At long last, I have officially wrapped up the Showa Era with this final entry! Fortunately, everything that Filmstruck did not have was available on Blu-ray, and I’ve enjoyed every one. What I really like about the franchise so far is that every entry is a bit different. That doesn’t always mean a particular entry is good, but the variety definitely helps, and Godzilla vs. Gigan is certainly different.
In this film, we have yet another breed of alien that looks human trying to take over the Earth. The twist is these are alien cockroaches that can take over a human body. We eventually get to see their shadow, which resembles a roach, and do get to see their normal form at the end. Apparently, whatever planet they came from destroyed itself, and you guessed it: the cockroach was the lone survivor. They inherited a dump and decided to go out into space and try to find a new home. With Godzilla vs. Hedorah being all about a pollution monster and now this, you can see someone had some “Save the Planet” notions. However, those ideas do not burden the story and are merely here to create said tale.
At no point did I feel like someone was trying to beat me over the head with their ideals about saving good ole Mother Earth, and I appreciated this movie because of it. Movies should be about entertainment, especially big, dumb monster flicks. Trying to spread some politics by using the film as a platform just doesn’t work for me. Sure, something actually made and announced to be politically motivated is one thing, but trying to shoehorn ideas into a popcorn flick is dumb. So plus one for this using alien cockroaches without being overbearing.
The story is pretty basic. The aliens are starting a theme park, but it’s not your ordinary Disney-type place. There’s a large statue of Godzilla to be used as the alien command center and also has some pretty lethal laser cannons in it. Their plan is to call in Ghidorah and Gigan to wreck the plant, which I know that’s how this moves the story, but it’s dumb. Ghidorah is a destructive force, but when you point a three headed dragon at Tokyo, it’s going to take some time to wreak that much devastation. Then we have Gigan, which is kind of a bad monster. He looks very cool, but he’s got this weird chainsaw belly thing that seems like more work than it’s worth. He’s shown sawing on buildings in the most inefficient way possible.
While this may sound like a complaint, which it is, the whole thing is pretty cool to watch. You may be wondering why I caught my mind wandering about how dumb Gigan’s chest weapon is, and I can tell you it’s because they unleash these beasts for quite a long time. You get to see some real devastation, pretty much unlike anything in the other movies. Sure it’s pretty tame by today’s standards, but the amount of screen time to these two wrecking shop is pretty substantial. So you can’t help but sit there and wonder odd things like how a chest chainsaw can actually saw a building when the big monster is pretty fat. I mean, it’s not like he’s tapered in any way that the saw makes sense for cutting buildings up.
Anyway, there is a decent amount of human story per usual, but this story was pretty engaging. The cast are basically Scooby Doo types with a mystery to solve. You’ve got the hippie guy who loves bananas, a couple girls, the smart science guy, and another with more brawn than brains. They investigate the aliens in their corporate office as well as at the theme park.
One thing that was really crazy here is that Godzilla and Anguirus talk. You read that correctly. They talk. The voices were more of a record player scratch than anything, but you could clearly hear them talking to one another at certain points. I kept thinking, “This is nuts! They’re actually chatting with one another!” Godzilla tells Angie to go investigate early on and later on they’re yakking about something else. Definitely a first for the franchise.
So that’s the fluffy stuff. You want to know about the meat and potatoes which is the battles. These monsters get violent. Like blood geyser violent at times. Gigan gets his chest saw going and rips into the big guy a few times. It was glorious! Not only were the city destruction scenes long, the battle scenes were good length too.
I am going to give this one 3/5 stars. I mean it’s still a big, dumb monster movie at heart, so I can’t rate these too high, but it was definitely a lot of fun to see all the destruction meted out. I did like the human elements here quite a bit more than usual too, but three stars is as high as I will go in this case.