Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#Godzilla2013 Entry #8: GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER

Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto 
Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra: Big Duel in the South Seas
Directed by: Jun Fukuda
Written by: Shin'ichi Sekizawa
Starring: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chotaro Togin, Haruo Nakajima, Yu Sekida
Synopsis: When a storm causes his brother to go missing, a young man stumbles unto an island terrorized by a giant lobster and an evil group trying to take over the world.

In general terms, Godzilla movies are divided up in three different eras, Showa(1954-1975), Heisei(1984-1995) and Millenium(1999-2004). In the Showa, the era I'm currently going through, the main director was Ishiro Honda, who was the original director and worked in all but one movie so far. But given how great the tonal shift between INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER and GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER, we should maybe make the argument that the Showa series should be split during the Honda and post-Honda sections. This movie is filled with cute "native" girls, big bad guys with a plan to take over the earth, and a very terrifying...lobster? This is the first of the "unofficial" two-part Island series where Godzilla seems to prefer warmer climates. It also begins a more concentrated effort to lighten up the mood of the series in addition to making Godzilla more visually and thematically heroic.

This is probably one of the lighter movies in this series. It starts off with an annoyingly persistent kid that just has to go find his brother after his ship sank during a Godzilla attack at the beginning of the movie. He smuggles a boat from a man, who we assume is a bank robber on the run, along with a couple of random guys from a dancing contest, and they land on the island to find that not only is it inhabited, but that it's being used as a base of operations for an evil group of bad guys. The biggest tie to the previous films is that the bad guys are using the inhabitants of Infant Island to be slave labor for their plans. There's a gorgeous girl from Infant Island they befriend and along the way, and they stumble through some adventure movie plot points.

The island itself is terrorized by Ebirah, the giant "sea monster" from the title. One of the things that the slaves make is some weird yellow paint to keep Ebirah from attacking the ships. Godzilla only barely factors into this movie as a way for the good guys to fight the bad guys. The best thing about this movie is the volleyball match between Ebirah and Godzilla. Apart from that, this is a fairly boring. There's nothing really remarkable that happens apart from being the last appearance of the Shobijin twins and Mothra during the Showa series. Godzilla is barely a plot point, and Ebirah is one of the sillier bad guys in the series so far. He's just a giant lobster, and he ends up going out like a chump.

Out of all of the movies, this has to be one of most skippable ones. If anything, this serves as a perfect transitional piece with a lot of growing pains as the franchise transitions to a new phase. This is one of the last ties to Mothra we will see for a while, Honda has left as a director, and Akira Takarada, one of the few actors to appear in just about all Godzilla movie up until now, will depart the series. It's actually sort of bizarre that I never quite noticed that the actor kept on popping up throughout the series. I actually really like the idea that (in a very bizarre version of this universe) there's a guy from the original movie being reincarnated and following Godzilla and his exploits throughout many lives. Anyway, if you're looking for a good monster movie to watch, you can definitely look elsewhere.

Also, as a bonus, I'll start adding trailers for the movies so you guys can get a feel for the crazy stuff I'm watching.


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