Back to watching Godzilla movies. I'm sticking to the chronological order of the series so Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster up up first. The Japanese title is 三大怪獣 地球最大の決戦, the literal translation is, Three Giant Monsters: Earth's Greatest Battle, which is kind of weird since there are 4 monsters. It's the fifth film with Godzilla and it came out in 1964. The big G is joined by Rodan, the Mothra Larva and the new threat to Japanese architecture, King Ghidorah. Luckily for the towns of Japan some of this movie takes place in the countryside; only some small houses get smashed. I'm watching the Classic Media dvd which has the original 92 minute Japanese version and the 7 minute shorter English dub version. They changed a few things and you can read about it on the Wikipedia. Before the critters start their destruction a princess from a made up country is stolen from her airplane by a ball of light. Then the plane blows up. Her mind is controlled by some space aliens, Venus in the Japan version and Mars in the US, and she's dropped down in the city where she warns the people in a park. No one cares, they all laugh when some goof tells her to take off her clothes. Men, they're just the same all over the world, they all want to see a naked lady. First we get a glimpse of the Mothra Larve on Infant Island then assassins are dispatched to check if the alien lady is really the princess. If so they have to kill her. Rodan shows up, followed by Godzilla. The alien princess warns the earth people about King Ghidorah. He had previously destroyed Mars and now he's on earth. People don't believe her until the giant meteor, that fell in an earlier part of the movie, bursts open to reveal the three headed monster. His lightning bolts destroy stuff as he flies over the city. All the monsters show up and battle. The assassins keep trying to kill the princess but they are crushed by rocks falling on them. The princess is hurt and regains her memory and Godzilla chases Ghidorah back into space. The movie is directed by Inoshiro Honda and it's pretty much fun in either version. The movie marks the point where Godzilla changes from a threat to the people and becomes more of a friend. I know he's the kind of friend who knocks over buildings but who doesn't have a friend like that. Even though it's a bit goofier than the previous entry it's still enjoyable and fun to watch.
Invasion Of The Astro Monster is the 6th Godzilla film and it came out in 1965. Toho doubled it's monster movie production over the next few years and some of them got pretty silly as they aimed the series at a younger and younger crowd. Like the previous movie IOTAM shows signs of that new trend but it's still fun enough, and has enough entertaining elements, that I still enjoy watching it. The US release was called Monster Zero or Godzilla Vs Monster Zero. I'm watching the Classic Media dvd and while they are nice packages, with Japanese and American versions of the film, the dvd's are annoying. It takes forever to get to the main menu and you're forced to watch the trailers first, or skip through them, before you get to the menu. Each dvd has a commentary and a short featurette so that helps make up for the bad formatting. IOTAM is another alien invasion movie, and unlike the first movie, this one has the aliens make an appearance. Check the Controller and his henchmen below.
I love the costumes of the men from Planet X and their woman is pretty cute. All their women look the same which makes sense for this computer controlled male dominant society. Some earth astronauts are visiting Planet X, hidden behind Jupiter, when they encounter the people living below the surface. The subterranean dwellers reveal that King Ghidorah, or Monster Zero, is the cause of the devastation on the surface. They ask the earth people to allow them to capture Godzilla and Rodan so they can be used to attack King Ghidorah. They get their wish and remove the monsters only to put controls on them and use them to threaten the earth with destruction unless they knuckle under to the Controller of Planet X. What a dick, huh. Oh, well, trying to control monsters never works and the plan is foiled. Earth will be ok, at least for a while. American actor Nick Adams has a main part in the movie as one of the astronauts. He made several films in Japan near the end of his short movie career. He died of a drug overdose at 36 years old in 1968. Sad but it happened ages ago and we can enjoy him here. The rest of the cast are equally entertaining, especially that controller.