Destroy All Monsters (1968)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
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Overall Rating 64%
Overall Rating
Ranked #5,149
...out of 21,302 movies
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Connections: Ghidorah Godzilla Mothra Rodan

Aliens have released all the giant monsters from their imprisonment on Monster Land and are using them to destroy all major cities on the planet. It is up to the daring crew of the super rocket ship X-2 to infiltrate the aliens' headquarters before the Earth monsters and King Ghidrah annihilate the planet. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: May 11, 2014
When I was a kid, I was a huge Godzilla fan. On a family outing to Blockbuster, my dad, my brother and I would each grab a different movie and marathon them through the night. Well, there's a brand new one coming out in less than a week, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Unlike that travesty in 1998, this one isn't trying to redesign the wheel with the creature itself and looks to be a worthy addition to the monster's legacy. Lately I've been firing up some of the classic movies, and Destroy All Monsters is heralded by many as the best in the franchise.

By the end of the century, mankind has been able to round up all the world's monsters and contain them on a single island called Monsterland. Through a combination of poisonous gasses, magnetic fields and a well-stocked fish farm, the creatures are restrained and live in relative peace. However, without warning, all of these precautions turn off and the monsters are set lose onto the world. Godzilla destroys New York, Mothra attacks Beijing, Rodan razes Moscow. To the scientific community, the attacks are way to organized and they send Captain Katsuo Yamabe to Monsterland to investigate. He discovers that the scientists there have apparently been brainwashed by an alien race from an asteroid in the Asteroid Belt, the Kilaaks. These aliens have also found a way to control the world's kaiju, and are using them as weapons against mankind. Regaining control of the monsters becomes priority number one, before the Kilaaks use them to take over the world.

Apparently, this was going to be the final Godzilla movie, so Toho pulled out all the stops on this one. What that means in application is that they dug out every monster costume they had in storage and threw them in the movie. Besides the usual suspects of Mothra, Anguirus, Rodan and Big G himself, they also peddled out Mantra from Atragon, Gorosaurus from King Kong Escapes and Frankenstein Conquers the World's Baragon (Not to be confused with Gamera's icy foe). In fact, I was almost of the opinion that they threw too many monsters in there. I mean, Varan and Baragon are basically static props in the background, and Kumonga's appearance is completely out of left field. Hell, the Baragon suit was so unusable they gave his scenes to Gorosaurus (without any bit of a rewrite. Not only does Gorosaurus use Baragon's burrowing ability, but he's actually called Baragon twice), so you have to ask why they would even bother. I understand you want to go big on your final outing, but still. On the other hand, the effects were leagues better than anything this series as offered so far; Captain Yamabe's ship in particularly looked really good. Also, the final battle where Godzilla, Anguirus and Gorosaurus team up against the always-dangerous Ghidorah was a treat, and the battle took a turn that completely took me by surprise.

Now I said I was "almost" of the opinion that they should have cooled it with the monster cameos, but about two thirds of the way through the movie, something dawned on me that completely changed my point of view. You see, this isn't actually a movie about Godzilla and the other kaiju. This is a movie about aliens invading the world; it just so happens to be the world where Godzilla and company live. With the focus off the kaiju and onto the aliens, having all of these monsters in the background makes a lot more sense, because they're secondary to the real story. Even Godzilla himself isn't the focus. Sure, he leads the charge when things get hairy at the end, but in the grand scheme of the alien invasion, he's a pawn through 80% of the flick. Despite the "snub" of keeping them out of the spotlight, it gave them a better position instead of feeling like the film makers saying "let's just throw every monster we possibly can into this!"

Personally, I wouldn't go so far as to call it the best Godzilla movie out there, but it's a damned solid one. In the franchise's canon, it actually belongs at the end of the first series, and with this in mind, it's a fine way to close the series. 7/10.
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