Monday, 9 February 2015
All Monsters Attack (1969)
The Godzilla franchise as had any highs and lows over its long history. This film - originally known as Godzilla's Revenge in its English dub - is definitely one of the lows.
Excessive use of recycled footage is part of the problem: most of Big G's numerous monsters brawls in this film are chopped out of previous entries in the series: only one of the monsters he faces is original to the film, and it is frankly a pretty sorry excuse for a foe.
The core problem of the film, however, is made abundantly clear in its first minute, as the camera follows two young children on their way home. I've never known a kid-centered kaiju film to be anything but dire.
The kid in question is small, and constantly victimised by a bully named Gabara. He copes with this bullying by imagining himself on Monster Island, hanging out with Godzilla's "son" Minilla (Godzuki, in English versions) and watching Godzilla fight monsters.
Because yeah, Big G's fights in this aren't just recycled footage, they're imaginary even in the fictional world of the film. Yay?
It turns out that Minilla also has issues with a bully - a new monster not very subtly also named Gabara. Eventually, however, our human "hero" will help Minilla stand up to the bigger Gabara and thus overcome his fear. Which in turn, of course, leads to the protagonist overcoming the bully in his own life.
Yep, it's a frickin' Godzilla movie about standing up to bullies. One in which the "hero" celebrates his new-found self-confidence by making himself a public nuisance (specifically, causing a sign-painter to fall off his ladder and cover himself in paint). Now there's a good lesson for kids, right?
This is dreadful.