Godzilla Films of the 1970s Survey and Discussion5,871 Views45 RepliesAdd A Reply
I would've posted this earlier, but I wanted to stagger it away from another prominent survey and give the two breathing room. (Which you can find right here.)
For an upcoming article for scified (which will appear here) I've been looking at disecting the 1970s Godzilla movies. I have some general quotes and interesting replies from fans who got back to me on twitter, but I guess I'm going for a general consensus. So here's a quick survey on the 1970s Godzilla films here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MZ3T5B7
I've worked out some kinks from earlier, so those who have taken it can fix what their previous answers and it won't skew anything.
In addition, it might be interesting to talk about this era of the series in general. Thoughts? Was it really the low point of the series? Is it a work of ingenuity considering the lack of resources? It was highly influenced by the childrens' tokusatsu of the time, do you think this was a good decision? What are some favorite movies from the era? Is it an example of a series on life support? Did television kill it? It tends to be a very polarizing decade in the series for fans. Discuss.
No one wants to talk about the 70s? Okay guess I'll start it off.
So with the 60s ending with the ever popular movie among fans that is Godzilla's Revenge it didn't seem like the series could go anywhere but up. That is until Godzilla vs Hedorah came out. Up until maybe a year ago I would have rated Godzilla's Revenge the worst movie of the series, with Godzilla vs Hedorah probably being somewhere in the bottom 5, but now after recent rewatches I have to say I find Godzilla vs Hedorah worse. Even if Godzilla's Revenge is a pile of stockfootage mixed with an afterschool special at least it has those feel good moments. You know those moments that are dumb, or cheesy where the main character accomplished their goal or beats the bad guy that no matter how dumb they look you can't help but smile and be happy for them. Godzilla vs Hedorah doesn't have those moments. There are a lot of times that one could have been added, but they went for random transitions and advertising songs instead. It's not even really for kids. I mean if all you need are cartoon shots and bright colors sure, kids will love it, but really even as a child I remember shaking my head at some of the random moments that happen in that movie. It's actually pretty dark too so not sure if they had their target audience set as much as just the idea, "throw a little of everything in it horror fans, kids, adults, and people that show up on acid will all love this movie!" Godzilla vs Hedorah started the 70s in a pretty bad spot.
Thankfully, if only slightly, the next title pulled it up. Godzilla vs Gigan is a strange movie as I've gone through phases of loving and hating this movie, and right now I think I've leveled out and find it just okay. Story is okay. It wasn't anything amazing, and unfortunately stock footage just kills the fight. I'm pretty sure the only reason Anguirus was in it is because there was a lot of stock footage of solo scenes with him fighting Ghidorah since in Destroy All Monsters half of the fight scenes are anguirus just getting wrecked in every way possible by Ghidorah.(this is a joke of course no idea why anguirus was used, but thinking about it it makes a lot of sense). The fight goes from day to night so many times I'm sure a younger me would try to argue that it was just so close and the monsters were so strong the fight actually did last for days. Gigan's a cool monster so it at least had that going for it and the story and characters are decent. It would be a high point of the 70s if not for the last enstallments.
So after Godzilla vs Gigan brought my opinion of the 70s back up Godzilla vs Megalon sends them crashing back down. I know a lot of people put this along with Godzilla's Revenge at the bottom of the barrel, and while the excuse for Godzilla's Revenge is due to the copious stock footage Godzilla vs Megalon more related to story. That's not saying there's not a pretty decent amount of stock footage used this one goes from day to night just as much as the previous one. Of course I have to talk about Jet Jaguar. I actually don't really hate him. He's very much a product of his decade, but I don't really have a problem with that. This movie was when the target audience is much more apparent than the last two so I can forgive the flying super robot man as that's what kids would want and there weren't as many conflicting aspects of the film about who this was for. Megalon is pretty interesting. Just a more insect Gigan, but I do like how dopey he is. Since the monsters have established at least sentient intelligence it makes sense for there to be a dumb childish one. With Anguirus running headfirst into a saw he occupied this role, but Megalon fits it better. He throws tantrums gets distracted, just a really fun monster to watch.
Just going to throw this out there, but if not for the saving grace of the Mechagodzilla movies the last scene from the showa series would be Jet Jaguar, Goro, Rikuro, and Jinkawa walking into the sunset to the Jet Jaguar song and I think it would be pretty unanimous that the 70s is the worst decade for Godzilla by a pretty large margin.
