Thursday, April 15, 2010

Son of Godzilla (1967)

Babies are stupid and ugly.

Son of Godzilla is the culmination of a major shift in tone for the Godzilla series. The Godzilla movies in the later 1960's were slowly but surely becoming less scary and sillier in an attempt to appeal to children. Son of Godzilla is one of the flagship movies for Godzilla as a kid's franchise. The lighter tone, the silly looking Godzilla, and his even sillier looking "son" Manilla, and the simplistic story all work to make the movie a lighthearted, enjoyable adventure, even if it isn't up to par with the rest of the series.

I'm not sure why I bother giving plot details for Godzilla movies, but it's a habit now. Let's see if you can guess what happens here. Godzilla shows up on an island to protect his son from giant praying mantids, yes mantids is the plural of mantis, and a big ass spider. All the while, the creatures on the island are interfering with some people trying to master climate control for the good of the world. If you want to know why this is a bad idea, look into the several snowstorms China has accidentally caused. Godzilla shows his son the basics of being a monster, but fails all along because his son clearly has down syndrome. Son of Godzilla is the second movie in the series directed by Jun Fukuda and a major step up from the abomination that is Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster. There were a few members of the routine Godzilla cast and crew involved here, but what makes the movie work is that it took a different route from most of the previous films.

Son of Godzilla is, for all intents and purposes, a family comedy with fire-breathing monsters in it. Manilla, Godzilla's son, is ugly and clumsy but one of the most oddly lovable creatures ever. Everything in Son of Godzilla is just so goofy and off-the-wall that it's hard not to smile most of the time. There is still a little too much character development for the people in the movie and the science is worse than ever, but what really shines through about Son of Godzilla is that it doesn't totally suck. It's fun to watch, in the same goofy way that King Kong vs. Godzilla is fun to watch, and it ends on a surprisingly touching note. The last scene of the movie is actually pretty great. I can't believe I just said that about Son of Godzilla, but it's certainly a better flick than I initially gave it credit for. Don't let my praise for it fool you, the movie is still only enjoyable for die-hard Godzilla fans. It would make a great introduction for young viewers and it is certainly enjoyable for adults too.

The highest praise I can give for Son of Godzilla is that I wouldn't dread watching it again. There are some fun fights, some really silly situations and a surprisingly touching element that makes the movie enjoyable. After the soul crushing Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, I was worried that I would loose interest in watching the whole series. Thank you Son of Godzilla for not sucking. Next is the very awesome, from what I remember, Destroy All Monsters, and I am thrilled to be back on the horse. If you have kids, Son of Godzilla would be a nice way to introduce Godzilla. If not, you're better off sticking to some of the other movies.


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