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TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan - Archive Only

TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Discuss the original series of Godzilla films! From "Terror of Tokyo" to Puppy-faced Super-hero, the Showa Era had something for everyone!

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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby Mac » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:17 pm

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Always dug the wide open scope of these later Showa-era films, apparently, that was no accident. Just realized that Yuzuru Aizawa, who shot Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well worked as cinematographer on both this and Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla!
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby battrafan » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:25 am

Easily the worst showa film for me..it's the only one I can't at least sit down and watch through.

What makes it worse is that I wasn't able to watch it until I was a bit older compared to the other showa films, and my expectations were something at least matching the production quality of Gigan.

Too bad, since Megalon is a cool design.

It just seems like a cheap overly long kids tv episode.

At least with revenge the human parts have a charm to them.
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby eabaker » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:02 pm

Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby battrafan » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm

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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby klen7 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 am

Recently got the new Jet Jaguar booklet from Toho. Interesting fact, there were 2 miniatures of flying Jet Jaguar, one was approximately 20cm tall and the other was about 90cm tall
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby lhb412 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:13 pm

Listening to the Steve Ryfle/Ed G. commentary track and Steve just said that Shigeru Mizuki designed Gigan?!

What? What!?
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby klen7 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:06 am

^ That sounds cool, but incorrect. Did he say Shigeru or Takayoshi?

Takayoshi Mizuki designed Gigan. He was working at a Weekly Shonen Magazine by Kodansha doing full color illustrations (during the monster boom). Kodansha recommended him to Toho when Toho was looking for an illustrator to make a "more colorful" monster (he said this was due to the popularity of Ultraman). He was told it needed to be a "monster of the universe" with no additional information about the script, and he was excited to be able to create his monster because professionally he had only been drawing other peoples designs. The recent Toho Champion Matsuri Perfection book from Dengeki Hobby Books has an interview with him where spells out where each design element came from and cites Toru Narita's design work as an inspiration.

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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby lhb412 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:53 am

^ Ah, so Steve gunked up!
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby Rodanex » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:42 pm

Went to a screening of Godzilla vs Mothra in the Bay Area last weekend and picked this up for $20 from a guy selling Godzilla collectibles:Image
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby Kailem » Tue Nov 14, 2023 10:43 am

So in honour of the movie's 50th anniversary, I watched this for the first time in I don't know how many years last night. And you know what? I still enjoyed it! Sure like all the 70's era films you can tell the budgets aren't what they used to be, but Jun Fukuda always had the ability to deliver entertaining films for less, and this was still as fun as I remember it being back in the day.

The funky music brought back so many memories, and the dam destruction scene was still as impressive as I remembered it being; perhaps better. I'd forgotten just how much of central focus Jet Jaguar has in this though, even moreso than Godzilla! Though yeah, even back when I used to watch this all the time back in the 90's, Gigan's claws hitting the planes and the multiple gravity beams destroying buildings were just a *little* obvious! :lol:

I actually never minded the use of stock footage in these later films, in part because A) I hadn't always seen the films the footage originally came from, and B) I kinda treated some of these moments like "trademark scenes" that you had in several films because they were just *the* scenes of the military moving out or whatever, same as how you got the iconic "gun barrel kill" bit in every James Bond film. But compared to Gigan, there actually wasn't as much of it here as I remembered there being either.

And Megalon had even more personality than I remembered too. I loved all his various abilities, and the design has always been a fave. It's also funny watching this movie again for the first time after seeing so many classic Ultraman shows, because I was honestly expecting to hear that original Ultraman sound effect when Jet Jaguar grew! :lol:

I also thought it had a good pace and never lingered on anything for too long. Though I will admit the climactic battle was a lot longer than I remembered it being, no dout in part because it's really Godzilla's only major scene in this. But hey, at least in that regard they certainly make up for how long you have to wait for him to actually get to fighting! :D

One thing that also struck me watching this after having rewatched Gigan and Heodrah again recently was how these later Showa-era films really switched the focus in terms of main characters to much more "civilian-level" groups, as opposed to the scientists, astronauts, military and government officials who often played central or very prominent roles in the earlier films. No doubt the main reason was just budgetary, since focusing on a group of just a few regular people means they need way less background actors to make you buy into this being a government meeting or military base etc. that was often necessary in previous films.

But I actually like the contrast it creates in the series overall, that just throughout the Showa era we get to see people from all walks of life encountering monsters, and in the later films the focus shift more to ground-level folks getting swept up in these crazy adventures.

I'd also forgotten the opening of this, and that Seatopia's whole reason for launching Megalon was because part of their kingdom got nuked. So even it it was done in a fairly basic, throwaway kinda way, I did appreciate that they still managed to get a little of Godzilla's original anti-nuke sentiment in there during the middle of his superhero era.

