Post Reply CATALOG SPOTLIGHT: Destroy All Monsters
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Posted 2/18/15 , edited 3/3/15
by Dingofist

There's much more to Japanese pop culture than anime and manga. All through grade school, I knew Japan as one thing and one thing only: the birthplace of Godzilla. Growing up in the '90s, I was absolutely obsessed with the giant monster and all his numerous friends and enemies. I tracked down videotapes anywhere I possibly could; renting them from the library, digging through bargain bins at the grocery store, scouring the fledgling web for titles I'd never even known existed, all in pursuit of my daikaiju fix. With that in mind, it makes me so happy to see that Crunchyroll has begun to pick up some of these old B-movie gems and other ancient tokusatsu shows in a similar vein. That it's available both dubbed and subtitled is just the icing on the cake.

Originally produced in 1968, Destroy All Monsters was designed to be the Godzilla movie to end all Godzilla movies, and with the full intention of being the final entry in the series. Though that was, of course, not the case in the end, Destroy All Monsters is in fact the final Godzilla movie to be helmed by the creators of Godzilla: director Ishiro Honda, special effects pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya, composer Akira Ifukube, and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka.

As plots go, Destroy All Monsters was revolutionary in its time, though today the general idea has been recycled so many times through so many mediums that the notion is almost cliche. It goes like this: in the faraway year of 1999, all of the world's monsters have been captured and exiled to live peacefully on the creatively named "Monster Island". This utopian situation is disrupted when, of course, evil aliens known as the Kilaaks take control of the island and unleash the monsters upon the helpless people of Earth.

As always, it's up to a plucky group of human do-gooders to sabotage the aliens' control of Earth's monsters, and the whole shebang culminates in a spectacular dozen-monster-melee at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

So the plot is pretty standard sci-fi adventure monster-movie stuff, but all of the monster action, set destruction, and '60s cheese more than warrant at least one viewing.

Destroy All Monsters has never been my favorite classic Godzilla film, but that doesn't mean it's in any way a bad one. For the time, it was revolutionary, pushing suitmation and miniature special effects to the limit with so many monsters and set pieces on screen at once. Sometimes the human action drags, and of course some of the filmmaking techniques are dated, but as a piece of Godzilla history it's an important, if not timeless, film. Besides, who doesn't love watching guys in rubber suits smash through downtown Tokyo for the 95th time?

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