Son of Godzilla

Son of Godzilla

aka Monster Island’s Decisive Battle: Godzilla’s Son aka Kaiju-shima no Kessen Gojira no Musuko

1967

Directed by Jun Fukuda

Hey, what the hell are you doing in my shower??

Son of Godzilla is a damn awesome film, but it is also a film that you pretty much need to see as a kid. Looking back on the film as an adult, there are plenty of things wrong, but there are plenty of things right. And as the waves of nostalgia wash over you, even the few problems you see melt away into the bliss of Minya. I can imagine people viewing this for the first times as adults, and much of the magic will be gone.

I still have the VHS tape of Son of Godzilla I bought with my own money as a small kid. I didn’t want to wait for the film to pop up on TBS’s Super Scary Saturday or the local station KLJB-TV which would sometimes show Godzilla movies during their Sunday “we gotta air SOMETHING!” programming. I watched that tape like crazy, it getting just as much play as Godzilla’s Revenge, Ghidrah, and a few other Godzilla flicks I watched religiously.

That’s right, baby. Not ten minutes old and chicks are lining up to serve me!

Minya was designed to appeal to kids, and it worked beautifully. He’s the ultimate lure to get kids even more excited to watch the monster films. It’s the same old gimmick as masked crimefighters having young kid sidekicks. Minya isn’t even the first monster kid, Kong had a son decades before Godzilla was even a reality. But Minya has stood the test of time and even survived a brief attempt to usurp him of his role as Godzilla’s son. Suck it, Godzilla Junior, you’re just a second rate extra from Dinosaurs!

Son of Godzilla features two other new monsters, Kumonga and Kamacuras, aka Speiga and Gimantis. Both are creepy bug monsters, preventing anyone becoming attached to them instead of Minya or Godzilla as the heroes. Sure, there are people who are into spiders and insects, and even Mothra is a hero, but the gut reaction of the bugs vs. the cute kid is obviously what they were going for.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Just FYI, I’m calling them Minya, Speiga, and Gimantis through the plot section. None of that Minilla, Kumonga, or Kamacuras crap. That’s because these are the names I grew up with. And this is my review, so I can do what I want! Nyeh nyeh nyeh!

The remote island location with the small science crew allows for some lower budget action. They realize they need a character to have everything explained to, so in airdrops the standard reporter character. Godzilla films need reporter and scientist characters, it is the peanut butter and chocolate on the kaiju bread. Despite many of the characters getting no lines and just wandering around in the background, some of them are pretty heavy hitters.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLadies!

So I did my best with the cast list, several of the researchers don’t really get names or personalities, so I played mix and match.

Maki Goro (Akira Kubo) – Goro has a stomach for news! He also has a stomach for picking up hot island chicks and getting in the middle of giant monster fights. I’ve meet Akira Kubo in real life because I’m awesome like that. Akira Kubo was also in such classics as Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Matango, and Gorath
Reiko/Saeko Matsumiya (Bibari/Beverly Maeda) - Island girl Reiko has been alone on the island since her father, archeologist Tadashi Matsumiya, died years ago. She instantly takes a liking to Goro and about five minutes later has moved from jungle girl clothes to wearing Hawaiian shirts, white pants, and even a cute mod-inspired snow suit. Reiko is the English dub name and Saeko is the Japanese dub name.
Professor Kusumi (Tadao Takashima) – Professor likes his pipe, which would get him an R-rating in modern film. Dr. Kusumi is working on a plan to control the weather to help in food production. Tadao Takashima also appeared in 1993′s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Frankenstein Conquers the World, Atragon, and King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Dr. Fujisaki (Akihiko Hirata) – Dr. Fujisaki is 2nd in command and Professor Kusumi’s friend. He comes up with most of the escape plans and fixes the radio. Akihiko Hirata has a history with Godzilla films all the way back to being Dr. Serizawa in the original Gojira. See him here in Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, Ghidrah, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, and Cozzilla
Furukawa (Yoshio Tsuchiya) – Furukawa is an angry guy who hates the island they are on, hates the hot weather, and hates everything ever that ever was or will be. He’s grumpier than Grumpy Smurf. Furukawa is also mentally unstable due to all the heat and later fevers he gets, which makes it odd that he’s running around armed most of the time. Yoshio Tsuchiya can be seen here in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Gigantis the Fire Monster.
Morio (Kenji Sahara) - Scientist who usually wears sunglasses and sees some of the important monster developments in the film. You can see Kenji Sahara in G History all the way back to the original Gojira to Godzilla Final Wars. See him on TarsTarkas.NET in Godzilla vs. The Thing, Ultra Q, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.
Ozawa (Kenichiro Maruyama) – Kenichiro Maruyama is barely there in several films, including brief appearances as an islander in Godzilla vs the Sea Monster and as a Moon base employee in Destroy All Monsters.
Tashiro (Seishiro Kuno) – Tashiro has a brown shirt and shines a light on Reiko. That’s about it for his character. Seishiro Kuno is so barely in Godzilla vs. The Thing, you would think I am lying to you. But I am not and he is in it. Somewhere…
Suzuki (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Suzuki is another island member who did little and said less. Yasuhiko Saijo was Ippei in Ultra Q, also a henchman in Godzilla vs. Gigan. Isn’t it weird how 2/3rd of Ultra Q is trapped on this island? I’m just going to declare that Ultra Q takes place in the Godzillaverse.

