Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Destroy All Monsters (1968)
You wanted the best? You got the best. This week’s movie might as well be called Orgy of the Kaiju Monsters because it is chockablock full of them battling each other. Sure, you have to wade through at least 45 minutes of non-monster action, but those last 20 minutes? So worth the wait.
There’s a wondrous place off the island of Japan called MONSTERLAND and on this land lives a crapload of, yes, you guessed it, monsters. I don’t know about you but I totally want to visit this place. Let’s go through the roster, shall we? Godzilla? That goes without saying. Mothra? Yep. Baragon? Of course. Manda, you ask? Why, yes. Rodan? Flying like a mofo. Anguirus, that loveable scrub brush? Uh-huh. Also popping up are Gorosaurus, Kumonga, and even wee Minilla. Crazy, right?
All the monsters on the island are kept there by Japanese authorities with all sorts of “high-tech” security measures. Somehow, someone is able to get rid off all these measures and all the monsters take off for different parts of the planet. Can you blame them? They start destroying shit all over. Nowhere is safe; Paris, London, and NYC all get some major damage.
Eventually, the authorities figure out there are some naughty space ladies up to no good. They like science and want to use the Earth for experiments. They are using the monsters to destroy everything so they can start using the planet themselves. Some of the authorities find themselves under the spell of the space women from the planet(?) Kilaak. Kilaakians? Kilaakettes? Anywho, these ladies are out to burn the whole thing down.
Everything culminates in, what I’m calling, the Mt. Fuji Fight Club. The first rule of MFFC? You do not fuck with Minilla (or Minya for folks that cannot pronounce it correctly), Godzilla’s adopted son. The second rule of the MFFC is that Godzilla calls the shots, he is in charge, he is the Big Boss. Those are the only two rules because everything else that goes on is just one big ass scrum of monsters fighting. Did I forget to mention King Ghidorah? He shows up on the side of the aliens and tries to take on all of the monsters at once. One of my favorite moments happens when a “fire dragon” shows up and one of the characters shouts “THE FIRE DRAGON IS A MACHIIIINE!”
Is this movie good? Well, no, not really. The story is certainly silly and, at times, the non-monster stuff gets a little dry but that happens in most Kaiju films. Shout out to the costume designer in this movie. The uniforms the authorities wear are awesome and show that esprit de corps you want when you’re part of the military industrial complex. The miniature work here is a little dodgy. This Godzilla suit is my favorite. I love his movements and that face! So, yeah, there are some issues. Still, though, it is certainly worth 90 minutes of your time this weekend.