Godzilla On Monster Island

A substantial improvement over its predecessor, GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971), this twelfth GODZILLA movie is typically silly but features a rousing, extended monster battle to save the Earth from evil aliens. Aspiring comic-book artist Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa) takes a job with the owners of Children's Land, a planned theme park that will...read more

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A substantial improvement over its predecessor, GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971), this twelfth GODZILLA movie is typically silly but features a rousing, extended monster battle to save the Earth from evil aliens.

Aspiring comic-book artist Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa) takes a job with the owners of Children's Land, a planned theme park that will be devoted to the monsters of the world. He is a little troubled by the park's developers, who have set up shop in a tower enveloped by a life-sized statue of

Godzilla and who speak incessantly and ominously about their plans for a perfect peace. When Gengo sees a young woman, Machiko (Tomoko Umeda), being chased by security guards, he picks up a reel of recording tape that falls from her pocket. He later encounters Machiko (who escaped the security

guards) and her friend Shosaku (Minoru Takashima). She explains that she has been looking for her brother, a computer technician who disappeared while working for Children's Land. They play the tape and hear only oddly pitched sounds. The tape is heard on Monster Island by the monsters Godzilla

and Anguirus, who are disturbed by it and decide to go to Tokyo to investigate.

Meanwhile, Gengo discovers unsettling things as he investigates his employers; in researching the identities of the managers of the company, he finds that they are using the identities of people who have died. Gengo tries to rescue Takashi (Kunio Murai), Machiko's brother, who is being held

prisoner in the tower. He is chased away by his employers, who secretly trail him back to his apartment where Machiko and Shosaku are waiting for him. Although they are saved by the arrival of Gengo's girlfriend Tomoko (Yuriko Hishimi), a black belt, they are later captured by what they learn are

aliens, giant cockroaches from a dying planet who are inhabiting the bodies of dead Earthlings while they prepare to conquer our planet. To this end they have summoned the monsters Ghidrah and Gigan, whom they control with the sounds on the tape that Machiko stole.

Ghidrah and Gigan arrive and begin to demolish Tokyo's oil refineries and industrial facilities. Godzilla and Anguirus arrive and engage them in battle. Gengo and the others escape from the tower, returning with cartons of dynamite which they use to destroy it. No longer guided by the now-dead

aliens, Ghidrah and Gigan are weakened and vanquished back to outer space by Godzilla and Anguirus, who return to Monster Island.

Like the comic books that Gengo yearns to draw, GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND was given a slightly campy design that didn't entirely survive the English dubbing. The original Japanese version contains several instances of Godzilla and his ally Anguirus conversing, their "monsterese" translated in

comic book- style word balloons. In the English version, these conversations are ignored except for one scene, in which they are dubbed into odd-sounding English. With only one such instance, the result is merely jarring.

The dubbing also fails to mention that Gigan, an evil, bird-like monster, is supposed to be a half-robot cyborg, explaining why it has such unusual features (even by monster standards) as metal claws and a giant buzzsaw that protrudes from his abdomen. Gigan is without a doubt one of the oddest

monsters the Toho team has ever concocted--and that's from a set of standards that considers a man crawling on his hands and knees in a rubber suit (a la Anguirus) to be an adequate impersonation of a quadruped dinosaur.

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND benefits from plenty of monster action: the battle royale among the monster quartet takes up more than a third of the film, and is strikingly shot against a fiery backdrop of Tokyo in flames. Unfortunately, the full-frame version of this widescreen film commonly

available on TV and video is severely cramped, rending much of the finale impossible to view adequately. (Violence.)

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