Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
Whether you know this one as Godzilla vs Monster Zero or Monster Zero or Invasion of Astro-Monster, this movie is a treat and a half, full of the ultra cool Xiliens, space travelling monsters, and some dancing from our big green friend.
Astronauts Fuji (Akira Takarada) and Glenn (Nick Adams) are sent by the Japanese to go check out a planet just beyond Jupiter called Planet X. Once they get there, they are “greeted” by the Xiliens, some cool looking New Wave motherfuckers replete with some sweet looking wraparound sunglasses and high collared space suits. Their leader, the Controller (Yoshio Tsuchiya, RIP), tells the astronauts they need help defeating a monster. Which monster you ask? Well, Monster Zero, natch. Really, it’s just King Ghidorah causing mayhem for the people of Planet X. He does a fly-by to say hello and the astronauts know exactly who it is because he’s been to Earth before. The Controller begs the boys for Earth’s help to destroy the big KG. He wants Godzilla and Rodan to come to Planet X and, in exchange, he’ll give Earth a cure for all diseases. The Controller says he knows exactly where the two monsters are and will transport them back to the planet himself. The astronauts take the message back to Earth.
Everyone is suspicious as hell of the Xiliens. I mean, they want the cure for all diseases but c’mon, these guys seem a little sketchy. Of course, the aliens are actually already on Earth, which freaks everyone out. They apologize and tell the Earth people there’s nothing to worry about. Godzilla is at the bottom of a lake (shhh, baby sleepin’) and Rodan (also trying to get some fucking sleep) is entombed in a mountainside. Both monsters are taken from their respective “nests” and transported back to Planet X in what look like space bubbles. Once there, they have a much-too-short battle with King Ghidorah. Way too short 'cause I like watching Godzilla throw rocks and shit. Anyway, they manage to chase King Ghidorah away and, in what’s now a legendary move and will live forever in the form of a GIF, Godzilla does his awesome Russian dance of delight. While the battle was going on, the astronauts sneak off to do some exploring and are caught. They are sent back to Earth with a tape they are told contains the instructions for “the cures”. G-man and Rodan are left behind on Planet X.
Of course, once the astronauts get back home and the tape is played, it doesn’t have any instructions for any cures, it is a message from the Controller telling them Earth must surrender to Xiliens or be destroyed. They will use Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, who are all under their control, to do it. Does the Earth surrender? Will the monsters destroy the Earth? Well, I’m sure you can guess but, go ahead and watch anyway. Oh, yeah, there are two, count ‘em, two love stories going on here that have stuff to do with the plot but not necessary for me to go into here.
This is one of my favorite Godzilla movies because I dig the Xiliens so much. Yes, they are rather robotic but they look so goddamn cool. I also love it because Godzilla does some fantastic things in this one. He throws shit, he rolls around, he dances… in other words, he’s a joy. I love this Godzilla suit, too. Rodan, for a big ass dino-bird, does some damage, too. King Ghidorah, although awesome looking, always looks like his three heads are all fighting each other so he’s all over the place with his beams. My issues with this one, like a lot of Kaiju movies, is you get a little action about 45 minutes in and it feels like an eternity before you get any more action. In this case, it’s another 30 minutes before the monsters start fucking up Earth. It’s a fun watch and certainly worthy of your time.
Monster Zero is available for streaming on Shout Factory! TV via Amazon Video.