GHIDRAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964)
Article 2033 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-8-2006
Posting Date: 3-7-2007
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Featuring Yosuke Natsuki, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi
When a giant three-headed monster wreaks havoc across the Earth, Mothra tries to convince Godzilla and Rodan to join forces to defeat the menace.
This movie marks a turning point in the Godzilla series. Not only does it introduce the title monster, Ghidrah (probably Toho’s greatest creation since Godzilla himself), but it also marks Godzilla’s change from a menace to a hero (albeit reluctantly). It takes quite a while for the monster action to start, but the first half of the movie remains fun nonetheless because of the innumerable plot elements that get woven together, including visitors from Mars, an attempted political assassination of a princess, the investigation of a strange meteorite, and a doom-speaking prophetess. It’s difficult to say how serious to take the movie, because much of the humor may be from the dubbing. At any rate, despite the fact that he doesn’t reform until the end of the movie, Godzilla doesn’t really come across as much of a threat; Rodan certainly seems to be getting the better of him in their one-on-one fight. The funniest sequences involve the monsters, including a scene where Rodan and Godzilla bat a rock back and forth while Mothra watches as if it’s a tennis match, and the scene where the fairies translate the monster’s conference; apparently, Godzilla can cuss up a blue streak. It may be silly at times, but it’s one of the most entertaining movies of the Godzilla series.