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Review Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster film review by The King of the Monsters

The King of the Monsters

Written By The King of the Monsters on 2014-08-18 16:33:48

Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster

Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster Movie

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3.5

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is a very important movie in the Godzilla series. It was the first meeting of Godzilla and Rodan, the first film in which Godzilla is the protagonist, and the first film to feature Godzilla's legendary arch-nemesis, King Ghidorah. Ghidorah was released just months after the highly successful Mothra vs. Godzilla and is a direct sequel to its predecessor. However, Ghidorah is not nearly as good of a film as Mothra vs. Godzilla and is often overshadowed by it and the next entry in the series, Invasion of the Astro-Monster. Still, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is an enjoyable and influential entry in the Godzilla series.

*SPOILERS* Strange events have been occuring on the Earth recently. In the middle of winter, temperatures are as high as they normally are in the middle of summer. On top of this, a meteor shower hits Japan, leaving one particularly large meteorite in the mountains of the Kurobe Valley. Professor Miura leads a team of researchers to the impact site to investigate the meteorite. Meanwhile, Japanese police detective Shindo has been assigned to serve as a bodyguard for Princess Mas Selina Salno of the small Asian kingdom of Selgina while she visits Japan. Before the princess arrives, her plane is bombed by conspirators, leaving her presumed dead. Suddenly, a woman claiming to be from Venus appears in Japan and warns of terrible disasters that will soon befall the Earth. Shindo notices that this Venusian bears a striking resemblance to Princess Salno and begins to observe her. The Venusian appears at Mt. Aso in Kyushu, Japan and warns that Rodan will soon be revived and rise from the volcano's crater. She is proven right when Rodan flies out of the volcano and heads off to terrorize the rest of Japan. When the leader of the conspirators sees the Venusian, he orders the assassin Malness to head to Japan to see if she is actually Princess Salno. The Venusian next appears near a ship, warning that it must not sail. The Shobijin, who are on board the ship, heed the Venusian's warning and leave the ship. News reporter Naoko, Shindo's sister, brings the Venusian to a hotel to interview her and keep her secluded. Malness and his team of assassins follow them to the hotel and attempt to kill the Venusian. Thankfully, the Shobijin turn off the lights in the room to distract the killers while Naoko and Shindo arrive in the room and chase them off. The Venusian's earlier prediction is proven correct when Godzilla rises from the ocean and destroys the ship. Rodan encounters Godzilla and the two monsters begin a long destructive battle across Japan. As if things couldn't get worse, the meteorite in the mountains bursts open, releasing the giant three-headed golden space dragon King Ghidorah. With Japan being ravaged by three giant monsters, the Japanese government pleads to the Shobijin to call Mothra to stop them. Mothra arrives in Japan and meets with Godzilla and Rodan, begging them to stop fighting and join forces against King Ghidorah. Godzilla and Rodan stubbornly refuse and continue fighting, leaving the larva to fight Ghidorah alone. The cackling space monster blasts Mothra aside with his gravity beams, which inspires Godzilla and Rodan to come to her aid. Meanwhile, Shindo and the Venusian attempt to evade Malness. Malness shoots Shindo in the arm and shoots the Venusian in the side of the head, allowing her memories to return. The princess then yells at Malness for being a traitor before a rockslide caused by the monsters' battle falls onto Malness and sends him plummeting to his demise. Eventually, the combined efforts of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan successfully drive Ghidorah back to space, leaving the planet safe from his terror. Princess Salno thanks Shindo for saving her life and returns to Selgina. Mothra and the Shobijin bid farewell to Godzilla and Rodan and depart for Infant Island. *END SPOILERS*

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster has a very action-packed, complex, and intriguing plot. The mysterious nature of the Venusian prophetess and the plot with the assassins attempting to hunt her down and kill her while Shindo struggles to protect her make the film very exciting and interesting. To the film's credit, it combines the multiple human plots and the monster plot together very effectively.

The film has a stellar cast, and the acting is, as expected, solid. Yosuke Natsuki plays Shindo, the male lead. His character isn't overly developed or interesting, but his playful rivalry with his sister Naoko is humorous and gives his character some much-needed personality. Yuriko Hoshi plays Naoko, a character very similar to the one she played in Mothra vs. Godzilla. Naoko is a likable character, and her dynamic with her brother is entertaining. Hiroshi Koizumi reprises his role as Professor Miura from Mothra vs. Godzilla, and doesn't play a major role in this movie. He spends most of his time studying the meteorite, and later tags along with the other main characters during the climax of the film. Still, Koizumi is a great actor and is solid in this role. Akiko Wakabayashi, known for playing Aki in You Only Live Twice, plays the mysterious Princess Salno, who enters a trance where she believes she is a Venusian. The role demands that Wakabayashi act dry and unfeeling, so her acting ability is only really demonstrated when she is free of her trance. Akihiko Hirata plays Shindo's boss, the chief of police, and is given limited screen time. He does a solid job in this role though, as is to be expected from Hirata. The great Takashi Shimura plays Dr. Tsukamoto, a scientist who is given very little character development and is mostly just along for the ride. Shimura does manage to act as well as he can in this role. Hisaya Ito plays Malness, who is just a sterotypical villain. Ito does manage to give his character a good element of appearing cold and menacing. Emi and Yumi Ito (the "Peanuts") return as the Shobijin for the last time, and are as good as usual, appearing innocent and concerned for the good of the planet. They have fewer singing parts in this movie, but do a good job with the piece they do sing.

The special effects are one area where the film both succeeds and falters. The Godzilla suit is unchanged from the previous film, only given a new head. Due to budget constraints, Godzilla's atomic breath is reduced from a blue beam to a smoky mist as in the first two films. The new Rodan suit is neither as convicing or menacing as the suit used in Rodan (1956). In fact, the face of the suit looks sort of ridiculous. The Mothra larva puppet is the same as the one used in Mothra and Mothra vs. Godzilla and remains solid, though the wheels are again visible and the movements are not overly convincing. King Ghidorah is probably the triumph of the film. The suit is big and intimidating, and the heads move with a great chaotic energy. Ghidorah's gravity beams are wonderfully rendered, as are the explosions they cause. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the film's budget was spent on Ghidorah, and as a result the other monsters' appearances suffer.

Akira Ifukube delivers another solid score, though not as great as the one for the previous film. The score is less refined in Ghidorah than it was in King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla. Still, Ifukube introduces some solid pieces, such as Rodan's theme, King Ghidorah's theme, and the haunting "Call Happiness" song that the Shobijin sing to Mothra. Not one of Ifukube's best scores, but a good one nonetheless.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was a landmark film that set the tone for the remainder of the Showa series. It also put four giant monsters in one film, something not yet attempted in any Toho film. King Ghidorah would go on to serve as the main villain for the rest of the Showa series, while Rodan and Mothra would return as Godzilla's allies. Ghidorah has many merits, but it simply isn't the film that Mothra vs. Godzilla was. Still, it's a solid and exciting Godzilla movie and a fan-favorite.

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