This is one of those Godzilla movies that I need to be in the mood for to be able to enjoy it, so sometimes my opinions of this movie might change just slightly. This viewing was one of those times, as I felt the movie had a stronger presence than it has for me in the past, but that really does not make it that good of a movie. Of course, this movie must be a child’s favorite, as there are so many poop jokes a kid could make with this thing. There is even a moment when Godzilla is literally throwing crap around.
The plot of the movie can easily be summed up in one sentence, “If you don’t clean out your pool, you don’t know what might show up.” That is pretty much the entire story. Tadpole-like monsters from outer space show up on Earth, devouring as much pollution as they can and growing in the process. There is an underlying theme to the movie to show why it is bad to pollute the Earth, and it does a decent job of showing it, even if it is completely unrealistic. Of course, this is a Godzilla movie, and who needs realism, especially when you have a monstrous nuclear dinosaur for a super hero to save the day. Seriously, the threat of Godzilla’s presence might have been meandered throughout the last few movies, but here it is pretty much gone. Godzilla has now become a joke that is summoned by boy’s shine to save Japan from a giant walking, flying piece of crap. The movie gets worse as the military is portrayed as fully incompetent here, which I really find insulting. Gone are the days when the military would gear up at any word of a possible monster attack and instead we get a military that tells people on the phone that a giant monster is a sea creature so it could not be possible for it to be attacking on land. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that Godzilla pretty much has to do their job for them at the very end of the movie as the soldiers are not able to finish their electric wall reflector in time to stop Hedorah, so Godzilla has to use his breath attack to get it to work. One of the most cringe inducing moments also occur here as Godzilla uses his breath attack to fly through the sky in order to stop Hedorah from escaping. It is really bad. Another thing I do not like about this movie is I feel the anime scenes are dumb, they disrupt the pacing of the movie and there is a needless amount of exposition about Hedorah. They make it feel like the movie is five or ten minutes longer than it needed to be because of these. They do nothing to add to the story.
The characters of the movie are no better though. There is nothing wrong with the Yano family in general, but they are superfluous characters. Hedorah is this vicious monster that will unintentionally kill anyone, but this trio seems to be immune to his poisons. Sure, Dr. Toru is injured, but the worst atrocities are centered on his wife, Toshio, and their son Ken. Toshio is out with her exercise class at one point in the movie and Hedorah flies right over them, and they all just cough and run inside. However, not even two minutes later, the moment Hedorah flies over people, they disintegrate. Ken manages to escape being harmed several times throughout the movie, as he always seems to be in the right position to not get killed. For example, at the end of the movie, he is with a bunch of party goers who have the party crashed by Hedorah and every one of them dies outside of Ken and this woman named Miki he had been hanging around with. How they just manage to escape death is beyond me, but they seemed quite untouchable here. Even when Ken goes to crap a piece of wood out of a burning fire, Hedorah only shoots the fire and not the duo even though he was just flinging poop everywhere.
Now in a positive manner, the designs for Hedorah are actually pretty nicely done. Godzilla retains the silly, out of place look he had in the previous two movies, but the costumes for Hedorah look great. Each form is different while combining the overall theme the monster represents. He is a walking piece of garbage, but it is also that design that does make him stand out from the likes of Godzilla’s previous enemies. In the last few movies, Godzilla went on to battle giant mantises, spiders, lobsters, and even a recycled villain. Here, we have something original and it works. I’m just not sure about the execution the movie used to bring us this monster. I do like the connection Hedorah has with the next movie in the series though, as it at least makes some sort of sense of what the entire Nebula M52 is that was just randomly shown to us here. The effects are okay, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around what the heck it was Godzilla pulled out of Hedorah at the end of the movie. Were those balls supposed to be nuclei?
Overall, this movie is average. It isn’t the worst of the series, but it is not even close to being the best. It does have some great moments that are sullied by a terrible score (probably the worst Godzilla theme in the history of the franchise) and the whole super hero aspect is insulting to the Godzilla character (that flying scene, oh god). However, the movie does a good job of conveying it’s do not pollute message, even if it is poorly executed in the long run. I’m going to give this movie a 4/10 as it does some good things, but it also has to follow those positives with two or three negatives at every turn.