GODZILLA VS. MEGALON * * * * (1973, 81 minutes, Rated G) "We'll warn the scientists."
IIt’s strange. For a character that started off as a very grim avatar of nuclear holocaust, Godzilla somehow morphed into an incredibly kid-friendly by the 1970s. That kid-friendly Godzilla is in full effect in Godzilla vs. Megalon, which plays like one of the most dashed together films of the series.
Early on, we join an inventor on a lakeside picnic with his short-shorts wearin’ son and racecar driving, uh, good friend? Suddenly, earthquake! The short-shorts wearin‘ son and his comically oversized paddleboat are in danger, but fortunately, the inventor packed a rocket with 50 feet of uncoiled rope. The lad is saved, but the lake is completely sucked into the earth’s crust, never to be mentioned again.
Whatever! We learn the inventor has been working on a robot with a permasmile named Jet
I was in college when someone showed me the Gamera vs. Guiron episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The show was a revelation -- I loved it and was instantly hooked. It was fairly early in the run of the show, maybe around Season 4, on Comedy Central with Joel. I think because of that, I’ve always preferred the Joel episodes to the ones with Mike Nelson, the same way an old school Van Halen fan might prefer David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar.
I don’t know that there’s much that needs saying about MST3K that hasn’t been already said, except that was probably inevitable that the show would make an appearance in my ROAD TO B-MOVIES and become a big influence on The ‘Bin.
The film reviewed below is from my all-time favorite episode of MST3K. My copy currently resides on a well-worn VHS tape with the “Powdered Toast Man” episode of Ren & Stimpy, perhaps the greatest episode of The People’s Court (with Judge Wapner presiding) and a variety of music videos that I’m embarrassed to admit are on the tape.
agents and our racecar drivin’ good buddy. I'm not sure that these the most incompetently shot car chases, but they’re definitely in the top five.
In case you’ve somehow never heard of it, Seatopia is an Atlantis-like civilization that has existed under water near Easter Island for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the increasing amount of pollution in earth’s oceans have forced Seatopia’s toga-clad emperor to declare war and unleash Megalon! Our headliner is just like the Kraken, except it kinda looks like a giant cockroach with (as MTS3K’s Crow observes) Chrysler Building arms.
Jaguar. Its apparently a multi-talented robot, as we eventually learn that Jet Jaguar can:
Serve as a camera
Get out of people’s way with its avoidance system
Be voice controlled through a transistor (except when it doesn’t want to be)
Communicate with monsters
“Program himself for survival”
“Program himself in some way to increase his size”
With such an array of functions, it’s no wonder that the great undersea nation of Seatopia wants to steal Jet Jaguar. This leads to numerous car chases between Seatopian
Jet Jaguar (above, center) can also give piggyback rides on command.
It takes about 20 minutes of screen time, but the King of All Monsters does finally show up for an epic tornado tag match. The battle in Godzilla vs. Megalon is much longer than in most Godzilla movies (perhaps to make up for the opening hour of incoherence) and it goes heavy on the pyrotechnics, but it’s all very kid-friendly. I mean, check out how the battle ends:
Told you so.
Also, Seatopia throws in Gigan, because what the hell.
That may be just as well, because during the obligatory army versus monster sequence, Japan’s armed forces actually manage to drive Megalon out of the immediate vicinity. A short bit later, a now enlarged Jet Jaguar pretty much beats the tar out of Megalon -- Godzilla wouldn’t even be needed if Gigan didn’t show up.
And so: the bad monsters run away, Godzilla declares it Miller Time, and the inventor announces that he’ll “warn the scientists” about the danger they pose to Seatopia. The music tells us that’ll work out just fine, just like it would in real life.
Yes, Godzilla vs. Megalon is a very silly movie… even for a Godzilla movie.