Saturday, May 17, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Godzilla’s Revenge (1969) *

G, 70 min.
Director: Ishirô Honda
Writer: Shin’ichi Sekizawa
Starring: Tomonori Yazaki, Hideyo Amamoto, Schio Sakai, Kazuo Suzuki, Kenji Sahara, Machiko Naka, Shigeki Ishida, Midori Uchiyama (voice)

I considered giving this movie less than one star. The fact is that it is a children’s movie. It isn’t trying to be what the other Kaiju movies are. It’s kind of Kaiju Jr. It even tries to imbue its harmlessness with a message about standing up for yourself for kids. For that, and that alone, I give it just a very little credit.

The story follows Ichiro, a boy who is bullied and whose parents work long hours; so the landlord looks after him from time to time. He escapes by dreaming about a fantasy world in which he visits Godzilla’s son, Minya, on Monster Island.  Minya faces a similar challenge as Ichiro’s bullies on the island, which is inundated with monsters trying to fight each other. His father wants him to toughen up so he can compete on the island, but Minya lacks courage. Minya ends up inspiring Ichiro to find his own courage.

Also known as “All Monster’s Attack”, “Godzilla’s Revenge” really just provides the filmmakers with an excuse to have Godzilla fight various Kaiju for no particular reason. In the real world, there is a subplot about some bank robbers hiding out in Ichiro’s neighborhood. That storyline actually shows a little promise, but is essentially sidelined by the fantasy sequences on Monster Island, which are filled with some of the worst effects and costumes of all the Kaiju films. This one is a real stinker.

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