So yeah, even though it's not the best movie, I still had a good time watching it again, and it really brought back some great memories.
Last edited by Kailem on Sun Nov 19, 2023 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Nov 19, 2023 12:45 pm

^ With Megalon taking revenge on the surface world for underground nuclear testing, Godzilla and Jet Jaguar are inadvertently fighting on the pro-nuclear side! It's definitely a clumsy use of a nuclear metaphor. The film opens with Godzilla and his pals on Monster Island suffering devastation from the nuclear testing, but rather than Godzilla responding with an angry rampage through Japan, he comes to the rescue against the monster that actually goes rampaging.

I don't think I recognized the gravity beam scenes as stock footage the first time I watched this movie at age 9 but I distinctly remember noticing when Megalon's drill hands turned into Gigan's claws in the close-up shots of the planes. Godzilla vs. Gigan was one of the earliest G movies that I saw and all of Gigan's scenes left an impression on me, so I recognized those shots and the reused scene of Gigan attacking Godzilla from the air.

Godzilla vs. Megalon is such a fun movie, and I certainly didn't recognize any of its flaws as a kid. Looking at it now, I think where it most clearly comes up short is in the context of what it had to offer for audiences in 1973 Japan. Godzilla films in the early years were events for Japanese moviegoers of all ages, bringing the kind of spectacle to theaters that people couldn't get anywhere else, but that changed when Ultraman and other television shows brought monsters and special effects to viewers in the comfort of their homes. From 1966 onward, the content of Godzilla movies became less and less unique compared to what was available on TV, and then the dwindling revenue from movies caused Toho to spend less and less on producing them as the Japanese film industry reached a crisis. It's not just that the Godzilla movies of the '70s were cheaper and leaned more on stock footage, it's that the '70s movies became more and more like the plethora of tokusatsu shows that were airing on Japanese TV week after week, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Godzilla vs. Megalon. The small cast of characters and the near-total absence of background extras; the protagonists who are either inventors or racing drivers; the frenetic scenes of fisticuffs; the multiple vehicle chase scenes involving cars, trucks and motorcycles on empty roads in the barren Japanese countryside — these tropes were all typical of the original Kamen Rider and its many imitators in the '70s. That's not to say that this movie doesn't still work for what it is, because it is fun to watch, as are the low-budget tokusatsu TV shows that it resembles, but this movie nonetheless really epitomizes how far Godzilla's relevance in Japanese pop culture had sunk by the '70s in terms of not bringing anything to theaters that couldn't be found on TV. Heck, it was just a few weeks after this movie opened that Godzilla started appearing on episodes of Zone Fighter!
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Re: TALKBACK #13: Godzilla vs. Megalon

Postby Kailem » Sun Nov 19, 2023 5:47 pm

Ha, I never even considered that Godzilla and Jet Jaguar kinda were inadvertently fighting on the pro-nuclear side, but you're kinda right! :lol: I guess Godzilla got over the destruction those tests caused on Monster Island pretty quickly. :P Maybe the Seatopians should have let the surface world know what had happened and why they'd sent Megalon up top and then people might have felt a little worse about what had happened!

I definitely hadn't seen Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster when I first saw Megalon, but the fact that *multiple* gravity beams were hitting buildings in some of those shots definitely made me realise they were reusing footage (and from shots they'd already reused in Godzilla vs Gigan too). But for sure stuff like the Gargantuas scene where Megalon dives behind the trees and gets shot at by the masers, I had no idea that was from another film. And I'd actually forgotten that they reused Gigan's flying shoulder slice in this, so it was kinda funny watching it this time and imagining Godzilla thinking "aw man, *again*?!" when that bit happened. :lol:

And yeah, it's definitely been interesting watching it again after finally getting into the Ultra shows and knowing what Japanese audiences were experiencing back then. With just how damn good Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultraseven etc. were, it's easy to see why cinema attendances dropped when giant monster fans could get movie-quality stories on a weekly basis without even having to leave their homes. And like you say, it was a vicious cycle. Less people went to the movies so Toho stopped spending as much to make them, which in turn made them less appealing for people to want to go out and see anyway.

Still, I'm glad that Jet Jaguar in particular has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to his role in Singular Point, and obviously the recent short film. I still think Megalon is getting a little overshadowed even though he got his own short as well, but hey, at least he went on to be a mainstay in the best Godzilla fighting game trilogy we've had to date! :lol: So even though Godzilla vs Megalon might be lower down the list of quality Godzilla movies, it's one I'll always have a certain fondness for, and I'm glad it's one that's stuck around over the years in one form or another.
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