Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

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“You cheeky pig!”

Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, displeased with “Godzilla vs. Hedorah”, decided it would be best for Godzilla to head back to a more familiar route for his next movie.  The next movie would feature an alien invasion plot, along with the return of some familiar monsters.  The first concept was called “Earth Defense Directive: Godzilla vs. The Space Monsters”, which would have featured Godzilla, Anguirus, and a new monster named Majin Tuol to battle King Ghidorah and new monsters Gigan and Megalon.  Majin Tuol would have been a sword wielding idol brought to life to help defeat an alien brain that was controlling the space monsters.  This is obviously inspired by the success of Daimajin, there was even to be a scene where the idol was cut and blood oozed out.  While this film was scrapped, many elements made their way into “Godzilla vs. Gigan”, Megalon made his appearance in the next movie, and elements of Majin Tuol would later be used for King Seesar in “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”.  The second aborted movie was “The Return of King Ghidorah”, which would have had Godzilla, Rodan, and Varan battling King Ghidorah, Gigan, and a new monster named Mogu.  This would have been an extravagant movie, with two new monsters and a new suit for Varan.  Unfortunately, the budget didn’t allow for so many new effects, so the monster roster was shortened to Godzilla and Anguirus (who had a recent suit made for “Destroy All Monsters”), and King Ghidorah and new monster Gigan.

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Hard on his luck manga artist Gengo is having trouble selling his newest ideas to anyone.  He finally finds an interested party in World Children’s Land, an upcoming theme park dedicated to the world’s monsters and peace.  While designing new monsters for the park, Gengo stumbles on a fleeing girl who drops a mysterious tape roll.  Gengo takes the tape  back to his apartment, where he is approached by the girl, Machiko, and her associate, the large Shosaku.  Machiko reveals that her brother, Takashi, was kidnapped by the chairman of World Children’s Land to create these tapes.  The group play the tape they found only to hear strange high-pitched noises.  Far away on Monster Island, Godzilla and Anguirus hear the noise and decide to investigate.  The humans do some investigating, and discover that the chairman of World Children’s Land actually died a year ago with his assistant, so the people running the park must be imposters.  The chairman and his assistant are ultimately revealed to be aliens from Space Hunter Nebula M, who resemble giant cockroaches.  Their planet is on the verge of destruction and they have decided to make Earth their new home.  The aliens use the tapes to summon King Ghidorah and Gigan to lay waste to the planet.  Godzilla and Anguirus appear and battle the space monsters.  The aliens attempt to to affect the battle by firing beams from their control tower, but the human group manages to infiltrate the tower, save Takashi, and destroy the controls and in turn, the tower itself.  Without guidance, King Ghidorah and Gigan flee, and Godzilla and Anguirus return to Monster Island.

In the grand scheme of things, “Godzilla vs. Gigan” is sort of one step forward, two steps back.  While definitely a step up from the weirdness of “Godzilla vs. Hedorah”, this movie came about at a time when more budget was being poured into television and shows like “Ultraman”.  Because of this, “Godzilla vs. Gigan” suffers from a smaller budget than expected, and as such, corners had to be cut.  Stock footage is used often, especially for scenes where Ghidorah destroys the city.  Most fight scenes involving Ghidorah in this movie are either taken straight from the footage of other movies, or involve him standing just off screen shooting beams.  In most of his new flying scenes, he is a miniature prop instead of a full body suit.  Despite these flaws, the film is not without merit.  Gigan is an interesting creature, and is popular in the fandom.  Akira Ifukube’s music is brought back, and while most of it is recycled from other projects, it is nice to hear his particular style again.  Jun Fukuda, who directed “Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster” and “Son of Godzilla”, returns to direct his first of three movies in a row.  While this is most definitely a flawed movie, it is one of the first Godzilla movies I ever saw, and it still stands as one of my personal favorites.

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Gigan is the first opponent to make Godzilla bleed.

In a particularly strange scene, Godzilla and Anguirus converse with each other, and we the audence are allowed to hear their spoken conversation.  In the Japanese version, the monsters are subtitled.

This was Haruo Nakajima’s last time to portray Godzilla.

Gigan is shown shooting lasers from his head in artwork and promotional materials, but he never does this in either of his movies.  He reappears in “Godzilla: Final Wars” finally able to shoot a beam.

The page quote is my favorite line in the Godzilla series, it is a response given to Gengo by his assistant when she realizes his newest monster looks a little TOO much like her.  It cracks me up every time!

Image nerdsontherocks.com


~ by Chris on April 29, 2014.

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