Destroy All Monsters

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This article is about the film. For the band, see Destroy All Monsters (band). For the video game, see Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.
Destroy All Monsters
Destroy All Monsters 1968.jpg
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Ishirō Honda
Takeshi Kimura
Starring Akira Kubo
Jun Tazaki
Yukiko Kobayashi
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Kyôko Ai
Haruo Nakajima
Music by Akira Ifukube
Cinematography Taiichi Kankura
Edited by Ryohei Fujii
Production
company
Distributed by Toho (Japan)
AIP (USA)
Release dates
  • August 1, 1968 (1968-08-01)
Running time 88 minutes
Language Japanese

Destroy All Monsters, released in Japan as Kaijū Sōshingeki (怪獣総進撃?, lit. "Attack of the Marching Monsters"), is a 1968 Japanese science fiction Kaiju film produced by Toho. The ninth entry in the original Godzilla series, it stars Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi and Yoshio Tsuchiya. Produced in celebration as Toho's 20th kaiju film, it was also originally intended to be the final Godzilla film, and as such, was given a bigger budget than the past few productions. Set at the end of the 20th century, the film features many of Toho's earlier monsters, eleven in all. The film was also the last to be produced by the main creators of the Godzilla character, with Ishirō Honda directing, Eiji Tsuburaya supervising the special effects (with Sadamasa Arikawa actually directing), Tomoyuki Tanaka producing, and Akira Ifukube handling the film's score.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the Spring of 1969 by American International Pictures.

Plot[edit]

At the close of the 20th century, all of the Earth's kaiju have been collected by the United Nations Science Committee and confined in an area known as Monsterland, located in the Ogasawara island chain. A special control center is constructed underneath the island to ensure that the monsters stay secure, and to serve as a research facility to study them.

When communications with Monsterland are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals, Dr. Yoshida of the UNSC orders Captain Yamabe and the crew of his spaceship, Moonlight SY-3, to investigate Ogasawara. There, they discover that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani, have become mind-controlled slaves of a feminine alien race identifying themselves as the Kilaaks, who reveal that they are in control of the monsters. Their leader demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation.

Godzilla attacks New York City, Rodan invades Moscow, Mothra (a larvae offspring) lays waste to Beijing, Gorosaurus (wrongly identified as Baragon) destroys Paris, and Manda attacks London. These attacks were set in to motion to draw attention away from Japan, so that the aliens can establish an underground stronghold near Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Kilaaks then turn their next major attack on to Tokyo and, without serious opposition, become arrogant in their aims, until the UNSC discover that the Kilaaks have switched to broadcasting the control signals from their base under the Moon's surface. In a desperate battle, the crew of the SY-3 destroys the Kilaak's lunar outpost and returns the alien control system to Earth.

With all of the monsters under the control of the UNSC, the Kilaaks unleash their hidden weapon, King Ghidorah. The three-headed space monster is dispatched to protect the alien stronghold at Mt. Fuji, and battles Godzilla, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, and Kumonga (Manda, Baragon and an unnamed Varan are also present but do not take part in the battle). While seemingly invincible, King Ghidorah is eventually overpowered by the combined strength of the Earth monsters and is killed. Refusing to admit defeat, the Kilaaks produce their trump card, a burning monster they call the Fire Dragon, which begins to torch cities and destroys the control center on Ogasawara. Suddenly, Godzilla attacks and destroys the Kilaak's underground base, revealing that the Earth's monsters instinctively know who their enemies are. Captain Yamabe then pursues the Fire Dragon in the SY-3, and narrowly achieves victory for the human race. The Fire Dragon is revealed to be a flaming Kilaak saucer and is destroyed. Godzilla and the other monsters are eventually returned to Monsterland to live in peace.

Cast[edit]

  • Akira Kubo as Captain Katsuo Yamabe
  • Jun Tazaki as Dr. Yoshido
  • Yukiko Kobayashi as Kyoko Manabe
  • Yoshio Tsuchiya as Dr. Otani
  • Kyoko Ai as Kilaak Queen
  • Andrew Hughes as Dr. Stevenson
  • Kenji Sahara as Nishikawa, Moon Base Commander
  • Godzilla, The King of the Monsters and the primary monster protagonist who gathers all the Monster Island residents together to fight King Ghidorah.
  • Minilla, the offspring of Godzilla who helps his parent.
  • Anguirus, a giant ankylosaurus creature who is a close ally of Godzilla's and helps him fight off King Ghidorah.
  • Rodan, a giant pteranodon who aids Godzilla and the others in the battle with King Ghidorah.
  • Mothra Larva, a divine, caterpillar-like deity who aids in the fight against King Ghidorah.
  • Gorosaurus, a giant dinosaur that helps defeat King Ghidorah.
  • Kumonga, a giant spider who joins the fray with the Monster Island residents.
  • Manda, a giant sea serpent
  • Baragon, a small, dinosaur-like monster.
  • Varan, a gliding lizard-like reptile.
  • King Ghidorah, the main monster antagonist of the film, a three-headed space dragon.

