Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

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Overall Rating 62%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,937
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Connections: Godzilla

Aliens intend to take over the planet and, just in case Godzilla tries to interfere, have built a mechanical version of him to put an end to his interference. The Earth humans summon the legendary King Seesar to assist Godzilla in the battle. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: June 14, 2014
It's taken a while, but we've finally gotten to my favorite Godzilla villain: Mechagodzilla. This robotic doppelganger has seen three different iterations over the years, but it's the original that I remember so fondly.

While visiting an Azumi palace in Okinawa, Masahiko and his brother Keisuke see a young princess receive a horrible vision of a monster rising up to destroy the world. Meanwhile, both brothers make terrifying discoveries underground; Masahiko finds a chunk of space titanium (a metal not found on Earth) while Kesiuke stumbles upon a cave with a small statue of the Azumi god King Ceasar and a prophecy writing on the wall. "When a black mountain appears above the clouds, a huge monster will arise and try to destroy the world; but then, when the red moon sets and the sun rises in the west, two more shall appear to save humanity." Obviously, the princess' words are ringing in Keisuke's ears and he sets off with archaeologist Saeko to visit the historian Professor Wagura looking for clues to solve the riddle. However, they're being tailed by two different men, and they both look like trouble.

While they're looking for answers, Masahiko has decided to visit his friend, Professor Miyajima, and ask him about the strange alloy. While he's there, Godzilla suddenly rises up from Mount Fuji and begins laying waste to Japan. His sudden aggression notwithstanding, there's something off about him. His roar is completely different and his atomic blast has changed colors and is a bit more flame-like than usual. These suspicions are confirmed when his friend Anguirus rises up and attacks him. Godzilla quickly decimates the ankylosaurus, but not before a piece of skin is ripped from his shoulder, exposing metal underneath. Just when things couldn't get any stranger, a second Godzilla rises up and issues a challenge. With the familiar roars and atomic blasts, it's obvious that this is the real King of the Monsters, and the viciousness of his attacks reveal more and more metal under the skin. With the disguise undeniably ruined, the creature sheds the rest of its skin and reveals itself. A menacing, android version of Earth's greatest defender, Mechagodzilla is the tool of a vicious group of aliens with world conquest on their minds.

After the last few movies have been childish affairs, the complexity of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla's plot is pure refreshment. Sure, we're once again treated to the tired aliens-use-kaiju-for-world-domination trope, but it's obvious that the writers weren't putting this together with six-year-olds in mind. We've got two sets of protagonists, two Godzillas, ancient prophecies, secret agents, red herrings. Hell, I had a hard time keeping up with it all in the beginning. It's a major reason, besides its infamous antagonist of course, that this movie ranks so high in franchise history. It's a shame the early seventies' flicks weren't all like this. Plus, it sure was nice seeing Akihiko Hirata return to the franchise after a seven year absence.

Godzilla faces off with his mechanical foe twice throughout the running time: that quick how-do-you-do when Godzilla exposes the truth behind his opponent, and the climatic showdown at film's end where Godzilla teams up with King Ceasar. I'll tell you that fight had a smile on my face the entire time, and the sheer destructive capabilities of Mechagodzilla was the main reason. This robot has a seemingly never ending list of armaments at his disposal. It has two different kinds of lasers, it launches missiles and flechettes from its fingers, it flies, it's got a built-in force field and just like Gigan before him, he reduces Big G to a bloody mess before the fight is over. My sole complaint is King Caesar. He's just completely out of his league; he never mounts an effective offense and literally spends most of his screen time hiding behind either a mountain or Godzilla. Not exactly the ally you want when you're up against Mechagodzilla.

After a string of films hampered by budgetary shortcuts and an insistence on marketing towards children, Godzilla is back with a vengeance. Even as an adult, Mechagodzilla remains my favorite villain; make sure you don't miss this one. 8.5/10.
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