GODZILLA VS MEGALON
Directed By: Jun Fukuda
Written By: Takeshi Kimura, Shinichi Sekizawa, & Jun Fukuda
American Distribution By: Cinema Shares
This film is my personal favorite in the Showa era of Godzilla films strictly for the fact that this film is the first Godzilla film I had ever seen via my grandfather’s library of old movies he had holed up in his basement. Though it was not what got me hooked into Godzilla, it did solidify my love of the Big G and sparked a longstanding tradition in my family to forever mock the idiocy of the human race when it comes to giant monsters, particularly when it comes to fleeing from them.
Seriously, someone out there take a tally of how frequently people run from the giant monster by going in the same direction the monster is going. You’d be surprised I’m sure.
Anyway, this film itself is a bit odd to say the least both with its history and its plot. See, this movie was never intended to be a Godzilla film and was instead to host the robot Jet Jaguar. This was changed at the last minute because Toho didn’t think the movie would do well despite the propaganda involved in that Jet Jaguar was in fact the winning selection in a contest Toho had thrown for children to design their own monster hero.
As to the plot of the film itself, oh boy, where do I start? Well, I suppose the story itself begins in the long lost city beneath the waves Seatopia has had enough with the surface world and their nuclear testing that has harmed their undersea world and so set a plan in motion to unleash their “god” Megalon loose upon the world above.
Now I know what you’re all thinking. This is not altogether an original plot by any means but I think that we can all universally agree that however repetitive this plot may be, it at least gives the undersea civilization the stupidest name I’ve ever heard bar none. Seatopia? REALLY? From what little of the place we see, it sure as heck is not a utopia of any sort even with the so called “mess” that we surface dwellers are making of it.
Moving on to the plot, the Seatopians unfortunately cannot directly control Megalon and so accomplish this by way of kidnapping the inventor Goro Ibuki, his best buddy, and his nephew and seize control of the scientist’s robotic creation Jet Jaguar. They use Jet Jaguar to, I kid you not, guide Megalon through Japan on a path of terror and destruction.
Thankfully, Ibuki and company manage to not only escape from the Seatopian agents (think Men In Black if they had no funding whatsoever and the tactical prowess of easily startled seagulls) but they also manage to regain permanent control over Jet Jaguar through the secondary, voice activated control system. Ibuki commands Jet Jaguar to fly to Monster Island to try and bring Godzilla to Japan and have him face off against Megalon. Jet Jaguar promptly does so and we see the so-called god of Seatopia in his fully glory.
Throwing a seriously massive temper tantrum that only a true two-year old terror could outmatch. Seriously, the beetle-like kaiju has the biggest of fits and pretty much attacks everything and anything he sees, leaping about like a demented cricket on crack. Realizing their loss of control over Jet Jaguar, the Seatopians beg for assistance from their alien benefactors, the denizens of the Space Hunter Nebula M from the previous Godzilla film, Godzilla vs Gigan, who respond by sending their counterpart to Megalon, Gigan, to aid them in their conquest.
Now, before I go further in the plot, I need to make something clear here. The aliens of the Space Hunter M Nebula? They’re cockroaches. Giant, sentient cockcroaches that where the skin of dead humans to disguise themselves on Earth and oh jeez there’s another Men In Black reference! How did I never notice that?
… Where was I? Oh, yeah, so the Seatopians and the Cockroaches from Space are allies, which… yeah, makes no lick of sense. For one thing, the aliens are flipping cockroaches and likely would not care to aid anyone but themselves and another, how the heck did the Seatopians and them even meet let alone form some sort of agreement to use their respected monsters to destroy humanity?
Back to the plot though, Jet Jaguar arrives far ahead of Godzilla and though Megalon is elated to find his little buddy/guide returned to him (seriously he claps his drills together with glee) that elation turns to confusion and then fury as Jet Jaguar somehow reprograms himself to grow to Megalon’s scale and proceeds to kick his buggy butt. That is, until Gigan arrives and the two cyborg insects double-team the humanoid robot.
Godzilla eventually arrives and the resulting fight is easily one of the longest and most brutal of the Showa era as it literally last through the afternoon, into the night, and coming to an end the following morning. The weirdest thing though is the sense of camaraderie between the two pairs of monsters. Gigan and Megalon, a pair of monsters that, by all accounts, have never once met each other prior to this fight actually high-five each other. Er… high-weapon I suppose. As for Godzilla and Jet Jaguar, one of the more famous scenes in the movie is not only their handshake at the end of the battle but… well, a scene involving Megalon and truly gravity defying kick.
Overall, this film is… eye candy I suppose you could call it. The human side of things, while somewhat important as without it there’d be no Jet Jaguar to guide Megalon around nor to call upon Godzilla and further aid him in the conflict, they’re just so… Meh. I really couldn’t invest myself in any one of them and honestly the dub is terrible when it comes to the boy. Most English dubs were though back in the day. Like it was some unwritten rule that a child character could not be voiced by anyone that even remotely sounds like a kid in any way, shape, or form.
The Seatopians are just… stupid. In the literal sense of their plan because really Megalon is not that terrifying a creature to behold or combat. True, he can tunnel just about anywhere and literally upchuck balls of napalm and shoot out bolts of lightning from his horn but… Well, he’s not all that bright a monster and combined with his many insect traits and qualities, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find him easily corralled to Monster Island or electrocuted via giant bug zapper.
There’s also how the Seatopians would be so daring as to attack the entirety of the world without thought of what the world would do in turn. I mean, their entire nation is more underground than underwater and it’s already been proven that nuclear tests are causing them harm so what’s to stop anyone from upgrading those tests to full assaults?
Onto the kaiju side, man it’s freaking great. It’s campy yes, silly at times definitely, but an absolute blast to watch. If there is a single film that showcases all of what the Showa era of Godzilla films is about it’s this one. Honestly, if nothing else, I recommend this movie for the sheer hilarity that is the most amazingly stupid fight sequences I’ve ever seen in a giant monster movie bar none.