Friday, March 1, 2013

Godzilla vs Megalon (1973)

One of my fondest movie theater memories is going to the downtown theater, named The Magic Lantern, and seeing my first Godzilla movie. Unlike the faltering monsterkid memories that was mentioned in my last post, my memory of this movie is crystal clear. Godzilla vs. Megalon is a jam packed flick full of ridiculous monster battles, bad guys, aliens and stuff blowing up. It was just like I remembered it when I was five years old.

Atomic testing is a bad thing, especially when it wakes up the sleeping behemoth Godzilla and his prehistoric pals. This seems to be the theme that runs throughout most every Godzilla film and opens this installment from Toho Pictures. The underwater civilization of Seatopia is very upset with the surface dwellers because of nuclear testing in the sea. Seatopia decides to send its god, Megalon, to the surface to wreak havoc and serve out some vengeance. However Megalon is hard to control so Seatopia sends agents to the surface to steal a robot called Jet Jaguar. Jaguar is the invention of a brilliant scientist named Ibuki. The Seatopian agents gain control of Jet Jaguar and use him to command Megalon and send him to destroy Tokyo.

Jet Jaguar approves!

The Japan military forces confront Megalon to no avail. He is just too powerful for their tanks, lasers and jet planes. Ibuki regains control of Jet Jaguar and sends him to Monster Island to get Godzilla and bring him back to fight Megalon. Now that Megalon is out of control he spends most of his time flailing around and randomly destroying the area. The Seatopians, learning of what has happen, contact their alien allies Nebula M. In turn they send Gigan (Godzilla vs Gigan – 1972) as reinforcement to help Megalon battle Godzilla. Much to everyone’s surprise, especially the inventor, Jet Jaguar goes into some kind of safety mode and increases his size to that of Megalon and does battle with him until Godzilla arrives.  So we have Megalon vs Jet Jaquar and then Gigan shows up and it’s a monstrous double team on Jet Jaguar. Finally Godzilla shows up and every bit of hell breaks loose. After a long and ridiculous battle of the ages, Megalon and Gigan retreat. Godzilla and Jet Jaguar part ways as new allies and Jaguar returns to his normal size. 
"Jet Jaguar you are oh so great!"
We even get treated to a rah rah sisboomba type song at the end. The English subtitles during the song praise Jet Jaguar for a good job and to punch, punch PUUUNCH! There ya have it folks!

The gangs all here!

Let’s not stop here though. We really have to talk about the battle at the end of this film. The battle is what we came to see isn’t it?  Of all the Godzilla films I have seen, this one is my favorite. It starts at a nice pace and never lets up. Dumber than a boot full of nails but 100% entertainment! The battle seals the deal for me. Megalon and Gigan beat up on Jet Jaguar for quite a while. The best bit being a bit of comic wrestling where Megalon punches Jaguar and he weak leggedly turns around to Gigan who greets him with a punch. Jet Jaguar is now a ping pong ball between the two and getting weaker and weaker.

"Good job bro!"

Oh My!

When Godzilla finally shows up, Gigan resorts to placing his claw to Jaguars throat as if he is going to slit it if Godzilla doesn’t back off. A real monster stand off! Corny as can be but nowhere near the grandeur of what comes next. Godzilla gives Gigan a good what for and turns his attention on weakened Megalon. Jet Jaguar holds Megalon by the arms while Godzilla then runs away from them to give him room to then run full speed at them and slides on his tail to deliver a drop kick to Megalon! Stomach busting laughter is the only reaction to his scene.  A real doozy of a battle and totally worth the $1 I probably paid as a kid to see it. Heck it’s worth the $15 I spent on the DVD what am I saying!?


Godzilla vs Megalon is certainly a fun film. There are lots of things blowing up, buildings being destroyed, Dams being busted, motorcycle and car chase and the always present toy parade of tanks and toy planes….oh and lots and lots of explosions! This movie is best viewed on a Saturday afternoon with a bowl of popcorn! 

No words can describe this piece of stink

Theatrically it was released in the United States in 1976 by Cinema Shares and supposedly was trying to cash in on the Dino Laurentis remake of King Kong (1976). The U.S. poster shows Godzilla and Megalon on top of the world trade center much like the King Kong poster. Of course there is absolutely no footage whatsoever of these two in New York City. The film also became the only Godzilla film to have a premiere on a major network. NBC aired it in 1977 with host John Belushi who dressed in a Godzilla suit! 

Media Blasters released this to DVD as part of their Tokyo Shock series. It is presented in a very nice Widescreen with a beautiful transfer. You really get to see all the colors that went into the suit designs for the monsters. Sadly though it’s a bare bones DVD with no trailers or extras. It is still worth picking it up though! It’s better than the old Goodtimes Video VHS. Happy stomping!!

Oh and I just had to include the song at the end! Classic stuff indeed!

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