Director: Jun Fukuda
Writer: Jun Fukuda
Cast: Katsuhiko Sasaki, Hiroyuki Kawase, Yutaka Hayashi, Robert Dunham, Kotaro Tomita, Ulf Otsuki, Gen Nakajima, Sakyo Mikami, Fumiyo Ikeda, Kanta Mori, Shinji Takagi, Hideto Odachi, Tsugutoshi Komada, and Kengo Nakayama
Composer: Riichiro Manabe
Release Date: 3/17/1973
MPAA Rating: G
Disrupted by nuclear activity, the underground civilization of Seatopia unleashes Gigan and Megalon—an insectoid kaiju equipped with drill hands and a lightning horn for combat purposes—on the city of Tokyo. With the help of Jet Jaguar, Godzilla makes an effort to defend the human race from utter annihilation.
Employing copious stock footage in conjunction with a juvenile script, this production deserves its reputation as one of the worst installments in the Showa series. Specifically worth criticizing is Godzilla vs. Megalon’s heavy emphasis on Jet Jaguar—a cartoonish, superhero mecha that will likely appeal to only the youngest of kaiju enthusiasts—over Godzilla, the ostensible main protagonist of this offering.
Showcasing the most awkward, ridiculous choreography ever featured in a tokusatsu film, Godzilla vs. Megalon should be commended for its unintentionally amusing daikaiju battles. Especially hilarious are the flying kicks that Godzilla delivers against Megalon during the climactic showdown, known for prompting relentless mockery from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew.
Godzilla vs. Megalon provides no explanation for why the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens, having attempted to conquer the Earth for selfish reasons in the previous film, decide to form an alliance with the Seatopians—supposedly a peaceful people who wish only to protect themselves and the environment from human tampering.
In addition to its logical inconsistencies, Godzilla vs. Megalon lacks a variety of fresh and compelling destruction sequences—instead recycling (albeit carelessly) iconic scenes from Godzilla vs. Gigan, The War of the Gargantuas, and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster during Megalon’s attack on Tokyo.
Despite forgoing the subtlety and solemnity of the original Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Megalon contains a laudable commentary on the potential dangers of nuclear testing.
Marred by poor production values and a weak premise, Godzilla vs. Megalon would best be avoided by all but the most dedicated fans of the kaiju eiga genre. Even the majority of Japanese monster buffs may feel disappointed by this film, which, prior to the final act, fails to make efficient use of the Godzilla character.
Overall Quality: 2/10
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