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

Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972)

(aka: Godzilla on Monster Island)

[3.0 turkeys]

The genre of the Japanese monster movie is a sub-class of the "bad movie" genre, yet there are many distinct differences between them and your average bad movie. Most movies are bad due to the ineptitude of the actors or directors, or because of lame writing or miniscule budgets. They are bad in spite of the best efforts of those involved. Japanese monster movies, on the other hand, are the very epitome of B movies. They're bad and they know it. They revel in their badness. Because of this, it's hard to laugh at them, because in reality you're laughing with them.

This movie is about giant cockroaches who try to take over the Earth by bringing in two nasty monsters to kill Godzilla. I guess they figure that Godzilla is the only obstacle to their eventual conquest of the planet, so if they can take him out, they're home free.

After a long build-up, the cockroaches send out their signal to attract the space monsters, Gigan and King Ghidorah. Godzilla figures something's up, so he wades to shore with his buddy Anguirus and the battle is joined.

This movie seemed to be half original material and half stuff that was cobbled together from other monster movies. Most of the scenes involving the inevitable attack by the army against the monsters seemed to be stock footage.

The build-up was intelligible, even though it was more than a little stupid, but the pay-off fell flat. The last twenty minutes of the movie consisted of big men in ugly suits wrecking balsa wood sets and rolling around on the ground together.

The fights were ludicrously hard to follow, to the point where I basically stopped trying to figure out who was winning. Here is what I got out of it: Godzilla and Anguirus wade to shore, where they are met by King Ghidorah and Gigan, who have already finished with the traditional destruction of Tokyo. Ghidorah and Gigan get the upper hand early, with both Godzilla and Anguirus juicing hard-way early on. Godzilla takes a massive bump through a suspension bridge and has the whole canyon collapse on him, giving Ghidorah and Gigan a chance to double team Anguirus. Poor Anguirus gets his butt kicked so badly throughout the battle that I thought he was dead several times, only to have him come back out of nowhere a bit later.

The fight moves towards the cockroaches tower (shaped like Godzilla himself) where they zap the real Godzilla with their laser beam. Godzilla sells it, writhing on the ground in pain. The cockroaches stop shooting so Gigan can come in for the kill. He wacks Godzilla with several hard chops to the nose with his steel-pointed apendages, and Godzilla juices again. The big guy goes down hard, and Gigan and Ghidorah rejoice. Gigan brings the seemingly dead Godzilla over to King Ghidorah, who inexplicably kicks Godzilla into the tower, destroying it and the mind control tapes that brought Gigan and Ghidorah to Earth in the first place. Even more inexplicably, this seems to revive Godzilla, who immediately Hulks up and starts kicking butt. He knocks Gigan down and gives him the butt drop of doom, which Gigan no-sells. Anguirus has wandered back into the picture at this point, and is predicably getting his butt kicked, so Godzilla rushes over to help. Godzilla holds Ghidorah's three heads back so Anguirus can avalanche him--afterwards, Godzilla uses a nice snap-mare takedown and floors the King. Somewhere in here (I don't remember exactly when) Godzilla squares off with Ghidorah and, I kid you not, does the classic Ali shuffle-step.

The fight finally ends in classic monster movie style when, for seemingly no reason at all, the bad monsters give up and take off. Godzilla and Anguirus swim triumphantly back to Monster Island and the movie ends.

This movie has much to recommend it, from the obvious toy tanks to the GI Joe figurines sliding down a zip line away from the model of the Godzilla tower. It does, however, have the ludicrously long and unintelligable fight at the end (if it seems to make sense the way I described it, it is only because I left out tons of stuff that I had no explanation for.) Most of the fun stuff happened with Godzilla and the other monsters off screen.

Scene to watch for: Let's all eat bananas.

Best line: "Their hatred for homework streams into space. It forms a monster there."

Things that make you go "Huh?": Just about the entire fight scene.

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

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