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Thursday, February 27, 2014


We're still doing well, and today's film is the smooth '60s classic Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Monster Zero; 1965).

I'll type my bit first:
After the monster rally fun of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, I was expecting more of that this time.  Contrary to my memory, that's not really what we got. 
Ghidorah had tedious subplots that seemed to drag before the kaiju fights.  Astro-Monster also has lengthy subplots, but they don't seem as tedious to me.  I think that's likely due to the Xiliens themselves. 

Are we not men?  We are Devo! 
Alien influence on kaiju is a new element to these films and the slick coolness of these bad guys helps push the human side of things along. 
That's a good thing because there's barely fifteen minutes of monster fighting in this ninety minute film in about three or four sequences.  1. Ghidorah performs a quick solo strike on Planet X: looks good.  2. Godzilla and Rodan fight Ghidorah on Planet X: looks really good.  There's a scale to the mountain ranges that makes it seem like the set is huge.  3. Godzilla, Rodan and Ghidorah attack Earth.  Great effects, as usual, but with a few reused shots from earlier Toho films.  4. Godzilla and Rodan versus Ghidorah.  Brief but effective as the "good guys" perform a "Fastball Special" to knock KG into the ocean. 
To me, the fun of the Shōwa films is encapsulated by any scene wherein a model rocket truck launches fireworks against a man in a monster suit.  This movie has a few of those moments.  Very fun. 
The creeping goofiness that we all know is coming with these movies (I'm looking at you, Godzilla's Revenge) is on display here, somewhat.  Not as many puppet shots as there were in Ghidorah, but there are still a few wacky moments to play to the kids.  Most famously, of course, is Godzilla's "shie dance" (a mid-'60s Japanese fad): 
Also of note is the suit.  I looked it up.  This one is called "DaisensoGoji" and has friendlier features, including bigger eyes, smaller claws, etc.  A strong departure from one of my favorite suits, the KingGoji, which was used in King Kong vs. Godzilla. 
I'm sad to say this may be the last film with the Toho Triple Threat in effect.  Director Ishiro Honda, special effects producer Eiji Tsubaraya and composer Akira Ifukube begin to go their separate ways to other films and jobs beginning with the next Godzilla film. 
No "Spot Serizawa" this time ... but Jun Tazaki is back, as is Akira Takarada, who was in the first Godzilla film and will be in five more ahead ... including 2014's Godzilla
Invasion of Astro-Monster, little monster fun but cool aliens.  3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Now for my ten-year-old son, James: was 1/3 cheesy, 1/3 awesomeness!!!!, 1/3 talkie talkie . 
At least Rodan, Godzilla, King Ghidorah is in it! There is a fight move where Rodan pick up Godzilla and slams him in Ghidorah's face! and Rodan and Godzilla stays down in the ocean for an ocean battle and when Ghidorah leaves, they stay down there. 
i'll give it ...... 3.2 Atomic Breaths of awesomeness!
Here's the trailer:

Next, ... hey!  We believe in Gamera!  Turtle meat!  Yay!

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