Director: Ishiro Honda
Writer: Ei Ogawa
Cast: Akira Kubo, Atsuko Takahashi, Yukiko Kobayashi, Kenji Sahara, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yu Fujiki, Noritake Saito, Yuko Sugihara, Sachio Sakai, Chotaro Togin, Wataru Omae, Tetsu Nakamura, Yukihiko Gondo, Shigeo Kato, Rinsaku Ogata, Haruo Nakajima, and Haruyoshi Nakamura
Composer: Akira Ifukube
Release Date: 8/1/1970
MPAA Rating: G
En route to the planet Jupiter, space probe Helios 7 is infiltrated by Yog—an alien composed of pure energy. Arriving in the South Pacific, Yog takes possession of Gezora, a mutated cuttlefish; Ganimes, a giant stone crab; a massive water turtle named Kamoebas; and corporate spy Makoto Obata (Kenji Sahara). With the help of his friends, photographer Taro Kudo (Akira Kubo) devises a plan to defeat Yog and his terrestrial accomplices.
Space Amoeba (entitled Yog, Monster from Space for the AIP release) deserves criticism for its languid pacing, uninspired creature conflicts, and heavy use of plot contrivances during and immediately prior to the climactic scene. This film should nevertheless be noted for introducing Kamoebas, known for his appearance in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. of the Millennium series, to Toho Studios’ kaiju eiga franchise.
Benefiting from solid performances and a serious, camp-free atmosphere, Space Amoeba adds an air of credibility to the bizarre premise on which it operates. Specifically, the human reactions toward Gezora, Ganimes, and Kamoebas convey a believable sense of fear that should allow the audience to overlook, at least partially, the extremely fake and goofy qualities of each monster.
Toho’s first daikaiju film produced after the death of Eiji Tsuburaya, Space Amoeba is marred by cheesy special effects and creature costumes of a highly unconvincing nature. Gezora, for example, lacks a realistic appearance on par with that of the giant octopus from King Kong vs. Godzilla—an obvious drawback of substituting a live marine animal (e.g. a squid or octopus) for a clumsy, cheaply made suit featuring human eyes and rubber tentacles.
Also problematic is the fight sequence between Ganimes and Kamoebas, which, due to its awkward choreography and hackneyed resolution, will likely disappoint fans of the rousing, memorable kaiju battles that one would expect of a typical Ishiro Honda offering.
An underwhelming effort from the director of Gojira, Space Amoeba should be avoided by all but the most diehard enthusiasts of the kaiju eiga genre. Certain viewers may, however, appreciate the subdued and occasionally solemn tone of this film.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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