There is a Zero percent chance that aliens are trustworthy
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is also known by the titles Invasion of the Astro-Monster and simply Monster Zero. It stars American actor Nick Adams who isn't dubbed over in the English version.
The previous Godzilla installment, Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster, was when the franchise gave us our first example of "outer space sci-fi" in which aliens or some other extra-terrestrial force come to Earth, and, somehow, Godzilla gets involved. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is Godzilla on sci-fi steroids, featuring lots of space travel, aliens, and, oh yeah, giant monsters.
The story takes place in 196X (I don't know what 196X is supposed to mean. Don't ask.), and it begins with two astronauts named Kazuo Fuji (Akira Takarada) and Glenn (Nick Adams) who are being sent to investigate the newly discovered Planet X which is located behind Jupiter. Fuji and Glenn arrive on Planet X and encounter the planet's human-like beings which are referred to as Xiliens. The Xiliens leader is simply known as the Controller, and he informs Fuji and Glenn that Planet X's surface is being ravaged by a demonic creature that the Xiliens call Monster Zero. Monster Zero actually turns out to be Ghidrah who Fuji and Glenn recognize. The Controller explains that Ghidrah's nonstop attacks are forcing the Xiliens to reside underground. The Controller requests to Fuji and Glenn that the Xiliens be allowed to travel to Earth and "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan to help repel Ghidrah and his attacks . In exchange, the Controller promises to give planet Earth a miracle drug that can cure any disease (in the Japanese version, it's the cure for cancer, but the English-version's deal sounds way better). Fuji and Glenn have their suspicions, but the totally non-suspicious Xiliens are able to go through with their plan. Earth has no reason to worry, because the Xiliens have absolutely no ulterior motives whatsoever.
What is both special and depressing about Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is that it is the last Godzilla film before the original Showa series fully delves into some murky waters that they wouldn't escape from until the mid 1970s. It's special because of how much that director Ishiro Honda and the screenwriters crank up the science fiction, giving us the only Godzilla film to not only have important scenes take place outside Earth, but also the only Godzilla battle that takes place on another planet. The film is also depressing because it is the last time in a while that I can say that a Godzilla movie is fun and not in a super cheesy, kid-friendly, B-movie kind of way. That's not to say that the next few installment aren't fun, but they're just not quite as fun in the ultra entertaining, straightforward way that Monster Zero is.
- If I was ranking the Godzilla movies strictly off of the entertainment factor, then I would put Godzilla vs. Monster Zero on the higher end of the list. The monsters' destruction sequence through Japan is highly amusing, and the monster fights are well-choreographed and pure fun to watch. Godzilla and Rodan work like a tag team when fighting Ghidrah, while poor Ghidrah tries to fight by just blasting everything with his lightning beams. The outer space aspects of the film do complement all of the monster action pretty well, and none of the entertaining stuff gets so ludicrous to a point where it becomes unbearable. Actually, there is one ridiculous moment where Godzilla does a victory dance, and it's funny because of how out of context that the dance is, but also how it is never mentioned or referred to by anyone in the movie. Check it out:
- Godzilla vs. Monster Zero gives us our first taste of a form of cheapness that would become an unfortunate reality in several of the upcoming Godzilla installments. That cheapness is the use of stock footage. The Xiliens take control of Godzilla and Rodan (Oh what? You couldn't guess that the Xiliens were up to something bad?) and unleash the two monsters along with Ghidrah in a destructive rampage throughout Earth. While the three monsters do provide another entertaining round of building smashing, several shots of buildings getting destroyed are just recycled shots from some of Toho's previous installments, mainly Rodan and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. Just about all of Rodan's destruction scenes are those seen in Rodan's 1957 film. The only new clips of Rodan during the Japan demolition are ones in which we see him bounce around like he's on a pogo-stick while the military hopelessly fires their weapons at him. Yeah, it's weird.
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is a highly attractive film for any sci-fi nut, combining alien plotting with giant monster entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, this Godzilla film is no question one of the more entertaining ones in the entire franchise, despite its small use of stock footage. I am not even going to comment on the dubbing because, honestly, there really has been no such thing as great dubbing for a Godzilla film. Only when it gets atrociously bad will I feel the need to mention it again. Anyway, Ghidrah's presence is always welcome, because he can only enhance a Godzilla movie. How could he not? Godzilla and Rodan make a neat tag team, and it's a bummer that the two don't fight alongside one another again like they do here. Godzilla just has so many friends to fight together with.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: