Director: Jun Fukuda
Writers: Shinichi Sekizawa and Kazue Shiba
Cast: Tadao Takashima, Akira Kubo, Bibari Maeda, Akihiko Hirata, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Kenji Sahara, Kenichiro Maruyama, Seishiro Kuno, Yasuhiko Saijo, Susumu Kurobe, Kazuo Suzuki, Wataru Omae, Chotaro Togin, Osman Yusuf, Haruo Nakajima, Seiji Onaka, Yu Sekita, and “Little Man” Machan
Composer: Masaru Sato
Release Date: 12/16/1967
MPAA Rating: PG
While performing weather experiments on a tropical island, a scientific team inadvertently causes Kamacuras—the name assigned to a group of giant praying mantises—to grow to an extraordinary size before attacking Minilla, the infant son of Godzilla. After defeating Kamacuras, Godzilla proceeds to raise Minilla in a stern but loving manner.
Notable for introducing three daikaiju (i.e. Minilla/Minya, Kumonga/Spiga, and Kamacuras/Gimantis) to the Godzilla franchise, this installment may appeal to diehard enthusiasts of the kaiju eiga genre. It should be mentioned, however, that Son of Godzilla is marred by poor production values, groan-worthy hijinks involving Minilla and his father, and an utter lack of destruction footage in a metropolitan area—a trademark of almost every Japanese monster movie.
Confined to a small cave in one scene, the human characters are given barely enough room to outmaneuver the grotesque, overgrown appendage of Kumonga—an arachnid kaiju known for assisting Mothra in the climactic showdown of Destroy All Monsters. Aided by the suspenseful music of Masaru Sato, the spider sequence should be commended for generating and sustaining tension at a critical point in Son of Godzilla’s narrative.
Though initially very cute and amusing, the antics of Minilla and Godzilla—now training his son to become a fierce, independent fighter—become rather tedious after a while. For example, when testing his atomic breath (the signature ability of Godzilla) for the first time, Minilla blows a pitiful ring of smoke from his mouth—a mildly endearing, albeit sappy, comedic device that fails to maintain a charming effect when repeated ad nauseam.
Despite providing the king of monsters with an anthropomorphized appearance, the MusukoGoji deserves its reputation as the worst Godzilla suit ever featured in a kaiju film. (Astute viewers will, in fact, note the many similarities between Godzilla’s new face and that of the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.)
By embracing a child-friendly tone, Son of Godzilla makes no attempt to offer relevant or meaningful commentary on real-world affairs—much in contrast to the 1954 masterpiece directed by Ishiro Honda.
Son of Godzilla is a campy, juvenile entry in Toho’s Showa-era kaiju series. Therefore, fans of the original Godzilla—a dark and serious film that warns of a potential nuclear disaster—may be wise to avoid this production.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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