By Robert A. Vella
Out with the old and in with the new
Nope, not here and not today. This post is about celebrating nostalgia, particularly a loveable monster character from yesteryear’s classic film art. We old-time moviegoers felt sorry for the supremely frightening Frankenstein. We felt intense primal fear of the brutally savage Wolfman. And, we reviled the seductive evil of Count Dracula. But, one monster stood above them all, destroying great cities with an exquisite relish which Man himself recklessly unleashed upon the world – GODZILLA!
With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound,
he pulls the spitting high tension wires down.
Helpless people on a subway train,
scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them.
He picks up a Camero and he throws it back down,
as he wades through the buildings toward the center of town.
Oh no, they say he’s got to go – go go Godzilla.
Oh no, there goes Tokyo – go go Godzilla.
History shows again and again,
how nature points up the folly of men.
As destructive as this gigantic movie monster was, it had a very human side too. Godzilla frequently expressed humor, a perverse kind usually directed towards its unfortunate opponents, but humor nevertheless. Godzilla also was something of a performer, a ham-actor who loved the limelight and the biggest of stages. It burst onto the “big screen” in Japan in 1954 by Toho Studios. An American version was released two years later starring Raymond Burr. Godzilla was a hit, and it never looked back.
This successful franchise continues to this day, with 33 films produced (31 by Toho, 3 by Hollywood). But, I want to highlight the 6th film from 1965 which was released in America in 1970.
Godzilla vs Monster Zero starred Akira Takarada, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, and Yoshio Tsuchiya. It wasn’t the best Godzilla movie ever, but it might be the most enjoyable one to watch for science fiction fans. This flick had everything including Rodan (i.e. an anagram for radon, Godzilla’s sidekick), King Ghidorah (a.k.a. Monster Zero, Godzilla’s archenemy), rocket ships, flying saucers, aliens hell-bent on conquering Earth, monster battles with the overmatched Japanese Army, a young eccentric genius who saves the day with science, cute young ladies, and the obligatory headstrong American (Nick Adams).
Typical of the Godzilla films of that era, this one is essentially a space opera – a melodramatic adventure accentuated with grand orchestra music. Unlike the more famed and more serious space opera Star Wars, the human characters in Godzilla vs Monster Zero aren’t as well developed and the dialogue is rather weak. Still, it is quite entertaining with a taut, action-filled plot that will keep Godzilla lovers and classic sci-fi enthusiasts firmly planted in their seats.
And, to illustrate the comedic quality of Godzilla, the towering green terror does a victory dance in the movie which looks very much like an Irish Jig.
If you enjoy lighthearted escapist adventure films in the pre-computer science fiction genre, then Godzilla vs Monster Zero is for you. Snuggle up on the sofa with a loved one, munch on some popcorn, and definitely turn off all your phones. While the world spins into insanity outside, allow yourself a couple of hours of blissful fantasy and let the ultimate movie monster ever captivate you. He (or she) is really not such a bad guy!