The Terror of Mechagodzilla. 1975
Terror of Mechagodzilla
This movie was the last of the original run of Godzilla movies. Beginning in 1954 and running until this last movie, released in 1975. The original director of the first director, Ishiro Honda, returned to film his last Godzilla movie. Akira Ifukube also returned to create the music for this movie. Godzilla was dying at the box office due to the last several films under performing. After this film the Godzilla suit would be mothballed. This movie also steps away from the more child friendly fare of the early 70s films. This movie is different from the Japanese release. A 4 minute prologue was added at the beginning to catch viewers up on the history of Godzilla and to describe the events of the previous film which this is a direct sequel to.
The plot is pretty basic. After the remnants of Mechagodzilla fall into the sea a group of scientists go looking for it in a submarine. Instead of finding Mechagodzilla they come across a dinosaur like monster named Titanosaurus (think half fish half T-rex). The Simeons are back, I guess they were not completely defeated in the last movie, and they seek the aid of Dr. Mafune, your typical mad-scientists who is bent on revenge and destruction. I have to quote Dr. Sheldon Cooper from the TV show The Big Bang Theory, “You know, it’s amazing how many super villains have advanced degrees. Graduate schools should do a better job of screening those people out.” Dr. Mafune is also assisted by his beautiful and lovely daughter Katsura. Soon the Dr. and Katsura are investigated by Interpol and Katsura warns them that her father has taken control of Titanosaurus. We also learn via flashback that Katsura died a few years ago and the Simeons created an cyborg body in which her consciousness inhabits. Katura also falls in love with one of the biologists which creates for her a conflict of whether or not to help the scientists in defeating the Simeons or assisting her father.
We also discover that the Simeons were the ones to find the remains of Mechagodzilla and have repaired him. Soon Katsura sends the Titanosaurus to destroy the submarine which is still looking for Mechagodzilla. However, the biologists in the submarine have a sonar sound that makes Titanosaurus flee. Godzilla suddenly arrives and begins to fight Titanosaurus and when Interpol begins to use its sonar weapon against Titanosaurus, Katsura is shot trying to sabotage the sonar device. The Simeons retrieve her body and implant the Mechagodzilla control unit inside her chest (how convenient). Katura then sends Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus out to destroy Tokyo where they have an epic battle against Godzilla. After sending the monsters out on their path of destruction Katsura has a change of heart and overcomes the programing she has in her head and is once again shot. This time she shot in the process of trying to release control of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus, which she succeeds in doing before dying. Once oft of her control Godzilla achives an easy victory.
This really isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t as good as the classic movies from the mid 60s either. The previous movie, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, did prove how well received the character was and I am glad to see him back. The footage of the monster battles are very well done. I like the design of Titanosaurus although they have his head bobbing so much at times I wished they would have gave more support for the neck in the design of the suit. I also must say that his roar gets a little annoying at times. Speaking of designs, the spacesuits the Simeons wear are just hilarious. I don’t know if they thought that designed looked cool in the mid 70s but today it is the epitome of the things a person sees mocked and ridiculed in Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I like the angle the movie takes with Kastura. She is not really a likeable character at first. She is a naughty girl. But you know that there is a good girl somewhere in all that wiring and radio tubes so were rooting for her. She is a tragic character who is gthe victim of those that control her. Titanosaurus is also a victim. He appears to be a docile monster and is only bad because he is under the control of the evil villains.
This is a Godzilla movie isn’t it? I have hardly mentioned him! In some ways he is a mcguffin, a plot device. He really doesn’t seem to essential to the story. He is a side character that doesn’t even appear until well into the movie. He just shows up to defeat the two monsters and that is about it. That is one of the reasons I like the American version which gives us the prologue with Godzilla’s history. Without that prologue it makes it less of a Godzilla movie. Katsura is really the central character in the movie. The monster scenes and battles are pretty good for the most part. There is some choppy editing and overall silliness to the fights. For instance Titanosaurus at one point picks up Godzilla by his lips before tossing him. At one point the back of the Godzilla suit catches fire and this brief scene was left in the movie. Overall the battles were well filmed. On the other hand it is sort of sad to see Godzilla just regulated to fight scenes and nothing more. I guess the writers were running out of steam.
This movie ended the original run of Godzilla films. We last see Godzilla at the end of this movie in the ocean heading off into the sunset. It would be nine years before Toho would revive the iconic series and when they did begin anew they started all over again as if the only relevant movie in the franchise was the 1954 original. In this continuity of the franchise this incarnation of Godzilla goes off into the sunset and retirement. I envision him back somewhere on one of the tropical islands from the movie Son of Godzilla, sitting in the shade sipping a giant Piña colada in the shade while Rodan flaps his wings keeping him cool.
I rate this movie: B
Posted on September 7, 2012, in Godzilla Movie Review and tagged Akira Ifukube, Interpol, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju, Katura, Mechagodzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Titanosaurus, Toho Studios. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.