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Godzilla on Monster Island!: Godzilla vs Gigan (movie review)

Godzilla vs GiganTitle: Godzilla on Monster Island!: Godzilla vs Gigan on Blu-ray

Director: Jun Fukuda

Starring: Hiroshi Ishikawa, Yuriko Hisimi, Minoru Takashima and Tomoko Umeda

Studio: Toho

U. S. Distributor: Kraken Releasing / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 6th, 2014

Original Release Date: March 12th, 1972

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 89 minutes

Age Rating: TV PG

Genre: Kaiju, Sci Fi

Overall Personal Rating: A-



When alien invaders, plans for a children’s theme park, and four giant monsters with six heads between them all collide, the result is the inevitable battle for the fate of the Earth. At least, that’s how it is for Godzilla, who teams up with his former spiky foe Anguirus for a tag team match against two of his greatest adversaries: the legendary three-headed King Ghidorah and Gigan, the cyborg hench-monster for insidious insect aliens whose plot to wipe out all human life is cleverly disguised as plans for the construction of a new children’s theme park.

Unfortunately for the bug’s diabolical designs, their secret monster control codes are accidentally discovered by comic book artist Gengo Kotaka, who broadcasts the master tape and brings Team Godzilla into play. It’s not going to be an easy fight, though, as the odds are four heads to two, and King Ghidorah’s one of Godzilla’s toughest opponents. With his cybernetic weaponry Gigan is equally ruthless, and his alien masters are as hard to kill as the cockroaches they resemble. Will Earth’s biggest defenders finally fall? Or will Godzilla – and insecticide – triumph over all?


This uniquely late 60’s early 70’s film shows off much more than the classic Godzilla films. It jump out as a true vision of our future world from the rather naive view point of the late 60’s. This “over the top” film starts off showing us a wonderful vision of what the mod culture looked like and a great reminder of how optimistic we all were during that time. It wasn’t a U. S. vision but a world wide look into how modern we can become and giving way to the imaginations of the futurist who believed we would become a utopia of plastic and vinyl. The bold geographic patterns and bright color show off the look and keep you eyes stuck to the screen.

As for the film itself, I found it to be wonderful and the classic campy way that Godzilla represents. Oh, the fun we can have with models. On particular scene stands out for me, it is a shot of two black haired dolls standing face to face in a room while the monsters outside reek havoc and finally stomp on the building. The thing that stood out for me was that there was no attempt to made these figures look real or give the impression of having any connection to what is going outside the building. Of course there is a quick cut to the exterior of a toy building that is stomped on and magically explodes as if it was full of explosives. This scene is classic to may of these films that bend the lines between reality and blatant foolery.

Noe more special thing about Godzilla vs Gigan is the way it not only has fun with itself it also plays with the existentialist  questions that were at the core our social conscience during those years. The deepest one of all is the self realization that humanity is not strong or smart enough to care for itself but in the end it is still better than some other potential ideal of how the planet should be cared for. I also found the film to be a reminder that even 44 years ago we knew we were destroying our planet. It is funny how never quite get it.

Overall Grade: A-

I really wasn’t sure if this film had aged well or not. To my surprise I found it to not only serve as a great reminder of what the Godzilla franchise is really about, but it also serves as a time capsule back to the modern vision of the late 60″s early 70’s. If you are looking to relive or pass on the Godzilla persona then Godzilla vs Gigan is a great point to jump back in. This film will also be a great choice as a counter balance to the new Godzilla film. For some reason the Western ideal for Godzilla is to make it a serious franchise that is all about the monster and nothing about the world that the original Godzilla lived in. So, on your way home from seeing the new Godzilla you should stop and pick this one up and sit back and enjoy the ride.