Son of Godzilla
Our rating: two lava lamps.
The nominees are...
But the winner is...
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.
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.
Review date: 6/26/98
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