Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Launch the Cooling Missile!

After taking several weeks off, I am back with the next installment of the Godzilla series and boy was it a silly one. Destroy All Monsters was a movie I saw as a kid and loved, but it had been nearly 15 years since I had last seen it. How does it stand-up now? Fairly good when all is said and done. Destroy All Monsters suffers from some of the same mistakes as previous movies, but also does quite a few things right.

Many years have passed since Godzilla and his brat were left frozen on an island and now we find him and every other monster on earth living on Monster Island. The parties there are wicked. Unfortunately, Aliens interfere again and mind control the monsters so that they will attack major cities. These aliens, which turn into some sort of rock when they die have only one plan, to take over earth for their own, surely devious purposes. It's up to our cast of people no one cares about to free the monsters from mind control and retake the earth. This time around, Ishiro Honda is back and his presence is certainly noticed and appreciated. The child-like feel of the last two films is gone and we're left with a fun, even if it is highly cheesy, monster adventure.

Like most of Honda's film, Destroy All Monsters falters because it spends way to much time with the people and the aliens. It starts off great. The monsters are immediately the focal point and less than 30 minutes in, cities are being trashed. It all is going so well and then suddenly the monsters, for all intents and purposes, disappear and the people have to take charge and carry the story. These people are boring, probably some of the most boring people in the entire series up to this point, and it's pretty difficult to get excited about what they do. Luckily, once they free the monsters from Alien control, we get an excellent, although a little lop-sided, brawl between Earth's monsters and Ghidorah. That brawl is one of the most fun fights in the series so far and the four monster destruction of Tokyo is the best city destruction scene since the first film.

All and all, the movie is entertaining for Godzilla fans and it offers some mild entertainment for non fans. At the very least, Destroy All Monsters is much better than some of the other movies in the series. While it does nothing to make the series a serious film, it is fun to watch. I know there are some bad movies on the horizon, the 1970's weren't the best years of Godzilla's life, but many of those movies were my favorites as a very young kid.


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