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Rated G
Copyright 1965 Toho Company Ltd.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 26 August 2007 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Godzilla - Briefly enslaved by the aliens and forced to destroy a Japanese city, as if invaders needed to compel him to do that, he more than makes up for it by beating up on Ghidrah. After winning a battle, it's holy happy hopping lizard time. Godzilla loves winning.
  • Rodan - Winged companion to Godzilla who apparently drinks way too much coffee. Yo, Rodan! Chill out!
  • Ghidrah - Three-headed space monster that is controlled by the aliens and used to destroy Earth's cities.
  • Glenn - American astronaut with an interesting quirk. Whatever else, the girl he dates must be unique. Twins are a turn off, triplets a big no-no, and the idea of multiple clones is something he refuses to consider.
  • Fuji - Japanese astronaut who spends more time trying to influence his sister's love life than can be considered healthy.
  • Tetsuo - Inventor of the Lady Guard Alarm, which produces a mildly annoying (okay, it's actually very annoying) sound. Fortunately for Mankind, the aliens cannot stand the screeching noise.
  • Hiromi - Fuji's sister. She is in love with Tetsuo for reasons unexplained.
  • Miss Namikawa - Alien woman who falls for Glenn. She expresses her love in a strictly disciplined manner commensurate with logical mathematics. 2 + 2 = 4 and Glenn + Namikawa = Love. She is disintegrated for her heretical theorem.
  • The Aliens from Planet X - "We have come to your planet to 'Whip It!'" Most of them are driven insane by Tetsuo's annoying invention and commit suicide. It is like the Minmay Defense, except, instead of the aliens being transfixed by a beautiful song, they react more along the lines of, "What is that horrible sound? Make it stop! I am going to kill myself if it does not stop!"
  • The Controller of Planet X - Leader of the aliens; his ability to spout technobabble caused me to wonder if John Carradine had ever visited Japan. Driven insane by the Lady Guard Alarm, to the point where he pressed the flying saucer's Big Red Button.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

This is one of my favorite Godzilla movies. As I was watching this film and taking notes for the review, my wife even asked, "Is this your favorite Godzilla movie?" When I told her that it might very well be my favorite, she wanted to know why. "Well, it has three monsters, lots of entertaining special effects, funky aliens who remind me of 'Devo,' and Godzilla jumping up and down like a goofball."

To Katie's credit, she accepted that as an answer and sat down to watch the film with me.

Beyond Jupiter, the World Space Authority (WSA) discovers a previously unknown planet, designated Planet X. Glenn and Fuji are dispatched to investigate the mysterious world in their rocketship the P-1. The two men apparently spend the entire trip, which is of no short duration, strapped in their seats. They get along quite well and often joke back and forth. If you strapped me into a seat next to someone for a few weeks, I would probably go mad and attempt to throttle them. Especially since people need to tell the same story at least six times before some mysterious emotional need is satisfied. These days, cell phones help to defuse the situation by allowing people to call up various disinterested parties and vent. However, the fourth time that somebody tries to tell me about their new puppy and how it ate their shoes, I start fighting the urge to grab their neck and squeeze until the noise stops. By the sixth iteration of the story, my will to resist is depleted and "an unfortunate incident" occurs.

People, use your cell phones. Don't tell me the same story six times. I will choke you.

The expedition to Planet X proceeds smoothly and the rocketship lands on the barren world. Fuji scouts for an appropriate location to plant the WSA flag as Glenn runs tests. The astronauts discover several unusual facts about the hidden planet: it has gravity close to Earth's, the temperature is much higher than expected (though still cold enough to prevent Eskimos from resettling there - if the lack of seals and air was not enough of a deterrent), and lightning arcs across the empty sky. Most surprising is that Fuji discovers footprints! He tries to warn Glenn but does not receive a response. Doubling back to the landing spot, the worried astronaut is alarmed to find that both Glenn and the ship are missing. Somebody housed the ship! That will teach them to park in the wrong part of Planet X.

