GODZILLA VS MEGALON (1973)
aka Gojira tai Megaro
Article 4870 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Featuring Katsuhiko Sasaki, Hiroyuki Kawase, Yutaka Hayashi
What it is: Godzilla movie
Nuclear testing causes an underground empire to strike back to the surface people on Earth by releasing a giant monster named Megalon. He is joined by Gigan in a fight against Godzilla and a robot named Jet Jaguar.
I have a weakness for Japanese giant monster movies, so when I saw this one popping up on my hunt list, I decided to order the new version on Blu-Ray so I could see a restored, nice-looking subtitled version (rather than the shoddy dubbed panned-and-scanned VHS one that I already had). Now, one pitfall of watching an improved edition of a movie that you’ve already seen before is that it looks so much better that you’re thinking the movie itself has improved. In a few minor ways, it has; watching it in its original screen ratio is a definite plus, and some plot points that get lost in the shuffle in the English dubbed version are clarified here. Still, it remains one of Toho’s most threadbare entries in the series; the script is one of those where most of what happens happens because that’s what happens in other movies of the series, and several of the action sequences (the fight with the military, the fight with the planes, and the destruction of the city) are made up primarily of footage from other films. Take special note during the city destruction sequence that you never actually see Megalon in the city; you see the scenes of destruction and then see Megalon’s head against an undefinable background that could be anywhere. Still, the movie does feature two special effects sequences that are rather impressive; the opening sequence involving the earthquake on the lake, and the destruction of the dam (where the monster comes riding down on the rush of water) are very good. Still, as good as my new copy looks, this remains to my eye one of the weakest of the series.