Son of Godzilla (1967)


The second of two “island movies”, “Son of Godzilla” took the series farther in a lighter direction from before by introducing the titular creature, Minilla (Mini + Godzilla=”Minilla”, get it?)  Jun Fukuda returned to direct this film right after “Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster”, and his different style of direction shows.  There is much more physical comedy between the monsters here, and the music by Masaru Sato is much more upbeat and “bouncy” than the more drawn out, minimalist style of Akira Ifukube.  This was also the first Godzilla movie to feature a giant insect, as well as a giant spider.  The insect work was done with marionettes instead of suits, and the large spider was a particularly complex marionette.  Despite the smaller budget, the marionette work is impressive, with Kumonga the spider as a high point.

A series of secret weather experiments are taking place on a tropical island.  The experiments keep running into roadblocks as signals from the weather balloons keep getting blocked by an unknown source.  The arrival of a nosy reporter, a mysterious island girl, and sightings of giant mantises also complicate matters.  Eventually the mantises congregate at a rocky area and uncover a giant egg.  It hatches and reveals a baby Godzilla.  The scientists realize the baby’s cries were causing the interference.  Godzilla appears from the ocean and kills two of the mantises, but the final one, named Kamacuras, escapes.  Godzilla leaves briefly, allowing the mysterious island woman, Reiko, to feed him some fruit.  Godzilla then returns and begins teaching his son the important things in life, such as how to fight and shoot his radioactive breath.  His son, Minilla, can only manage to shoot radioactive smoke rings unless he is stressed (by, say, having Godzilla step on his tail.)  The weather base is destroyed in the previous scuffle, so the scientists decide to move into Reiko’s cave for shelter.  She warns them of a horrible monster named Kumonga that also lives on the island.


Minilla grows quickly, and comes to Reiko’s aid as she is attacked by Kamacuras, as he seems to have formed a bond with her.  During this battle, Minilla inadvertently awakens Kumonga, who turns out to be a giant spider.  The island becomes a dangerous place, and the scientists devise a plan to escape.  Minilla runs afoul of Kamacuras again, but Kumonga appears and traps them both in webbing.  Kumonga begins to feed on Kamacuras, as Godzilla makes his way to save his son.  He frees his son and both battle and ultimately defeat the giant spider.  The scientists take this opportunity to use their weather machine to create a snowstorm on the island.  Godzilla and Minilla will hibernate until the tropical weather returns, while a US submarine picks up the scientists and Reiko.

It was apparent by this point that children were becoming a major emerging audience for the Godzilla movies, and they were increasingly being made with them in mind.  Godzilla’s appearance was changed slightly, with larger eyes and a more human-like face.  Minilla falls into the “ugly-cute” range, and his childlike antics dominate most of the movie.  He is not very popular with the Godzilla fandom, but it is hard to not feel sorry for him for all the abuse he takes during the movie.  Godzilla is something of a tough parent, and growing up on an island of giant bugs can’t be easy for a young monster.  Kumonga is an impressive creation, the marionette work done on him mimics the movements of a real spider rather closely.  It’s enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone afraid of spiders.  Masaru Sato’s score is bouncy and child-like at times, fitting the theme of the movie.  Kamacuras especially has a memorable musical theme.  In the end, this film isn’t one of the best Godzilla films, but the father and son interactions between Godzilla and his son are endearing at times, and the marionette work is truly impressive.



Kamacuras and Kumonga were called Gimantis and Spiega respectively in the American version.

This movie and its predecessor, “Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster”, were filmed with television in mind, and were given smaller budgets as a result.  Many scenes were filmed in Guam to save on the cost of creating miniatures.

The scene of Godzilla rising from the ocean was accomplished by dragging the actor, Haruo Nakajima, while he stood in a cart.  He would roll up a hill in a large pool, creating the effect.  He had to wear a breathing apparatus since he was underwater most of the time, which he found difficult to keep in his mouth.

There is a scene at the end where Godzilla holds Minilla as the snow from the weather machine covers them both.  This part used to make me tear up every time I watched it.



~ by Chris on April 27, 2014.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: