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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

GOJIRA TAI GAIGAN / GODZILLA VS. GIGAN (1972)

Kid-friendly monster pic is fun stuff . . . until those darn monsters show up! With a fresh cleanly scrubbed early ‘70s WideScreen look, the story follows a young cartoonist trying to sell his latest graphic characters (one’s a Japanese ‘Tiger’ Mom) when he bumps into a young woman on the run from some corporate exec types. Dashing off, she accidentally drops ‘the McGuffin’ (you know, the object in a film everyone fights to possess), a tape recording only monsters can understand, oddly contained in what appears to be a birth-control pill dispenser. What’s behind it all? Turns out, those programmers over in Godzilla Tower are really evil aliens from another planet. (You can tell from their shadows which reveal them as . . . interplanetary cockroaches!) Yikes! That girl-on-the-run, along with some do-gooder pals are trying to stop the aliens from implementing Absolute Peace, really a plan to contact Monster Island with that tape recording to generate a coastal attack by all the beasties and draw out the real target: Godzilla! Double Yikes! Alas, about halfway along, the film devolves into endless monster battles (puppets; guys in monster suits; Tinker-Toy Models) and a little of this stuff goes a long way. Worse, poor Godzilla has by now long lost his old threatening mojo and now plays strictly for Team Humanity. Much like what happened with Disney’s Mickey Mouse, who slid from his early days as anarchist disrupter to corporate spokesman; so too, Godzilla fell from Avenging Nuclear Id to Gaia Defender of Mankind. No wonder they never seem able to successfully revive the guy. (And that's a SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY if ever I heard one.)

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: The original GODZILLA movie, IshirĂ´ Honda’s GOJIRA/’54, in the original Japanese cut without the scenes added with Raymond Burr for Stateside release, is still the one to go for. In tone, closer to THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL/’51. Also, later this year, TOHO Studios out with GODZILLA: RESURGENCE. Same-o/same-o?

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