As hard as it is to fathom, Toho originally intended Destroy All Monsters to be the final installment in their iconic Godzilla franchise. DAM plays like a This is Your Life but with Toho's stable of kaiju. Besides the big G, you've got Rodan, Mothra (albeit in larval form), Ghidorah, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Minya, Baragon, and Varan. All the monsters (except Ghidorah, and for good reason) have been assembled and placed on Monster Island, a sanctuary where they can roam freely and coexist. Without warning, the kaiju suddenly begin attacking the major cities of the world (i.e., Godzilla obliterates New York City, Gorosaurus demolishes Paris, Rodan topples Moscow, etc.). It turns out than an all-female race of aliens, the Kilaaks, have gained control of the monsters. A UN-commissioned spaceship is sent off to find the Kilaaks' bases (they have settlements both on the moon and on Earth) and break their control over the kaiju. As always, Eiji Tsuburaya's special effects are well-detailed. The UFO and spaceship miniatures look quite convincing. The true stars, of course, are the monsters. Not all the kaiju receive equal screen time (Varan and Baragon only pop in for cameos), but the destruction scenes are thrilling. You would think the monsters would get maximum screen time in an extravaganza like Destroy All Monsters, but they are downplayed in favor of the human-alien conflict at times. Don fret, though, there's still plenty of fun destruction scenes plus a climactic battle where the Kilaaks summon Ghidorah to fight the Earth monsters. Needless to say, the odds are against Ghidorah as he goes up against seven of Japan's finest. The scene could have been stretched out longer, but it's satisfying for what it is. Akira Ifukube contributes one of his greatest and most epic scores in a kaiju film. The international success of Destroy All Monsters compelled Toho to continue making Godzilla movies. Some critics would say the series took a sharp nosedive after DAM, but as a loyal kaiju fanatic, I say the added campiness brought another dimension of fun to the franchise. DAM is not the epic classic it could have been, but is still one satisfying monster-mash that mixes kaiju with comic-book action. I give it 4 Godzilla-sized footprints out of 5.