After four movies of seeing Godzilla terrorize Japan, Toho started to move him into being a heroic character over being a monster. While “Invasion of Astro Monster” and “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” did portray Godzilla in this manner, it was not until this movie that Godzilla’s roots of being a monster were left behind for many movies to come. Not only that, but it was this movie that introduced one of the worst monsters to ever grace Toho’s silver screen, Minilla.
Scientists are conducting experiments on an island when one of them goes wrong, causing huge mantises to grow big and they attack an egg that contained a baby Godzilla. Godzilla comes in to save the day and battles a giant spider. The end. That is such a simple plot, and yet, it is thought out quite well. At least, far better than the previous movie’s plot. There are so many things this movie does right.
First off, it gives you a cast of likable characters whether it be the hard working Dr. Kusumi, his assistant Fujisaki, the dedicated journalist Goro, to the only conveniently placed girl in the entire movie, Saeko. All of them hold their own as far as characters go here, which is something unique to see. Unfortunately, the movie wants to do more than its budget can hold as you can clearly see the folds in the back drop around the island, especially in the scenes with the monsters. The plot itself surrounding the monsters is laughably stupid, but it does have its charm. I definitely enjoy the moments of seeing how the heat effects some of the characters as it helps make the movie feel like they are isolated on a tropical island. Nevertheless, it is the plot revolving around the monsters that brings this movie down a lot. The whole thing about Godzilla having a baby is just ludicrous. Or rather, the execution of it because of how Godzilla is no longer a monster but a parental figure. That just does not sit well with me and completely destroys the image of what Godzilla is supposed to represent, nuclear bombardment.
Depending on how one make look at it, the design for Godzilla may be the worst in the entire series. His neck is extremely long, his eyes are HUGE, and his snout is just too small. However, in the defense of the costume, it does go with the fatherly look this movie is trying to tell, but it just is not Godzilla. Minilla is one of the worst creations ever crafted by Toho at this point in time. He just looks as ugly as he sounds. His is whiney, weak, and useless. Sure, he is a child here, but we never see him grow up to know if there was anything to redeem his infant stage over the course of the series. The worst atrocity though is that he just comes off annoying more than anything else in future movies. Moving forward, the designs for the Kamakirases are well done for being nothing more than giant mantises and the same goes for Kumonga. They are not my favorite monsters, but at least they work better here than a giant vulture and lobster did in the last movie. Another piece is the way Kumonga’s webbing is done is nicely done and look vastly superior to the webbing used in “Final Wars,” which is sad since it should have been superior 37 years later. I also do like the little horror vibe the movie gives off during the scene when Kumonga first shows up and is trying to grab at Saeko and Goro.
In the end, “Son of Godzilla” is not a bad movie by means, but it also is not even close to the top. In fact, it is about average, which is why I give it a 5/10. The movie has good characters, the music at times is great (especially the theme for Kamakiras), and the final battle in the snow is nice to watch. It is just that the entire concept of the movie is worthy of a face palm due to Minilla and the outcome of Godzilla’s reputation for the next several movies.