Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster Reviews
But the other thing, and this may be an aspect viewers won't fully appreciate amid the "B-movie" adventureness of it, is that Godzilla vs the Sea Monster is the first one in the series since, well, could it be the first one(?) that deals with the issue of nuclear energy. The enemies of the film are scientists from some rogue organization - are they affiliated with the government, or more of a Dr. Evil rogue thing, I'm still not sure, the story is only clear enough to get the main beats across that they're using an island to test out their ready-made disastrous weapons - and they make for good foils for our heroes, who make up stowaways and a thief and one guy on the look out for his brother, who is actually on Infant Island.
Does it necessarily mean that director Jun Fukada and writer Senichi Sekizawa are out to make some profound *statement* about nuclear weapons and such? Maybe not. But I liked that finally we get the return of actual human beings - and sure, one of them has an eye-patch so that, you know, we know he's EVIL - and though they may be easily swayed away when, for example, trying to shine a spotlight at night on our main characters sneaking up to the nuclear weapon lab and they don't see anything despite the fairly bright lights Toho gives to even their night sets, they make for decent villains. The best? Also maybe not. But it is more about their story, how they're using and abusing the natives on the island as slaves, and that they don't know a literal sleeping giant is in their midst under some rocks.
I forget how exactly Godzilla wound up there after the last entry, but no matter: using lighting (what is he, Frankenstein's monster? Actually, this was meant to be a Toho-produced Frankenstein movie, or a King Kong one, either makes sense), Godzilla is resurrected, and fights Ebirah, a giant crab monster. In a way the crab monster isn't even the real threat of the movie, despite that it attacks some people on a boat and fights Godzilla a couple of times. It's more about Godzilla being awoken to make trouble for the nuclear-testing villains, and they become his main targets. There's also a sub plot, kinda, sorta, where the natives on Infant Island keep doing their wondrous chants to Mothra, and it's only in the last ten minutes (barely) that she wakes up to join the fight... against Godzilla this time (?)
I didn't like how they introduced Mothra here and spent so much time on the natives doing their prayer rituals. It was a lot of fun in the past, but here it seemed to be here more-so to take up some screen time. Of course it's always fun to see them at work, but by the time Mothra actually gets into action it's too little/too late sort of thing. And while Godzilla does get some fun screen time when he shows up, that also comes a little late into the movie which otherwise features this 'Sea Monster' of the title that is little more than a very slightly upgraded version of what Roger Corman cooked up in the 1957 quickie ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS. It's enjoyable to look at Ebirah. For a minute. And then he/she/it wears out its welcome.
But there are things to recommend this movie for, even as it's not the strongest of the 60's movies. I liked the actors playing the stowaways on the boat with the thief who end up becoming the heroes of their own story, they had believable deliveries and made the characters interesting enough (far as a Toho Godzilla movie of the period allows), and I especially loved the music that plays during some of the fights - in particular, during one of those "oh, they're doing THIS again?" moments when planes come around to fire at Godzilla, surf-Rockabilly grooves come up and it makes it... well, is *good* the word I'm looking for? Actually, yes, it's better than good, it makes for some iconic moments as far as a movie that is squarely in its time in 1966 and the surf music makes it unique.
If only the rest of the movie was that way. But problems and all, Fukuda made a mostly entertaining entry, with some changes (on an island, so the lack of usual stakes made it something else as an adventure-action spectacle), just with some issues that were hard to overlook.
Surprisingly watchable after consideration of how kitsch it really is.
It drags a lot and the main story is boring, but fans will get joy out of the charm of guys in rubber suits battling to the death.
"Sea Monster" is one of the weaker entries in the original Godzilla series. Much of the film is directed as light comedy, a mild satire on the James Bond films. Actually, the comedy works pretty well; it's never knee-slapping laugh-out-loud, but it finds and sustains a level of humor most viewers should find fairly easy to live with.
The monsters here are almost tossed in for deus-ex-machina plot devices, saving the day at the last moment. To be sure, it's amusing to see Godzilla sit around pondering what to do with the woman he's just saved from bad guys, but there really isn't much for him to do here. He zaps a giant vulture, pulls the claws off a lobster and smashes a nuclear power plant - and that's about it. For a minute towards the end, it almost looks like things will get complicated by a battle between Godzilla and Mothra, but this doesn't really amount to much either.
