Destroy All Monsters (1968)

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968)
aka Kaiju soshingeki
Article 2711 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-5-2008
Posting Date: 1-14-2009
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Featuring Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi
Country: Japan

A mysterious force invades an island known as Monsterland, where all of the Earth’s monsters are being held for safekeeping. Soon, it becomes clear that the monsters have been taken over by aliens, and are invading the cities of the Earth.

For years, this was my Holy Grail of Japanese Giant Monster movies; I’d long known of its existence, but for some reason it never popped up on TV in my area. It was only after I had already seen most of the other Godzilla movies that I managed to find a copy of this one on home video… and was underwhelmed. For me, the big disappointment was that the movie adopted the overly familiar plot line of having space aliens take over the monsters and force them to do their bidding; I’d already seen that plotline in several of the other movies of the series, and, even though I know this one predated most of them, it was still a letdown. Watching it now, it still feels like a letdown; until the final battle, the monsters are used sparingly and in unsatisfying snippets, and most of the movie is focused on the muddled and uninteresting hunt for the hiding place of the aliens. Still, I can’t fault the movie entirely; with the final battle, the movie finally delivers on its promise, and we get a true battle royale of Earth’s monsters against the extraterrestrial monster Ghidorah. Even Minya gets a smoke ring attack before it all winds down. I do think it’s a bit of a shame that we only get the caterpillar version of Mothra, but that’s personal preference on my part. And even though I think the movie could have been a lot better, I’m still glad it’s around, and I certainly prefer it to GODZILLA: FINAL WARS.

 

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