Destroy All Monsters (1968) is like a breath of fresh air coming off the mediocre last two Godzilla films. It marked the 9th Godzilla movie and was meant to be the final one. Obviously that idea didn’t pan out because were not even half way through our Godzilla review marathon. Even though it’s not the last Godzilla movie they brought in some good ideas and even managed to round up most of the monsters that had been used throughout Toho’s movies. Impressively Godzilla, Godzilla’s son Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Kumonga the giant spider, Varan (Varan the Unbelievable), Baragon (Frankenstein Conquers the World), Manda (Atragon), Gorosaurus (King Kong Escapes), Anguirus and King Ghidroah are all featured. It was given a noticeably bigger budget than the past few Godzilla productions to utilize all of them properly. Who better to direct then Ishiro Honda making a triumphant return, apparently Eiji Tsuburaya was on set briefly in the special effects but the job was delegated to Sadamasa Arikawa once again.
Do you care about the story? Well actually it’s a pretty decent one by Godzilla standards. Set in the distant future of 1999 all of the monsters have been rounded up and live together peacefully on Monster Island. A control center is underneath the island to ensure the monsters stay, and it serves as a research facility to study them. Communications with Monster Island are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals. It’s discovered that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani, have become mind-controlled slaves of an alien race, who are in control of the monsters. Their leader demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation. While Earth’s greatest cities are being burned and destroyed the humans make a desperate attempt to knock out the alien mind control devices. In a great battle, the crew of the SY-3 destroys the alien lunar outpost and returns the alien control system to Earth. Regaining the monsters is a short-lived victory when the aliens unleash their ultimate weapon a resurrected King Ghidorah. The rest of the film is one of the best monster brawls Toho has ever produced. The plot has everything any Godzilla fan could ask for, destroyed cities, aliens, space battles, interesting developments and an insane amount of monsters thrown in a blender.
This movie honestly focused a lot on the people and their attempts to thwart the aliens using the monsters as more of a backdrop. There’s also a lot more dialog then you would think considering the premise and title. The talking scenes go on almost too long but it’s all worth it to see the inter spliced destruction scenes. It’s interesting to see the cities make a triumphant return Godzilla even takes out New York city, wonder if we will see that idea again… Rodan invades Moscow, Mothra lays waste to Beijing, Gorosaurus destroys Paris, and Manda attacks London. The city crunching scenes I think are the best part, they are beautifully shot with more explosions and great use of miniatures. Its movies like this that really make you appreciate the time before CGI. I was really impressed with how these scenes played out it; this movie kind of had the best of both worlds from earlier movies. The cities look fantastic and the island also is the best looking island set so far in the series.
The final fight between all the monsters is kind of a letdown, while it looks good and it’s great to see all them use their special abilities (Minilla puffs atomic smoke, Gorosaurus uses his jump kick, Kumonga webs, etc.) it’s really a forgone conclusion. I mean back in Godzilla vs. Monster x Godzilla and Rodan beat King Ghidorah on their own so Ghidorah is really overpowered in this fight. I think they should have stuck in one or two more on his side to make it more suspenseful. Ultimately this is one of the better ones it’s convergence of several classic era Toho monsters is awesome unfortunately they spend relatively little time battling one another but this was the gut punch the series needed. Its miles ahead of the last few efforts and unfortunately the next few…
Best Scene of Destruction: Godzilla stomps one of Ghidorah’s head in. Don’t mess with him.