4 days ago
I have probably seen Son of Godzilla 100 times. It was one of the first films that my family purchased on VHS. That’s a big deal. I can’t confirm it, but it may have also been the first genre film that I watched as a budding gore-guzzler. That’s a big deal, too. Son of Godzilla will always occupy a special place in my corroded heart. Most Toho scholars regard this kid-friendly monster mash as one of the weaker Showa showings. It’s true that Son was geared towards prepubescent consumers, and Godzilla him(her?)self does look silly in this one. I simply don’t care. The film delivers pure entertainment. I will defend it to my grave, or at least to the end of this review.
A team of meteorologists (or something...they’re definitely “ists”) on a remote island study climate control. They experiment with weather balloons in an attempt to regulate extreme temperatures. A meddlesome journalist and an island native interfere with the barometrical research, but they are the least of the scientists’ worries. The island is teeming with monsters. We encounter a 10-foot praying mantis within the first few minutes. None of the characters are fazed by the aberration, even when they spot a cluster of Zilla-sized insects. Apparently, Japanese people were seriously jaded by this point, and you can’t blame them. This is the eighth G-pic, after all.
The colossal mites (named either Gimantis or Kamacuras, depending on the version you’re watching) dig up a monstrous egg from the anhydrous ground. Of course, the egg hatches. The son of Godzilla is born! Here again, the creature is known by multiple names, but I will refer to him as Minya. I’m going to lose a casketload of credibility with this paragraph, but I can’t help it. Minya is adorable! He’s so fucking cute! I loved the relationship between Godzilla and his little bundle of joy. Coo as Minya learns how to breathe fire; giggle as Minya learns how to roar; let out an effeminate “aww” as Minya cries for his daddy (mommy?). Maybe I’m a pussy, but I had fun with this flick’s domestic tendencies.
Luckily, Son puts out in the action department. This flick contains some of the best monster fights in any kaiju corrivalry. We get bodyslams, disembodied mantis tibias (check Wikipedia), pyrotechnics galore, strategic web-spinning, and more pyrotechnics. The web-spinning comes courtesy of Kumonga, a giant spider. The creature effects are magnificent. With the exception of Godzilla and Minya, the inhuman creations are manipulated by strings. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the battle sequences have held up over the years. Plus, we are treated to unique monsters instead of having to settle for the usual suspects (Mothra, King Ghidorah, etc.). I have nothing against the usual suspects, but there are only so many ways to behead a three-headed serpent.
The pace is brisk, especially for a Godzilla movie. The dialogue-driven subplots are kept to a minimum. Watching Son of Godzilla is like watching hot chicks have a pillowfight on top of you. It’s easy. If I could only use one word to describe this genre-linking circus, that word would be FUN. The only real downside is Godzilla’s appearance. The suit sags, and what’s with the “big, wide, American” eyes? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I can understand why most sci-fi/horror purists laugh this entry off as chintzy fluff, but it put a dumb smile on my face. When it comes to Toho productions, that’s all you can ask for.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:25 PM