Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Yongary: Monster from the Deep (1967)
“Go, Yongary, go!”
It’s inevitable, at some point, that I’m going to cover movies for this column that will be straight up ripoffs of Godzilla. He is man #1 when it comes to Kaiju so, of course, companies are going to try and capitalize on the success of the hunky father with a dad bod. This week’s movie, Yongary: Monster from the Deep, is South Korea’s entry in this knock off G-man craze.
In usual Kaiju fashion, a disaster starts off the movie. In this case (and something we pray for everyday) a nuclear bomb goes off in New Jersey which leads to, yes, you got it, earthquakes. South Korea (SK) isn’t free from the tremors, of course. The government of SK decide they better send over a plane to do a reconnoiter of New Jersey. It’s this that brings up the movie’s subplot about a newly married couple and her family. Sigh.
While the plane is away, Yongary will play. He appears much to the horror of SK citizens, all except Icho. He is the nephew of the newlywed couple and, boy, if he isn’t annoying as shit. Yongary is a thirsty mofo. His drink of choice? Oil and lots of it. Keep ‘em comin’! The monster finds an entire refinery and well, he might have imbibed just a little too much, because when he’s cut off by Icho (who, as a small child, has the capacity and knowledge to turn off the refinery, WTF?), Yongary gets hella mad and starts destroying shit, as you do.
While destroying his drinking hole, there’s an explosion and the government (or maybe Icho, since he is a goddamn genius), figures out Yongary does not like what the blast did to him. A bunch of other stuff happens, really, I don’t even need to go into it. I mean, really, you get the idea. Towards the end of the movie, it’s clear Icho has eyes for Yongary. At one point, Yongary, just excited to be alive, decides to do a dance and Icho joins in. Yes, a dance. I mean when faced with your own destruction, just think ‘WWYD” and act accordingly.
This movie is just straight up silly. Yes, yes, I know a lot of Kaiju films are (except Daimajin, that statue is all kinds of bad ass) but this one is particularly juvenile to me. Yongary himself is pretty much Godzilla but with a baby rhino horn. The suit isn’t great and neither, it seemed, was the man inside the suit. The miniatures here aren’t the greatest, either. Everything about the movie is merely “okay”.
Usually, I try to watch the movies for this column straight, as it were. I’ll watch either the original movies with subtitles or the American dubbed version. I try to stay away from the MST3K versions because, although I love those guys to death (TV’s Frank is the name of one of my cats), they make it difficult to pay attention to the movie and, most of the time, the movie has been edited down for time. With Yongary, however, I had to watch the new MST3K version on Netflix because I couldn’t track down a copy that I could watch. So, the film is out there streaming in all sorts of incarnation, like Amazon, when you’re ready to watch it for your next dose of Kaiju.