Here comes Godzilla with … Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974)
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974) is probably the most notable early entry after the original to deliver something interesting, because most of the sequels were pretty weak. The camp in the early Godzilla sequels is almost too much for me, especially because Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) almost ruined Godzilla completely. Upon seeing Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) recently, all I can say is that it was not for me. Literally. The movie was not for me, as in, it was made for kids. As if creating a “son” for Godzilla was not bad enough, Toho botches the special effects and it has a stupid plot about as deep as a kiddie pool. Critics panned Godzilla vs Megalon for good reason. Anyway, this review is not about Godzilla vs Megalon (1973), but about Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1974), a much stronger entry in the early series of Godzilla movies, which is not saying much. Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla still has the camp, still has the stupid plot, still has silly characters, but it is more tolerable and I give it a pass. Why? Mainly because of the funny parts and MechaGodzilla. Toho really went all out here and opened their pockets, realizing the crap on a stick they produced a year earlier, and I think it shows. Today, MechaGodzilla could be as iconic as Godzilla himself, at least amongst monster fans. Even some of the general public recognize the robotic Godzilla.
You will probably easily notice some of the weaknesses of this film. The music is stupid and the singing goes on for forever. The dialogue is atrocious. The acting is worse than Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hugh Grant put together. But, I still would rather watch this than a Van Damme movie. Probably. Well, maybe. The one thing about this movie is that the camp is accepted. There are monsters in the world and they are serious threats, much like an episode of the 1960s Batman. There is no Joker or Riddler to vex Batman with their plots though, only mysterious caves and eerie looking stalagmites. A woman provides some exposition to what is discovered in the mysterious cave and the exposition is not too bad. I mean, generally. The dialogue is terrible, but it doesn’t last very long, at least.
Campy Scientist #1: This material can only be …….. Space Titanium!
Stupid Man #2: You mean it’s from outer space?
Campy Scienttist #1: Duh.
Fake Godzilla appears, kicks another monster’s ass, and wrecks havoc. Finally, some action arrives 20 minutes in. The reveal for MechaGodzilla is pretty clever, I think. They don’t just produce a robot and usher him out there to fight, instead the robot pretends to be the real Godzilla for some reason. He dusts himself off like a badass and proceeds to destroy some more cardboard buildings until the real Godzilla arrives to unmask him. Pretty fun. The explosions and the set for the first fight between Godzilla and Fake Godzilla are pretty well-done. The alien overlord gives an evil laugh and unveils MechaGodzilla. Both are so over-the-top that it’s good. MechaGodzilla has toe rockets, finger missiles, laser beams, and can fly. He has to stop kicking the real Godzilla’s ass because he’s out of batteries though and goes back to his alien base for a recharge.
Campy Scientist #2: I have a feeling MechaGodzilla is being controlled remotely controlled by a space man! The key is inside that cave!
Stupid Man #4: Uhh, yeah. I’m right behind you.
Some aliens are revealed to really be monkeys. This is pretty silly. One such monkey tries to steal something on a boat until he or it or whatever is shot. He doesn’t succeed in his diabolical plan and Batman punches him overboard. Where’s the action?
The aliens recruit a Nobel prize winning scientist to fix MechaGodzilla. They know he’s smart because he won a Nobel prize. Anyway, there’s some back and forth and I didn’t really care. I don’t know who thought alien monkeys would be a good idea, but it’s the stupidest thing in this movie.
The singing and the summoning of King Ceasar scene could force fast-forwarding for many, many years to come. The song goes on and on. And on. They spend all this time building up to King Ceasar and he gets his ass kicked in a few minutes by MechaGodzilla. Ceasar runs at him and bounces off, then gets thrown around like a rag doll. Pretty funny. Godzilla arrives and finally destroys MechaGodzilla by twisting his head off, which makes no sense because his head can spin. Anyway, it was at least interesting.
All in all, this movie is pretty campy and hard to sit through. It is way better than Son of Godzilla (1967) and Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) and the monster fights are interesting. The dialogue is bad. The acting is terrible. The singing goes on and on. The worst part is probably the aliens being revealed to be monkeys. I wouldn’t and couldn’t watch this movie again without the use of fast-forward. At least the reveal of MechaGodzilla was decent, but this movie still suffers from many of the things that made early Godzilla sequels bad. It helped Toho avoid a complete collapse though, and showed that some success with Godzilla was still possible.
Godzilla Movies (click movie name for my review)
1. Godzilla (1954) – 9/10
2. Godzilla vs King Kong (1962) – 4/10
3. Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1974) – 5/10
4. Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) – 6/10
5. Destroy All Monsters (1968) – 3/10
6. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) – 4/10
7. Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002) – 8/10