aka Gojira Tai Hedora (Original Title)
85 min., 1971
Written by Yoshimitsu Banno/Kaoru Mabuchi
Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno
My rating: ★★★
Can Godzilla kick the ass of even pollution? Hell yeah!
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A fisherman finds a strange “tadpole” and brings it to Dr. Yano (Akira Yamauchi) who starts to do some research. He then sees on the news that a giant version of the “tadpole” has attacked a ship. He decides to head out there with his son Ken (Hiroyuki Kawase) to do a bit more information gathering, where he realizes that these “tadpoles” are made from industrial waste. The “tadpoles” form together and make the first form of Hedorah, a more amphibian form. Godzilla shows up and kicks the crap out of Hedorah, who runs away to the water. A little later Hedorah returns, but in a different form. He now looks like a flying saucer, which goes around sucking on the exhaust pipes on the tops of buildings. The more he feeds off of the pollution, the bigger he starts to get. Godzilla finally steps in again, but Hedorah, who has been gaining more strength and now has a “human” form, sends Godzilla running. What can Godzilla do against a monster that gets stronger from pollution, especially when there is pollution everywhere?
The acting is pretty good in the movie. Akira Yamauchi and Hiroyuki Kawase are really the only two worth mentioning and they do a fine job. They handle the material with a sense of realism and they recite the dialogue (as silly as some of it actually is) with a straight face, never showing signs of them not taking it seriously.
The effects of the movie are still pretty good. Don’t get me wrong there is still some getting over the fact that it’s men in rubber suits beating each other up, but it’s still some really good rubber suits. The Hedorah suit is just great, and the fact that he has three different forms makes it even better. They make Hedorah strange looking and bizarre enough to make him, almost, creepy. The fight scenes are also very well put together. Always exciting and there is always something flying across the screen, be it Hedorah, Godzilla’s breath or even Godzilla himself (yes he actually uses his breath weapon as a means of propulsion). A noticeable difference from this movie and the ones of recent past, Godzilla seems to have lost the “parental” look that he has been sporting for the last few movies and he looks a bit more menacing (not by a ton) which works in favor of the movie. At the end, after defeating Hedorah, he looks back at the humans with a really pissed off look. Kinda like he’s saying, “See what YOU did? Don’t do it again!”
This is one of my favorites in the Godzilla series. Not because it’s a great film, but because I saw this when I was a kid and those feelings of wonderment and amazement over what was happening on screen has never left my mind. The first Godzilla film I saw was Godzilla 1985 (yes that’s the English title of The Return Of Godzilla) and after watching that I started to actually look for Godzilla titles. Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster (again the English title) was the first I found. It just cemented my love for Godzilla movies (hell, giant monster movies) with its great monster fights and the strong message that it was telling people (and of course no one listened and we are still dealing with those problems today). Watching wide-eyed and literally on the edge of my couch, I wondered if and how Godzilla could actually defeat something so powerful. Then at the climax with Godzilla ripping the Smog Monster (remember I was watching the English version) apart piece-by-piece, I was cheering out loud with excitement (I remember that scene very vividly because 1, it was great and 2, my dad yelled downstairs to me to shut up because I was being so loud). Some movies leave an impression on you, but after about a month they just leave your mind and then it only surfaces if the movie is brought up, but then there are some movies that leave such an impression that even when the movie is the furthest from your mind it still bubbles to the surface and brings you back to it. This is one of those movies that does that to me. I could be eating and out of nowhere, not having seen it in months, Godzilla and Hedorah fighting just comes to mind and a smile comes across my face. Why? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s my ADD kicking in, but I’d like to think it’s more than that. Then again I could be having a bad day and I just think back to the movie and forget about what made me mad and have a few moments of happiness to get me over that hill of anger. To me it just shows that it left that good of an impression and memory in my mind that I don’t need to think about it for it to actively affect my life. Again this is all personal and you guys probably won’t have the same feeling, but every once in a while think back to those movies that bring a smile to your face and drift away from the crap of life and re-experience those good times. It can do wonders for you (is that too self help bookish?).Have You Read...?