Godzilla’s Revenge (1969)

Godzilla's Revenge (1969)

A young Japanese boy who is getting bullied at school dreams that he visits Monster Island and befriends Minya, Godzilla’s son. Minya is getting bullied by a bigger monster. Together the two become an unlikely team as they learn to stand up for themselves.

 

How do you follow one of the most popular Godzilla films in the entire series with Destroy All Monsters? Well in the case of the Godzilla series, you follow it with the worst. To me it seems that Toho blew their entire bank balance on the number of monsters that they jam-packed into the previous film and were scraping the barrel for whatever leftovers they could find for this feeble, feeble outing. This is supposed to Godzilla’s Revenge, not his stand-up comedy hour.

This is by far Godzilla’s lowest ebb. Critics may say the juvenile entries where Godzilla tag team wrestled his way across Japan in the mid 70s were far worse than this but as a die-hard fan, I’ve got to disagree. At least they featured city-stomping antics, daft aliens trying to conquer the world plots and of course, plenty of monster action where Godzilla had to win to save the Earth. Here, Godzilla isn’t smashing Tokyo. He’s not battling space aliens. There’s no sign of any old school favourites like King Ghidorah, Rodan or Mothra. This time Godzilla is playing the doting father, letting his offspring grow up the hard way by learning to take the rough with the smooth and stand up to bullies. It’s not a serious science film about the perils of atomic radiation. It’s not even a silly action romp with ludicrous monsters fighting each other.

Godzilla’s Revenge is quite simply a ridiculously childish film which wouldn’t look out of place as an after school special. The story should never have been made into a Godzilla film and is the sort of childish nonsense that hampered the Gamera films. The main problem is that he isn’t even the focus: it’s his son Minya and the troubles he is facing thanks to the monster bully, Gabarah. It’s somewhat cute to have the monster and the human sub-plots actually mirror each other for a change (something which I’ve moaned on about a lot in my reviews as the sub-plots rarely seem to fit with the overall narrative) but I just wish it didn’t have to be this one about bullying. I can understand that the film wants to send out some form of anti-bullying message but why not just use Minya in his own vehicle? Why drag Godzilla down with him?

The main threat to the monsters in this one is, as I’ve mentioned, Gabarah. He’s one of the worst monsters that Toho ever created, with a daft roar and just electric hands as weapons. If he can’t even beat Minya in a battle, what chance does he have against Godzilla? Godzilla does ‘fight’ other monsters but it’s just stock footage culled from previous films. He does battle with Ebirah and Spiga but it’s just the footage we’ve already seen passed off as new material. This is a crime in itself as the film only runs for seventy minutes as it is. With padding courtesy of stock footage, there’s very little new footage of the monsters included. As far as this new footage goes, Godzilla is hardly around.

When he is on screen, he’s not smashing his way across Japan but playing the domesticated father! He might as well have had his license to destroy revoked and given an apron to wear. It’s a far, far cry from the devastating force he was in the original film. We don’t even know whether everything we see is real or not as it’s never made clear whether the action is taking place in a dream or what. Not only that but since the stock footage is from various films, Godzilla is constantly change appearances as different films used different suits. Sometimes when films come out with so many glaring problems, you wonder why they bothered in the first place. It’s a half-assed effort which does little to give credibility to the series.

 

Taken solely as a kid’s film, I’m sure that Godzilla’s Revenge ticks all of the relevant boxes with its inoffensive material, light-hearted approach and cute-factor going into overdrive. However this is not what fans of the series want to see, especially where Godzilla is concerned. Where is the bad ass monster who laid waste to Tokyo? We want that Godzilla back, not the father struggling to cope with his kid. If we wanted to see that, we’d turn in to TV soaps. We want to see cities being destroyed and other giant monsters being pummelled into oblivion. And on that note, Godzilla’s Revenge dramatically fails on every level.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Related Movies

Post a comment