Son of Godzilla

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Our rating: two lava lamps.

Information about this film in the Internet Movie Database.

Son of Godzilla
"How about a Milk Bone?"
The second in the "island" trilogy of Godzilla movies, Son of Godzilla is famous for introducing (surprise!) the son of Godzilla. The son of Godzilla is named Minilla according to Toho, though that name isn't mentioned in the English language version of the film. Minilla is a bizarre creature, and his exact relation to Godzilla is not known. Just for fun, we'll hold a Minilla lookalike contest.

The nominees are...

Pillsbury Dough Boy
The Big Boy
Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man
Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Rush Limbaugh
Dwayne Knight

But the winner is...

Son of Godzilla Son of Godzilla

Gary Coleman!

Son of Godzilla
"No no! Like this:
One - two - cha cha cha!
Three - four - cha cha cha!"
So where did Minilla come from? Well, in the absence of any better evidence, we have to assume that the egg he hatched from was laid by either Godzilla himself or another of his species. Because we've never seen another of his (or her?) species, it could be argued that Godzilla laid the egg. However, this issue has never been explored during the series.

The movie opens with a bunch of scientists who are preparing weather-control experiments on a remote Pacific island. Surprisingly, actor Akira Kubo is not one of them. Geez, he's been in every Japanese movie we've seen recently (remember Gorath?) -- why not this one?

The scientists are a little bit surprised to find out that their little island is home to giant preying mantises, which they've cleverly named "Gimantis." Undeterred, they go ahead with their experiments ("It is for science!"), and are horrified when an accident occurs. Big surprise. In the movies, scientists will never proceed with an experiment unless they have guaranteed that something will go horribly wrong ("See, right here. The script says on page 15 that something will go horribly wrong. Load the uranium into the dishwasher!"). The accident causes a huge radioactive storm, which further mutates the mantises, uncovers a giant egg, and brings Godzilla to the island.

Somewhere along the line, the scientists are joined by a daredevil reporter who parachutes down to the island, looking for a story. He jumped from the plane when his stomach began to hurt. ("My stomach always hurts when there's a story.") This intrepid journalist is played by... Akira Kubo! That's it! We give up! Obviously Kubo ruled Japanese cinema during the sixties. Movies were made on his say-so. All other actors went to the Akira Kubo School For Heroically Goofy Acting. Women swooned as he passed them on the streets, and all men wished they were him. Because he was... Akira Kubo.

Son of Godzilla
The dreamy Akira Kubo.
The reporter, named Goro, finds out that the supposedly uninhabited island has one inhabitant, a pretty woman who has lived on the island all her life. Stranded there when her father's expedition went horribly wrong (see what we mean?), Riko soon becomes the scientists' guide to the island and its dangers, including the giant spider, named Spiga.

There is also a bizarre subplot concerning the leading scientist constantly lying to his charges about whether or not the radio is broken. We never understood what that was all about.

As we mentioned above, Minilla is a pretty ugly monster. Godzilla, as he appears in this film, is pretty hideous too. The only monsters that are allowed any dignity at all are the variety of giant insects that show up. They are large wire-works puppets, and are the most impressive of their kind we've seen yet. It's just not clear how they are supposed to offer much of a challenge to the fire breathing Godzilla. With nuclear radiation at his command, Godzilla needs no giant magnifying glass to burn Spiga off the face of the island.

There are many scenes, allegedly humorous, of Godzilla training Minilla how to be a proper monster, as well as scenes of Minilla being a bratty little monster. Soon, though, the monster-in-training learns to breathe nuclear fire and even blow little rings of nuclear energy, something he'll need against Ghidrah in Destroy All Monsters.

When the scientists finally leave the island, Godzilla shelters his son against the blizzard that the weather-experimenting humans have unleashed. Those of you with a sentimental bent may even shed a tear for the obviously frightened Minilla and his protective, worrisome parent as they are forced into hibernation by the dropping temperatures. In this film the anthropormorphism of Godzilla is complete, as Godzilla stops being a monster and becomes a stern but caring father. What a fate: a Godzilla who could have been played by Ernest Borgnine.

Rent or Buy from Reel.

Review date: 6/26/98

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