For Godzilla completists, it's a relatively harmless sub-par entry - it certainly doesn't scrape the same bottoms as "Godzilla's Revenge" or "vs. Megalon". But if you are not yet a Big G. fan, this should not be your introduction to the series. 3 Stars 4-8-14
I can't tell why, maybe the elements were just adequate. How's the story? OK. How's the fighting of monsters? OK. How are the characters? OK. This movie delivers just the right amount of elements to be OK, but fails in being memorable. From all the Godzilla entries, this one is the very first one I can classify as "forgettable and forgivable". It does nothing new, but doesn't do anything bad either. If you're looking for a time killer, this is the "adequate" movie to the job. Otherwise, it's just an out-there movie. Nothing great, nothing bad, just...adequate.
I never yawned or anything, but I also never got excited. There are some good moments, but nothing really remarkable. For what it was, it's fine, but we rather skip it. The most adequate movie ever.
What a crazy story. Pretty much everything in this movie just comes out of nowhere. Godzilla is found underground, on the island that Ebirah is guarding. How did he find himself inside that mountain and how long was he in there? Never explained. Where did Ebirah come from, what's his origin story? Never explained. There's another monster, a giant condor that also comes out of nowhere, attacks Godzilla and disappears, never to be mentioned of seen ever again. After a while, the lack of explanations kind of becomes the charm of this movie because it just comes and goes as it pleases. From a monster standpoint, this movie actually ranks pretty high. We've got 4 monsters (if you include the Condor and Mothra) and a nice variety in them too. Ebirah is a giant crustacean, a nice difference from the usual reptilian opponents that Godzilla gets and we see some nice underwater action this time around. Because Ebirah is confined to the water, we get the Giant Condor (who I've sometimes seen credited as "Ookondoru") to bother him on land and a few scenes of Godzilla fighting the Red Bamboo's army of private jets. There's a lot more rocks being thrown than building beings toppled over, which is a shame and the Godzilla costume is looking a little shabby, but the battles with Ebirah are pretty satisfying. I want to give a special shout-out to Ookondorui because I love this shabby-looking giant bird. Why is that? Because with all the shots of Ebirah's massive pincers ("claws") frightening humans and this goofy-looking creature flying circles around Godzilla, furiously pecking at him with little effect, this is probably the closest we're ever going to get to "Godzilla vs. The Giant Claw". If you haven't seen that movie, it's easily one of the worst-looking Kaijus out there, but that's getting off topic.
Where the movie really suffers is whenever the monsters are not on-screen because his human story is dull, dull, dull. There are way too many humans first of all. Nita and Ichino provide nothing to the plot, are dubbed to be incredibly irritating and take away time from the other more interesting characters. Even Ryota, who is the driving force behind the movie is dull compared to Yoshimura, who is (you might have guessed this) a criminal safe-cracker on the run from the law. Ryota and Yata's story is just way too convoluted and confusing anyway, it's just an excuse to tie together a bunch of monster fight scenes and they cannot wake Godzilla fast enough this time around. More interesting are the villains, but these guys are a total joke. So first of all, these are the terrorists with the absolute worst luck in the world. They find an island to build their secret base upon but who's that swimming around the island? A Giant lobster! Keep in mind, there is nothing to indicate that these guys are responsible for the creation of Ebirah and they do not control him so you can imagine these guys lost tons of men and equipment to this Kaiju. Next, the island is also populated by a giant condor. Ok the first monster they were able to use as a pretty effective way to drive off authorities, but this second one? Who knows what kind of damage it can cause. Maybe that's why they had to go get slaves from another island, to boost up their work force after half the employees were eaten or quit. What island do they choose to get their slave labor from? The one island that is guarded with a giant moth god! If the events of this movie hadn't kicked in when they did, I'm sure it was only a matter of time before Mothra came around and totally wrecked their base. Even worse, it turns out the island they're operating on is harboring a sleeping Godzilla and that kidnapping people from Infant Island is a double faux-pas because these four random people looking for someone on Infant Island end up breaking into their base and totally screwing up their operation. A bunch of terrorists already seemed like chump change compared to the aliens bent on universal domination in the previous film, but these guys downright suck!
If you're a hardcore fan of Godzilla, this one might be fun to check out, if only because it's just such a crazy plot you can have fun riffing on it and genuinely enjoying the parts with Godzilla, Mothra, Ebirah and the other traditional Kaiju stuff but I beg of you, watch the original Japanese version, not the English Dub. I cannot stress how irritating some of the dubbing is (nearly as much as that device Testuo invented). Even in the original language, it will be difficult to ignore the bad day for night shot, the weird sets, the weak amount of destruction and the downright dumb story. I have to say I really enjoyed the funky music used in the film, that was a lot of fun but this is a movie that is only for die hard Godzilla fans. Not only for diehard Kaiju fans, for the even smaller demographic that is people who have to marathon all of the Toho creations every X days. "Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster" is a bad movie that isn't without its charms, but it's still a bad movie. (English Dub on Dvd, April 9, 2014)