Friday, April 23, 2010

All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla's Revenge)(1969)(Toho)

Written By: Ken Hulsey

You would be hard pressed to find a more misunderstood monster movie than Toho's 1969 entry into the long line of Godzilla films, "All Monsters Attack" (Godzilla, Minilla, Gabara: All Monsters on Parade or Godzilla's Revenge - US Title). Ask any Godzilla movie fan what he (or she) thinks of the film, and you are likely to get a scorn remark and a sour face in return.

The reasons for this often very vocal backlash towards the film come in many different forms for many different reasons. Mostly though, fans dislike the movie, because it is a kids movie, a fact sometimes lost on those who strongly criticize it.

Indeed, for the 10th film in the Godzilla line, Toho opted to do something different. They decided to make a Godzilla movie aimed for a juvenile audience exclusively.

The reasons for this move are many. One, by the late 1960s Godzilla had evolved from a city smashing villain to a hero, and therefore had become beloved by younger audiences around the globe. Two, a film that revolved around a small child, that was filmed on 'real life' locations (mostly) instead of expensive fantasy sets, meant that the studio could keep it's costs down. Also, Toho knew that they would be without the services of special effects whiz, Eiji Tsuburaya, due to illness, so a smaller scale film with limited effects (utilizing a lot of stock footage actually) would be in order.

All of these elements didn't sit too well with Godzilla's older fans, who were looking for more from the film that would directly follow the hugely successful, "Destroy All Monsters."

It also wouldn't help that the film's two main stars were the 8-year old Ichirô Miki, played by Tomonori Yazaki, and Godzill's son, Minilla (Minira) played by 'Little Man' Machan in the costume and voiced by Midori Uchiyama.

Godzilla, the mighty 'King of the Monsters', was nothing more than a supporting character, only called upon when Minilla couldn't hold his own versus the much larger monster, Gabara, the monster island counterpart to a bully by the same name, in Ichiro's life.

Otherwise, all the other scenes that include Godzilla would come in the form of stock footage from "Godzilla vs The Sea Monster" and "Son of Godzilla."

Again, not what the fans were expecting.

Here is the plot:

Ichiro is a highly imaginative but lonely latchkey kid growing up in urban Tokyo. Every day he comes home to his family's empty apartment. His only friends are a toymaker named Shinpei Inami and a young girl named Sachiko. Every day after school, Ichiro is terrorized by a gang of bullies led by a child named Gabara. After seeing Godzilla attack the docks of Tokyo, to escape his loneliness, Ichiro goes to sleep and dreams about Monster Island, where he befriends Minilla, the son of Godzilla. During through parts of the adventure, they both watch Godzilla battle monsters such as Ebirah, Kamacuras, Kumonga, and the Giant Condor (also known as Condra).

Through these adventures, Ichiro watches as Minilla deals with his own bully, a monster also named Gabara. Godzilla sees this happen to Minilla. To train Minilla, Godzilla makes him fight. Then Ichiro helps Minilla fight back at Gabara and wins through some help of Godzilla. It is through these trips that he learns how to face his fears and fight back. These lessons also grant him the courage to outwit two bumbling bank robbers, as well as have the guts to stand up to Gabara and his gang in a final confrontation.

I also want to take a moment to mention that the late Eisei Amamoto, who plays the toymaker, Shinpei Inami, in "All Monsters Attack", also played the evil Dr. Who in "King Kong Escapes".

Now, I know that I am in the minority on this one, but I really enjoy "All Monsters Attack." I think because I understand that it is a kids movie, plain and simple. That being said, I feel that I can also say that it is a really good kids movie, especially for the time period in which it was made.

Granted, the Godzilla action in the film, is week at best, and the monster Gabera, isn't one of Toho's better monsters.

Maybe my thoughts about the film are somewhat clouded by my fond memories of watching it on summer afternoons as part of the yearly, "Giant Monster Week", on "Dialing for Dollars" in Albuquerque during the early 1980s?

Every year they would show, "Rodan", "War of the Gargantuas", "Godzilla vs The Cosmic Monster", "The Giant Claw" and "G's Revenge."

This, of course, was back before the Godzilla films were available on DVD, or even VHS for that matter. Back then, you felt lucky when your local station aired any kind of sci fi or monster movie.

Well, enough of my reminiscing.

"All Monsters Attack" a misunderstood film? I think so.

As true childrens cinema, the movie really works well. As a monster movie, it is lacking. The trick to enjoying it is to watch with a younger person. They generally get a big kick out of it and in return you get a chance to look at it through their eyes, which puts a different perspective on it.

What, would you rather have your kids watching "Barney" or that awful "Iron Man" cartoon?

I thought not.....

Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki (1969)
Aka: All Monsters on Parade, All kaijû daishingeki, Attack All Monsters, Godzilla's Leverage, Godzilla's Revenge, Godzilla, Minilla, Gabara: All Monster's Attack, Great Charge of All Monsters, Il ritorno di Gorgo, Minya: The Son of Godzilla

Director: Ishirô Honda
Writer: Shinichi Sekizawa


Tomonori Yazaki as Ichirô Miki
Eisei Amamoto as Shinpei Inami
Sachio Sakai as Bank Robber Senbayashi
Kazuo Suzuki as Bank Robber Okuda
Kenji Sahara as Kenkichi 'Tack' Miki (Ichiro's Father)
Machiko Naka as Ichirô no okâsan
Shigeki Ishida as The Landlord
Midori Uchiyama as Minira (voice: Japanese-language version)
Yoshifumi Tajima as Detective
Chôtarô Tôgin as Assistant Detective
Yutaka Sada as Train engineer
Yutaka Nakayama as Guy Painting Billboard
Ikio Sawamura as Bartender
Haruo Nakajima as Gojira
'Little Man' Machan as Minira

Here are some more photos from "All Monsters Attack":

See Also: Mothra (Mosura)(1961)(Toho) / King Kong vs Godzilla (Kingukongu tai Gojira)(1962)(Toho) / Rodan (Sora no daikaiju Radon)(1956) / Gigantis The Fire Monster (Godzilla Raids Again) / Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

1 comment:

  1. A largely misunderstood classic of the genre. What young Godzilla fan doesn't daydream of running off to Monster Island to meet the Big and company?



Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.