All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge) 1969
The next movie in the Godzilla franchise, All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge), was a very different take on the Godzilla movie and this one squarely aimed at children. I remember seeing this on TV as a kid back in the 70s and even then I was bored out of my mind with it. I was impatient with the human aspect of the story, I was bored, and waited for the monsters to show up. With trepidation I watched this movie again so I could review it here and I must say I like it a little more than I did as a child but not by too much.
Many TV shows, such as The Simpsons, for example, will have a clip show every now and then. It will be a show that has a plot that revolves around clips from other episodes. Well, All Monsters Attack is a Godzilla clip show because about 90% of the monster scenes is stock-footage from other Godzilla movies. The human story is new but not the much of the monster footage. I guess it was a way for Toho to save some money. Now Toho, or at least the American version of the Godzilla movies did contain stock footage, but this was the first time that stock footage was used from previous Godzilla movies.
The plot is pretty basic. We have a latchkey kid who is being bullied and escapes into a dream world where he goes to Monster Island to meet with Godzilla’s son, Manilla, who also has a bully problem. Now with bullying a hot topic, and rightfully so, I think the movie is a bit timely. There is also a strange subplot involving kidnapping when the young protagonist, Ichiro, is exploring and old abandoned building. The majority of the movie surrounds Ichiro’s adults who watch over him while his parents are working. By today’s standards some of this comes across as quite neglectful. One of the more colorful characters Ichiro interacts with is his neighbor, Shinpei Inami, a toy maker that lives next door. At one point Shinpei shows Ichiro a “computer for kids” where they watch a spaceship take off (before the internet was around). The film, which Ichiro is disinterested in, was actually stock footage from Invasion of the Astro-Monster.
In his dreams Ichiro meets with Manilla who is having his own bully problems. His bully is Gabara, a giant half reptile half cat looking giant monster that walks upright has scales and a tuft of blonde hair and a horn on the top of his head along with the most annoying roar ever devised by the sound men at Toho studios! After running away from Gabara several times, Ichiro and Manilla (who talks!) watch as Godzilla beats other foes which is where much of the stock footage comes in. Eventually Ichiro and Manilla face their respective bullies and everyone lives happily ever after.
This is not a bad movie, it just can be a little boring and depressing. Tokyo is depicted as a very dirty, smoggy and crowed city. One of the good aspects of this movie is that it clocks in at 69 minuets, so you only have to suffer for a little over an our. Another good aspect about watching the American dubbed version is that it changes the most horrendous song ever recorded in the history of mankind: Kaiju no Māchi or March of the Monsters, sung by Risato Sasaki and the Tokyo Children’s Choir. I will link to it at the bottom of this review. Also distracting with the usage of stock footage is the fact that the Godzilla suits used for each of the movies this movie “borrows” from is a different suit and Godzilla looks different one scene from the next!
One of my last critiques of the movie is how changed Ichiro is at the end of the movie. Sure he faces his bully, fights and wins and also wins the respect of the bully and his gang. But then Ichiro goes over to a man who is painting a billboard and Ichiro annoys and harasses him until he gets angry and does a pratfall and spills pain all over himself. Ichiro and his new found friends laugh and they all run off. The End. I know that the last scene was supposed to be humorous but to me it looks like the only thing Ichiro learned was how to be a bully himself!!!
I know I have been harsh on the movie but I do applaud Toho’s risk of going in a different direction with Godzilla. This is not your typical Godzilla movie and it really has left the fan base with a love-it-or-hate-it attitude. Guess where I fall in the spectrum? This ends the movies of the 60s for Toho and in the weeks to come we will see that the tone of these movies will continue to change in the 1970s.
I rate this movie: D-
If you are brave enough to listen to the song the “singing” doesn’t begin until about 0:42 into the song. You have been warned!
Posted on July 27, 2012, in Godzilla Movie Review and tagged All Monsters Attack, Gabara, Godzilla, Godzilla's Revenge, Ichiro, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju no Māchi, March of the Monsters, Risato Sasaki, Toho Studios, Tokyo Children's Choir. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.