Kaiju Roll Call!

Godzilla (Haruo Nakajima and Seiji Onaka) – Godzilla is the king of all monsters and the king of parental responsibility. When he isn’t taking a nap. Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla for years, was Big G during the first scenes done in the water, but later taller actor Seiji Onaka took over so Godzilla would look bigger than his son.
Minya (“Little Man” Machan) – Minya is the son of Godzilla who counts, unlike that other guy who sucks and we’re not going to mention his name ever again. But you know who you are. Try as I might, I can’t find any pictures of “Little Man” Machan, a little person wrestler who played Minya in all three movie appearances.
Gimantis/Kamacuras – Giant mantis who is mutated to be even gianter. Picks fights with Minya, Godzilla, and Speiga. Gets sucked bone dry.
Speiga/Kumonga – Spider monster that spends most of the film sleeping, the rest trying to eat the other monsters and people. Eventually learns no one messes with Godzilla.
Gimantis 2/Kamacuras 2 - Second Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets burnt to a crisp.
Gimantis 3/Kamacuras 3 – Third Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets fried to ashes.
I’m totally gonna Serve you, Gimantis! I see some haters grillin’ I see some ladies chillin’ I see that girlie I’ve been plottin’ to get She can hop in the whip And we can Pump p p Pump Pump it up

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLadies!

So we’re watching the widescreen DVD print, which has both Japanese and English language tracks. Damn this looks good in widescreen. And damn it feels good to be a gansta’! The English dub is the International Version, which is different from the dubbed version I have on VHS. Notably, they pronounce Speiga as “Spyga” or something similar. The vhs version I have definitely says “Speiga” I watched it like 500 times as a kid so I know. There are some other, smaller dialogue changes, but that is the most noticeable.

The Japanese opening is totally different! We have some goofball Japanese pilots who almost ram into Godzilla out at sea in the middle of a storm when some interference messes with their instruments. Somehow, they figure out Godzilla is heading to Sollgel Island, and that Godzilla heading there maybe because something is calling Godzilla? That statement has so much foreshadowing that it is blacker than the blackest black hole that ever holed.

Since there are no women on this island, off with the pants!

Morio and Furukawa are making reports at a tower, Furukawa is bothered by all the hot so Morio reports in. Something is shrieking in the jungle, but we don’t see it and it doesn’t see them. Okay, we see a tiny bit of Gimantis eyes popping up over the jungle, but at this point we have no reason to know what the frak that even is.

Two operators – Fujisaki and Ozawa – make smalltalk after Professor Kusumi gives them more work to do. After dealing with more of the strange interference (which cuts out too fast for them to locate it), radar picks up an incoming plane. No one knows they are on the island except the UN. Who could it be? Batman?

Marvel at the power of models
Someone left the model out in the rain…

Out drops two parachutes. It’s Maki Goro, newsman! He says he knows there is a story here, and he demands the story, and won’t budge until he gets it. He even almost doesn’t eat dinner until they decide to put him to work as they can’t just kick him off the island.

