Monsters! Aliens! Astronauts!
In the never-ending mission to spread the goodness that is Godzilla to all, we’re ranking every film with the potent patent-pending power of our proprietary ranking matrix. LIVE! from Planet Zero presents the Kaiju Kountdown!
Half the charm of kaiju movies is the human element, because there has still yet to be a day when Godzilla, despite all his talents, can command the screen for ninety minutes alone. It’s tiny people that make this wondrous world go ’round, and that’s why it’s a shame that the people in Destroy All Monsters are so bland. Photographers and ace reporters might not vital in the struggle against giant monsters, but they sure know how to lighten up a party. However when the room is filled with nothing but scientists and astronauts, things tend to be pretty stiff. If you’re going to wear bright clothes and bring so much attention to yourself, at least have the courtesy to be interesting!
This particular bunch of bipeds drags the movie to a crawl, and even dare to steal an additional scene for themselves after the film’s climatic battle, showing just how boring saving the earth can be when you really try. At the risk of sounding misogynistic, the heroes are at their best only when confronting alien-possessed women and giving them a good shake! Where’s the drinking? Where’s the jovial camaraderie? Where’s the love?
Even the aliens are boring. The Keelak have absolutely none of the style and panache of the alien invaders from Planet X, but let’s give credit where credit is due. They still took the earth to the brink of conquest—not bad for a race of space slugs. They didn’t even waste time trying to infiltrate our society with false promises of friendship; the Keelak just get up in our sh*t, and they make sure their human-slaves are well-dressed too.
Despite all that, youthful fondness makes me forgive how flavorless the human-folk are in this film, because when you’re a kid—hell, even as an adult, all you really want is more monsters, and in that regard Destroy All Monsters neither disappoints or farts around. You want Godzilla? You get Godzilla. You want Anguiras? You get Anguiras. You want Rodan and Mothra? You get Rodan and Mothra! You want Varan? Then you’re an idiot, because Varan is garbage, but alas he’s here too.
And it’s fun to watch the rest of the world’s monuments get in their fair share of lumps for a change. Man might discriminate, but monsters don’t. Russia, France… no nation goes unscathed. Godzilla does more damage to New York in one scene than that Sony-abomination did his entire movie. Naturally, they save their biggest beating for Tokyo, but truth be told, the military does more damage to the city that the monsters. Maybe Godzilla isn’t impervious afterall; that’s just a myth conjured by the army to cover-up for their lousy aim.
Understanding some of the technical back-story helps explain some on-screen behavior. Gorosaurus tunneling into Paris doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it, though think of how much more exciting Jurassic Park would have been in the T-Rex sprang up from a mound of earth and got in Sam Neill’s face? The truth is that scene was originally meant for Baragon, but the Baragon suit was too damaged to use. The same went for Varan, but Varan sucks, so no loss there.
The finale blew my young mind away then, still amazes me now. Every monster amassed for a ruckus to end all rucki! It raises the bar that has never been even closely reached since, and undoubtedly had an influence on a young Vince McMahon. The climatic battles from Ghidorah and Monster Zero get taken to the next level — Ghidorah is simply bad ass, and all the earth monsters get a moment to shine (except for Manda and Baragon, who had the good sense to stand on the sideline where they belong), until righteous teamwork takes him down, and they literally stomp the mess out of the three-headed dragon once and for all! Not only is it visually impressive, it’s also an audio treat, as each monster’s respective roar is heard. Except for Varan’s. Varan, you freakin’ loser… I just don’t like you!
It’s the movie that simply gives the people what they want, and what they want is as many monsters as the screen can possibly handle. Godzilla Final Wars might have more, but Destroy All Monsters does it better!
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
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