Friday, March 12, 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 IchirĂ´ 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.....

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





6 comments:

  1. Hey Ken,

    Believe it or not, as a much younger Godzilla fan Gabara was the only monster of the Showa Era films that I found genuinely creepy. And I still do. I think that, approached right, Gabara could potentially be a great candidate for revival in a future Godzilla movie.

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  2. To be honest, I would like to see Gabara make a come back myself.

    Though the monster may look like a toad crossed with a cat.

    I like the monster......

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  3. I've always loved Godzilla's Revenge,especially since this is the first Godzilla movie that I ever saw.

    The first time I saw it was on Ch.18 out of Milwaukee.I can't remember what was on before it,but right before it starter my mom said that I would be interested in it since I was already into monsters.So I will always have a fondness for this film.

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  4. as the comments here will show, I think the notion of this movie being maligned is a total fabrication of the press; it is impossible to hate this film for any of the reasons cited if only because the film is totally consistent and true to its storyline, as any good film should be. The story takes place in the dreams of a 6 (maybe 7?) year old boy, and right there all issues of truth to the canon or plausibility are as irrelevant as they'd be to any "child fantasy" film (which does not make it a kids film, it only makes it a film about the childlike mind) -- I think there is a phase people go through where they cherish a denial of things childlike, but the delusion soon vanishes... usually about the time they start having kids.

    Besides, this is the debut of the home game console computer! That has to be geek-cred enough for even the pickiest modern kaiju fan!

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  5. Im not going to bash ''Godzilla's Revenge'' but it was def within the top 3 worst Godzilla films to me.
    When i saw it i was already a big Godzilla fan and most of it being stock footage i was real disappointed.
    Also i might be the only 1 to admitt this (I hate Godzilla's son)

    Im sorry, Really any movie with a baby Godzilla just ruins it. I didnt like it in the 70's, Didnt like it in the 90's, Def didnt like the American Zilla's in madison square garden, Finally didnt care for it being in Final Wars.
    Do i still enjoy most of those Godzilla films, Absolutly.. Im still a huge fan and will always love Godzilla but i like films without the kid.

    Godzilla needs Darker toned films and the darkest film they ever had was ''Godzilla vs Biollante'' Which is in my opinion EPIC. Still the best Godzilla film to date.

    They took a more serious tone, laid off most of the Cheese, an the music and atmosphere was dark, it really set the standard for any Godzilla film that Followed.

    Do i hate any Godzilla movie? No but the top 3 worst Godzilla films are
    #1. Son of Godzilla
    #2. Godzilla's Revenge
    #3. Godzilla vs Megalon

    Godzilla's 3 best films
    #1. Godzilla vs biollante (1989)
    #2. Godzilla 1985
    #3. Godzilla vs King ghidorah (1991)

    I hope the next series goes back to the Creative out-put an design they had for Biollante, That was top-Notch and Creative.

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  6. Love this movie, and always have. As a kid, I was caught up in the fantasy of traveling to Monster Island, and loved the fact that this one had so many monsters in it. What made it even more enjoyable was that I hadn't seen most of the films it culls stock footage from at that point, so to me it was all new.

    As an adult, I've come to appreciate it as both a quirky cult film and a solid, colorful children's adventure. Folks can say what they like about the Showa series post-DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, but the bottom line is that each and every G film from 1969 to 1975 is distinct, unique, and very memorable - and that began with this under appreciated gem!

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