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.

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About billfoley63

I was born in 1963 and that is relevant to my development of my love for science-fiction and fantasy movies, comic books, superheroes and many other things attributed to Nerd culture. In the 60s I watched all the Saturday afternoon Godzilla and monster movies I could take. In the 70s I became hooked on Star Trek. I am also an artist (in my own mind at least) and a musician. I enjoy learning about physics, astrophysics, chemistry and earth silences such as meteorology, anthropology, paleontology. When I reached my late 30s I began to re-explore my nerd roots. I reconnected with my love of science fiction and fantasy movies along with the other science related topics. For this blog I will focus on movie and TV reviews for science fiction and fantasy and post my thoughts on up coming movies. I will also include some fun facts from the various sciences I enjoy along with weather facts and bits from royalty and history. What I will not discuss is religion and politics. I am married to a beautiful woman named Sarah and have a lovely daughter named Danielle.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in Old Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As I’ve stated many times before, Bill, I prefer the serious tone of the original films. A slower build-up to the delivery makes the impact of the eventual appearance (of either monster or action) more powerful. (DIE HARD is a film from more recent history that properly uses a slow build.) *

    It was KK v G that turned the tide towards the kiddie films. It made so much more money for Toho than the serious films (which were also successful) that Toho decided the lighter whimsical tine would be the future direction for the kaiju movies. Also, Tsuburaya wanted his monsters to be more children-friendly and less scary (as described in his book).

    Add to that, scope lenses, shooting the miniatures from a bit further back and higher up (instead of at miniature ground-level) and it all became a really fake fantasy world that (detached me as a viewer but) attracted children from around the world to the product.

    * For the record, when making a creature feature for SyFy Channel, they want you to show the monster before the first commercial break to hold the viewers–often leading to bad plot structure.

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