Ultraman (1967)

aka Chohen kaiju eiga: Urutoraman
Article 2451 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-18-2007
Posting Date: 4-28-2008
Directed by Hajime Tsuburaya
Featuring Akiji Kobayashi, Susumu Kurobe, Susumu Fujita
Country: Japan
A member of the Science Patrol gains the ability to turn into a galactic superhero when monsters threaten the earth.

All right, I don’t know if I’ve really seen this movie or not, and I haven’t been able to find enough information to help sort it out. I’ve heard the movie consists of episodes of the TV series edited together into a feature, and my source for this claims this is it, but it looks for all the world like a compilation of various episodes of the series, right down to the opening credits for each episode (though no ending credits, but that’s no surprise – my copy of the series itself didn’t have any). So, should I be covering this or not? I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this much; if it isn’t, than I’m willing to bet that this is probably pretty close to what the movie was like. So we get Ultraman fighting four monsters; one from a lake, the next a space alien that can make duplicates of himself and turn into a giant, then an electricity-eating monster with the ability to turn invisible, and finally, a sea monster with a nuclear bomb attached to him. The direct attempts at comedy are abysmal, though that may be just the dubbing, and the latter is inconsistent; some scenes are in their original Japanese, as are the credits. It’s the inadvertent comedy that’s the knee-slapper here, particularly during the last segment when they try to calm the excitable sea monster with music, but the rinky-dink piano music they play for him just makes him angrier, with the punch line being the explanation tendered for why the monster didn’t like the music. Basically, the show was a cross between a superhero series and a kaiju, with every episode telling practically the same story with minor variations. Still, if you have a soft spot for this kind of thing, you could do worse.

P.S. It has since come to my attention that this is not the movie in question, but indeed just a collection of several of the expisodes. In the words of Emily Latella, Never Mind.


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