“You’re a hard bitch!”
This movie is full of hilarious quotes – and I highly recommend watching it in the dubbed english version. Thats the first thing I did after a few minutes of the film was switch it over to the ‘dubs’. The older, more quirky Godzilla films are at their best in this nostalgic form. The newer ones, however, I have to watch with subtitles. It’s all about atmosphere.
With that said, Godzilla vs Gigan is an interesting film. I dont think it is nearly as bad as most reviewers pan it out to be. Its got a few plot holes here and there, and the monster suits (outside of the newly built and awesomely designed Gigan) are in pretty rough shape. There’s both good and bad use of stock footage in this outing – but none of these trivial matters really stain my enjoyment of this film. Godzilla vs Gigan is not a movie I’d rate highly on the franchise’s scale, but it is a truly fun piece that I’ve always held fondly in my memories – mostly for the fun characters, colorful atmosphere, and excellent rogues gallery. What Godzilla fan can resist a super smackdown between Godzilla, Anguirus, Gigan, and Ghidorah!?
The story centers around a young comic book artist, Gengo Kotaka – a young, ambitious man who is accidentally thrust into a battle for Earth itself. Gengo gets a new job for a mysterious company, and attempts to sell them his ideas for monsters (obsurd creations such as a homework monster and Mommagon, the monster of strict mothers). Soon enough, he stumbles upon his new employer’s shady plans – making new friends in a fight for the Earth’s safety. This time around, it is aliens from the Nebula M who threaten life on our planet. The Nebula M aliens claim to, of course, come in the name of peace – but the cliches (almost) stop there. These particular aliens are building a theme park – one with a massive tower modeled after Godzilla at the center. The whole park is, of course, a diversion. The aliens plan to use their two most powerful lackey kaiju, Ghidorah and Gigan, to destroy Tokyo and the Earth’s monsters. Godzilla and Anguirus show up just in time to thwart the evil aliens and their monsters. The final result is one of the most memorable fights in kaiju history. And if you haven’t guessed – Anguirus and Godzilla defeat the aliens and save the world – all with a little help from their human friends.
Godzilla vs Gigan, now that I’ve watched it again – contains shots of at least four different Godzilla suits. The main suit is the same one used in Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla vs Hedorah – but other suits are seen in stock footage, such as the suits used in Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster and Son of Godzilla – to name a few. A lot of the stock footage centers around Ghidorah, and some of it was cleverly added into some new scenes with Gigan to create their ‘simultaneous’ attack on Tokyo. The new scenes filmed for Gigan, however, are just plain badass. The lighting is dark and moody, and Tokyo is ablaze in the background as Gigan claws and scythes his way through the cityscape. The Gigan suit is fantastic, and he is one of my favorite kaiju in both execution and design. Its also interesting to note that Gigan makes Godzilla bleed several times throughout their battle together. And not just a little, but severely – something we rarely see in the series.
Many sharp fans have noticed Gigan being laser-beam-capable in several of Toho’s original posters for the film. Yet, Gigan never so much as fires one blip from his forehead in the final edit. It is known through the passing of information that Toho did indeed plan on giving Gigan a long range weapon in this film, but for one reason or another Gigan’s beam never found its way into post production. A wily member over at the ever-so lively Toho Kingdom forums that goes by the name of ‘Guardian7′ has provided a snap shot of a precise moment in Godzilla vs Gigan where the ol’ Space Chicken’s forehead does indeed light up, as if it is charging for an attack! This is the first image I have ever seen of this split-second moment of truth, and a very cool piece of evidence indeed. Many thanks to Guardian7!
Back to the matter at hand! The plot isn’t too terribly thick (as I explained earlier), but the characters make up for it. Basically, we’re given a japanese version of Peter Parker (sans the spidey alter ego) as our main hero, accompanied by a hilarious hippie and two very attractive young women. All of these elements combine to make this film what it is – a fun movie. There’s cheesy dialogue, excellent monster romps, and a man gets held up with a corn cob. How much more creativity do you need in a seventies film?
I can’t help but feel that the movie starts off a tad slow – taking a bit to work into it’s pacing. The beginning of the film is riddled with thin plot and exposition, but if you’re patient enough to make it through the first hour or so – the latter half of the film makes up for it – giving you a solid hour of kaiju battles. And boy are they fun. Not to mention, I’m a huge fan of the “Godzilla March” used at the end of this film. What a song, what a song!
