Monster Zero (1965)

aka Invasion of the Astro-Monsters, Kaiju daisenso
Article 2404 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-26-2007
Posting Date: 3-12-2008
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Featuring Nick Adams, Akira Takarada, Jun Tazaki

Two astronauts explore the newly-discovered Planet X to find a civilization plagued by attacks from a creature known to them as Monster Zero, but to the Earth as King Ghidorah. Earth agrees to let them have Godzilla and Rodan to battle King Ghidorah, but the men from Planet X have an ulterior motive…

Having just encountered the English Language Dubbers Association in yesterday’s movie, I thought I’d give them a rest by watching the subtitled version of this movie, thereby giving the English Language Subtitlers Association a chance to flex their muscles. Well, if I had any hopes of the ELSA of helping me find the spelling of the hero of yesterday’s movie, they were smashed by the realization that the ELSA badly needs some quality control in the spelling department; for the record, it’s “lightning”, not “lightening” and “smoother”, not “smother”. Of course, I’d also forgotten that this movie also features English-speaking Nick Adams in the cast, and, since this is the Japanese version, the Japanese Language Dubbing Association (JLDA) had to be called in to dub him; for the record, I think they do a better job than the ELDA. (I wish to point out here that, with the exception of the ELDA, I’m not sure any of these associations ever really existed).

So enough about dubbing and subtitling; let’s get to the movie. It’s a direct sequel to GHIDRAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER ; in fact, it has one less monster than that one, as Mothra does not appear here. It also sets the template for the formula that would become far too common in the original Godzilla series of movies, that of aliens controlling the monsters and using them to attack the Earth. The movie is very slow in getting to the monster action; the only early battle is extremely short, and is more memorable for Godzilla’s hilarious post-victory dance than for anything else. As far as having watched the subtitled version against having watched the dubbed version (which I’d seen several times before), the main advantage I found was that I finally figured out what the practical purpose of that teeth-gnashing sound gizmo was, something I don’t recall as having been explained adequately in the dubbed version; other than that, I might just as well have seen the dubbed one. Nick Adams also appeared in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD .


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