Director: Jun Fukuda
Writer: Shinichi Sekizawa
Cast: Hiroshi Ishikawa, Yuriko Hishimi, Minoru Takashima, Tomoko Umeda, Toshiaki Nishizawa, Zan Fujita, Kunio Murai, Gen Shimizu, Zeko Nakamura, Kuniko Ashihara, Akio Murata, Noritake Saito, Yasuhiko Saijo, Naoya Kusakawa, Wataru Omae, Haruo Nakajima, Kengo Nakayama, Koetsu Omiya, and Kanta Ina
Composer: Akira Ifukube (Stock Music)
Release Date: 3/12/1972
MPAA Rating: PG
Posing as humans, giant cockroaches from the M Space Hunter Nebula kidnap engineer Takashi Shima (Kunio Murai) and imprison him in Godzilla Tower—the main attraction of World Children’s Land, a monster-themed amusement park. Assisted by manga artist Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa), hippie Shosaku Takasugi (Minoru Takashima), and third-degree black belt Tomoko Tomoe (Yuriko Hishimi), Machiko Shima (Tomoko Umeda)—sister of Takashi—discovers that the alien cockroaches intend to eradicate the human species and later recolonize the Earth. Receiving a hidden message, Godzilla and Anguirus leave Monster Island to defend Japan from Gigan and King Ghidorah—space monsters controlled by the Nebula M Aliens.
Godzilla vs. Gigan is a plodding, juvenile entry in the Showa series. For introducing Gigan (a favorite among Japanese monster enthusiasts), however, this film should be requisite viewing for fans of the kaiju eiga genre.
Showcasing some of the best destruction footage since the original version of Godzilla, the scenes in which Gigan and King Ghidorah—both pawns of the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens—wreak havoc upon Tokyo should be commended.
On more than one occasion, Godzilla “communicates” with Anguirus in a language that only monsters can understand. An embarrassing addition to an already problematic film, the Godzilla/Anguirus conversations (depicted through speech bubbles that display the dialogue of each daikaiju) will likely induce cringing from the audience.
Though hardly the first Toho production to employ stock footage, Godzilla vs. Gigan fails to incorporate sequences of past kaiju battles in a seamless and coherent manner. Astute viewers will note, for instance, that despite occurring within a span of several hours, the tag team match involving Godzilla, Anguirus, Gigan, and King Ghidorah constantly transitions between night and day—obviously a result of slapdash editing.
Sans the preachiness and lack of subtlety whereby Godzilla vs. Hedorah is defined, Godzilla vs. Gigan offers a commentary on the long-term consequences of abusing and disregarding the environment.
A drawn-out, forgettable installment in the Godzilla franchise, Godzilla vs. Gigan is marred by a thin script and an overlong (albeit mildly entertaining) climax. Science fiction buffs may nevertheless appreciate certain aspects of this film, which benefits from a then unique twist on the alien invasion trope (i.e. intelligent, extraterrestrial insects disguising themselves as human beings).
Overall Quality: 4/10
This review is dedicated to original Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima, who passed away on August 7, 2017 at the age of 88.
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