A Bloody Good Time 05.01.14: Ranking The Godzilla Series, Part 1 (#29-21)
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.01.2014
From Roland Emmerich's 1998 American remake and Godzilla vs Gigan to Godzilla vs Megalon and more, 411's Joseph Lee begins his ranking of all the Godzilla movies starting with #29 through 21!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time. May 16 will mark the arrival of my most anticipated movie of the year. Actually, it's probably my most anticipated movie in the past five years. I can't even describe to you how much I want to see this thing. I'm, of course, talking about Gareth Edwards' (who did Monsters, which I also enjoyed) take on the legendary Godzilla.
I don't know anyone that isn't excited for this movie. Even non-Godzilla fans are hyped. As someone who has been a Godzilla fan since I was a kid, I'm totally on board. So in the three weeks leading up to his grand return (ten years after his last movie), I'm going to rank all 29 Godzilla movies. I initially thought of including the American redos of Gojira and The Return of Godzilla, but they're hastily editied and kind of terrible. They're just different, lesser version of decent monster movies.
So to honor the 60th anniversary of the King of all monsters...let's get going with a look at all 29 Godzilla movies! Needless to say, since this is a three-part countdown, these are probably the worst of the series.
#29: All Monsters Attack (1969)
You may be surprised to see that I'm placing an honest-to-goodness Godzilla movie here instead of Roland Emmerich's movie that feautres a lot of fish. You clearly don't know my level of hatred for Minilla/Minya, the son of Godzilla. He represents the lowest point of the original series, when Godzilla became not just a good guy, but an incredibly cheesy good guy that celebrated by dancing and had a kid who was only there to get kids to watch. Newsflash, Toho. It's a monster movie. Kids are going to watch anyway. We don't need Godzilla to become old school Gamera.
This movie is the worst because it's not even a legitimate monster movie. A kid is picked on by bullies and dreams he's on Monster Island, where Minya (who is now human sized) talks to him about his own bully problems. He sounds like Goofy, by the way. It's supposed to be a parallel about standing up for yourself, but Godzilla is the one who ultimate sends Gabara (another terrible monster) packing. At least the events of the 1998 Godzilla actually happened and weren't some annoying kid's dream, you know?
#28: Son of Godzilla (1967)
Two years before, we got the debut of the little creep in another fairly bad movie. The big bad monsters here are giant praying mantises and a giant spider. In addition to introducing my least favorite Toho creation, we also get a group of monsters that aren't even a little threat to Godzilla. At this point in the series we expect Godzilla to win, but this is the equivalent of watching James Bond in a battle of the spies with Johnny English.
Yeah that's pretty much the entire movie. Giant mantises arrive, Baby Godzilla arrives, actual Godzilla destroys mantises. Repeat the same thinkg with Kumonga, a giant spider. The movie that came out immediately after this was meant to close out the franchise, so they probably realized how silly they were getting. I shold also point out this is probably the worst Godzilla has ever looked, including when the costume was visibly falling apart.
#27: Godzilla (1998)
There's a very small part of me that is worried the 2014 American reboot of Godzilla is going to be bad because of this movie. Not the fact that this movie is bad, but because the promotion of this movie, like the 2014 version, was great. It kept Godzilla hidden except for glimpses of his foot or his tail. His foot crashes through a museum and crushes a T-Rex, a not-so-subtle shot at Jurassic Park. They liked to remind us that "size does matter". But Godzilla himself wasn't really shown in the ads.
Of course, if they did show Godzilla in the ads, there would not have been as many fans going to the theaters to see it. He's a mutated iguana in this movie and nothing like the Godzilla you know. He doesn't have atomic breath, he lays eggs (so he's a she, I guess?) and Godzilla's babies are poor raptor clones. I don't really want to comment on the script or the human actors because Japan has some stinkers in that department. As a kaiju movie...sure, it's probably better than Reptillian. But as a Godzilla movie? Well, there's a reason it's called "Godzilla in Name Only". The only good thing to come from this movie was the great FOX Kids cartoon.
#26: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
You'll notice a lot of the early Godzilla movies are making this list as the worst. That's because there was a period between the arrival of Ghidorah and the arrival of Mechagodzilla (with Destroy All Monsters being an anomaly) in which Toho just didn't seem to care anymore. Godzilla was a super-friendly good guy, the costumes were in rags at various points and the budget was noticably lower. Toho probably didn't care because they knew it would make money.
