Movie Reviews

Number 26 – “Godzilla’s Revenge” (1969)

 

 

I’ve actually debated about not including this in my countdown, mostly because there are many Godzilla fans that do not see this one, “All Monsters Attack” or “Godzilla’s Revenge,” as a Godzilla movie.

To be fair, I see where they are coming from on this. Unlike every other Godzilla film where the King of the Monsters plays an active role and most certainly exists in that world, one could argue that Godzilla does not exist in “Godzilla’s Revenge.” Instead, the film takes place basically in our world, where Godzilla is nothing more than a movie character and made to sell toys. Any time Godzilla is brought up by our main character, Ichiro, a seven-year old boy, the other characters role their eyes, like they are aware that Godzilla isn’t real since all of this takes place in Ichiro’s imagination.

Since Godzilla isn’t really in this movie that makes it hard for me to talk about. What I will say is that, as a kid, I despised this movie, probably more than I hate “Godzilla: Final Wars” now. If you’re going to advertise the movie as Godzilla getting is revenge on something, I expect to see Godzilla throwing his biggest rampage of all time, with an unbelievably angry Godzilla ready to destroy plenty of monsters. Instead, what we got was a film about a some little kid who wanders around empty warehouses and gets kidnapped by bank robbers, and ony briefly cuts to Godzilla.

 

 

But what really made me angry as a kid was that anytime the movie cut to scenes of Godzilla, they were just stock footage fights taken directly from other movies in the franchise, in particular “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” (or “Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster”) and “Son of Godzilla.” Anything cool about this movie was taken directly from other movies, so why even bother with this one? I could just put in my copy of “Son of Godzilla” and watch the best parts of “Godzilla’s Revenge” there.

It also did not help that I utterly hated Godzilla’s son, Minilla, when I was young. I just thought he was annoying and took away from the better parts of Godzilla movies, and he was even worse here because they gave him an annoying voice. Oh yeah, Godzilla’s son talks in this movie, and can change his size too so he can interact with Ichiro. My opinion on Minilla has changed since then, but my thoughts on “Godzilla’s Revenge” haven’t changed too much (clearly, otherwise it wouldn’t be this low on my list).

Strangely enough though, a few years ago I started noticing that some Godzilla fans admitted that they loved “Godzilla’s Revenge.” For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why – all the best parts of the movie were taken from other better movies. But this peaked my curiosity, so I looked into this a bit further.

 

 

To these fans, “Godzilla’s Revenge” isn’t about Godzilla at all, but an entertaining children’s story about standing up for yourself against bullies. Ichiro lives in the industrial district in Tokyo, his parents are always working so he spends most of his time playing with his Godzilla toys and imagining what it would be like to meet Godzilla. He has a very vivid imagination and has grown accustom to lonliness.

But anytime he begins to enjoy himself in public, the school bullies seem to be right around the corner ready to ruin Ichiro’s fun. At first, he never stands up for himself and just lets the bullies do what they want to him. He nicknames the lead bully “Gabara” and retreats further into his fantasies. Eventually, he goes as far to imagine himself on Monster Island, befriending Minilla as the two watch Godzilla reenact many of his fights from other films. Minilla’s life seems to be just as chaotic as Ichiro’s though, as Godzilla keeps pressuring his son to be more like him and stand up to a monster that is bullying him, also named Gabara.

The point that lovers of this film make is that they were Ichiro at his age. They played with their Godzilla toys, they imagined what it would be like to meet him, while at the same time having to deal with the difficulties of growing up and standing up for yourself. Ichiro isn’t meant to be some annoying little brat that moves the story along, he’s supposed to be every little kid who admires some fictional character. His vivid imagination is what makes him so relatable, since we’ve all done something like that at one point in time.

 

 

And to the fans of “Godzilla’s Revenge” I say that I understand where you’re coming from and I respect that you love the movie on such a deeper level than I ever thought of when I was a kid.

That being said, I think most Godzilla fans either love or hate this movie, and it all depends on how you reacted to it as a child. If you found Ichiro relatable, sympathetic yet at the same time heroic, and didn’t come just for the stock footage monster fights, you probably liked “Godzilla’s Revenge” then and love it now. But if you didn’t care about Ichiro or his struggles through childhood, only interested in who Godzilla has to get his revenge on, then you probably hated this one and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Personally, I fall into the latter group. While my hatred for this one has died down in recent years, I cannot bring myself to enjoy any of it. This one has a big focus on monster scenes, even if it wants to tell a story about a little kid. So when you make that a large portion of the film, but mostly focus on stock footage, it is bound to leave very little impression on me.

So while I appreciate that love for “Godzilla’s Revenge” has grown in recent years, far more than I ever expected, this is still a bad Godzilla movie to me. Maybe it gets better if you don’t look at it as a Godzilla film, but I’ve never seen it as anything else since Godzilla still plays a major role in the movie. This will always be about Godzilla to me, and in that regard, I’ve always had a bad time with it.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s