Before real panic can set in, Fuji is invited into a glowing entrance that rises out of the empty wasteland. Obviously, Planet X is inhabited by an advanced alien civilization. Though they are technologically advanced, the spacemen are in dire need of Earth's assistance. After being driven off of Earth by Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra, the terrible monster King Ghidrah took a liking to Planet X. The interstellar horror flies through the empty skies, randomly spewing destructive bolts and forcing the aliens to live underground. Since everything on Planet X is maintained in a highly organized fashion, Ghidrah is referred to as Monster Zero.

What the Controller asks of Glenn and Fuji is for permission to use Godzilla and Rodan (Monsters Zero-One and Zero-Two) to drive Ghidrah off of Planet X. In return the aliens will provide mankind with a formula capable of curing every known disease on Earth. Since they are only astronauts, the two men respond, "We'll go home and ask." The humans are allowed to return to their rocketship and leave.

Some of you might be wondering why the astronauts did not readily agree to the Controller's offer. Ridding our planet of two more destructive monsters sounds like a pretty good deal, does it not? Remember that if Ghidrah leaves Planet X, he has to go somewhere, which would probably be Earth.

Back on Earth, things are looking up for Tetsuo. The World Education Corporation (it seems like that should be part of a catchy tune) offers to purchase his awful invention, the Lady Guard Alarm. It is a compact with a twist: it emits a teeth grinding screech that can be heard for miles. The contract terms are what Tetsuo considers very favorable, $100,000 for a screaming compact. He fails to consider the ramifications of one specific clause. Payment of the $100,000 is only required once the invention is manufactured.

Why did I not think of this? Identify new invention that is likely to annoy me, offer inventor a huge wad of cash for the rights - with a caveat that payment is not due until the invention is actually built, then never build the darn thing. I could have saved the world from countless annoying widgets.

Unfortunately, for Tetsuo, it appears that the World Education Corporation is going to sit on the blueprints for the Lady Guard Alarm. He will never become rich and never be able to impress Fuji. Oh, did I mention that Fuji and Glenn returned? They did, and the matter of cooperating with Planet X was turned over to the United Nations for consideration. Great, I am sure that will get something accomplished. Anyway, as an added knife in the ribs to Tetsuo, Glenn is dating the World Education Corporation woman who snookered him into signing the contract.

No rational person would ever imagine that all of these events are linked - not even Kevin Bacon, who seems to be attributed to having a hand in almost anything that happens to anybody, anywhere - except, this is a movie. A rational person watching this should be saying to themselves, "Okay, these must be linked in some way."

As a show of goodwill, the Controller of Planet X informed Fuji and Glenn that Godzilla is sleeping in Lake Myojin and Rodan is also taking a siesta, but at Washigasawa (I think that's a mountain). The Japanese government is tickled pink when troops with Geiger counters verify the existence of Godzilla at the bottom of the lake, but are less than amused when a trio of flying saucers emerges from the same body of water. It seems that the inhabitants of Planet X were already on Earth. An informal meeting is held on the lake's shore and the Controller apologizes for the alien's sudden appearance.

The inhabitants of Planet X have a great way of speaking in an abrupt and focused manner. Their Controller is even better; he augments the clipped sentences with curt hand motions. None of it makes sense, because the hand motions appear completely random to anyone not born on Planet X. "I am speaking to you with importance. We have come to your world to formulate bonds of friendship. Watch my hands..." (horizontal chops, little circles, and touching different fingertips to his thumb take place as the meat of the message is delivered) "...this has been an important meeting. You now have understanding."

Any earthling foolish enough to be distracted by the hand waving is likely to wonder what the heck was just said. Of course, Planet X citizens could never enjoy a human audio book due to its lack of hand emphasis.

Godzilla and Rodan are retrieved from their resting places by two of the flying saucers. Then, joined by a diplomatic party from Earth, which includes Fuji and Glenn, the aliens return to Planet X. Ghidrah appears immediately and receives a solid thrashing from the Earth monsters. Godzilla dances on a trampoline and the Controller smiles for .6 seconds, with a magnitude of 1.2. Man, I just love the aliens in this flick. Whoever came up with their design and nuances was inspired. Anyway, the humans are given an audio tape with the formula to cure disease and provided an exact copy of the P-1 for their return to Earth.

