GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER (1966)
(a.k.a. EBIRAH, HORROR OF THE DEEP/
GOJIRA-EBIRA-MOSURA: NANKEI NO DAIKETTO)
Article #1175 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-2-2004
Posting Date: 10-30-2004
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Featuring Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chotaro Togin
While on a search to discover the whereabouts of a missing man, several people find themselves stranded on an island guarded by a giant shrimp.
Jun Fukuda made a valiant attempt here to move the Godzilla series in a new direction by incorporating him into a story with a more conventional action-oriented plot. I admire the effort, and it is at least partially successful; it’s well-paced and fun in its own way. However, there are problems. Logic seems to have been thrown out the window here; the scene where the good guys try to break into a vault only to discover it’s a nuclear reactor is just plain silly, and when a new captor suggests to the enslaved natives that they should sabotage the Red Bamboo (for whom they have been crushing fruit to produce a yellowish liquid designed to keep Ebirah at bay) by creating the liquid from the leaves rather than the fruit, I find myself asking two questions: 1) Wouldn’t the leaves be green and wouldn’t the Red Bamboo notice the change in color? and 2) why doesn’t the Red Bamboo have even one guard monitoring the activities of the slaves?
My biggest problem with the movie, though, is that Godzilla himself seems like an unnecessary character. Ebirah is essential to the plot (even if he’s a pretty lame foe for Godzilla), and Mothra has an important role to play towards the end, but as for Godzilla, I feel he was just shoehorned into the material. The discovery of his presence seems arbitrary, the decision to revive him is downright dunderheaded, and once he’s in the action, the movie doesn’t really know what to do with him. His tennis match with Ebirah is a repeat of a similar scene in GHIDRAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER, and the sequence where he tries to get some sleep only to be menaced by a giant condor and some jet planes seems like awkward filler. And though he serves some purpose in destroying the Red Bamboo camp, it’s a real disappointment seeing him stomp on a few small buildings when you can remember his destruction of whole cities in earlier movies. Though I wouldn’t call this the weakest of the Godzilla movies, it’s the one where he seems to play the smallest role.