Original screenplay[edit]

There was an initial screenplay with the preliminary title All Monsters Attack Directive, which would have many of the same elements used in the final product. The difference, however, was in the monster line-up. This first draft included several monsters that would appear in the final film, such as Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Rodan, Baragon, Varan, Kumonga, and Manda. The final two monsters were Maguma (from 1962's Gorath) and Ebirah (from 1966's Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster). Maguma was to be one of the guardians of the Kilaak base with Baragon, who would have been the ones to fend off the SDF. Ebirah's role is unknown. The film’s title was later changed to Kaiju Soshingeki (Charge of the Monsters), and Ebirah and Maguma were replaced with Anguirus, Minilla (Godzilla's offspring and Gorosaurus.

U.S. version[edit]

American International Pictures theatrical poster for the 1969 U.S release of Destroy all Monsters.
School children visiting the set during production, pose with some of the cast, monster suits and props.

American International Pictures released the film theatrically in North America in 1969. The Americanization was handled by Titan Productions (formerly Titra Studios).

Among the changes for the U.S. release:

  • Deleted: Opening credits; Moved to the end of the film and changed to white credits against a black background with the original Ifukube cue.
  • Deleted: Shot of Minilla covering his eyes while King Ghidorah drops Anguirus.

In the Japanese version, the credits come right after the Moonlight SY-3 blasts off at the beginning of the movie. The American version moved the credits to the end of the picture.

This version has been replaced on home video and television by Toho's international version. While uncut and letterboxed, it features an English dub track produced by William Ross' Tokyo-based Frontier Enterprises in 1968.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Destroy All Monsters has received acclaim. The New York Times did not review the film upon release, but film critic Howard Thompson gave it a positive review on a re-release at a children's matinee with the Bugs Bunny short, Napoleon Bunny-Part, in December 1970. He commented that "the feature wasn't bad at all of this type. The trick photography and especially the blended sweep and skill of the miniature settings provided the visual splash. The human beings, with good dubbed English voices, were a personable lot as they wrestled with some outer space culprits who had rounded up Japan's favorite monsters and turned them against the planet earth."

Among modern critics, Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique wrote, "In the end, Destroy All Monsters is too slim in its storyline, too thin in its characterizations, to be considered a truly great film. It is not as impressive as the original Godzilla, and it is not as hip as Monster Zero. But for the ten-year-old living inside us all, it is entertainment of the most awesome sort."[2] Matt Paprocki of Blogcritics said the film is "far from perfect" and "can be downright boring at times" but felt that "the destruction scenes make up for everything else" and "the final battle is an epic that simply can't be matched".[3]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "certified fresh" rating of 80%.

Home Media releases[edit]

ADV Films

  • Released: 1999
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) (non-anamorphic)
  • Sound: English 2.0
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains Toho's International Version; No interactive menu.

ADV Films

  • Released: May 18, 2004
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) (non-anamorphic)
  • Sound: English 2.0
  • Supplements: CD soundtrack album
  • Region 1
  • Note: 50th Anniversary Edition; Includes CD soundtrack album and new cover art but film disc is identical to 1999 edition.

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock (Also on Blu-ray)

  • Released: November 8, 2011 Re-released: September 10, 2014
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1)
  • Sound: Japanese, English (AIP Dub), English (International Toho Dub)
  • Supplements: Audio Commentary, Image Galleries, Lobby Cards, Press Books, Poster Art, Trailers, Radio Spots, Production Art
  • Region 1 (Region free Blu-ray)

Legacy[edit]

In Godzilla: The Series, the three-part "Monster Wars" story appears to have been inspired by Destroy All Monsters, with aliens taking control of Zilla Jr. and other giant creatures and using them to attack the world's cities in preparation for invasion. At the end, their island hideout is used as a secret reserve for the surviving monsters.

Godzilla director Gareth Edwards has expressed an interest in making a sequel to his 2014 movie that is inspired by Destroy All Monsters.[4]

References[edit]

  • Thompson, Howard. Destroy All Monsters (film review). The New York Times. December 14, 1970.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Loren Cary,Kelley Mike, Shaw Jim, "DESTROY ALL MONSTERS MAGAZINE 1976-1979",Primary Information,2011. ISBN 978-0-9788697-8-6

External links[edit]