Monster Zero (1965 Japan)(Invasion of Astro-Monster)

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Monster Zero (1965 Japan)(Invasion of Astro-Monster)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:39 pm

a.k.a. Great Monster War or Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, yada-yada. Man, they really handed out a lot of alternate titles back then. This follows Ghidorah (Ghidrah), the Three-Headed Monster (64) and features 3 of the same monsters: Ghidorah (its 2nd), Godzilla (his 6th) and Rodan (his 3rd). However, this film has a decidedly more sci-fi flavor, kind of suggesting that it takes place in the future - like 20 years in the future (though many familiar with the film now state that it still takes place in the sixties; the titles read that this is 196X - aha). The plot has a couple of astronauts (including American Nick Adams, who also starred in Frankenstein Conquers the World in the same year) setting out in a spaceship to investigate a new planet (!), Planet X, which has been detected behind Jupiter.

OK.. a new planet...behind Jupiter? Right...

The FX in space are colorful, though the planets look a bit 2-dimensional. On Planet X, the astronauts are greeted by an alien race which requests their aid against Monster Zero (everything is numbered on this planet), which turns out to be Ghidorah. The aliens' plan is to transport the snoozing Monster Zero-One (Godzilla) and Zero-Two (Rodan) to their planet, where the monsters will defeat Monster Zero. There is indeed a brief battle of 2-against-one, capped by a strange dance by Godzilla, the now infamous 'jumping shay (shie)' scene. This was modeled on a famed Japanese cartoon (manga) character and caused a behind-the-scenes disagreement between the director and others in charge. I do find it to be hilarious now but I'm sure viewers who are thinking fondly of Gojira (54) while watching this are infuriated, shaking their heads. Of course, this film continued to slant the story towards children, a trend championed by Eiji Tsuburaya, the master of monsters.

Anyway, the aliens are not on the up-and-up and pretty soon Earth is plagued once again by a trio of menacing monsters, culminating in a wrestling-style match that follows the pattern of the previous film and which was pretty much started in King Kong vs. Godzilla (62). I found most of this to be pretty entertaining, because the filmmakers also added in similar elements to their recent sci-fi invasion pictures (begun with The Mysterians in '57). But, I am disappointed with the conclusion which duplicates the one in the previous film, with Ghidorah simply flying away. I still don't understand why this means the threat has ended. Godzilla would be back in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (66) a.k.a. Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966).  BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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