Monster Movie March: Mechagodzilla enters the mix

Looking for a way to beat the boredom of staying indoors during COVID-19? How about turning on some classic monster movies. Our Communiqué resident movie reviewer Noah Napolitano recently watched two of them and weighed in on how they measured up.

Noah Napolitano

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)

Before I write my review of this movie, I want to warn everyone about this movie, the next one and King “Kong vs. Godzilla” (1963): Just don’t question what is happening. 

At this point, “Godzilla” had been making movies for about two decades and these movies were the original Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was such a massive amount of lore and characters that I was so confused. First off, the character Anguirus is in the beginning of this movie. I know him somewhat, but if you have no idea who he is, just don’t worry about it at this point. It’s another big monster, and I guess Godzilla’s friend.

If I told you the plot of this movie with no context, you would probably be thinking that I am either crazy, or I am mixing up three different movies. The plot involves green alien gorilla people who build a robot Godzilla. They call Mechagodzilla a cyborg, but a cyborg is a living creature mixed with technology, which annoyed me a bit. Meanwhile, a group of what I believe are archeologists are trying to stop the alien gorillas with the help of Interpol — the International Criminal Police Organization — and they try to wake up a weird ancient giant dog god creature named King Caesar. Also, King Caesar is woken up by a girl singing a three-minute theme song for him on a beach, in which the music just cuts out jarringly. Oh, also Godzilla gets struck by lightning and becomes a magnet but has to move his arms to magnetically pull things, so he is basically Magneto. 

Anguirus from “Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla” (1974).

You are probably thinking by now that I hated this movie, but in all honesty I loved this film. There were many times I found myself laughing hysterically at what I was watching. 

There was a scene where a scientist just casually identified some metal a guy found in a cave, and he was just like, “Yep, it’s Space Titanium. It’s from space.” 

Later, when Mechagodzilla is revealed, that same scientist is just like, “It’s a robot Godzilla. It’s probably from aliens.” He calls it Mechagodzilla, which is what the aliens have been calling it, but they hadn’t interacted at that point.

This scientist is the best character, because for some reason he just knows all this stuff about space, aliens and whatever the plot needs him to know. 

There is a minute-long scene where he talks about this metal pipe he carved that disrupts magnetic charges, or something like that. Why does he have it? Why does he need it? Because the plot needs it. 

I could write a 12-page paper on this movie, and I still wouldn’t be able to discuss everything. My highlight moment of this movie is that our “heroes” just casually watch this evil version of Godzilla, who is revealed to be Mechagodzilla  — maybe think about that plot point some more when seeing “Godzilla vs. Kong” — destroy a power plant  from the leisure of their car. Anyway, this movie is a masterpiece, and I loved it.

Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

This movie was the last Godzilla movie for a decade — until the next film “Godzilla 1985.” 

This film was the last acting role for Hirata before he died. Hirata played Serizawa in the original film and the plot scientist in “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.” In this film, the best way I can describe him is as an evil Japanese Colonel Sanders.

This film also was the last time Godzilla was shown as a hero until 2004. Almost 30 years later, after this movie, Godzilla went back to being portrayed as a monster who destroyed cities. This film also is the first time that the classic Godzilla theme is played. Nowadays, it’s used all the time. We also get the introduction of Titanosaurus — which makes its only film appearance.

Titanosaurus from “Terror of Mechagodzilla” (1975).

To be honest, I found myself not really enjoying this movie very much. There is no introduction of this new monster who saves the world, and Godzilla is barely in this film. 

Don’t get me wrong — this movie does have good parts. The special effects still look good. One of the main characters, named Katsura, is actually a very well written character. Katsura is a typical person, then she dies and is revived as a cyborg (an actual cyborg) thanks to aliens. She has to sacrifice herself to stop Mechagodzilla, even after she has found love. She was a tragic character and was legitimately interesting. 

One way I know that I’m not enjoying a movie much is when I pause to see how much time is left, and I check my phone a few times. I did this several times throughout the film. Even when writing this review, I couldn’t write as much because I just don’t have much to say about it.  I thought it was just mediocre. 

Which is Better?

You can probably already tell from my reviews, but the better movie was “Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla.” Even though I knew what what was happening more and the human characters were better, I found “Terror of Mechagodzilla” kind of boring. 

“Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla,” however, felt like an insane fever dream, and I loved it. I was laughing constantly at the weird plot, and the outdated special effects. In conclusion, I enjoyed the campiness of the film so much, and I honestly recommend the movie, even if it’s a movie you watch with friends or family and just laugh at it.