Destroy All Monsters (1968)

I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, it’s the old “alien invaders taking over monsters” gimmick again. Yes, we’ve seen it before in this very film series and it always seems to be a bit strained in the logic department. If these aliens were such smarty-pants nerds, couldn’t they figure out a way to take over our world without having to rely on big, smelly, dumb monsters? You would also think that word would get out in the far reaches of space that earth is more trouble than it’s worth, but most aliens are slow learners, I guess.

The movie starts in the “far future” that is 1999. As you may be aware (since we were all there) 1999 was a year that saw man living on a really pretty and fancy moon base and flying around in a super cool space jet called the Moonlight SY-3.

Now in addition to this really fancy moon base that kept the model makers at Toho working overtime, the other really awesome thing about the future is that all the monsters on Earth have been herded onto a single island called Monsterland. It’s a kind of nature preserve where the monsters are free to be themselves and roam within set parameters around the island.

Monsterland is controlled through a command center deep under the ground of Monsterland. There’s some problems when the do-dads that limit the monsters’ movements go off-line and then the whole place gets filled with gas! Some of the workers seem to be under the control of some outside force because they talk in a monotone, have no facial expression, and set the monsters loose.

The pointy-heads at the U.N. are concerned that their plans for world domination, I mean for world peace, are compromised by the likes of Godzilla stomping around various locales with his pals, so they tell the space jet’s crew to come back to Earth and straighten things out.

I have no idea why this space jet has anything to do with this movie. It didn’t have any special abilities and certainly couldn’t fight the monsters, yet they act like this is their big ace-in-the-hole.

Around this time, we are treated to a montage of monster mayhem as the different monsters take vacations to different parts of the world and trash the place like a junior high chorus at a Holiday Inn Express.

The corpse of a deceased Monsterland employee is examined and something is pulled out of his neck. Checking it out, one guy says something like “that’s definitely not a hearing aid.” Yeah, because it would be kind of stupid to insert a hearing aid into your neck. You know, since you don’t hear with your neck and all.

It turns out that it’s some type of transistor made out of a strange metal that has been used to control this guy’s actions. Everyone stands around going “oh, so maybe somebody got Godzilla to sit still long enough to implant one in his neck.” Of course that would just be silly, and they actually find out that the monsters are being controlled by waves transmitted by gizmos that are spread out around the earth, hidden in things like rocks and coconuts.

Since we now know how the monsters are being controlled, we can change things up a little to control them ourselves. Don’t ask me how, it just sort of happened about 65% of the way through the movie. With the monsters under our control, they are sent to the secret base to beat some alien invader ass!

Somehow Godzilla finds the secret base, but then the aliens summon their secret weapon. It’s a backup monster from space. Just a deep space jock known to his monster buddies as… King Ghidorah!

The final fight between King Ghidorah and the Earth monsters is really as pathetic a monster battle as you’re likely to see. Ghidorah gets dominated by all the other monsters and has almost no offense at all. Almost. Guess who the only monster is that Ghidorah treats like a red-headed step-child? Anguirus!

You knew that was coming didn’t you? That spiny loser is back again to embarrass himself, his family, and his fellow monsters with his completely inept handling of Ghidorah. Somehow Ghidorah ends up lifting off into the air with Anguirus and then drops him flat on his back from high up in the sky. To add insult to injury, Ghidorah then flies back down and stomps on the stunned Anguirus who is lying on his back like a prom queen after two wine coolers.

The other monsters take over on offense and defeat Ghidorah and Anguirus even gets back into it and chomps one of Ghidorah’s three necks, but everybody knows the real deal on Anguirus and he didn’t fool anyone, not even that awful looking Godzilla wannabe Gorosaurus.

The whole movie was premised on lots of monster attacks and action and delivered virtually none of it. First of all the monsters never really had any fights. They trampled cities and secret bases, but you can see that in any other Godzilla flick.

Their final battle with Ghidorah was so one-sided you almost had to root for Ghidorah instead of the hundred other monsters that were getting their cheap shots in. The time not spent on the monsters that was spent with these bland, boring humans and their cheap looking space jet was a total waste and contributed nothing to the film except to its absurd length.

Destroy All Monsters needed more monster screen time, more balanced battles that leave the outcome in doubt, and should’ve given some of the more obscure monsters like Manda and Kumonga their moments. Except Anguirus, he actually needs less screen time.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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