Review: Godzilla vs Megalon (1973)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

With around 28 films, the Godzilla franchise has definitely seen its share of highs and lows. It seems that for every brilliant and truly inspired Godzilla film, worthy of critical acclaim, there’s a Godzilla film that is so bad, so poorly concocted that it’s the spawn of Lucifer himself. True, I may exaggerate a little, but it does seem that there is a great discrepancy between Godzilla films. Thus, it should be of no surprise to hear that Godzilla vs Megalon is disappointing.

However, before we get into how bad Godzilla vs Megalon, is we should examine some of the redeeming features that still make this film worth a look. To begin with, this is one the few films in which Godzilla teams up with a friend to help battle a number of foes. What we end up with is something resembling a tag-team battle between Godzilla and Jet Jaguar (and yes that’s the name I would have picked for a flying robot man) versus Megalon and Gigan. This allows for a more interesting fight scene, permitting a variety of new wrestling moves that can only be performed in pairs.

And on the topic of rarities in the Godzilla franchise, Godzilla vs Megalon is one of the few films in which you get to see Godzilla bleed. This may not seem like a big thing, but for the Godzilla fans out there this just proves that he can in fact be hurt.

The only other redeeming feature I found in this film was that down in Seatopia, once you get past the 70’s porn star king, there’s small army of scantily clad, dancing nymphs. Althouh, understandably, we’re grasping at straws when we start classifying that as a redeeming feature.

Having explored the good aspects of Godzilla vs Megalon, we’ll now have a look at the bad. For the technical side of the film, the scripting and plot are below par (even for a Godzilla film) with definite sense that they have tried to water down the film in order for it to be more acceptable to children or perhaps an American audience. This is most noticeable in the way that they’ve portrayed Godzilla is being a nice guy. In no other film has Godzilla been a nice guy. Yes, he’s saved Japan, or even the world, but these acts have never been altruistic. Merely another monster has encroached on his territory and Godzilla feels obliged to defend it. The film’s poor scripting and plot isn’t helped either by a poor cast that reinforces the adage of never working with children.

In addition, Godzilla vs Megalon looks and feels as though it was made with either very little money or time or both. Stock footage from previous films is used and there are very few special effects. Even in the final battle, which can be thought of as the high point of the film, there is a rushed, low-cost feeling to it. This battle takes place in an empty field devoid of any finely constructed miniature buildings for Godzilla to crush. When an enemy falls to the ground, a solitary building appears underneath it to give some satisfaction to fans.

Overall, Godzilla vs Megalon just doesn’t feel like a true Godzilla film. It’s only saving grace is the 2-on-2 fight to the death but even that could have been better.

3 Godzilla sized roars out of 10.
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