As creative and fun as this film can be, I do feel the need to address the stock footage again… for the third time. The use of old scenes in this film is, to put it lightly, shameless. The sky changes from day to night so often, that you just have to let yourself write it off. The scenes with Ghidorah and Anguirus are the most obvious uses of stock footage. And, as mentioned, seeing four or five different Godzilla suits in one movie doesn’t add to the film’s credibility either.
Perhaps its because the last film I reviewed was Godzilla vs Destroyah – but I wasn’t particularly impressed with this movie’s cinematography or score. Akira Ifukube always delivers solid work – and there’s a few memorable spots of score within GvsG – but its not Ifukube’s best. The directing and character work by Mr. Jun Fukuda, however, is top notch. This movie walks a tightrope between fun and bad – and I sincerely believe that Fukuda is responsible for… well.. making it not suck. But like I said at the beginning of this review, I dont think this entry in the series deserves nearly as bad of a rap as it has within the fandom. That sort of funk belongs to the next Goji-film, Godzilla vs Megalon.
All things considered – I’m not entirely sure what a fair rating for this movie would be. If I were to base it on production value alone, I’d say a ** 1/2 would suffice. But I’ll go ahead and bump it up to a solid *** stars, simply for the witty banter and fun rogues gallery of kaiju featured. That, and Gigan’s a badass. ‘Nouf said.
Jon @ UnCanny
This film, much like All Monsters Attack and Godzilla vs Hedorah can’t be explained by one person. These films are so out there, and can be such a mess at times, that they simply require the opinions of many to really display how differently they can be interpreted. Our KFN Experts King Caesar, HayesAJones and The Real McCoy weigh in with their opinions:
Bad? Yes. Terrible characters? Yes. Poor plot? Yes! Fun to watch? Ye–wait…it is? As hard as it is to believe, this movie has struck a chord with Godzilla fans all across the board. Godzilla vs Gigan is a jumbled mess of a movie, no doubt about that, but it calls for a different type of viewing expierience unlike the original ’54 Godzilla or Mothra vs Godzilla.
Let’s list some noteable complaints that plague the film:
1) Godzilla and Anguiras talk. Yes, this is what the movie is infamous for. The brief conversations they have are hardly necessary and could have been acted out through gestures, but verbalization is better than comic book dialogue (refer to the Japanese version for that).
2) The plot. It could be interesting, and I want to strongly emphasize could in that sentence. In the early phases it focuses on the villians’ origins, trying to understand just what Children’s Land really is. Then, it seems Toho just pulled the plug on that and switched to mindless action and reels of stock footage, which brings us to problem three.
3) Stock footage. Man, oh, man this is the doozy. All the action sequences with King Ghidorah are stock footage. When he’s not shown in his earlier movies, he’s practically a stiff puppet. He does nothing. The stock footage is utilized well, outside of the day-to-night sequences; that gets old fast.
So, looking back on Godzilla vs Gigan, we can visibly see that this movie is a pie, with a stale and moldy crust inside. This is probably the low-point of the Showa series, in critical terms. Ironically, this may be one of the best popcorn movies in the whole series. This is a pie with a nasty crust, but the filling is oh so sweet. -King Caesar
In all honesty, Godzilla vs. Gigan is a pretty crappy movie. But that’s all part of its charm. The story is really strange. A monster-themed amusement park built by space cockroaches? A bumbling comic artist as the dashing hero? A hippie with corn? Most of this movie is just weird, and quite corny (teehee) too. Even the titular villain, Gigan, is a serious oddball. Then again, for a hook-handed space chicken with a streak of cowardice, he’s a pretty cool beast. There’s a heap of ridiculous dialogue as well. A lot of of the franchise’s most infamous lines can be found in this film, including a few spoken by Godzilla and Anguirus! Plus, this movie features one of the longest battles in the series. A tag-team to boot! Godzilla and Anguirus against Gigan and Ghidorah- does it get much better? There are some lacking special effects and a severe overuse of stock footage, but in a movie of this cheese-caliber, I just can’t find it in myself to care.
So, if you’re in the mood for a healthy dose of silliness, shove some popcorn in the microwave, find a comfy seat and your suspension of belief, and check this quirky flick out. – HayesAJones
This is a 3.5 for me. It used to be my favorite, and I still thoroughly enjoy it, but there’s just a few things here and there that take my mind off of it in some places. I find the characters to be fun; they’re not the best actors, but would you rather have had the inventor from Godzilla vs. Megalon? The guy who basically wears a latex mask with the same expression on it the whole movie? The worst characters in this movie were the Nebulans. Other than that, basically the poor use of stock footage and the lacking SFX are the only things that bother me. The music is great, and the title monster is an enjoyable creation.
-The Real McCoy”