Sunday, August 21, 2011

Godzillapalooza #9: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 115 feet
-MASS: 8,800 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Gorosaurus only has physical weapons reminiscent of a carnivorous dinosaur. However, Gorosaurus does have the ability to do a two legged kangaroo-kick and burrow underground as well.
-BACKGROUND: Gorosaurus is an unusually large therapod dinosaur originally discovered outside of the Godzilla series on Mondo Island, where he fought King Kong. In the Godzilla series, Gorosaurus became one of the many monsters contained on Monster Island and allied with Godzilla.
-BATTLE RECORD (G-Series only): 1-0


-LENGTH: 492 feet (increased to 984 feet for Millennium series)
-MASS: 33,000 tons (Millennium increased to 66,000 tons)
-SPECIAL POWERS: Python-like constricting abilities. Manda is also an adept swimmer.
-BACKGROUND: While many portrayals of Manda resemble a mythological Chinese Dragon, it is by all rights a sea serpent that also has small arms and legs so it can move on land. As you might expect, it is the Deity and protector of an ancient Kingdom, known as the people of Mu who appear in the movie "Atragon". For the purposes of the Godzilla series, Manda is confined on Monster Island with the other Showa monsters.
-BATTLE RECORD: Manda never actually fights another monster in the G-series. Only people.


-HEIGHT: 82 feet (98 feet in Millennium)
-MASS: 275 tons (11,000 tons in Millennium)
-SPECIAL POWERS: Unlike the two above monsters, Baragon has a wealth of special powers and yet he is barely featured in this movie, but that's another rant. Baragon is most famous for his tunneling ability, but he can also breathe fire and has superior jumping skills. Not to mention he has a sweet horn on his nose that glows.
-BACKGROUND: Who knows what Baragon is; he is described as a dinosaur that escaped extinction by burrowing underground, but have you ever seen a dinosaur that looks remotely like this? Myself and many others love Baragon, but despite being a fan favorite, Baragon seems to get no respect at all from the makers of Godzilla movies. Baragon makes his first appearance outside of Godzilla in "Frankenstein Conquers the World" and is seemingly killed only to be revived and make a few appearances in the G-series. He lives on Monster Island and makes cameos in the Showa series. In "Destroy All Monsters", he is blamed for the destruction of Paris, even though he actually had nothing to do with it and barely appears in the film at all... again, no respect. Baragon returns with a pretty important role in "Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah..." However, the "powers that be" still didn't have the decency to include him in the title. Freaking jerks.
-BATTLE RECORD (G-series only): 0-1


-HEIGHT: 164 feet
-MASS: 16,500 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Varan only fights with his claws and other physical weapons, but his real power is the ability of gliding flight by stretching out his skin flaps like a flying squirrel. Varan can also swim.
-BACKGROUND: Following the theme of monsters added to "Destroy All Monsters", Varan originally appears in his own movie: "Varan the Unbelievable". In that film he is worshipped as a cult Deity, driven from his underwater home by pollution, and repelled by the Japanese military. For the purposes of Godzilla however, he's just another celebrity inmate on Monster Island.
-BATTLE RECORD: Varan never fights in the G-series.


  • RODAN (see movie #5)
  • MOTHRA (see movie #4)
  • ANGUIRUS (see movie #2)
  • KUMONGA (see movie #8)
  • MINYA (see movie #8)
  • KING GHIDORAH (see movie #5)

"Destroy All Monsters" represents the ultimate attempt by Toho to round up all their monsters to date and place them in an enormous, all-star monster mash for a resounding finale to the Godzilla series. As we well know, this did not end up being the last Godzilla movie by any means, but it does make for a great, classic Godzilla film. The year is the distant future of 1999, and mankind has managed to build bases on the Moon and confine all the world's monsters on Monster Island for scientific observation. Who else would screw up this perfect situation than, you guessed it, a race of alien invaders. To put things simply: the aliens, called Kilaaks, free and take control of all of the world's monsters and unleash them onto the worlds major cities. Rodan attacks Moscow, Gorosaurus levels Paris, Mothra is loosed on China, and Godzilla destroys New York. Before long all of the monsters, including Manda, attack Tokyo. Soon the people realize that the monsters are under alien control and attack the Kilaak control center on the moon. With the moon base destroyed and the monsters freed, it looks like the world is saved, but from another secret base beneath Mt. Fuji the Kilaaks call upon their greatest weapon yet: the intergalactic marauder King Ghidorah. Now, for those of you Godzilla fans that remember "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero", Ghidorah is pretty easily dispatched by just Godzilla and Rodan alone. So despite the Kilaaks' confidence, Ghidorah stood no chance against Godzilla and his nine monster buddies. A monster rumble of epic proportions ensues and Ghidorah is absolutely annihilated and actually dies. Peace is restored to earth and the monsters return to their lives on Monster Island.

The dream-team of Japanese monster movies, Honda, Ifukube, and Tsuburaya, rejoined their powers for the ultimate tour de force of the Showa series. What could be more spectacular than rounding up 11 of their most famous monsters? This film had an unusually large budget and the creators used it well. The plot is nothing that extraordinary, but seeing so many different monsters attacking recognizable locations is a real treat. The movie is worth watching for the final battle scene if for no other reason. The fight is arguably one of the Showa series' very best and it's footage is recycled shamelessly in "Godzilla vs. Gigan", but that's a conversation for later.

"Destroy All Monsters" delivers everything you'd expect from a Showa era Godzilla movie. The plot leaves a tad to be desired, as it's honestly not the best of their "aliens try to take over earth using monsters" theme, and sometimes you wish the monsters were shown a bit more (*cough cough* Baragon) but overall it's a great flick. The scenes of city destruction are great and, like I said before, the final battle is reason enough to check it out. This movie just barely misses my top 10, but served as the inspiration for one of my favorites of all time! 

Best Part:
I feel like I've made this pretty clear already, but my favorite part of this movie is the final battle in which all the monsters of earth beat the living shit out of King Ghidorah. There's no other way to put it, they just destroy him, pardon the pun. Anguirus bites his neck, Gorosaurus drop kicks his back, Mothra and Kumonga spray him with web, Godzilla does his usual ass-kicking as well as stomping on one of Ghidorah's necks, and Minya delivers the final blow suffocating his middle head with a smoke ring. It's great! You can tell Honda and Tsuburaya really had fun with this one. I really wanted to find a video to show y'all, but there happens to be none on youtube that are worth a crap. So you'll just have to go find the movie and see for yourself. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. 

My Ranking: #12

Up next, things get unbelievably awful. The streak begins with... "Godzilla's Revenge"

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