Thankfully we got the two mechagodzilla movies and I say them both together rather than separate them because they're both some of the best in the series just all around. Both are good in pretty much every category with whichever one you like more coming down to what you prefer in a movie. I found Terror of Mechagodzilla had a better story, but it wasn't as fast paced as Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla so for a younger fan I would have said Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla was better because it did a better job of keeping me interested even when godzilla was off the screen. Now they're pretty close but I still prefer Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla is only so slightly. One thing I will add is I really wish Terror of Mechagodzilla had the aliens turn into apes again and not wear those stupid hats, but anyway both are great movies. Leagues better than the previous movies. There isn't stock footage at every turn, the stories are better, characters more interesting. Just every aspect done so well.
Was the 70s the worst decade? Hm hard to say really. I guess it depends how you would rank having some of the best movies to having some of the worst. If you put more emphasis on the good, then no it's solid, if you focus on the bad then yes, it's probably the worst, or easily a close second.
As for if going towards children was bad I can't honestly say as even though the 70s is associated with being childrens' movies they never went balls to the wall with it like Gamera did, and some of the movies were pretty dark, with people dying and monsters gushing blood.
I think most people dislike the 70's Godzilla movies becuase it confused them, mostly becuase Godzilla was a 'good guy'.
Isn't Godzilla the symbol of the horrors of Nuclear bomb testing? Is Toho saying Nuclear testing is good?
Of course they weren't, but the message being portrayed was a tad weird.
I personally think the 70's movies were pretty awesome. I think it showed Godzilla as a character and had fun with how powerful he can be. I don't mind the 'good guy' Goji.
"Daddy's home- cake every night,"
The only 70'S movies ive seen are Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla and Terror of mechagodzilla, im not planing to see the others any time soon
Evacuate?, Godzilla is just a Legend!-Woman in GMK
^ I could spend hours watching that gif.
“Banana oil.”- George Takei, Gigantis: The Fire Monster
I think seeing the rest is essential. Love'em or hate'em they're a big part of Godzilla history and although some find them detestable there's a vocal group that argue for their merits and find them pretty good.
I migth warchthem someday, but other that godzilla vs Headorah no other really gets my atention
Evacuate?, Godzilla is just a Legend!-Woman in GMK
What made terror of mechagodzilla 1975 the best during the 70's is that famous and best godzilla director ishoro honda returned for what was supposed to be godzilla's last outing. Akira ifukube returned to master the score as the music composer, and even teruyoshi nakano's special effects directing skills really almost resembled that of eiji tsuburaya's work. Great successor to eiji tsuburaya.
^I always lament what the Heisei series might have looked like had Nakano stayed on board.
Less sparks... And glitter...
^Very true, but i liked kawakita's work for what it was, biollante alone would have sent stan winston with his head spinning.
Nakano always considered The Return of Godzilla his best work, but I don't know... Considering what he had to work with, I think some of the stuff he did in the MechaGodzilla movies was really inventive.
I know. Terror of mechagodzilla is the one i felt was his best. The return of godzilla was good, but imagine if shinji higuchi got the job instead.
Guess i will keep stiring the pot here. XD
Anyway, godzilla vs megalon is actually a really good children's movie for reasons of godzilla being the super hero. This was the first godzilla movie that i watched when i was flipping through channels, and feel like becoming a fan of this franchise. Years later to where i am now i can't even watch this film because of it being so bad that it is good. XD
After godzilla vs hedorah 1971, tomoyuki tanaka said to yoshimitsu banno that he had ruined godzilla. Strange how they kept it going in that same path of super hero though.
Banno did ruin Godzilla, Tanaka was totally right on that
^Agreed there durp.
I didn't mind Yoshimitsu that much. I thought he did a great job on Godzilla vs. Hedorah. :)
"Daddy's home- cake every night,"
Although some disagree, I thought the 70's era started and ended on a high note. Some find Hedorah to be too out there but I honestly love the films uniqueness (the film would've been better without the flying). Although I love G vs Megalon out of nostalgia and cheesiness, if you were to ask me what films out of that era I think are good I'd say Hedorah and the 2 Mechagodzilla films. So basically, I think the 70's era was 60% successful.
I do however believe this is the era that created the mindset that Godzilla is cheesy.
^Cheesy? Terror of mechagodzilla and godzilla vs mechagodzilla are better than some of the millenium series. Imo.
