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Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! (movie review)

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirahreview provided by Coyote better known as Batdad

Title: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! on Blu-ray

Director: Jun Fukuda

Starring: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata, and Jun Tazaki

Studio: Toho

U. S. Distributor: Kraken Releasing / Section 23

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

Original Release Date: December 17th, 1966

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 88 minutes

Age Rating: TV PG

Genre: Kaiju, Sci Fi

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

When Ryota’s brother Yata disappears at sea, the intrepid youth and his friends join forces with a slightly trustworthy bank robber, steal a boat and go after him! Of course, there’s the little problem that Yata may be lost on a mysterious island where the evil terrorist organization Red Bamboo has enslaved natives to make heavy water for nefarious purposes. And that means dealing with the island’s monstrous, 164 feet tall guardian Ebirah, as well as Red Bamboo’s arsenal of super advanced weaponry. On the plus side, help may be at hand in the form of a nubile island girl, two tiny fairies, their giant protector Mothra and the big G himself, the mighty Godzilla. Surviving the results of all that “assistance” may not be guaranteed, but Red Bamboo will never want to tangle with teenagers and Godzilla at the same time again! Take a South Seas cruise to non-stop mayhem and giant monster destruction with Ebirah – Horror of the Deep!

Commentary:

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! is a classic example of a campy Godzilla flick. Unlike the original black-and-white Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954) which was steeped in dark overtones about the dangers of the man’s use of destructive forces, this exciting feature is a straight shot sci-fi action adventure about the good guys working together to stop the bad guys. Godzilla is more rampaging anti-hero than monstrous villain. His destructive nature just happens to do more harm to the bad guys which is great for everyone else.

King Kong fans will be correct for suspecting this tale of originally being written for the big ape, who was featured just a few years earlier in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This is mostly evident in the odd discovery of Godzilla being found sleeping in a cave, and the strange allure he has for the native island girl Daiyo (Kumi Mizuno). Also, Godzilla’s first battle with Ebirah involves kicking and hitting boulders back and forth like a beach volleyball, which seemed more like a poo-flinging monkey kind of tactic. 

Despite a lot of shooting by the bad guys, the casualties are pretty low. A couple of escaping islanders are shot in the distance, and two others (as miniatures) are skewered by Ebirah, but without any bloody gore. At one point, one of the heroes escapes a volley of gunfire by accidently riding a large balloon to the neighboring Infant Island, home to Mothra (Yeah, baby!). For any parents trying to figure out what level of parental guidance they should exercise for their little Godzilla fans, I only noticed one scientist that was actually bloodied by falling debris and died, but in all fairness, he was a bad guy using his skills for evil. Godzilla’s final battle with the giant crustacean Ebirah may seem a bit brutal to some, but really isn’t anything more than what you might see at a Red Lobster restaurant.

On a brighter note, Ebirah’s choice theme music is surfer rock music. He cranks it up like whenever he’s making waves, dude. As an added bonus, Mothra provides an assist to Godzilla’s haphazard heroics. A fair amount of miniatures, the usual over-the-top voice dubbing, and a smattering of bright colors among the costumes, sets, and effects also adds to the fun, and makes for an exciting adventure without getting too dark.

Overall Grade: A-

I really had a great time watching this one with my kids. A hidden island, a not too mysterious monster, bomb-building baddies, enslaved islanders, and a ragtag group of friends to awaken Godzilla are all the ingredients you need for a little fun-in-the-sun excitement. All in all, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! is an entertaining flick that’s easy to follow, perfect for any Saturday afternoon with friends and family.