Godzilla talks the talk and walks the walk in this one
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 04/13/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Godzilla talks in this movie. I don't know who came up with this idea or why, nor do I know why his voice is made to sound like a Billy Crystal impersonation of an old Jewish man. Thankfully, Godzilla is a monster of few words; he and Anguiras speak only a couple of times in the movie. As for the plot, it is your typical inane Godzilla story--aliens have begun building a Children's Land Amusement Park, centered around a giant Godzilla replica; claiming to be seeking world peace, they are actually plotting to take over the earth. An out-of-work cartoonist, whose comics feature such horrible monsters as the Monster of Homework and the Monster of Overbearing Mothers, manages to stumble across the group's evil plans. Working with such allies as a black belt lady not immune to fainting and a Japanese Jerry Garcia lookalike, he sets about foiling the plans of the bad guys. The aliens send for King Ghidorah and Gigan from their home world in the Hunter Nebula. The alien monsters begin laying waste to Tokyo, but finally Godzilla and his sidekick Anguiras arrive to fight. Godzilla had apparently become lazy and neglected his normal training regimen because he is far from all-powerful when the melee begins. Not only is he abused by Ghidorah and Gigan, but he walks right into an alien trap. Anguiras, who really has little offensive capabilities, gives a gritty performance, even taking on King Ghidorah monster-a-monster at one point. At points in this battle, though, it is anyone's fight. The special effects here are not that special, but that's okay with me. Many of the scenes of destruction make obvious use of model cars, buildings, tanks with toy soldiers, etc.. Godzilla' costume does indeed look pretty ragged, barely holding up through the end of the fight. Gigan does not impress me that much; the tusk-like hands are okay, but the rotating circular saw in his chest seems sort of weird. King Ghidorah, my favorite Godzilla foe, looks horrible in this movie. His three heads each look like they have reached middle age, and his whole appearance seemed rather drab. Most disappointingly, he is totally static (with unmoving heads) when he is shown flying in outer space. A lot of people seem to prefer this film to its successor, Godzilla vs Megalon, but give me Megalon over Gigan any day. For me, besides the utter ridiculousness of making Godzilla and Anguiras talk, this movie represents Godzilla's worst fight performance and most bedraggled appearance. It's not the worst Godzilla movie, but it is far from the best."
Best Release So Far
Ryan Clark | Missouri | 10/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Presented in widescreen this release blows away all the past VHS ones from Starmaker, Anchor Bay, etc. Sony seems to have doen some work on the title screen and other credits, and the Japanese word balloons are lacking from the kaiju "speaking" scenes. Nonetheless, this is an excellent release of a great film."
Hippies, stock footage and a talking Godzilla!
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 07/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Any long running series has its ups and downs, and in a series as long-running as Godzilla those downs can be pretty low. This one isn't bottom of the barrel, but you can definitely see it from there.
"Godzilla vs. Gigan" ("Chikyû kogeki meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan" or "Earth Assault Order: Godzilla vs. Gigan ") is the 12th film in the Showa series, at a time when Godzilla had turned from a rampaging beast of fear and destruction into a kid-friendly beastie cheered by the citizens of Japan. Due to the hard times of the 70's Japanese film, the budget is tiny, and there is a heavy reliance on stock footage taken from previous Godzilla films.
The plot is somewhat oddball, with developers attempting to build Godzilla-land, a theme park built around Godzilla. Of course, the developers are secretly cockroach-aliens, and when a hippie and a failed cartoonist get wind of their plan, quickly summon the terrors of King Ghidra and Gigan to Earth to help in their nefarious plan. Godzilla and his stocky pal Angirasu are on hand to stop them.
Of course, the worst and most bizarre aspect of "Godzilla vs. Gigan" is the chatty Godzilla, as he and Angirasu exchange a few well-timed quips. This isn't so bad in the original Japanese, where the audio is growling sounds and the dialog appears as word-balloons, but in the English dub there is an actual Godzilla voice. A horrible decision on someones part.
However, unforgivable cheesyness aside, Gigan is a decent foe for the Big G, with his buzz-saw belly and sharp claws. He and King Ghidra make a nice tag-team pair, easily trouncing Godzilla and Angirasu to within an inch of their lives. Godzilla isn't quite so mighty here, and he seems to have forgotten how to breath his atomic fire, until the last possible moment.
While more kid-friendly, the series gets bloodier with this picture, as Godzilla starts spouting red, and gives some back to Gigan and King Ghidra. King Ghidra takes some nasty neck damage as well.
People attracted to the sillier aspects of Godzilla will love "Godzilla vs. Gigan." Those who like at least a little menace with their monster should probably give this one a miss."
TrezKu13 | Norfolk, VA | 08/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot has already been said of the "plot" of the film, so I won't say too much. However...who really watches these old Godzilla films from the 60's and 70's for plot any way? We watch them for one thing and one thing only: the monster fights!
And this movie has a lot to offer. A lot of times the monster battles in Godzilla movies are just a bunch of punching and fighting, but this is one of the great times when they put personality behind the guys in rubber suits. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as when I saw Gigan TAG-TEAM with King Ghidorah. Yes, that's right. No I did not make that up. As Godzilla is knocked down during the battle, Gigan hits Ghidora on the wing and the three-headed monster takes over the fight. And then they tag-team again and Gigan takes over! And to top it off, as Godzilla is getting his rear end kicked, Gigan and Ghidora are LAUGHING at the poor guy. Later on Angillus and Godzilla work together against King Ghidora, with Godzilla grabbing the three heads and then waving Angillus on to attack, something Godzilla would do later with King Cesar against MechaGodzilla.
I'll admit I'm a big Godzilla fan so yes I may be partial to this movie. You have to keep in mind the really old Godzilla films were aimed at kids, and this has some of the worst editing you'll see in film with perhaps some atrocious acting and writing...
But, hey, like other reviews have said: its Godzilla, not Akira freakin' Kurosawa."
Gigan's debut is okay entry in Godzilla canon
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 11/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Back when I was younger, whenever I saw some Oriental people speaking in badly-dubbed English, odds were it was a Godzilla movie or a kung-fu movie. If it was the former, I was in luck. Well, Godzilla vs. Gigan was one of the first movies I saw that introduced me to the world of Toho Studio's monsters.OK, the story. Genko is a cartoonist trying to find a job with the aid of his female agent. He finally finds something at the Construction Committee for the Children Fund, a non-profit org. dedicated to peace who are making an amusement park and even conducts operations from a Godzilla tower. Genko is kind of creative in his monsters, but a description that he is "stupid but at the same time cunning" is kind of apropos.That assessment comes from Fumio Sudo, the very young chairman of the Children Fund who does coordinate geometry for kicks. His underling and Genko's immediate superior, a bespectacled reptilian-looking guy with thin mustache named Kubota. Things take an interesting twist when Genko acquires a tape whose loss causes great consternation to the chairman and Kubota. He then falls in with Machiko and Shosaku, who are a motley pair. Machiko's a hottie nice in a fetching mini while Shosaku, with his long hair and headband, is a friendly but goofy-looking guy still wearing 60's fashion clothes. Machiko's brother was working at the fund but has vanished. How's this for a twist? Our heroes learn that Kubota and Genko were killed in an accident a year ago!This is at least the fourth time Ghidrah (King Ghidorah), the three-headed golden dragon, has been the heavy, and I wonder if he's gotten tired of getting pounded by Big G. As for the gold and dark green Gigan, he is well-realized, with that buzzsaw belly of his doing quite some physical harm to Big G--see the blood gush from his arm at one point. His appearance is reason enough to see this movie and yes, he is as destructive as Ghidrah. He's clearly based after an eagle, with the shape of his head and beak, and three wings. And I wonder when Toho Studios caught on that Angillus is one of the most useless monsters to have on your side. I mean, he's like a spiky, long-snouted armadillo with no special skills, lasers,... agh!A few other things: Genko's monsters. The name Shukra, the monster of homework, is a corruption of shikudai, which is the Japanese word for homework. As for Mamagon, the monster of strict mothers, there is a humorous moment, as the drawing has a stark resemblance to someone else in the movie. The intro after the titles are done show frames of Genko's animation, and also serves to remind the viewer that these movies are the cinematic equivalent of comic books, which kinda fits. Also, Godzilla actually talks in this movie, which is unintentionally hilarious. Finally, this was originally called Godzilla on Monster Island, which is ridiculous, since the action takes place in Japan. This new title is more apropos.Godzilla movies relied on some unexplained mystery, with two or three people caught up in some intrigue, and then Godzilla would appear, with or without one of his buddies, and fight the villainous monster. This entry follows that formula, and the initial three-in-a-team motif. And yes, there are the usual toy tanks and planes being destroyed by the bad monsters. If one takes these movies within the context of the Godzilla canon, cool, as the good guys here are goofy but fun to watch, although this is a notch below Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. 3.5, rounded to 4."