Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 55%
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Ranked #5,343
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Connections: Godzilla Mothra

A sea cruise goes bad when a crash landing on a tropical island subjects the crew to an army that wants to take over the world. While the crew tries to get out alive, Godzilla takes on a giant crab that inhabits the waters and can only be kept away by the juice of a berry that grows on the island. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: December 3, 2011
Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster kind of represents a changing of the guard in this series, as the main brain trust that had put together most of the sequels had moved on to other projects. This shift in production crew is felt through all facets of the film.

After Yata's ship is lost at sea in the Pacific Ocean, his brother Ryota becomes obsessed with obtaining a ship of his own to search for him. Meanwhile, two of his friends, Nita and Ichino, have recently failed in their own attempt to win a boat, so the three head down to the harbor just to look around. Turns out they decide to look a little more closely than most people would, and break into one of the yachts, meeting its owner, Yoshimura, in the process. Despite the intrusion, he invites them to spend the night, but awakens to find Ryota has taken it out to sea to conduct his search. After days of looking, the group approaches Death's Island, the territory of the 330 foot lobster, Ebirah. Amidst a freak storm, their ship is destroyed by the crustacean, and they are washed ashore only to find a threat of a different kind. A militant organization, the Red Bamboo, has been using the island (and the natural protection of Ebirah) as a base of operations to produce nuclear weapons, and have taken slaves from nearby Infant Island. As Ryota and the crew watch from a distance, they see a female slave escape, and quickly run to make a friend. This woman, Dayo, explains that Mothra has been sleeping, and thus unable to protect her people. As our heroes stay on the move to avoid the Red Bamboo, they stumble across Godzilla, who likewise has decided to take a nap deep in a cave. In a last ditch effort, they decide that their only chance is to awaken the King of Monsters, and pray that Mothra wakes up in time to save them from his rampage.

As you can see, the entire set-up is very low-key and poorly planned compared to the complexity that defined Ghidorah's two attacks. A part of it may be due to the fact that this was originally supposed to feature King Kong instead of Godzilla, but that's still no excuse for the sheer laziness on display. For one thing, the one-trackedness of Ryota goes well beyond obsession, and enters the realm of eye-rolling caricature, and the non-reactions by his fellow travelers just exacerbates the whole thing. There's just no logic behind any of it, even with the lower bar this movie gets the benefit of. The monster side of things is just as bad. There's probably more sleeping in this movie than the rest of this franchise combined. I didn't have a problem with Godzilla napping in the cave so much on its own, but combining it with Mothra's Z's was just too much. Especially since her being out was pretty retarded considering her island is continuously being raided and her people being enslaved. Give me a break. Considering this is Mothra's return to adult form, they should have had her in a cocoon for most of the movie. It's a more realistic reason for her being out of commission, adds a little variety, and enhances franchise continuity. Simple. And it doesn't end there. At one point, Godzilla has Dayo cornered. "We'll just have to wait for him to fall asleep," minutes before Godzilla dutifully nods off again. Stop it. And it's not even executed for any reason, as Dayo doesn't even get away at this point. Seconds later, Godzilla is woken by an attacking condor and fighter jets, and she sneaks off in the scrum. There was zero reason to add another sleeping scene, especially one that doesn't serve any purpose whatsoever. Then of course we got two new actresses to play the Shobijin. Their role was small enough that it really doesn't matter, but still I would have liked to see The Peanuts return.

With all that said, I absolutely loved what they did with Godzilla himself. Unlike the last few movies, the big guy got plenty of time to shine, but more importantly, they took a step away from the Guardian of the Earth role he's been adopting as of late. His sole motivation in fighting Ebirah and attacking the Red Bamboo is because "fuck you." He was just awoken from a nap by taking a lightning bolt to the head, he's cranky as Hell, and there just so happens to be a giant lobster there to take his aggression out on. That's his entire role in this movie, and I absolutely love it. It's such a natural, organic route to take for a creature that's been humanized more and more.

So take it as you will. It's a weak monster movie, but a great movie for Godzilla as a creature. Either way, it was my brother's favorite movie of the franchise when he was a kid, and it's entertaining enough to warrant a recommendation from me. 6.5/10.
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