Remember when I said that Godzilla villains have to be worthy opponents for his movie to be any good? Meet Ebirah, a lobster that throws rocks. Ebirah really can't do much of anything to Godzilla and the result is a painfully boring monster mash that just reminds us we could be watching the last two movies featuring King Ghidorah instead. Now there's a monster worth watching.
#25: Godzilla vs Gigan (1972)
We're out of the really bad movies now and into the "okay, I guess" movies. This one is about half of a good monster mash and half of a bad one. On the good side, the roster is stacked. We have Godzilla, Anguirus, King Ghidorah and Gigan, a awesome cyborg monster with hook hands and a buzzsaw chest. Obviously, Godzilla takes a beating here and even bleeds. As a monsters fighting movie, it's pretty good in that aspect.
The downside is this thing is sloppily edited. You can easily spot the stock footage in certain shots and the first half of the movie barely features the monsters. The monster fights themselves aren't edited very well. It's not as bad as it could have been (it was originally supposed to be another Hedorah movie) but it could have been so much more. Gigan gets wasted a lot in this series. Oh and another thing in the "con" column...Godzilla speaks.
#24: Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971)
Hedorah is another monster I don't like, independent of his movie. Face it, he's a monster created from pollution. He looks stupid and his costume is one giant hodgepodge of tentacles and sludge. He's a mess. He has multiple forms but they're all equally bad. Sometimes, a monster with multiple forms or a monster with a crazy design works. Hedorah just isn't one of those cases.
This movie gets a pass because there still is a decent monster battle, I just don't think the title monster. I also don't like the blatant attempt to put an environmental message in there or the movie's random trips into weirdness. It's not the worst Godzilla movie, but it's certainly the oddest. Also, there's that moment where Hedorah essentially poops on Godzilla as a fighting move. This movie has its fans, but I'm not one of them.
#23: Godzilla vs Megalon (1973)
This movie isn't bad. As a kaiju mashup, it's just fine. In fact, I tend to enjoy it because introduces JET JAGUAR, a human-sized robot that can grow to Godzilla-size and has his own awesome theme song. There's a lot of people that hate it for that reason, as it was initially designed as a Jet Jaguar movie when some kid designed him in a contest.
I don't care. The kid in me agrees with the kid that came up with Jet Jaguar. Godzilla teams up with a giant robot to fight Gigan and Megalon (not a bad villain in his own right) and it's amazing. Sometimes you just have to let yourself get caught up in the silliness and this is one of those times when I could. Plus, Jet Jaguar is great and I'm not going to let any of you try to convince me otherwise. He beat Gigan. Did you beat Gigan? No. You didn't.
#22: Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
This is the last Godzilla movie before the series was rebooted nine years later and it shows. Godzilla's suit is the worst it's ever looked, the budget is low and it's essentially a rehash of the last movie, only removing the awesome moments of Anguirus getting messed up and replacing King Caesar with the stupid choice of Titanosaurus. I've mentioned this before, but my hatred of Titanosaurus mostly comes from the fact that he has the worst kaiju roar of all time.
That's not to say this is a bad monster fight. If you watch it on mute (Titanosaurus never shuts up) you get a decent enough monster battle. Unfortunately it includes some stock footage from the last movie. I can't really hate an appearance from Mechagodzilla, so I'll still throw this on occasionally and enjoy myself. It's not as good as it could have been but it was a decent enough end to the Showa series of Godzilla films.
#21: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
This one is the second appearance of King Ghidorah and it's not as good as his first for several reasons. First of all, it's really, really silly. Godzilla does a little jig when he wins and he somehow propels himself with his atomic breath, holding his tail beneath him. Unlike some of the stupidity that would follow, however, it's actually kind of adorable. Check it out. It's a happy moment. This is the point when the series started to get dumb, but it wasn't so dumb that Minya was playing leap-frog with Godzilla's tail yet.
However, it does have a decent story. Aliens arrive and beg for the help of Godzilla and Rodan to stop "Monster Zero" (Ghidorah) from killing them all. They get the permission to take Godzilla and Rodan but instead put them under their control and threaten Earth with all three if we don't surrender. Everything works out eventually but it was one of the early attempts to introduce a side threat for the human characters to deal with in between the Godzilla stuff.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook. I haven't even started ranking Godzilla movies. Next week we hit up 20-11!
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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