The message recorded on the audio reel is not the cure for malaria, typhoid, or even herpes (sorry guys, keep scratching). It is an ultimatum! Planet X desires Earth as a colony and they will use every means at their disposal to force Mankind's surrender. That includes all three monsters, because the aliens are able to control Ghidrah, Godzilla, and Rodan using magnetic waves. Even worse, for Glenn, his girlfriend reveals herself to be one of the invaders and confesses her love to him. Okay, so that might not be so bad and Glenn already knew she was an alien, because he saw two other women just like her on Planet X. What sucks is that the alien appointed as colonial governor of Earth zaps Miss Namikawa for breaking the law by falling in love with an earthman. Glenn is locked in a cage with Tetsuo, though the men have a trick up their sleeve (actually, it is in Tetsuo's pocket).

Mankind is determined to resist conquest. Sensing that the humans are up to something, the aliens start their attack. The destructive rampage of Godzilla, Ghidrah, and Rodan is awesome. Buildings collapse, debris is cast into the air, trees and buildings burst into flame as radioactive breath scorches them. It is glorious!

Will Glenn and Tetsuo escape from the aliens? Can Fuji perfect a ray that will jam the alien's signal and break their control over the monsters? Do the Japanese have a bunch of spare ray cannons that are just lying around, ready to be converted into larger versions of Fuji's contraption? Will every Who in Who-ville, er...person in Japan, turn on their radios and televisions so that Tetsuo's torturous alarm will blanket the globe and drive the invaders mad? There is a reason I ask these rhetorical questions, and it should be obvious to anyone, even if they are Kevin Bacon.

Yes, Kevin, it all turns out fine. Sleep peacefully and, when you get up tomorrow, remind your neighbor that her friend's brother's pizza delivery guy still owes me $10.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Women think men are unreasonable. (What? Really?)
  • It's not difficult to turn an astronaut's world upside down.
  • Devo has influenced more people than you would think.
  • Members of the Japanese military are provided two pairs of white gloves as part of their standard uniform issue.
  • Godzilla loves to "Safety Dance."
  • Gold is indistinguishable from styrofoam.
  • The only thing worse than the BSOD is the RDOO (red dots of oblivion).
  • One of the best ways to upset a guy is by disintegrating his girlfriend.
  • The Three Little Pigs had it easy.
  • Godzilla is the antithesis of Smokey the Bear.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 7 mins - Maybe you should read the contract first...never mind.
  • 10 mins - They found a rainbow world!
  • 15 mins - "We are a highly advanced race of extraterrestrial trapdoor spiders."
  • 31 mins - How exactly does one lose track of a towering radioactive monster anyway?
  • 53 mins - Pizza's here!
  • 67 mins - That general should not be standing there; he is going to get a brain tumor.
  • 75 mins - I am still wondering about the military importance of this suburb.
  • 83 mins - Invented those cool flying saucers and light speed travel, but aren't you wishing for earplugs right now?
  • 87 mins - Great, you gave them all epilepsy. Just what the world needed.
  • 89 mins - Godzilla is thinking, "How is it that Rodan gets the tail and I get stuck with the end that has all the teeth?"


  • The Controller: "We are friendly, our aims are peaceful, and we seek to establish cooperation and eternal friendship...between our two worlds."
  • Planet X Alien: "Fools! Our computers are always invincible. Adjust them to normal!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note monsterzero1.wav Fuji: "Glenn, what's the problem?"
Glenn: "Well, let's see...yep, we're a hundred and eighty degrees off. My mistake, sorry old buddy."
Green Music Note monsterzero2.wav Fuji: "What is 'Monster Zero?'"
Controller: "The demon of our galaxy. Monster Zero is the reason we cannot live on the surface, but must forever live underground, like this."
Green Music Note monsterzero3.wav Ghidrah screaming.
Green Music Note monsterzero4.wav Glenn: "You rats! You stinkin' rats! What did you do to her?"
Planet X Alien: "Our actions are controlled by electronic computers, not by human emotions. When that law is violated, the offender is eliminated."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmonsterzero1.mpg - 4.3m
A happy moment.

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