Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Kaiju Watch: Godzilla v. Gigan (1972)
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: First all the way through
Director: Jun Fukuda
We're in that part of the Showa era of Godzilla where it's kinda for kids and every once in a while there's a bunch of samurai blood shooting out of a kaiju. Godzilla v Gigan (1972) features about 30 minutes of WWE-style monster fighting at the end of the movie, so it's light on plot and eager to deliver what you paid to see.
This is another alien invasion story about controlled monsters - in this case King Ghidorah and new arrival, Gigan - who will stumble around the Earth blowing everything up which will, I guess eradicate mankind and bring "absolute peace" the alien invaders crave so they can take over the planet. To achieve their aims, the aliens build a Godzilla-themed children's amusement park and never really explain why they did so or hire an artist to design monsters as characters for the park when they clearly aren't planning to open the park. Also, a Godzilla-themed amusement park for kids in a Japan which is routinely devastated by Godzilla rampages seems like a "refinery explosion" or "small pox" themed amusement park and one assumes it would be shunned.
I kind of suspect Toho was soft pitching the idea of a Godzilla amusement park but '72 was maybe too early for such a thing to exist. We live in a poorer, more boring world because there isn't a Godzilla theme park, but it is what it is.
Oddly, this movie is coherent and watchable in comparison to Godzilla v Megalon, it features a sopey guy who draws "manga" (which is, apparently a fad of some kind in Japan), a girl who knows karate, a chubby hippy and a girl who mostly is just "girl". There's aliens who are secretly cockroaches and Anguirus. Who doesn't like Anguirus? Plus, they add in speech bubbles for Godzilla and Anguirus! I was way into this idea.
King Ghidorah kind of at least *earns* being Godzillas biggest pain-in-the-ass nemesis. Gigan is the kid who put a spoiler and undercarriage lights on his Honda Civic in high school and hung out in the parking lot hoping you'd ask him about it so he could show you the six CD changer in the trunk. Anyway, I think we're allowed to dislike Gigan in a profound way that makes no sense on paper.