Director: Jun Fukuda
Writers: Jun Fukuda and Hiroyasu Yamaura
Cast: Maasaki Daimon, Kazuya Aoyama, Reiko Tajima, Akihiko Hirata, Hiromi Matsushita, Hiroshi Koizumi, Masao Imafuku, Barbara Lynn, Shin Kishida, Goro Mutsumi, Daigo Kusano, Takayasu Torii, Kenji Sahara, Yasuzo Ogawa, Takamitsu Watanabe, Takanobu Toya, Koji Ozaki, Isao Zushi, Ise Mori, and Momoru Kusumi
Composer: Masaru Sato
Release Date: 3/24/1974
MPAA Rating: PG
Attempting to conquer the Earth, intelligent ape-like aliens from the Black Hole Planet 3 unleash Mechagodzilla—a mechanical version of Godzilla—on the Japanese countryside. Only King Caesar—ancient shisa kaiju and guardian of the Azumi family—and the real Godzilla can defeat Mechagodzilla in battle.
The penultimate entry in the Showa series, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla deserves praise for its limited camp factor, colorful cinematography, and strong performances from an exceptional cast. This offering may, however, prompt criticism for its alien invasion subplot, elements of which are heavily borrowed from The Mysterians, Godzilla vs. Gigan, and Invasion of Astro-Monster.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla should be commended for its compelling monster battles, which forgo (at least for the most part) the extreme silliness and formulaic tendencies of other Godzilla productions released in the early 1970s. Specifically worth noting are the additions of King Caesar and Mechagodzilla, providing Godzilla with a worthy ally and opponent respectively during the climactic showdown.
Though regarded positively by many Godzilla buffs, the jazzy, upbeat musical arrangement of Masaru Sato (composer of Godzilla Raids Again, Son of Godzilla, and Ebirah, Horror of the Deep) often clashes with the dark and serious tone of this film.
Ostensibly a child-friendly creature feature, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is marred by copious gore and violence. In one particularly shocking scene, for instance, Mechagodzilla (disguised as the real Godzilla) tears open the jaw of Anguirus, causing blood to spill from his mutilated mouth—possibly an homage to the T-rex fight from King Kong, but one that will likely disturb the youngest of kaiju eiga fans.
Similar to Gojira, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla explores a monster-themed premise through a framework of respect and solemnity—an aspect that should allow the audience to overlook the occasionally goofy, absurd plot devices that appear throughout this film.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a well-made, entertaining installment in Toho Studios’ daikaiju franchise. Viewers of a critical mindset may nevertheless take issue with the over-the-top violence, recycled subject matter, and incongruous musical selections contained in this movie.
Overall Quality: 5/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.