Son of Godzilla, the 5th Godzilla movie in only three years went to theaters in 1967. While I will say it’s marginally better than the last adventure it’s just a little to mediocre, not adding enough to the series to be justifiable. Jun Fukuda returned to the director’s chair and Sadamasa Arikawa returned on special effects so I was initially leery of this one. It also continued the trend of shifting the series towards younger audiences so the silly factor is taken up a notch. The monsters featured are of course the son of Godzilla Minilla pronounced “Mean-ya”, several Kamacuras which are basically giant mantis, and Kumonga the Spider Monster.
Once again an Island is the main setting which actually looks pretty good this time around in the miniature shots. On the island a group of scientists are attempting to perfect a weather controlling device. Unfortunately their research lab looks tasty to a clan of Kamacuras after a failed experiment makes them grow to enormous size. They soon find an egg and after it hatches it’s revealed to be the son of the King of the Monsters himself Godzilla. Hearing his sons’ cries Godzilla shortly arrives to defend Minilla making short work of the Kamuracurus and sending the scientists running. The second act of the film beings sometime later where Minilla and Godzilla are living together and Godzilla has been trying to teach him how to use his atomic breath. This chunk of the movie also has them truly act like a father spending time with an obnoxious whiney son. They run and play and Minilla disturbs his father’s nap. This is the most curious bit of possibly the entire series it’s kind of hard to review it objectively before either bursting out in laughter or nerd rage. It just obliterates anything meaningful or gritty or imposing of the Godzilla from the first two movies (and elements of others). It’s obvious this is just the audience kid eye candy and odd filler at that. I guess it establishes their relationship and gives them more human characteristics for kids to relate to but I just don’t think it’s desirable.
The Kamacurus attack again and Minilla inadvertently awakens Kumonga the giant spider. Kumonga traps Minilla and the final Kamacuras with his webbing, but as Kumonga begins to feed on the deceased Kamacuras, Godzilla arrives leading to the best fight for the film. Godzilla saves his son and they use their atomic rays killing Kumonga. The scientists finally use their perfected weather device. The island is buried in snow and ice quickly overwhelming Godzilla and his son. As the scientists are escaping the island, Godzilla and Minilla begin to hibernate as they wait for the island to become tropical again.
This is a hard one to decipher; everything about it is good but not great. For instance the monsters are pretty well done but Minilla looks terribly unconvincing. He looks like the cookie monster crossed with the Pillsbury doughboy and his eyes move really erratically. His skin also just looks like plastic so it’s hard to see him next to the realistic looking sets. There is a scene where Kumonga is trapping the scientists in a cave and it’s a really well done effect and as someone who fears spiders I was pretty on edge. The Kamacurus I think are interesting even though they get their asses handed to them through the whole movie and Kumonga (or Spiga) looks amazing. The final fight is great monster mash fun and leads to an incredibly touching conclusion. The plot itself isn’t anything special, I couldn’t even tell you a single human characters name or why they even wanted a weather machine. The lack of a real narrative leaves the few moments of genius almost moot. This one is an underwhelming experience if you can get past the insultingly stupid scenes with the childish Minilla it is at least a little better than the last one.
Best Moment of Destruction: Godzilla stepping on his son’s tail to induce atomic breath, an amusing effect.