Here comes Godzilla with … Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Destroy All Monsters (1968) is a Godzilla sequel comparable to a Universal horror movie throwing all its stars together for one big adventure. I’m not sure which is better, the allegory presented in Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) or the all-out action shown in this film. Critics have stated that this is the pinnacle of the early sequels, but let’s not fool ourselves here, it’s a b-movie. And it’s a bad one.
There are two problems in using all the monsters all at once. The first problem is that these monsters have already been defeated by Godzilla or whomever once before, so much of the threat loses its luster. To cope with this, the movie has added science fiction elements, upped the budget, and presented an outside alien force as a greater, overall threat. The second problem is Star Trek syndrome, where many of the monsters lack significant screentime, but most of them do get a chance to shine, if only in a small way.
Monsterland is introduced at the beginning of the film, an island especially set up to keep the monsters captive. They escape anyway and begin attacking many of the major cities on Earth. Somehow. Godzilla attacks New York City. The United Nations sends their moonbase specialists to investigate how these darn monsters got off the island to begin with. They find a woman from outer space, of course. She has made all the Monsterland crew into slaves with her evil, evil mind-control. It’s pretty cheesy. The one thing about this movie is that it accepts it is a b-movie and plays it seriously, but it is so serious that there isn’t much left to chuckle at or find amusing. The humor found in previous sequels is gone here and there’s not much for the kids either. There’s no singing though, so it might be okay.
The United Nations science team finds an alien mind-control transmitter attached to one of the victims. The dialogue here is terrible. And there’s tons of it. The miniatures for the actions scenes are quite extensive, but are plowed over by Godzilla quickly, just like in every other god-forsaken Toho movie. Meanwhile, the science team try to find the hidden alien base with some more miniatures. They cruise in a miniature plane, pretending they are on Buck Rogers. They wear orange space suits, deciding that color fits their personality.
The alien base is cheesey and campy. It has flashing lights and bright colors like on Star Trek and the alien women wear stupid-looking costumes. Unlike Mothra vs Godzilla (1964), this movie presents everything in a very superficial way, and is merely concerned with action effects and science-fiction elements. There’s not one thing in this movie for the deep thinkers, unfortunately. The science team use a car out of Lost in Space and invade the alien base, trying to avoid the fire in space. Yes, fire in space. Now that offends everyone, even deep thinkers.
The aliens unleash King Ghidorah on all the monsters trying to invade the alien base. Godzilla and his pals kick Ghidorah’s ass. The three-headed guy never stood a chance and the fight is pretty pathetic. They stomp on him a few times and Godzilla high-fives his pals for helping him beat up Ghidorah. The Fire Demon then attacks, which looks like an animated fire blob. The humans blow it up. Everyone celebrates. Yaaaay.
All in all, this movie did not even come close to meeting my expectations. The all-out monster battle was the stupidest part of the movie when it should have been the best. One of the monsters putting a wicked dropkick on Ghidorah was the highlight. There’s no consideration for physics, science, or realism. The evil stereotypes were the worst and I really hate when they use aliens in the Godzilla films. Not once has it worked for me, but maybe others see it differently. I really don’t know what the hell people were smoking when critics claimed this movie was the height of the sequels because it is not good and I will never, ever see this movie again if I can help it.
These Godzilla sequel reviews are really getting on my nerves, to be honest. None of them have any god-damned quality, compared to the 1954 original, that resonated with meaningful themes. Only Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) had any semblance of a thematic core, but it contained other elements that were so annoying, I was ready to throw something. Looking at these sequels as a whole, I can see that I’ve matured as a movie viewer, and these sequels are no longer for me. But I’ve got two more films to view, so hopefully I can make it and not drive all the readers away.
Godzilla movies (click movie title for 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