Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)

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“Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster” introduced the first space monster in the Godzilla series, and Toho decided that his next movie would take things a step farther.  Godzilla would go into space!  The studio had garnered some success with space-themed monster movies such as “Gorath” (1962) and “Dogora” (1965), so this seemed like a logical next step for Godzilla.  Because of Godzilla’s growing presence in America, it was also decided to make a Godzilla movie that would appeal to audiences in both countries.  To do this, Toho teamed up with the American company UPA to co-produce the film, and American actor Nick Adams was cast as one of the leads.

A previously unknown planet has been discovered beyond the orbit of Jupiter.  It is dubbed “Planet X” and astronauts Fuji and Glenn are sent to explore it.  The pair discover the planet is inhabited by a race of people, the Xians, that have been driven underground by a creature they refer to as “Monster Zero”.  Monster Zero is quickly revealed to be King Ghidorah, who had escaped to Planet X after his defeat on Earth.  The Xians ask for Godzilla and Rodan to be sent to Planet X to defeat Ghidorah, since they were instrumental in his defeat the last time they battled.  The astronauts agree to help, and head back to Earth.  Meanwhile, on Earth, Fuji’s sister is dating a hapless toymaker named Tetsuo.  He has invented a loud alarm that he finally managed to sell to a company, but the company only wanted to buy it to destroy the plans for it.  The astronauts arrive on Earth and teams are sent out to find the two monsters.  Some Planet X UFO’s suddenly arrive and quickly locate Godzilla and Rodan and place them in forcefields to take back to their planet.  The monsters do battle with Ghidorah and defeat him.  In gratitude, the Xians give humanity a tape that contains instructions on how to create a medicine that will cure all diseases.

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The humans are returned to Earth and quickly play the tape for an assembled crowd, but quickly find that the tape actually contains an order to surrender from the Xians.  The aliens were only interested in collecting Godzilla and Rodan for their own purposes.  The two monsters, along with King Ghidorah, are under mind control and are set loose upon the human population.  All seems lost for Earth, when the astronauts discover that Tetsuo’s alarm interferes with the magnetic waves the Xians use to control their equipment.  The aliens knew this, and had attempted to buy the plans for the alarm to prevent it from being used against them.  Tetsuo produces the prototype and sets it off.  The resulting noise renders the alien spaceships unable to operate correctly and they explode.  Without the ships controlling them, Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah regain consciousness.  They resume their battle with each other and ultimately all three fall into the ocean.  Ghidorah resurfaces and flies off, leaving the fates of Godzilla and Rodan ambiguous, for now…

Invaders from space were a popular trope in the 1960’s, and “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” (also called “Invasion of the Astro Monster”) was the first Godzilla movie to feature them, though it would be far from the last.  Several later Godzilla movies, such as “Destroy All Monsters” and “Godzilla vs. Gigan”, would feature different aliens attempting to take over the Earth, always with the help of one of their outlandish monsters.  The Xians themselves would be reused in the final movie in the Millenium series, “Godzilla: Final Wars” (2004).  The presence of King Ghidorah so soon after his first appearance, as well as Godzilla’s ally Rodan, makes this movie almost feel like “Ghidorah-Part 2”.  Godzilla’s next movie would feature a slightly more down-to-earth foe.

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Mothra was slated to appear, but couldn’t be used due to budgetary reasons.

Nick Adams spoke all of his lines in English.  His voice was dubbed for the Japanese version, but retained for the American version.

Originally released in America on a double bill with “War of the Gargantuas.”

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~ by Chris on April 23, 2014.

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