Terror of Mechagodzilla brings about the end of my journey through the Showa Era of the Criterion Godzilla movies that Filmstruck offers currently. It was also the last of the Godzilla franchise for a decade. So would it be any good? Turns out, this was a decent entry into the series. What I found most interesting was that this was only a year after Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, yet it felt like a newer film.
We start off with some flashbacks to the previous entry that cut out any involvement that King Caesar had, and this is where the film starts feeling a lot more modern than the previous entry. We get a color action scene of Godzilla and Mechagodzilla fighting that then eventually pauses, turns black and white, and continues with the credits. Rinse and repeat. I don’t have any specific examples off the top of my head, but James Bond opening credit scenes come to mind, which may have used this style at one time or other.
Anyway, the story goes on with Interpol searching for the remains of Mechagodzilla on the ocean floor. The only problem is, they get attacked by a giant, red monster called Titanosaurus. We get some glimpses of an attractive woman who seems to see what the creature sees, and it turns out she can actually control the monster. As the story develops, we find out she is the daughter of a mad scientist bent on killing humanity because he was fired from his job or something like that. This guy had some ideas about controlling Kaiju, but normal scientific groups balked at that notion and pretty much moved him into villain mode. As the story continues, we find out the aliens from the previous movie are back to destroy Earth and are working with the mad scientist. Turns out the aliens managed to kill his daughter and bring her back to life as a cyborg.
Incidentally, the term cyborg looks to have been coined by one Manfred Clynes way back in a 1960 journal article of some sort. As I watched this, I was kind of surprised at the use of the term cyborg, so I was curious as to exactly how old it was.
We see our alien friends now wear silver suits and have helmets with handles; that would make for a great sex joke that I will refrain from making. My guess is that the handles help with, shall we say, telepathy.
Back to the action. Well, sort of. This entry is only about an hour and twenty-three minutes with the first hour pretty much being a lot of Interpol trying to figure out what the aliens are doing. There is some destruction here and there, but we don’t get Godzilla until the last third of this. The story is pretty simple. Aliens want to kill off humanity and have the help of a mad scientist. Interpol wants to stop them and goes to great lengths to accomplish that goal.
This portion wasn’t exactly bad, but lacking Godzilla himself for such a long stretch was kind of questionable. We don’t even get any of the other creatures friendly to Godzilla so they really have to work at getting him human assistance to beat the pair of monsters he’s up against.
Once we do get the big guy present, there is a pretty cool battle that involved a lot of firepower from Mechagodzilla and some tail flapping from Titanosaurus. Of course, we know how this will turn out, but seeing the special effects is what makes this worthwhile.
So, was this any good? It’s definitely one of the more story-heavy Godzilla movies. It’s also the most modern of the Showa Era and has a bit better costumes and scenery to destroy. I would say it is definitely one of the better entries. Some of it was kind of a mess when you get into keeping consistent between the last movie and this one, but overall I think this ended up being a strong way to end the Showa Era. It would be a ten-year gap before we get another Godzilla film from Toho in 1984. I give this one 3.5/5 stars. It’s definitely one of the better entries of the series.