The opening credits to The Giant Monsters: Earth’s Greatest Battle (Japanese title) displays over a pseudo preview of the battle that will take place. (Oddly, the credits do not list “Camera Fade Out,” which just so happens to be a key player in this movie.) It is an interesting choice. I suppose (when this was released) there were possibly moviegoers in the audience that were not aware this was a kaiju flick, and this served as their last warning?
The writers of this here flick were apparently offended by how “plausible” the plots of previous kaiju flicks were, so they took it a step further. To review, before a single kaiju appears:
- Meteorites are falling from the sky, one of which happens to be an egg.
- An assassination plot is attempted on the Princess of Selgina, only to be foiled when a meteorite (I am guessing here) talks to her and tells her to jump (sans parachute) from the airplane she is on, that is about to blow up. [camera fade out after the jump]
- The Princess shows up in Japan, proclaiming to be from Venus and says that Earth is screwed.
- The Shobijin – which are getting more screen time than kaiju lately – are featured on a Japanese TV show, and let us know one of the Mothra twins has passed away, then sing a song that includes the lyric, “Happiness, why are you sad?”
- Oh yeah, and there is a brother sister duo who are a cop and a reporter (the favorite career of a human kaiju character), respectively, that are in the middle of it all.
Rodan is the first kaiju to appear in this one. (Technically, Mothra is the first, but it is just a showing during the Mothra song that the Shobijin sing.) The Venusian warns that shit is going to start hitting the fan at Mt. Aso – Rodan’s old stomping ground – and she was dead on. Rodan was chilling under some gravel/rocks, when it decided it was time to rise, blow down some buildings, and [camera fade out].
Godzilla is the second to come to the party. Rising from the middle of the sea, Godzilla fire-breaths a large ship and then [camera fade out]. Godzilla soon after makes landfall in a bay and promptly starts making insurance company execs contemplate suicide. His party is cut short as he spots Rodan flying in the night sky. Godzilla gets awfully spooked by his fellow kaiju casually flying around, then gets over it and continues his stroll through the city [camera fade out]. Next, we see the pair in the in the country side during the day. I guess Godzilla had good reason to be spooked, as Rodan clips The King of the Monsters on a flyby, knocking the champ down, then –
Cut to the giant meteorite egg, which hatches Ghidorah, or King Ghidorah, as the Venusian (and eventually everyone else) calls him (them?). Ghidorah (there is only one King!) destroyed civilization on Venus 5,000 years ago (according to our Venusian name-dropper) and his power becomes readily apparent. The Beast from Venus (I made that up) is three heads of fly-electric-ray-shooting chaos. The heads seem to have no aim and even less of a plan, but that hardly matters, for there is shit everywhere to go boom, including Tokyo Tower [sigh].
While Ghidorah is terrorizing Tokyo, the Shobijin and humans come up with a great idea. It is determined that Ghidorah, with his three heads, is much more powerful than the other kaiju. The Shobijin figure that if all three of the other kaiju fight together, they can defeat Ghidorah. How will they all of a sudden fight together? Well, the Shobijin will have Mothra talk to the other two and convince them to work together.
Then there is some extremely, obnoxiously entertaining fighting between between Godzilla and Rodan, which one would think would be the highlight of the movie, if it were not for… the kaiju pow wow that follows. Mothra shows up as promised and goes to the two fighting monsters. To get them to stop fighting, the kaiju shoots some webs into their faces. With their full attention, Mothra “talks” to them. Lucky for us, we have the Shobijin to translate the meeting.
