I actually watched this a couple years ago and wasn’t very impressed with it at all. In fact, my only Letterboxd comment was something about this being the Power Rangers of the 70’s, but since this is part of the Filmstruck Godzilla package, I watched it again to include it in my continuing Godzilla series of reviews. The first time I watched this, I wasn’t very familiar with the Godzilla monsterverse at all. I’d watched the American remake and one or two others, but I think they were all just of Godzilla and no other monsters. So coming into this entry with little experience of the whole series really did this one a disservice. I did not greatly increase my score, but I did appreciate this film a bit more the second time around with more of the series under my belt.
We start off with some nuclear testing that shakes things up around the Pacific which stirs up the critters on Monster Island. It also stirs up some subterranean people from a land known as Seatopia that is deep beneath the ground. This bit reminded me of the underground mutants from Futurama amusingly enough. Although these underground dwellers are a bit more violent.
I’m not sure if this kid’s pool toy was made for the movie or if it actually existed but in some ways, it’s kind of cool. In others, it’s pretty dopey looking. Definitely, the last thing you want to be on when the lake starts to drain out into a whirlpool.
The Seatopians come up to the surface and send some thugs to steal this man-sized robot name Jet Jaguar from a scientist. In fact, a large portion of this film was spent with the Seatopian thugs trying to steal Jet Jaguar. So we a couple of decent car chases and some combat within the scientist’s home. Eventually, the thugs do get control of Jet Jaguar and capture the scientist.
From some minor research, it looks like this was supposed to have been a Jet Jaguar vs Megalon film, but Godzilla and Gigan were added. Good thing because the Jet Jaguar parts weren’t that great, and you can really tell Godzilla was pretty much tacked on. Anyway, the Seatopians then use Jet Jaguar to guide their big monster Megalon around to do some destruction. Unfortunately for the Seatopians, our scientist has a medallion that lets him take back Jet Jaguar, and he sends the robot off to grab Godzilla to stop the Megalon menace.
Jet Jaguar starts to lead Godzilla back, but since the big guy has to swim and Jet Jaguar can fly, Jet Jaguar gets back before the big guy. At this point, for whatever reason, Jet Jaguar decides to become autonomous and, for lack of a better term, morphs into monster size to fight Megalon, which was pretty weird given he started out man-sized. In fact, I would bet the person that made the Power Rangers was conceived in a drive-in movie theater during this exact scene.
So Jet Jaguar goes to battle with Megalon and gets beat down pretty good before Godzilla finally hoofs it over to the battle. At this point, things obviously swing in favor of the big guy, but the sneaky Seatopians have a card up their sleeve: Gigan. This big hook-handed monster comes out and we get a big monster tag team matchup.
The end battle was the best part of this whole film, not that it was a great battle compared to some of the other entries in the series. A second viewing did manage to elevate this from a two-star movie, but only to a 2.5/5 star movie. I would say that at this point the series is feeling a bit tired, and I’m guessing there was a wealth of other big monster franchises by this time that everything was overly saturated. Godzilla still has name recognition though.