“Not particularly remarkable as a monster movie, but Toho for once addresses the human plot.”
Dogora is one of those monster movies that -whether or not it was the intent- focuses less on monsters and more on people. Whether or not that was a good idea is entirely up to debate, but at least that meant Toho put more effort into the human side of the plots than they did for most other monster movies from this era. For this reason, Dogora is a bit unique among other Toho movies.
Dogora’s plot breaks down two ways, with one part of the movie being committed to the diamond stealing gangsters, the other being committed to the space monster itself. Both involve diamonds, which is of course how the plots are supposed to converge and make the movie work. This works out well enough, although the two don’t integrate flawlessly; at times the two sub-plots can feel a bit disjointed. I actually find it to be more about the gangsters than about Dogora at all. The acting is pretty lacking here, and the musical score leaves something to be desired as well. The one shining star is the surprise quality of the monster Dogora. It moves quite gracefully in the sky and looks great. Other aspects of the special effects are less successful, but I’m willing to bet most of us would consider it a reasonable trade off.
Dogora is somewhat notable in that it was the last solo giant monster movie from Toho’s Showa era of pictures, but the movie on its own probably requires a foreign monster movie fan to fully appreciate the film. The main thing that props up this picture’s rating is the better human story and greater attention paid to them. Whether or not this is a worthy compromise in the eyes of monster movie fans is up to debate, but since it breaks the mold from almost every other Toho monster movie, it’s reasonable to believe that it helps differentiate this movie a bit.
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