Alternative Title: The grand finale that wasn’t really the grand finale. OR The one that did the Avengers thing before it was cool.
So, it’s 1967 or whenever this film was being made. The Godzilla movies were once a big deal, but ticket sales had been sunsetting, and it wasn’t the solid moneymaker it once was. Toho decided that maybe it was time for a change. Let’s give the Godzilla film series one big finale, then let’s move it from movies to a cartoon show. The kids love the cartoons, right? Except it’ll be anime. Because we’re Japanese. That’s what we’ll do! So they got all the people most responsible for making the Godzilla franchise what it was together, told them to give it a big send off.
Then all these guys, director Ishiro Honda, special effects producer Eiji Tsuburaya (supervising, his protege actually handled the work here, but still), composer Akira Ifukube, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, they were all sitting together, thinking, “You know? This will be the last Godzilla film. And even if, by some crazy, insane miracle that nobody can even dream of, something so infinitisemally possible it’s not even worth talking about, it’s not, it’ll still be the last time we’re all working together. We need to send if off in some great way. But how do we take this big, dumb series, and give it a finale that will make a proper impact?”
They found an answer. And that answer is to make it biggest and the dumbest. And not just of Godzilla. This is the Avengers of Godzilla films. The culmination of the kaijuverse. Godzilla already absorbed monsters from other films, but this one is the king of it. We don’t just get Godzilla and his rogue’s gallery here. This film is importing Kaiju from a whole bunch of movies in Toho’s shared universe. This is the crisis crossover, the end of this entire universe of stories.
And obviously, it worked. It wasn’t the highest reviewed at the time, but it resonated really well with the general audience, and brought in enough dough that Tojo shelved their plans to shelve the series, and had them doing a whole bunch of follow up films. Moreover, time has been far kinder to the film, and it ranks in the list of top Godzilla movies today.
It’s also a pretty significant turning point for the film. As previously stated, this is the last time a lot of the key creative minds in the Godzilla franchise all worked on one of its movies together. This is also, thanks to the big time jump, the final chronological story of the Showa era. So the handful of movies coming after this all took place beforehand. Meaning this is the one that gets to have the final say on what this segment of the Godzilla canon is to be.
So, what’s the Aether take on it? How does it hold up? Aether loves big dumb things, but is this the right kind of big and the right kind of dumb?
Let’s explore.Continue reading