Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) Movie Review
It hasn’t been since 1955 in which we get a Godzilla movie that’s a direct sequel to the previous movie.
Terror of Mechagodzilla starts out with a montage of the events of the last movie and then cuts to a research team trying to find Mechagodzilla’s remains, however they are attacked and killed by a giant dinosaur names Titanosaurus. It turns out that Titanosaurus is being controlled by a mad scientist Dr. Shinki Mafune, and if that’s not bad enough he and his daughter Katsura teams up with the aliens from the Third Planet from the Black Hole who have some how survived the events of the last movie and have rebuilt Mechagodzilla. The aliens once again plan to take over the world and once again Godzilla comes in to stop them, however this time Godzilla has no ally, while Mechagodzilla does.
This movie is similar to it’s prequel except it tries to take a more serious tone, especially with Akira Ifukube back composing a new score and Ishiro Honda directing what would be not only his final Godzilla film, but the final film he would direct on his own. The problem with that is simply the Godzilla suit. Out of all the different looks for Godzilla, this suit is the most goofy looking, even though Godzilla looks more mean in this movie, the suit actor still performs the same way he did in Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. There are also quite a few moments where Titanosaurus is seen dancing around, there’s even one moment where Titanosaurus grabs Godzilla’s mouth with his own and lifts him up and down. It just looks weird. Another issue I have with this movie is Mechagodzilla. For a Mechagodzilla that is supposed to be better than the original one, he mostly stands around and sort of watches Godzilla and Titanosaurus fight. He’ll also take his time in trying to attack something. Mechagodzilla in the last movie was tough, smart, and actually did some dirty fighting, while in here, he just sits around and waits to be told what to do. I guess the aliens reasoning is to have Godzilla become tired as he’s fighting Titanosaurus so Mechagodzilla can easily kill him, but he just doesn’t seem like that much of an improvement.
However this movie is not really bad in my opinion. The monster action (while goofy at times) is entertaining to watch, and the music is still great. However there is one element that I really love about this movie, one name that helps the movie to become better than it should be, Tomoko Ai. She plays Katsura and is probably the most complex human character I’ve seen in a Godzilla movie since Emiko from Godzilla. She is the love interest for the main human character (who’s not very interesting) which makes her torn between her loyalties to her father and the aliens, and doing what she actually feels is the right thing. I won’t ruin any more details on her, but basically she is a character that I really enjoy and there is one action that she takes that’s actually emotionally powerful (well as emotionally heartfelt as you can get with the Godzilla suit used)
Despite the series having some crappy entries, I think that Terror of Mechagodzilla was a more appropriate way to end the series. It’s monster scenes may be goofy but they are still entertaining to watch and if it weren’t for the character of Katsura, I would’ve brushed off this movie entirely. It just has a more satisfying end to the original Godzilla series. Unfortunately the general public was, at this point tired of Godzilla movies, and the movie bombed in Japan. So this concludes the original Godzilla series from 1954 to 1975, Akira Ifukube would “retire” from scoring films (keep an eye on those quotes), and Ishiro Honda spent the last part of his career helping his friend Akira Kurosawa with his films, including directing the tunnel sequence in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. As for Godzilla, the King of the Monsters would go on a nine year long hiatus, until 1984, when Tomoyuki Tanaka and Toho would pull a pre-Batman Begins and bring Godzilla back to his roots for his 30th anniversary.
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