Going to try a different method for this movie. I’m going to work up the review as I watch it and see how things go. So far, we’ve found out that a ship and its crew were lost at sea. One of the missing sailors’ brothers tried to contact the police and even a journalist in an effort to try and get a search party going but to no avail. Instead, he sees an ad for a dance contest where the winner gets a boat. Unfortunately, he misses the boat as it were.
He ends up going with a couple of the dance off contestants who failed to proceed to show him a boat at the dock, which they end up trespassing on. Except the boat already has another trespasser who had stolen some cash along the way. They all end up staying the night on the boat which made little sense, but I’m ok with it so far. The missing sailor’s brother sets sail in the middle of the night and when the other three wake up, they find themselves at sea. A bit of a voyage later and they’re in the middle of a storm.
As the storm rages, a giant claw comes up out of the water and smashes the ship. So they end up washing up on a deserted island. There’s some sort of military force bringing islanders in for slavery and shooting any who try and escape. We get some glimpses of the small women on Infant Island worshiping Mothra and even Godzilla buried in some rocks. So far, this looks to be shaping up like a Bond movie. The villains have a sweet villain lair and the good guys are going to infiltrate the base. We have learned that the one guy’s brother is still alive so I’m sure we’ll get a happy reunion at the end.
Turns out the villains are running a nuclear reactor to make heavy water, which is apparently used for making nukes. That is a pretty grounded aspect for the Godzilla franchise given we typically get alien bases and other stuff like that on other entries around this time. This film comes in right after Invasion of Astro-Monster, but before Son of Godzilla, and—if memory serves—some of the scenes from this movie were in Son of Godzilla. So the parts of this were a bit of a missing puzzle piece at that time. Definitely wasn’t something crucial, but I really would have liked to have seen this in the correct order nonetheless.
Back to the island, our motley crew has gotten into a bit of trouble with the military force and decided to wake Godzilla from his slumber to wreak havoc on the military. Except Godzilla runs into Ebirah on the beach. So these two have some beach volleyball using boulders. A little surf and turf later and the battle is over for the time being.
So far this is pretty good. I think this is right in the sweet spot of the Showa Era. From what I’ve read, there really wasn’t much of a budget for this one, but so far we’ve had quite a few monsters: Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra, and some sort of a vulture looking thing Godzilla torched with his atomic breath. The villain lair looks pretty decent, and the villain’s air force is pretty cool too. There’s a bit much 70’s style Scooby Doo music going on or maybe 60’s surf rock better describes it. Then we’re pretty much a ginger and an old couple away from Gilligan’s Island, but overall this is fun. I really enjoyed watching this.
Since I bought the Blu-ray of this, I can comment on the quality of the release as well. What I bought is from Kraken Releasing, and they apparently hold the rights for this as well as a few of the other Showa Era Godzilla movies I missed on Filmstruck. The overall picture and sound was good, but the extra features are very lacking. Pretty much the only thing on this besides the movie is the Japanese trailer.
In the end, I will give this one 3/5 stars. It was pretty fun, but pretty shallow. I can see where the budget may have hindered some of it, but the surfer vibe also kind of made this more kooky than I think it should have been. That said, each entry manages to have its own identity, and that is definitely something I wouldn’t want to change.