Director: Ishiro Honda
Writers: Kaoru Mabuchi and Ishiro Honda
Cast: Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi, Yoshi Tsuchiya, Kyoko Ai, Andrew Hughes, Chotaro Togin, Yoshifumi Tajima, Kenji Sahara, Hisaya Ito, Yoshio Katsuda, Henry Okawa, Ikio Sawamura, Yutaka Sada, Hiroshi Okada, Hideo Shibuya, Nadao Kirino, Yutaka Oka, Kamayuki Tsubono, Seishiro Kuno, Kenichiro Maruyama, Ken Echigo, Wataru Omae, Naoya Kusakawa, Kazuo Suzuki, Toru Ibuki, Susumu Kurobe, Minoru Ito, Rinsaku Ogata, Haruya Sakamoto, Yukihiko Gondo, Keiko Miyauchi, Masaaki Tachibana, Saburo Iketani, Atsuko Takahashi, Yoshio Miyata, Ari Sagawa, Kyoko Mori, Midori Uchiyama, Wakako Tanabe, Michiko Ishii, Haruo Nakajima, Teruo Nigaki, Yu Sekita, “Little Man” Machan, and Susumu Utsumi
Composer: Akira Ifukube
Release Date: 8/1/1968
MPAA Rating: G
Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Manda, Varan, Baragon, Minilla, Kumonga, Anguirus, and Gorosaurus are confined to Monsterland—a secure location in the Ogasawara island chain—per a United Nations’ directive. When Kilaaks—members of a feminine alien race—eliminate the barrier surrounding Monsterland, Godzilla and his fellow kaiju proceed to attack and destroy several of the most heavily populated cities (Moscow, Paris, Beijing, London, and New York City) in the world. Only Katsuo Yamabe (Akira Kubo)—captain of the rocket ship Moonlight SY-3—and his crew can infiltrate the Kilaaks’ lunar headquarters before King Ghidorah, a mysterious fire dragon/UFO, and the remaining Earth-bound monsters annihilate the entire planet.
The Japanese equivalent of a monster mash, Destroy All Monsters is an epic tokusatsu film directed by Ishiro Honda. Enthusiasts of the kaiju eiga franchise should therefore enjoy this offering, the premise for which would eventually inspire Godzilla: Final Wars—arguably the most famous entry in the Millennium series.
Though repetitive, the musical arrangement of Akira Ifukube—veteran composer for Toho’s Showa-era kaiju installments—adds excitement to the human, monster, and alien conflicts included in Honda’s narrative. Especially worth praising is Ifukube’s main score, which, by borrowing elements from “Japanese Army March” (an iconic piece played for the first time in Gojira), sets a rousing tone for the action-heavy sequences highlighted throughout this film.
During the final showdown, a daikaiju team led by Godzilla engages King Ghidorah on Mount Fuji. Despite benefiting from top-notch choreography and special effects, the climactic scene should be criticized for pitting seven monsters against only one (Godzilla vs. Gigan, on the other hand, contains a more balanced fight between Ghidorah and his eponymous archenemy).
On a technical note, this production is marred by insufferable pacing and an utter absence of character development—much in contrast to Invasion of Astro-Monster, a classic kaiju film that employs many of the concepts (e.g. retro-futurism, space exploration, and invaders from another planet using mind control to wreak havoc on Earth) later featured in Destroy All Monsters.
By combining science fiction tropes with compelling monster battles, Destroy All Monsters earns its reputation as the quintessential creature feature. The slow-moving nature of the second act may, however, evoke criticism from long-time fans and series newcomers alike.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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