Sonny, he gets better).  The explosions of the 1970s film are a lot more realistic and exciting than those of the earlier films, and are sometimes in stark contrast to the cartoony pro-wrestling monster action supposedly causing them.

Hey, Mechagodzilla, how long do you stay fresh in that can?    There's a lot of talk and chatter about a monster called King Seeser (aka Caesar), who, according to the prophecies nobody can shut up about, is supposed to show up and help defeat Mechagodzilla.  It takes a princess with a song as long as "Hey Jude" to rouse this creature awake, and when he does finally join the action, he turns out to be as pointless as hair on a bowling ball. A cross between a Pekingese and Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion, it takes him about five minutes into his first encounter with Robo-zilla before he's cowering behind a mountain, and then for most of the battle, he is on the sidelines.  You have to wonder why they even brought him into the movie - he is the least effective giant monster ever!  Anguirus makes a cameo and is almost as useless, although his roars apparently alert the real Godzilla to the imposter Godzilla.    

    The evil aliens fail once again to take over the Earth (note: you guys should establish more than one base on Earth, and try to develop several backup plans) but this is not the last we will see of Mechagodzilla.  He will return in TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA, the final Godzilla film of the original series.  2 ½- JB

NOTE: 1: The film was known as GODZILLA VS. BIONIC MONSTER in the U.S., to cash in on the popularity of The Six Million Dollar Man, the popular television show about an astrounaut who was injured in a crash and had several body parts replaced with "Bionic" implants.

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IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR GOOD MOVIE QUOTES

"Mechagodzilla, beat Godzilla to death!"