Destroy All Monsters - 80% / 100% A review by MistoNinja
In a sentence: A campy 60s flick that definately shows its age, though whether that's a good or a bad thing is up to you.
Godzilla was certainly enjoying the 1960s, as Destroy All Monsters oh so effortlessly conveys. Released in 1968, this movie was to be one Godzilla's last in its most fruitful decade. The bulk of the Showa series of Godzilla movies were released in the 60s, including King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, and the abysmal Godzilla's Revenge. Kaiju fans look upon this era with both great satisfaction and immense disgust: While there were some classic Godzilla movies released in this era, such as Godzilla vs. Mothra (Arguably the finest Goji movie ever made), some immense blotches also found their way to the screen (Son of Godzilla, Godzilla's Revenge). Destroy All Monsters falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Laden with bright, misplaced colors, an immensely cheesy story, and laughable visual effects, Destroy All Monsters can be considered both a nostalgic gem and an embarassment. The year is 1999, and of course mankind has extended its reach to space colonies on the moon and the rocketship Moonlight SY-9 flies missions to and fro in an utmost casual fashion. All of Earth's most dangerous monsters have been confined to "Monsterland," a habitat that works under the magic of science. Woo, go science! Things are going well until a species of malevolent space women seize control of the monsters and use them to attack Earth's largest metropolises. Yes, the story is that bad.
Can anything better really be expected from a campy 60s trip? In fact, this God-forsaken story is arguably what makes the film fantastic to a degree: It actually has the bravery, the confidence to urinate a story about evil space women onto our screens. And it certainly goes the whole nine-yards with afformentioned urination as actors with an abysmal void of talent get into firefights with what appear to be toy guns, all the while wearing rubbery yellow space suits. Clearly, Destroy All Monsters has no shame, and it really is hard to be mad at any movie that's willing to be so outwardly ridiculous.
With a title like Destroy All Monsters, one is understandably going to expect an immense amount of monster action. Unfortunately (and ironically), the film gets a little too caught up in the writhingly bad human drama, and while the monsters get rollin' almost right away, the action sequences are limited. While the movies waves news reports in front of our faces of the monsters attacking Earth's most treasured cities, such as New York City, Moscow, and Paris, there is a gargantuanly disappointing lack of footage. It is by no stretch an exaggeration to say that there is less than four minutes in total of the monsters attacking these capital cities in the movie. Considering this is the movie's prime selling point, this is simply unacceptable. Destroy All Monsters tries to make up for it by offering a long sequence of the monsters trampling Tokyo, but we could watch any other kaiju eiga for that, and they would probably be better-crafted scenes to boot.
Yet Destroy All Monsters makes it almost worth it with its final fight sequence, in which all of Earth's monsters square off against the powerful King Ghidorah. It's a very effective fight all of the way through, starting with an impressive and menacing entrance by King Ghidorah. One of Destroy All Monsters' high points is that it creates a solid build-up of hate towards the its antagonists, which makes this fight all the more satisfying. Their confidence in their precious King Ghidorah is absolutely crushed as we witness Earth's finest pummel it in what can best be described as a big, sweaty, kaiju gang-rape. Even Minya, Godzilla's son, gets in on the action. This lone sequence alone is the movie's crowning achievment, and even if it does seem randomly placed ("Oh snap, you found our base! Well, uh, we have KING GHIDORAH! SO THERE!") the movie would be a colossal failure without it.
In the end, Destroy All Monsters is a bit rough around the edges, but if you know what you're getting yourself into it can make for an enjoyable experience. If anything, it should go down in cinema history as a shining example of the 60s. Unlike most kaiju eiga, Destroy All Monsters doesn't even make the weakest of efforts to inject any sort of deeper meaning or symbolism to its story, but that's alright: Destroy All Monsters knows what it is. See it for the entertaining fight with King Ghidorah or as a memorial to the 60s, but stay far, far away if you're expecting anything more.
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