Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster) 1974
After the very child friendly Godzilla vs Megalon, Toho returned to a more serious tone for the next movie. This movie introduced a new character to the Godzilla franchise…Mechagodzilla! Mechagodzilla, a giant metallic robot version of Godzilla. He would become one of Godzilla’s better loved characters and would appear in many more movies to the delight of many fans. Jun Fukuda returned once again to direct this movie. Now onto the plot.
This film is another one that appeals to the mysticism within the rich Japanese culture. Mythical dragons and monsters are a part of that mythos and I personally really enjoy when Godzilla movies feature that aspect of their culture. The movie begins in Okinawa where Masahiko and his brother Keisuke find a strange metal in a cave that doesn’t seem like it is from earth. They also find a statue of a lion-like creature. At the same time a prophetess has a vision that monsters will be overrunning and destroying the world very soon.
Masahiko and Keisuke travel via an airplane to have the metal analyzed when they see a dark cloud hanging in the sky shaped like a mountain, which was also part of the vision by the prophetess, about the coming destruction and the appearance of King Ceasar. While at a university the brothers discover that the metal is a substance called space titanium. Okay, I couldn’t type that name with a straight face. Suddenly an earthquakes shatters the quiet countryside and Godzilla appears. Angurius, his old pal from Monster Island, shows up to greet him. Instead of a friendly hug or a high five amongst friends, Godzilla begins attacking Angurius. Hmmm, something is not right! While the two giants fight one another Angurius tears a small piece of flesh off of Godzilla revealing shinny metal underneath. Suddenly, another Godzilla shows up and begins fighting the first Godzilla that appeared. With a blast of his atomic halitosis Godzilla melts the skin off of the imposter Godzilla (That must have been some gnarly garlic breath) to reveal Mechagodzilla!
The Prophetess then says the earth has only one hope, King Caesar, but his statue is missing. It has been stolen from an alien race of humanoid monkey like creatures (think Planet of the Apes * cough ripoff cough*) called the Simeons. No they are not from the Planet of the Apes, they are from the third planet from the black hole. Sure, whatever. With the help of Interpol agents the statue is returned and the Prophetess sings her song and awakens King Caesar who bursts forth from the mountainside. Godzilla and Merchagodzilla fight and Godzilla is wounded badly and retreats to the sea. Even though this movie is rated “G” the scenes of Godzilla being wounded are quite shocking. Godzilla is supposed to be an almost indestructible beast and Mechgodzilla inflicts some severe trauma on him and we get to see blood comes shooting and spurting out his neck.
After the may-lay Mechagodzilla returns to Monster Island for repairs. Once fixed by the Simeons Mechagodzilla returns to destroy the planet. Soon he is joined by Godzilla who has been healed of his wounds by bolts of lightning (wait, wasn’t Godzilla hurt by electricity?). Anyway, Godzilla and King Ceasar attack Mechagodzilla and Godzilla ends up ripping his head off as the rest of the robot explodes. I didn’t delve too much on the human aspect of the story because mostly it involves uncovering who the aliens are. But with the Simeons defeated by the humans and Mechagodzilla destroyed, the world is saved!!
Now for my review. I am a bit mixed on this movie. I think it was better than the previous two efforts but still not up to the quality of the classic movies of the early to mid 60s. I have only returned to my love of Godzilla movies in the last few years. As a kid I never cared for this movie. When it came out I just thought the idea of a giant robotic Godzilla was just plain silly. It took me a while to warm up to the concept. After watching other movies in the franchise with Mechagodzilla in it I have really come to appreciate the character. The reveal of Mechagodzilla in this movie is one of its bright spots.
I called the Simeons, a very uncreative name, as a ripoff of Planet of the Apes, and while that may be true, the were certainly very popular at this point in the 70s, I really don’t mind them at all. I think the make up and how they were revealed in the movie is actually well done. I also liked the mystical aspect of the movie with the prophetess. What I didn’t care for was King Ceasar. He is a giant half god-like monster with a lion like head a body with scales, a long tail with fluffy fur on the end and giant fluffy ears. I think this is one of the most terrible designs for a Toho monster. Never cared for him and don’t think I will change my mind. I like the idea of this monster, just don’t care for how he was designed.
Godzilla can be done in many different ways. The character is amendable to a story that is funny and sweet with silliness and camp. The character can also take on an ominous and darkly serious tone. These later Showa series movies are in the silly and campy method of telling a story. As I have gotten older and mellowed out a bit I have come to just sit back and let go and enjoy the fun of it all. So this movie has it all. Giant monster robots, mythical creatures, space aliens and giant monster battles. Who needs more?
I rate this movie: B