DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (SAN DAIKAIJU CHIKYU SAIDAI NO KESSEN) (director: Ishirô Honda; screenwriter: Shinichi Sekizawa; cinematographer: Hajime Koizumi; editor: Ryohei Fujii; music: Akira Ifukube; cast: Yosuke Natsuki (Detective Shindo), Yuriko Hoshi (Naoko Shindo), Hiroshi Koizumi (Professor Miura), Akiko Wakabayashi (Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina), Emi Ito (Shobijin, Twin Fairy), Yûmi Ito (Shobijin, Twin Fairy), Takashi Shimura (Dr. Tsukamoto), Akihiko Hirata (Chief Detective Okita), Hisaya Itô (Malmess, Chief Assassin), Minoru Takada (Prime Minister), Senshô Matsumoto (Alien expert), Senshô MatsumotoIkio Sawamura (Honest fisherman); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka; TCM; 1964-Japan-dubbed in English)

 
"The tag line for Ghidorah should be Shit Happens."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

Poorly dubbed in English. Produced by Japan's Toho studio. It works best as a time killer gasser for lovers of bad films, for those who speak only monster talk and for the drive-in crowd who could care less what's playing as along as their date is hot. The tag line for Ghidorah should be 'Shit happens.'  Commercially-minded sci-fi director Ishirô Honda ("Yog: Monster from Space"/"Destroy All Monsters"/Godzilla's Revenge") directs this clunker as if it were destined to bring in the coin. It's sloppily directed with numerous continuity errors, adding unneeded confusion to an already messy screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa. It's the fifth Godzilla film in the money-making franchise.

A meteorite, during a rare January heat wave, crashes in the mountains of Japan and scientists examine it, while the Tokyo police plan to provide protection for the secret arrival of  Princess Salno (Akiko Wakabayashi) of the fictionalized country of Sergina in the Himalayas. She's next in line to rule her monarchy upon the death of her king father. The princess' plane explodes in mid-air from a bomb, as assassins try to kill her before she reaches Tokyo. But she miraculously escapes (you just gotta hear the explanation: she heard a voice telling her to jump before the explosion and something about the shock from the bomb caused the dimensions to move apart making it safe for her to fall between the gaps) and appears alive in Tokyo a few days later dressed in a fisherman's outfit and claims to be a prophetess from Mars who has come to warn the world of upcoming danger (like the return of monsters and the end of the world). 

Naoko (Yuriko Hoshi) is the gullible woman reporter who befriends the princess when she interviews her and also dates the leading geologist, Professor Miura (Hiroshi Koizumi), sent to examine the meteor shower; while Naoko's brother, police detective Shindo (Yuriko Hoshi), is ordered by the chief (Akihiko Hirata) to be the bodyguard for the princess in Tokyo (her country is apparently too cheap or too stupid to provide bodyguards). Shindo saves Princess Salno three times from four determined assassins, led by the sun-glass wearing badass Malmess (Hisaya Itô), sent here by the evil pretender to the throne who assassinated her father.

Psychiatrist Dr. Tsukamoto (Takashi Shimura, noted actor is slumming here between Akira Kurosawa films) examines the princess to see if she's really a Martian and determines that Princess Salina is really a descendant of ancient Mars with psychic powers (this man apparently knows his stuff, with his electric shock generator he doesn't have to bother with any of that Freudian mumbo-jumbo). Tsukamoto says she thinks Martian because of the shock from her plane escape caused her unconscious alien identity to come to the surface and later because of the shock from an assassin's bullet grazed her head and caused her to lose that psychic power and return to being the princess.

When the meteorite bursts open, a three-headed monster called Ghidrah emerges and begins destroying the countryside. In desperation government officials use Fairy Twins (Emi & Yûmi Ito), in town for a singing appearance on TV, to ply their telepathic talents to summon the dead monsters: the huge plastic caterpillar Mothra (emerges from  Peace Island), supersonic bird Rodan (breaks out of his imprisonment from the volcano at Mt. Aso), and scaly, rubbery dinosaur Godzilla (surfaces from the ocean) to combat this new and more powerful monster with three snake-like heads. After a fierce battle in the sky, the three monsters defeat Ghidrah and save the Earth.

Toho's accomplished monster maker Eiji Tsuburaya oversaw the duties of visualizing and applying special cameras to film the four monsters.

Geez, what a load of cheese. Though some viewers might find such nonsense to be a fun monster bash flick. 

REVIEWED ON 6/4/2011       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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