Then the Gimantis stops by, at this point they are only the size of a horse. Perhaps we can go Gimantis riding one day. Goro names the Gimantises later, but I’m calling them Gimantises now because otherwise it’s confusing. We must be less confusing here, otherwise you won’t be able to follow the complicated plot that is Godzilla and Son fight Bugs!

These special effects haven’t aged a bit!

A few days later, Goro is out picking vegetables when he stumbles across a jungle girl bathing. Said jungle girl quickly disappears underwater when she spots him. No one believes him.

Professor Kusumi explains to Goro that his device is a weather changing machine, and the current plan is to freeze the island.

Time to do the experiment! Queue lots of shots of the researchers checking equipment and looking important. As an actual scientist who works with actual equipment all the time, I can say that all we do all day is check equipment and look serious. The more serious you look, the better your data comes out!

Hey, have you heard about the Book of Mormon? Because we’re PRAYING mantises!

So for the experiment, they release balloons and blow them up at various altitudes, the balloons and control towers containing chemicals that affect weather patterns. The first balloon blows up without a hitch, and the temperature begins to go down. Step 2 is to bring the temperature back up, and the next balloon is released…but the interference is back!!! This keeps them from knowing the balloon’s altitude, thus they blow it up at the wrong time, causing a giant radioactive storm that ravages the island for days and days. A kindly narrator suddenly speaks up to explain to us what’s going on, by the way.

Finally, they can go outside and inspect all the equipment (Furukawa is not too happy) and Goro annoys the professor with photos as the two walk, until they see…Giant Gimantis!!!! And it’s walking! And the soundtrack is like a train song or something. Luckily it doesn’t see them, or they would be dinner. Another does! So they run to a tower and hide. Three Gimantises total come running by, all three head to a weird pile of rocks mysteriously right where the mysterious interference signal of mystery mysteriously comes from. Will the mysterious mystery be solved in a mysterious manner? Maybe.

I heard he buried a whole jar of pennies under here!

Those bugs dig up an egg! Mothra, you egg laying bastard, what are you- Oh, not Mothra.

Back at the camp, the group discusses that it will take ten days to repair all the equipment, and the radio is busted…(or is it???) They also spot the jungle girl in camp ganking Goro’s shirt.

The next day, The Gimantises are still pounding on the egg. These guys don’t give up. And don’t get bored. I guess they really want that Cadbury cream filling inside the egg.

ROOOAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Bleh! Why do I always swim with my mouth open? Bleh!

Goro and Tashiro watch it begin to crack, and the jungle girl is there as well. Minya hatches! He’s instantly declared a baby Godzilla, because the resemblance is obvious! The bugs salivate at the mouth, they are so ready to eat him.

Meanwhile Furukawa has gone gun bonkers and is running around shooting the air and running into the ocean. You probably shouldn’t run into the ocean when Godzilla is coming! GODZILLA!!!!! Godzilla stomps through the camp squashing some buildings. He reaches the bugs – and bodyslams one! Hell yeah, it’s wrasslin’ time!

Okay, who broke my window? Not me! Not me! Not me!

The baby calling out “papa” as well is a nice touch. A Gimantis gets burned to a BBQ-mantis. The flaming legs almost hit our heroes as they run. Godzilla kicks a rock and gets the mantises playing catch, then they rockface Minya with the boulder. Big G also grabs his kid by the tail to pull him back. The bugs press the attack, only to have a second one get bodyslammed and burnt. The last Gimantis runs for his life.


Catch!
[FLOWPLAYER=http://tarstarkas.net/movies/sonofgodzilla_clip1.flv,600,279]

Godzilla then wanders off after hitting the kid in the back of the head with his tail. Sniff…just like my daddy… Reiko gets Minya’s attention with her magic bird call, and feeds him some fruit. Dad finally returns to get his son. Minya hops on his tail and goes off to live his new life.

Godzilla and Gimantis in forbidden love

Reiko ominously goes through an area covered in spider web, then enters her cave, only to find an unconscious Goro inside, who quickly wakes up and looks around. He wins her heart by giving her the shirt she stole from him. Women. Goro brings Reiko to camp (where the radio is really broken now) and the journal of her archeologist father.

Gimantis stops by to say “Hey, guys, I’m still threatening to tiny humans like you!” The team decides to move all their equipment into Reiko’s cave to be safe. Good job, Reiko, you went from single gal to living with like 10 dudes all because of a red shirt.

They call me Raid-zilla!

Minya is all growed up to a costume that fits a little guy inside it, as opposed to the puppet that he was when he first hatched. Minya is now kicking a rock around trying to have fun in the G-family’s boiling lava-side den. Big G is catching a nap as the formative years of his son’s life fly by without him. Cat’s in the cradle, indeed. We’re all surprised that Minya doesn’t grow up cooking Crystal Meth and burning dog houses.

Rocks are no fun when you got dad’s tail to jump over! Big G begins to get slightly annoyed as his son keeps tripping over his tail. Reiko and Goro are in love, and also they feed Minya some more until big daddy comes by. Minya is upset and throws a temper tantrum like any little kid, so dad just drags him along by his tail.

I want to play in the charred remains of the Gimantises!

Professor finds the word “Speiga” in Reiko’s late professor father’s notes and is mystified, but no time for speculation as everyone else has horrible fevers! No, not Boogie Fever or Disco Fever. They have Bieber Fever! The only cure is red water past the Speiga and where Big G is. There are probably also Orcs and Gollum hanging around.

Goro makes a reference that this is a Monster Island, a concept that came into being by the end of the decade. Speiga’s web can only be cut by heat. Hey, a movie where it is the guy who is a klutz and knocks down rocks!

We’re not posing for a publicity photo!

Godzilla trains his son the art of atomic breath. Minya blasts only smoke rings until Godzilla steps on his tail. Godzilla then goes back to sleep.

Back in the cave, Furukawa goes nuts again and shoots the professor in the arm. Finally, Professor realizes they should give up and try to fix the radio to go home. Reiko goes out looking for medicine and instead finds Gimantis, who chases after her. She calls for Minya, who wanders by. Minya sizes up the situation, roars his Minya roar, and then blows a few smoke rings that annoy Gimantis.

More happy childhood memories!

Gimantis conks him on the shoulder, and Minya stumbles, knocking over some rocks that fall down where Speiga is sleeping. Where Speiga who is now waking up cuz a bunch of rocks fell on him was sleeping…

Gimantis menaces Minya as Reiko is saved by Goro. But daddy comes by and blasts that stupid Gimantis on the head, and it flies away. Speiga awakens…and starts shooting webbing at Reiko and Goro. Heat from Goro’s lighter cuts through them, and they hide in some rocks I like how when the Speiga sticks it’s creepy arm into the cave to grab them, Goro cover’s Reiko’s mouth so she won’t make a noise, but then shoots at the arm making like 1000x more noise than Reiko ever would.

OMG my soul is escaping!

They climb out the top while Speiga keeps on spraying the opening below. They run into the Professor at one of the towers, and chat for a bit until the Speiga goes rumbling by, then hide. And that’s how the Professor finds out Speiga is awake, instead of being told “Hey, there’s now a giant spider running around!”

Later in the day, everyone gets trapped in the cave when Speiga webspins all over the entrance, then sticks a claw inside to try to grab someone. Eventually everyone gets to a safe distance, but now they all despair as the radio is fixed, but they need an outside antenna. so Reiko reveals there is a cave tunnel that goes to an underwater exit. Her and Goro take it and set up the antenna.

Instead of being a tough fighter, I’m gonna learn ballet, dad!

Minya wanders by and wants food, but is dejected when they leave. Then he’s shocked when he stumbles across Speiga! Minya panics, and Speiga blasts him with webbing. The battle above causes the cave to start to collapse. The new plan is to do the experiment and freeze the island, so they won’t get all monstered up during the rescue. Luckily, the radio says they already sent a ship and it will be there soon.

Minya is all mummied up in spider webbing, but the noise from the battle draw Gimantis near…and he gets webbed! Minya’s calls are like a cat yelping. I thought I heard Minya calling for me last night, but it was just some cats doing it in the back alley. This happens like twice a month, though sometimes it’s just possums getting it on instead of cats…

Dreaming about a son who’s into sports and fighting

But Big G wakes up when the first balloon explodes and goes to look for his wayward son. Speiga fisnishes off Gimantis, sucking him dry (Gimantis’s eyes dim in a nice touch.) Speiga heads to have Minya for dessert…

Dad arrives, and he’s like WTF??? Godzilla tosses a rock at Speiga and bowls him over. But it’s just a 7-10 split, as Speiga is back up and blasting webbing at Godzilla, who frees his son. This just annoys Godzilla, who starts to chase after Speiga, Minya tagging after. Speiga doubles down on the webbing, producing enough that it ensnares Godzilla and he falls. You all remember from Godzilla vs. Mothra that Godzilla’s weakness is webbing.

Dad! I got into the Math Club!

The weather experiment begins to work, the temperature starts going down. Minya shoots flames at Speiga’s web to help dad, and Godzilla also recovers enough to fire some flames. They kick Speiga over. Next comes my favorite weird scene of the Godzilla fights – Speiga makes his mouthspear go in and out faster and faster as we get ever closer and closer shots of Godzilla intently watching this…until suddenly Godzilla is writhing in pain with his eye shut…the spear got shot in his eye! I love this scene because it took me forever to figure out what was going on when I was 6.

The humans evacuate the island as it starts to snow. Godzilla continues the breath attack even with only one good eye. Maybe Godzilla can rock an eyepatch for a while…

This is how Godzilla Serves people

Godzilla and Son must team up to deliver the killing blow – dual breath action! The spider roasts as they roar victory, the snow falling like the worst blizzard in the universe. Or just a small storm in the Midwest.

At first Godzilla lumbers off without his son, but he returns to get him. Dad and son then embrace, to freeze into hibernation!

That guy who stands outside my house is back again…

OMG another monster..oh, wait, it’s just a UN submarine. Goodbye!

Hey, Speiga, baby…Who does your nails? Because you should see my girl Tina and get you some pink leopard print!

So the question is…Is Godzilla a good parent? I argue that yes, yes he is. Even though Godzilla seems like all he wants to do is sleep for most of the flick, He does look after his little rugrat. Godzilla teaches Minya how to roar, how to fight, and how to be tough. Godzilla looks like he’s wandering off without his son, but he’s really trying to push his son to the limit on being tough and powerful. Big G is not afraid to go back and grab his son, or to pull him out of danger in fights, and even embraces him when they go into hibernation. Minya will never be a big mean monster like his dad. Dad knows this, but also knows he has to teach his son how to survive in a dirty bastard world, thus the fighting training (mentioned again in Godzilla’s Revenge). Minya lives in a dangerous place, where he could easily become dinner. Heck, he even looks like dinner. No wonder everyone wants to eat him.

Godzilla will return in Diamonds are Forever vs the Smog Monster!

Yes, this is definitely a device that is raising up in the air. What kind of joke should I make about that? Hm….
This is totally against the building permit codes! Someone call the city inspector!

March of Godzilla 2011 continues!

I spent the heating bill money on beer, so we’ll have to make do with setting the neighbors on fire for warmth!

Rated 9/10 (blue-eyed girl, eskimo mod, Ringu, now we know where Monster Island is!, Eye see you!, paratroopers!, I ordered medium-rare not well done!, blasting a spider, good thing she had that hat…)




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Merry Christmas from Monster Island!
When a sneeze is more than a sneeze
Good thing nothing is going to go flying into my big exposed eye…
Head and Shoulders totally doesn’t work!
Dual beam action!
Who says we aren’t threatening villains? I’ll tell Jesus on you!
Minya forgot you need a partner to do the trust falling routine.
I’m a little tea pot…
It’s me at three years old being dragged off to bed again
Hi, we were edited out of the version you grew up with, but now we are in it. Sort of like those weird cousins at your family reunion you never met.
That’s the easily adjustable model?
Which Jelly Belly flavor is this?
I’ve been to some strange male bonding outings before, but…
I don’t even have the egg goo dried off me and people want to eat me??
We’re still not posing for a publicity photo!
Why do you think we keep posing for publicity photos?

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!

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