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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: LATITUDE ZERO (1969)

If you're just tuning in, my eleven-year-old son, James, and I compiled a list of about seventy kaiju/tokusatsu/monster films to watch before the new Godzilla movie opens in May.  (You can read the big list HERE.)

We're about halfway through as we reach today's movie, Latitude Zero (1969).

I'll go first:
When we first watched this a couple of years ago, it just seemed bat-shit insane and I didn't think much of it at all.  Watching it now ... it's still bat-shit insane, but for whatever reason, I really liked it. 
It is a film complete with work by the Toho Triple Threat (Honda, Ifukube, Tsubuarya), but it was filmed in English.  This means we get to hear Akira Takarada (whose career stretches from '54's Godzilla to '14's Godzilla) and Akihiko Hirata (Dr. Serizawa ... James won "Spot Serizawa this time) speaking English. 
CItizen Kane actor Joseph Cotten plays good guy Captain MacKenzie while Cesar Romero plays bad guy Dr. Malic. 
Yes.  That Cesar Romero. 
Essentially, it's a take on the Captain Nemo mythology but expanded to include an underground Utopia where the world's leading scientists and peacemakers go to make life better, live for centuries and wear clothes made of gold fabric. 
If MacKenzie is Nemo, Malic is Dr. Moreau.  He has made giant rats to patrol his island's tunnels and giant bat-men as his servants. 
Yes.  The Joker made bat-men. 
He also makes a kind of griffin by grafting a condor's wings onto a lion and by transplanting the brain of his submarine captain into it.   
When the good guys storm the island, they wear the usual gold suits but with gloves that shoot poison gas, flames and lasers.  No joke. 
Like I said, bat-shit insane, but fun.  There's also some good model work and some submarine action, too. 
Latitude Zero ... if you like to get high and watch movies, here you go.  3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Now it's James' turn:
Well, it was a pretty almost average movie, starring, the Joker, and the guy from the Godzilla suit as three monsters. 
Other info: this is about when a old probe crashes in latitude zero, and find weird stuff, like diamonds and gold aren't rare down there, the Black Shark submarine, and more!!! 
So, rating wise, i'll say 2.5 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!!!
Here's the trailer:

Next time, Gamera vs. Guiron.

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