I was speaking more so about Gigan and Megalon.
^Ah, that is true. :)
Yeah lol As I alluded to in my first post I thought the Mechagodzilla films were fantastic.
I have to agree that there's a certain uniqueness to Godzilla vs. Hedorah that sets it apart from most Godzilla movies in any decade. Banno didn't exactly craft a great story-- In fact I find the characters to be some of the least likable and useful in the entire series. But Banno is a director's director, not a story's director. There's some really interesting things he does visually and it makes truly bizzare moments / lingering shots actually work.
There's a certain spice about it you won't see in any other Godzilla movie, and while the movie's story doesn't really work the atmosphere does.
And I'd place Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and Terror of MechaGodzilla higher than most, if not all of the Heisei and Millennium movies. Although they're still products of 70s toku weirdness resulting in high camp (or as some incorrectly prefer... "cheesy"), they're also examples of talented crew completely overcoming production limitations to create wholly fun and functional films.
I don't think I'd associate the Mechagodzilla movies as being campy, especially Terror of Mechagodzilla. It may have had a little but it seemed like it took itself a lot more seriously than any godzilla movie that decade.
More-so than others, yes, but come on, Godzilla brushing his shoulders off after rising from the dirt?
There's still a sense of fun to Terror of MechaGodzilla despite how dark it gets-- In any case moments like that lighten the mood since the film really is so drab.
The MechaGodzilla movies are still highly influenced by toku television of the time with giant robots, alien invasions (particularly of the ape variety), violent, often bloody battles, some fairly zany, over-the-top costumes (I'm looking at you, space helmets from Terror of MechaGodzilla) and catchy songs. (Basically all the 1970s films with the exception of Terror.)
A lot of these traits are directed at younger audiences and, because of that, are campy by design. Which is fine. Television was putting Godzilla out of business back then and Toho tried competing with the same methods.
Terror has a lot of those elements as well, it just works on a darker pallet than the others.
Nobody mentions G vs Gigan. I liked the movie other than the stock footage, bad looking Ghidorah, and the G suit used (Never liked that suit) but I like the human characters such as the comic book artist and the hippies. I felt they kept me interested in the plot.
Terror of MG is by far the best 70s G film. Just wished we had apes instead of stupid helmets and more MG fighting
Still by far my favorite human character from the Shows series was the bank robber played by Akira in G vs Sea Monster
^I agree the characters are where Godzilla vs. Gigan really shines. I watched the film recently and I feel like a lot of the monster footage drags on a little long. It doesn't help that it's inappropriately lengthened by stock footage. The fights would've been fine without it.
Loved Hedorah as a kid but was worried the nostalgia would wear off but surprisingly I still like it. It's so weird and I love the atmosphere. That scene with the small Hedorah rushing across the water after the kid always gives me the creeps. The story however is nothing special, the characters bland and the final fight stretches way too long. As for the flying scene, it's embarassing and contradicts the dark mood but I found the talking scenes in Gigan even worse.
As for Gigan loved it as a child but HATE it as an adult. The characters all have personality but the story is too boring. The music is amazing and the cinematography is often superb but the fights do stretch a bit.
Megalon, not nearly as bad as people make it out to be, but still pretty bad. It's saving factor is how bad it is, it's pure camp. Instead of being embarassed by it I LOVE the famous Godzilla drop kick. All in all it's pretty forgettable.
Mechagodzilla . . .AMAZING. Yes, Godzilla is pure hero and I don't care. So many weird story elements yet they all came together perfectly and I actually enjoyed the characters. The fight scenes are short but incredibly affective. This is the only version of Mechagodzilla I really care for. 93 I didn't really dig the look and the final fight was pretty bland until Godzilla was ressurected. Kiryu, sorry guys but I didn't care for the robot or his two movies. Boring, syfy channel feel to them, awful characters.
Terror of Mechagodzilla. I'm one of the few who doesn't really care for it. The monster scenes are great but I didn't care much for the campy human story and those embarassing fish helmet aliens. I love campy but it didn't work for me here. Sure it's still above Megalon and Gigan but . . .meh.
Also sure it's not 70s but Final Wars really felt like a continuation of the 70s Godzilla and since I enjoyed those films I found a lot to love about FW. It's cheesy and Godzilla acts more human than animal but the elements all worked well with what they were going for.