Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla (1974)

Godzilla-Vs-Mechagodzilla-1974

Mechanical Titan of Terror!

When Godzilla re-emerges after a long disappearance, he seems a lot more aggressive than normal, destroying buildings and even attempting to kill fellow monster Anguirus. Then to the shock of Japan, another Godzilla appears. After the two monsters fight in Tokyo, it emerges that one of the Godzilla’s is actually a mechanical monster created by aliens to destroy the planet. Can Godzilla put a stop to their plans and defeat his mechanical doppelganger?

 

All film franchises suffer from repetition after a number of sequels. Arguments can be raised against the Bond films, the Star Trek series and it’s definitely the case for the numerous horror franchises out there. But when you have a gigantic radioactive monster that just destroys Japan for a plot, there’s not really much room to manoeuvre, is there? Having originally been mankind’s enemy, Godzilla turned into the good guy in the 60s, defending the world from all manner of extraterrestrial conquerors and the weird and wonderful monsters they brought with them. Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla is the FOURTEENTH Godzilla film so anyone who expects anything remotely different from the preceding thirteen films had better get their head checked. Expect men-in-rubber-suits, miniature cities, 70s Japanese fashion, aliens trying to take over the world and a pulsating soundtrack.

Considering how cheap the previous couple of entries looked, it’s a bit of a surprise to see that this one at least looked like it’s getting back on the right track. Gone was the majority of the juvenile humour and silly shenanigans of Godzilla Vs Megalon (tag team monster wrestling) to be replaced by something a little more serious. Those who doubt this new direction only need to watch the fight between Godzilla and former friend Anguirus, whom he beats within an inch of his life and attempts to break his jaw. Unfortunately the majority of the screen time is spent with the silly human sub-plots and the aliens attempting to take over the world angle that had become so over-used by this point.

Granted there was a recession in Japan at the time so Toho couldn’t afford to be splashing out on loads of fancy special effects. But what we get is something like a poor man’s James Bond with Interpol agents, dumb professors and aliens who look like gorillas all thrown into the mix. Throwing around mystical mumbo jumbo, random science about space titanium and spies wearing sunglasses at night, the script isn’t shy about doing what it can to keep the viewer entertained in between monster fights. The script does a reasonable job at this task – it’s nowhere near as boredom-inducing as some of the earlier 60s efforts and the amount of daft camp on display at least makes everything suitably compelling.

Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla sees the introduction of one of Godzilla’s most famous and successful enemies, his mechanical doppelganger, Mechagodzilla (the Japanese were not known for their originality in these films). Bringing to the table a multitude of weapons, Mechagodzilla is one of Godzilla’s toughest opponents and takes him to the limit and then some. The fights between the two are well-crafted and some of the best of the 70s. Even the design of the monster is visually rewarding and makes for an impressive sight when it’s first revealed in all of its robotic glory.

Sadly, they had to go and throw another monster into the mix. King Caesar is given a lot of build up throughout the film so when he finally comes to life and reveals himself at the end, the results are ridiculous. He looks like some big shaggy dog that needs a bath. Definitely one of Toho’s most uninspiring creations, King Caesar looks like a guy in a dog suit running around a miniature set. I know that’s all he is but the majority of Toho’s other creations at least give the illusion of something real. King Caesar brings nothing to the table in terms of the action and, despite being on Godzilla’s side, he ends up being more of a hindrance, getting in the way and just growling and slobbering all over. Stupid dog – there’s no wonder that it was thirty years before he made another appearance in the Godzilla series! Godzilla is his usual bad ass self, with the suit looking well-worn at this point but at least he still manages to get down and dirty in the fighting when it crops up.

 

For the time and the economic troubles in Japan, I suppose this is the best anyone could have hoped for considering some of the previous entries. Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla is still one of the sillier entries in the franchise but it’s not as bad as it could be thanks to the impressive fights between Godzilla and his mechanical buddy.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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