Mothra tells them, “Don’t fight. Let’s work together to protect the Earth from King Ghidorah’s violence.” Someone asks if they agree. The Shobijin reply, “No. Both Godzilla and Rodan are saying they don’t care.” Human, “Dammit! Those bastards!” Sobijin, “Godzilla says he has no reason to save humans … Rodan agrees,” more destruction from Ghidorah, “Mothra is saying let’s forget the past. …Godzilla and Rodan are saying to each other, that the other one should apologize.” Human, “Men are not the only stubborn creatures!” The talks go on, the Shobijin say the talks are progressing, but Godzilla and Rodan are none too sure that the Earth is worth saving. Sobijin, “They are getting close to agreeing,” shot of kaiju, then back to the Shobijin, “No. It didn’t work. Mothra will have to fight alone.” Then the brave kaiju chug-chug-chugs by herself to fight Ghidorah.
Larva Mothra goes off to fight Ghidorah by herself and gets promptly fugged up. Apparently, this is all the other two kaiju needed to see to convince them to join the brawl. Even with the three kaiju working together, Ghidorah still puts up a hell of a fight – at times shooting Godzilla in the crown jewels (I think) and the dairy air (I am sure). Through teamwork, the three kaiju
kill bother Ghidorah enough so that he flies away (to Venus?).
Lordy, Lordy, Lord, four kaiju to review! Honestly, Godzilla and Rodan steal the show, so let’s take a look at the headliners first.
This flick marks a clear transition for Godzilla, as the kaiju goes from all business to a bit of silliness. His periodic goofy behavior is not outright slap-stick, but he definitely throws humor into the ring at times. The first such example happens at his first sight of Rodan. Upon spotting the flying kaiju, Godzilla throws a fit. If this was an isolated incident, I would have guess Godzilla just lost his cool. Yet, later on there are such scenes like when he cracks up after Rodan gets shot in the face by Mothra’s web. Here, Godzilla is so amused (laughing?) that he needs to take a sit-down to recover. Then when fighting Ghidorah, Godzilla gets shot in the crotch and ass, and acts similar to how a Looney Tunes character would from such a blow. However, since this new element is just silly and not over-the-top, it is a welcomed addition of personality to a kaiju who was already exudes character. Also, Godzilla adds throwing and kicking rocks and boulders to his repertoire, which is very comical. Oh yeah, and Godzilla body slams Rodan at one point. Gold. The undisputed King of the Monsters comes out guns-a-blazin’ in this edition, thus earning the full three thumbs:
This is Rodan’s first appearance since it’s debut in the wretched Rodan. Thankfully, the kaiju pulls a 180 here and is a surprise treat. Rodan gives Godzilla a good run for his money. The kaiju is inexplicably the aggressor from the get-go in this one. Rodan terrorizes Godzilla with flybys and the pecking of his head. Where Rodan went wrong was taking the battle to the ground, a miscalculated tactic to say the least. Yet, the ground is the setting for which the most amusing moments take place, much at the expense of Rodan. Overall, the flying kaiju is much improved and earns two Reagans:
Mothra stays in her larva stage for the entire movie. I guess the script writers already had two flying kaiju in Rodan and Ghidorah, so they kept Mothra grounded. More than anything, Mothra acts as a mediator in this go around. It sounds like that would be awful, but it happens to be hilarious. The very idea that Mothra holds court with two other kaiju, trying to convince them that Earth is worth saving, is pure magic. Beyond that, it was also funny to watch Mothra get lit up by Ghidorah when she went off to fight the three-headed beast by her lonesome. For not having many tools, Mothra made the most of them and gets two thumbs as well:
Ghidorah is a tricky monster to judge. Sure he is the proclaimed “King” (I am not buying it) and it takes three other kaiju working together to defeat him, but there is not a whole lot going on other than that. Ghidorah has three heads that bob haphazardly while shooting electric bolts. There does not seem to be any direction to his destruction nor is there any personality. Ghidorah is there to get defeated by the “heroes,” and little else. And let’s talk about his “defeat.” He more/less, just gives up. Sure he was not winning, but he was not exactly getting smoke showed. The battle turns south for him and he flies away. (And yes, I am still wondering where the hell he flew to.) I think the only reason I am not giving him a worse rating is that the other kaiju made this such a pleasant experience, thus making his lackluster performance less noticeable: