Godzilla vs. Megalon (Review)

Godzilla vs. Megalon

aka Gojira tai Megaro


Katsuhiko Sasaki as Inventor Goro Ibuki
Hiroyuki Kawase as Rokuro ‘Roku-chan’ Ibuki (Rock Salt)
Yutaka Hayashi as Hiroshi Jinkawa (Rex Dart- Eskimo Spy)
Robert Dunham as Emperor Antonio of Seatopia
Kotaro Tomita as Lead Seatopian Agent (Oscar Wilde)
Wolf Otsuki as Seatopian Agent (Rasputin)

From the magic land of Japan we get the epic story of a robot and his giant lizard friend as they defend the world from a giant cockroach and a big beetle. Yes, Godzilla is back, and this time, he’s teamed up with his greatest companion, Jet Jaguar. Now this is generally considered one of the worst of the series (in fact, of all the different series) and there is a strong argument for that honor. The lack of budget is apparent throughout the film, from the lack of extras, to the reuse of stock shots from many prior films, to the shoddy costumes for the monsters and Seatopians. The worst offender is the character of Rokuro, aka Roku-chan, or what we’ll be calling him in this review, Rock Salt. Every time his name is called, it sounds like they’re just saying “Rock Salt!” so there we go. (MST3K referred to him as “Roxanne” in their airing.) Rock Salt is the worst instance of a “Kenny” in a Godzilla film. Kennies are named after the many different Kennies from the Gamera series of films, in which each movie had a different annoying kid named Kenny who seemed to have higher security clearance than the highest generals in Japan. Kennies are also known to wear shorts so tiny they’d cover more skin if they didn’t wear pants at all. Kenny’s main job is to give kids a movie representation of themselves to bring them into the film. Unfortunately for us, anyone over 9 realizes Kennies are annoying. Rock Salt is one of the most annoying Kennies to emerge from Japan. He’s dubbed by a woman who does male child voices by just whining in a baby’s voice. The screeching heard every time Rock Salt opens his filthy mouth is enough to grate your ears so you’ll rip them off. Rock Salt lives with two men, one of who is called his “brother,” named Goro. The fact that Goro is over twenty years older than Rock Salt, yet no other parents are around, is oddly suspicious, especially since the only other parental figure is fellow male Hiroshi Jinkawa. No one calls him Hiroshi Jinkawa at any point in the film, and MST3K dubbed him Rex Dart, Eskimo Spy; and so he shall be called here as well.

Enough of the human characters, we’ll go into them in more detail later, let’s get to the whole reason we watch these films, the monsters. The Daikaiju. The Big Boys. We know the headliner, Big G himself, Godzilla. We got us a brand new Godzilla suit for this film, which makes him look like a frog. As the current kid-friendly trend made Godzilla’s eyes get bigger and bigger, we see the extreme right here. If you’re nostalgic for some of the older suits and face designs, you’re in luck, and the liberal use of older footage gives us the Godzilla vs. Gigan suit, as well as the suits from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Destroy All Monsters. Teaming up with Godzilla is the reason this film was made, Jet Jaguar. Jet Jaguar, in addition to having an awesome name, is a robot with special powers. He has the ability to think for himself, evasion sensors so he’ll always get out of your way (props to dumb dialogue), punch-card powered programming, and the ability to program himself to change his height. Not by any build in means, he just magically grows big or shrinks depending on what the script calls for. More on that as it happens, let’s look at the villains. The evil headliner is Megalon, making his movie debut. This was the first in a series of one movies Megalon is featured in in his quest to destroy Godzilla. That puts him on equal footing with Jet Jaguar, as they’re both one-hit wonders. Megalon is a giant cockroach. He has the magical power of shooting lightning from his star shaped antenna on his head (a singular antenna) and can spit red bricks that explode upon impact. Megalon’s most far out feature is what cements him in the dredges of G-History: Drill Hands. Yes, each hand of Megalon is half a drill. No thumbs, no claws, no use of any kind, but drills. Maybe Japan had an irrational fear of the Chrysler Building during the early seventies. He’s joined by Gigan, who’s returning from the previous film, both because the costume was still in good condition, and because that allows to use a good chunk of the previous film’s fight between Godzilla and Gigan. After this, Gigan won’t be seen again until Godzilla Final Wars (and his second form in that movie makes him look even more silly.) Gigan is a beetle-looking freak with a single red glowing eye, like old school cylons from Battlestar Galactica, minus the ping pong action. Gigan has hooks for hands, making his only slightly less useless than Megalon’s.

So we know our characters, we know our monsters, we know our potential pitfalls, let’s get this party started!

Continue reading