Rodan: My review.
I reviewed all of the Godzilla movies, along with War of the Gargantuas, so now it is time to review one of my favorite non-Godzilla Kaiju movies: Rodan. The movie came out in 1956 and was the first Kaiju film released in color. It was directed by Gojira director Ishirō Honda and the music was also provided by Godzilla veteran Akira Ifukube. Akihiko Hirata, who played Dr. Daisuke Serizawa in the original Godzilla, films stars as Professor Kashiwagi.
The synopsis of the movie is very simple: Mutant pterosaurs and prehistoric insects terrorize humanity. I okay, I will expand on that. In a mining village a mine as flooded and soon these large prehistoric insects, called Meganulon, (we will see these guys again in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus) begin to appear. Shortly thereafter a mysterious UFO is terrorizing the skies. Then after an earthquake a giant egg appears. When that hatched out pops a giant pterosaurs which begins to feed on the thousands of Meganulon. This mutated pterosaurs joins forces with the mysterious UFO which turns out to be another mutated pterosaurs. Soon the Japanese Defense Force and scientists have their hands full trying to defeat these ominous pair of flying monsters. In the end it would be nature itself that provides the victory as the two pterosaurs are painfully engulfed in an erupting volcano.
Pros: This is Rodan’s first and only movie. He is called Radon in Japan but called Rodan here in the States. I greatly prefer the Rodan name. The first handful of Toho’s Kaiju movies are done in a very serious tone. It would take a few more year before we began to see Kaiju movies aimed more at children. While I enjoy more fun and lighthearted Kaiju movies, the serious movies are also enjoyable and Rodan is no exception. Like Gojira in 1954 this movie has a theme that states these monsters are the results of our own doing and it tells its tale with a very ominous and foreboding tone. These scenes of monster destruction are very well done and still hold up well 57 years later. It is also an interesting plot with interesting characters. We have a murder mystery in the beginning that ties into the appearance of the two Rodans.
Cons: I really do not have many negative things to say about the movie. At 82 minutes it is not a long movie and I have come to learn that Kaiju movies needn’t be that long to tell a good story and to be entertaining. My only minor complaint is that it does seem slow at first and does take a little too long to reveal the monsters. While not a con per se, the ending is very sad an emotional. These movies do have a way of alling the viewer to get emotionally involved with these creatures and the demise of two Rodan at the end of the movie is particularly chilling and sad.
Sometimes I think that this is a lost movie. Rodan became part of the panoply of Kaiju creatures that were incorporated into the Godzilla franchise. He never had his own solo movie again. That is sad. Rodan is one of my favorite Monsters besides Godzilla and even though he only got one solo movie this is a very good, somber and action filled Kaiju movie. If you’re looking to watch a more serious film featuring mutated prehistoric creatures then this is a good one to watch.
Posted on August 21, 2013, in Old Movie Review and tagged Akihiko Hirata, Akira Ifukube, Dr. Serizawa, Godzilla, Godzilla vs Megaguirus, Gojira, Ishirō Honda, Japanese Defense Force, Kaiju, Rodan, Toho, Toho Studio, War of the Gargantuas. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.