Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster Reviews
This movie is a mixed bag of monster fun, not as silly as the next chapter ("Godzilla vs. Monster Zero") or as serious as the previous one, "Mothra vs. Godzilla"). On the plus side, we've got more monsters than ever before: Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and Godzilla, all together and ready to fight! On the downside, the special effects aren't very good in this movie. Assuming you're watching the films in the order they were made, you will notice that the Rodan looks very silly this time around, not particularly cool at all and that the awesome Godzilla suit from the previous film has been replaced with a friendlier-looking, but not nearly as good costume. Having really loved the previous movie, I was also severely disappointed that only one of the Mothra larvae comes back (one is said to have died off-screen, inbetween films). We've got Godzilla moving towards a much more heroic role in this story, which is alright but unfortunately that means that we get much less destruction this time around. You get more boulders being thrown than actual skyscrapers toppled. That said, there are a lot of fun things about this movie, as the franchise moves more towards the campy, ridiculous sci-fi plots that became a staple of the next ten or so chapters. We've got princesses being possessed by Venutian spirits, a three-headed space dragon that shoots lightning coming to attack Earth, meteor showers and an assassination plot. Even more exciting, we get some fun monster battles between the characters. Rodan and Godzilla duke it out in what is a very silly but actually pretty funny battle (which involves much pecking and stuff being thrown around), we've got Mothra fighting King Ghidorah by herself, Mothra trying to convince Godzilla and Rodan to join her in order to save the humans (which they are reluctant to do by the way, because the humans "bully them") and finally King Ghidorah, squaring off against three monsters at once (one for each head!) If you think that last point means that we get a sequence where Mothra rides on top of Rodan so she can get some air with her silly string cocoon powers, then you would be right and you should be excited to see it. Yeah, it's a bit of a disappointment to see the monster action turn into a goofy wrestling match but I like to think of Godzilla a lot like Batman. Some people see him as a serious character and therefore, write him seriously. Some people see him as a symbol of humanity's depths and write him in intricate stories filled with all kinds of symbolism. Some people just see him as a silly science fiction hero for the kids and that's what we get here. Even for the people who like Godzilla as a more serious character, you do get the first-ever appearance of King Ghidorah, so that's something to cheer about.
When it comes to the human plot, it's not too bad, but nothing special. There is a really funny moment right at the beginning where we are introduced to the Shobijin (the emissaries of Mothra) through a game show and there is some nice banter between Shindo and his sister. We get a decent plot about some scientists investigating the mysterious meteors that have fallen to Earth, but that one doesn't hold a candle to the princess assassination plot, which is a lot of fun. This is where the movie gets to its nuttiest because we've got a police officer trying to track down a woman who's claiming to be a Venutian while some bumbling assassins (well, they're not comedic, but they're not very good at their job) are trying to track her down too and meanwhile, she's prophesising that monsters are going show up at any minute. It's also nice to see continuity between the films (even if Rodan's appearance is a drastic change from the last time we saw him, and not only in the looks department).
There are a lot of ideas and plot points going on here, but they're not that well balanced. I would have loved to have seen this film drop Rodan entirely and have the two rivals, Godzilla and Mothra forced to team up with a new opponent, but oh well. It's not one of the silliest Godzilla movies, which actually works against it in a way but it's fun enough, mostly because of the revelation of King Ghidorah. If you're a fan of Godzilla movies, or just giant monster movies you can give this one a shot and you'll have a fun time, but this is not one of the "great" Godzilla films. (Original Japanese with English subtitles on Dvd, March 30, 2014)
6.5/10, a classic in the Godzilla universe, worth a watch if you enjoy Godzilla / Toho flicks.