After the success that was “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” Toho planned to do additional movies that feature King Kong, one of them being on an island with a terrorist group and a giant lobster for a villain. Unfortunately, this did not happen as King Kong was replaced with Godzilla, which in turn gives us one of the most disjointed movies in the entire Showa era that just does not seem to fit well with the timeline regardless of how you slice it.
The plot of the movie is very basic with a guy goes looking for his brother, they crash onto an island that is run by terrorists and protected by a giant lobster. They wake up Godzilla and he fights them, things blow up, and Mothra saves the day. There are some really good ideas here, but as a Godzilla movie, this plotline just does not work. The Red Bamboo are some of the dumbest villains imaginable and it makes me wonder how they even succeeded in being a terrorist group. They make the cartoon version of Cobra look intelligent. Then there is Godzilla, who is completely out of character here. Yes, the plot was originally written to be King Kong, but they never bothered to change it around so that it actually fits Godzilla’s persona instead. The whole staring at Dayo, going to sleep, and standing around like a monkey is not the very concept of Godzilla. As such, this movie just insults his characterization over the previous ten years’ worth of movies. He may have been a little dumbed down in the previous movie, but this is just insulting. As previously mentioned, this movie just does not seem to fit in with any of the other movies. Mothra is for some reason sleeping and needs to be woken up to save people. That makes no sense. Nor does the fact that when did Mothra become an adult? Is this the same Mothra from “Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster” or a different one? If it is, then is the larva from “Destroy All Monsters” a different one? In the end, Godzilla flees the island as he chases after “Honey Nut Cheerios” bee and the day is saved.
The characters are generic and boring outside of the thief, who is the only character that has any sort of personality. One of them is just obsessed with finding his brother, which is understandable, but it makes him one dimensional. The same goes for his brother’s one track mind (nor does he even resemble Ryota). The other two knuckle heads did not even need to exist as they contributed very little to the movie. Outside of one scene, the movie could have done without them. And then there are the members of the Red Bamboo, which have wasted the talents of the actors who portray their leaders.
Finally, just like everything else, the monsters in this movie are no better. Godzilla is an utter joke here. His costume looks worn out and his personality completely out of character. It does not help that he is still written to be King Kong, which is where the majority of the problems lie. That may not have any issue with some people, but it completely throws me out of the immersion of the movie. Mothra looks cheaply made as if they took what spare pipe cleaners they had and put them together. Her wings are small and everything just looks off about her. Then there is that giant bird condor, which surprisingly looks good for the whole two minutes it is on screen. Finally, Ebirah looks good, but seriously, he is a giant lobster. How terrifying can you really get with a giant lobster? There is a reason he is defeated by humans in “Final Wars.” He is a giant lobster, nothing that is at all worth getting excited over.
Overall, this movie is pretty subpar, but it does have some good moments in it. I do enjoy the moments when Ryota and the boys sneak around inside of the Red Bamboo base. The fight between Godzilla and Ebirah is pretty good overall despite the poor costume on Godzilla’s part. It is too bad that this movie looks and feels like it was made for less than 1,000 yen as there were some good ideas marred by terrible pacing, poor effects that appear done by a two year old, and one of the most degrading incarnations of Godzilla, even more so than those found in the Hedorah and Megalon movies. This is not the worst Godzilla movie ever, but if they had actually tried to make a good movie, and give it good effects, it could have been something really unique. Instead, it is just a forgettable piece of B grade quality. I give “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” a 4/10.