Director: Ishiro Honda
Writer: Takeshi Kimura
Cast: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Susumu Fujita, Hisaya Ito, Yoshio Kosugi, Fuyuki Murakami, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Minosuke Yamada, Tetsu Nakamura, Hehachiro Okawa, Takeo Ikawa, Haruya Kato, Senkichi Omura, Yutaka Sada, Hideo Mihara, Rikie Sanjo, Soji Oikata, Mitsuo Tsuda, Ken Imaizumi, Shin Otomo, Jiryo Kumagai, Akio Kusama, Shoichi Hirose, Tadao Nakamaru, Kaneyuki Tsubono, Rinsaku Ogata, Yasuhiro Shigenobu, George Farness, Harold S. Conway, Haruo Nakajima, and Katsumi Tezuka
Composer: Akira Ifukube
Release Date: 12/28/1957
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
After landing on Earth, aliens from the planet Mysteroid ask for a small strip of land on which to settle. Despite claiming to be pacifists, the Mysterians quickly shatter the trust of humans by ordering Moguera, a giant robot equipped for combat, to wreak havoc upon Japanese cities.
The Mysterians is an entertaining, albeit poorly paced, science fiction piece by Gojira director Ishiro Honda. Daikaiju fans in particular are advised to view this offering, which introduces the mechanical monster known as Moguera (not to be confused with M.O.G.U.E.R.A. of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla fame).
It should be mentioned that certain battle scenes are a tad overlong, preventing audiences with a short attention span from enjoying the central conflict of this film. That being said, the devastation caused by Moguera and the Mysterians will no doubt appeal to enthusiasts of the kaiju eiga genre. Especially remarkable is the musical score of Akira Ifukube, which adds a rousing element to many otherwise dull and forgettable destruction sequences.
From a logical perspective, Takeshi Kimura’s narrative is hampered by one major flaw: having unleashed Moguera before establishing contact with the people of Earth, the Mysterians do a poor job of crafting a benevolent veneer with which to scam the human race. (A more compelling variation of the same concept is featured in The Twilight Zone’s “To Serve Man,” wherein the Kanamits offer to eliminate world hunger, thereby winning the trust of their eventual victims.) Also worth considering, Moguera’s rampage might have been better utilized in the climactic showdown between humans and their Mysterian rivals (for example, the Mysterians could have activated Moguera only as a last resort when losing the final battle).
Produced during the Cold War, The Mysterians employs an alien invasion scenario to warn of a potential nuclear holocaust. The Day the Earth Stood Still had done so previously, with the humanoid Klaatu explaining that, if allowed to continue on its current course, mankind would inevitably destroy itself. The alien antagonists in The Mysterians foresee the same outcome, but use this knowledge to justify their takeover of Earth. Though quite different from each other, both films include a valuable message about the dangers of mishandling scientific discovery.
For complementing alien warfare and monster mayhem with political commentary, The Mysterians earns its reputation as a Toho classic. Nevertheless, casual viewers may wish to avoid this movie for its awkward pacing and dated special effects.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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