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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Destroy All Monsters (1968)

(aka: Operation Monsterland)

[4.0 turkeys]

Were it not for two slow and boring parts, this movie would be 4 1/2 or perhaps even 5 turkeys. This is easily the funniest Toho monster movie I've ever seen, and it ranks right up there among all the other bad movies as well.

Once again, it's 1999 (see Class of 1999 for another movie that fails miserably at predicting the future), and the UN has a base on the moon (that is, strangely enough, staffed entirely by Japanese people). Daily flights bring people to and from the moon from the "rocket base" on the Earth. The narrator seems unduly excited that there is one functioning rocket base on the Earth, even though there were at least two "rocket bases" functioning on the Earth when this movie was made, in 1968. One of them even sent men around the moon that year.

Also worthy of note is the fact that all of the world's monsters (Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Angilas are mentioned by name in the beginning, and later we see or hear about Son of Godzilla, Gorosaurus, Baragon, Manda, Kumonga, Varan, and Ghidorah, a veritable who's who of Toho monsters) are being held captive on "Monster Land," which is really just the old Monster Island with a new name. Scientists have an underground base on the island, from which they study the captive monsters. The monsters are kept on the island (and, presumably, kept from fighting each other, since all of these monsters have at one time fought at least one of the other monsters in one movie or another) by little doohickeys that spray red mist in their faces whenever they stray too far. Apparently, monsters hate red mist, because they turn back whenever confronted by it.

A strange accident occurs at the underground base. The scientists are overcome by a strange yellow mist, which seeps in under a door. The head scientist thoughtfully helps this mist do its job by rushing over and flinging the door wide open.

Back at the "headquarters" (exactly what this place is is never explained -- they alternately track the scientists on Monster Land and the scientists on the moon -- which turns out to be helpful to the plot but doesn't make any real sense logically, since the two groups have nothing to do with each other), other scientists are gathered, trying to understand what has happened. They have video of the island that seems to magically have cameras wherever they need them. In what appears to be scant seconds after the mist knocked everone out on Monster Land, reports start rolling into the headquarters that the monsters are demolishing cities around the world. We get a brief yet somewhat exciting (in that stupid-monster-movie sort of way) clip of all the monsters demolishing their assigned cities. The HQ gets a call from Moscow, in which the Russians, who speak perfect English with a Japanese accent, tell the Japanese they're being trampled.

Well, this is too much for the headquarters head (no idea who this guy is, really). "Remember that typhoon?" he says cryptically about something, even though there's been no mention of any typhoon in this movie.

The HQ people send some of the people from the moon to go check out Monster Land (naturally -- it only stands to reason that you'd send the people who are on the moon to investigate an island just off your coast). There they find that everyone has gone silly under some mind control. "We're controlling them from here," says one of the men, referring to the monsters. "Remote control?" asks one of the moon-men, alarmed. Yes, last time I checked, those two statements were synonymous. The silly guy's recap of what's going on: Godzilla is attacking New York. Other monsters are attacking Moscow, Paris, and parts of China. "And Rodan," he finishes, "is flying." Wow, Rodan always gets the plum assignments.

Some fighting happens, and the moon men meet the space ladies. These are the Kilaaks (pronounced "key locks"), who apparently want to take over the Earth. They say if we stop resisting or something, they'll call the monsters off. Naturally, the people of Earth are too proud for that, so instead they hatch a convoluted plan whereby they will seek out and destroy the Kilaaks' base on the moon and their transmission station on Earth and free all the monsters that way. Or something.

So they do that. Sort of. I'm really fuzzy on the details now, because it was such a mind-boggling movie that I haven't retained much of it in my available memory space. I know it had something to do with flying around in their spaceship looking for "waves," shooting at stuff with bad special effects (here's the key, people -- just don't stop shooting! If at first you don't succeed, keep blasting away!), weird metal coconut things ("It's hard to tell what it is, but I think it's some type of metal!"), tanks that get stuck in the mud, people going underground in spaceships, and swamps on the moon.

This all leads up, of course, to the super-grand-finale, in which all of the monsters, now freed from their mind control, rebel against the aliens and attack their base beneath Mt. Fuji. This one scene actually made the whole movie, because it was so insane. I mean, every monster movie has its big monster fight scene, but this one took the cake. It even had an announcer! There was actually a guy there with a microphone, doing play-by-play for the battle! "We think Godzilla will probably be the first to attack -- he seems quite ready to fight." "Listen to the monsters and their cries of horror and sudden death!" Priceless stuff.

So there is a nine monster battle royale against the Kilaaks, who call down Ghidorah to once again get his butt kicked by Godzilla. Now this guy is probably one of the cooler looking monsters in the movies, but why anyone would ever bother calling for his help the first seven or eight thousand times Godzilla thrashed him, I don't know. Anyway, the monsters easily dispatch Ghidorah and then bash the Kilaaks' base, making everyone on Earth safe and happy once again. Oh yeah, and the monsters all apparently agree to go back to Monster Land afterwards -- guess they really did like it there.

Scene to watch for: Godzilla kicks open the Kilaaks' base.

Best line: "Let's go over the plan. You will fly -- just as planned -- right on target."

Things that make you go "Huh?": The announcer.

View this movie's entry at the Internet Movie Database.

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