Invasion of Astro-Monster

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Invasion of Astro-Monster
Invasion of Astro-Monster poster.jpg
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
Starring Nick Adams
Akira Takarada
Kumi Mizuno
Jun Tazaki
Akira Kubo
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Haruo Nakajima
Music by Akira Ifukube
Cinematography Hajime Koizumi
Edited by Ryohei Fujii
Production
company
Distributed by Toho
Release dates December 19, 1965
(Japan)
July 29, 1970
(USA)
Running time 94 minutes
(Japan)
92 minutes
(USA)
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Invasion of Astro-Monster, known in Japan as Kaijū Daisensō (怪獣大戦争?, lit. "Great Monster War"), is a Japanese American science fiction kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the sixth film in the Godzilla film series. The film was co-produced between the Japanese company Toho, and Henry G. Saperstein's American company UPA, marking the first time a Godzilla film was co-produced with an American studio. The cast included American actor Nick Adams and Japanese actors Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno and Akira Kubo. The film is the first in the franchise to feature alien invaders, combining the series with outer space themes such as civilizations on other planets and interplanetary space travel.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the summer of 1970 by Maron Films as Monster Zero, where it played nationwide on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.

Plot[edit]

In the 1960s, two astronauts, Fuji and Glenn, are sent to investigate the surface of the mysterious "Planet X". After landing, Glenn vanishes. A flat voice comes over the communications link and instructs Fuji down into subterranean corridors to the office of the Controller of the Xians, where Fuji finds Glenn. The surface of the planet is attacked by a monster that Fuji and Glenn recognize as King Ghidorah, known to the Xians as Monster Zero. The Controller requests to borrow Godzilla and Rodan, known to the Xians as Monster Zero-One and Monster Zero-Two. In return, Planet X will give humanity a wonder drug that can cure all diseases. The astronauts then return home with the proposal.

Meanwhile, Fuji's sister's boyfriend, Tetsuo, has invented a personal alarm he thinks women could use if they're attacked. Miss Namikawa makes an offer to buy the alarm as an educational device, although, her boss wants the device only to be destroyed. Fuji and Glenn tell their superiors about the offer from Planet X. Scientists begin searching for Godzilla and Rodan. The Controller of Planet X suddenly makes an appearance on Earth, and both Glenn (who is dating Miss Namikawa) and Fuji become suspicious of Planet X. The Xians find and transport Godzilla and Rodan to Planet X to battle King Ghidorah. Glenn, Fuji and Dr. Sakurai are too taken to receive a box the Controller says contains the formula for the miracle drug.

Back home, the box (containing a tape) is taken to a special meeting and it is loaded to play however, the Controller's voice comes on, giving Earth an ultimatum of twenty four hours to surrender to the Xians. After being blown off by Miss Namikawa, Tetsuo follow her, but is captured by the Xians. Glenn eventually discovers Namikawa is from Planet X and all their women are virtually identical. The Xians lock him in the same cell as Tetsuo. Before she is disintegrated, Namikawa gives Glenn a letter which reveals the Xians' weakness: the sound from Tetsuo's alarm. Tetsuo uses his prototype and he and Glenn manage to escape. Twenty four hours pass and Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah are unleashed by the Xians onto Japan.

Glenn and Testuo explain the Xians' weakness to Dr. Sakurai and arrangements are made to extend the noise. The monsters are no longer under the Xians' control and their spacecrafts explode. Godzilla and Rodan attack Ghidorah, forcing all three to fall into the sea. Ghidorah then retreats back into space. Glenn and Fuji are to be sent back to Planet X as ambassadors to seek peaceful relations.

Cast[edit]

Effects director Eiji Tsuburaya on the set of the film.

Production[edit]

During the scenes where Godzilla & Rodan are attacking, stock footage from the original Rodan is used, specifically from the scene where Rodan blows over a train and the scene where two soldiers are blown away.

English version[edit]

Maron Films theatrical poster for the 1970 U.S double bill release of Monster Zero and War of the Gargantuas

The film was released in North America by UPA in 1970 under the title Monster Zero. It played on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.

There were several alterations made:

  • The opening theme was changed, and some of Akira Ifukube's score was re-arranged. Several sound effects were also added.
  • Deleted: Several shots of Godzilla's foot stepping on houses and huts. Some short shots of flying saucers. Rodan blowing away tanks from the top of a hill. Several scenes with the Xians speaking in the language of Planet X.
  • The scene where Godzilla does his dance has added stomping noises in the English version.

The English version runs 93 minutes, seventy-one seconds shorter than the Japanese version. In his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: An Unauthorized History of 'The Big G '​, Steve Ryfle says "The Americanization...is respectful to the original Japanese version."

Also, in the original Japanese version of the film, the drug the Xians promised was a cure for all forms of cancer. However, in the English version of the film, the cure was for all forms of disease (perhaps due to a translation mistake).

During production, Nick Adams spoke his lines in English, while the Japanese actors spoke their lines in Japanese, in order to retain his voice for the English-language version. For the Japanese language release, Adams' was dubbed by the noted voice actor, Goro Naya. The English-language version was prepared by UPA at Glen Glenn Sound in Hollywood, and Marvin Miller provided the English voice for Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji. The remaining voice talent is unknown.

This dubbed dialogue was also used by Toho for its official international version, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters, which was released in the United Kingdom. Unlike later Toho international versions, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters is slightly edited from the Japanese version and the dubbing was not commissioned by Toho or produced in Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Titles[edit]

  • The Great Monster War - Translated Japanese title.
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster - Toho's official English title and current home video title.
  • Monster Zero - Original US title.
  • The Great Monster War - King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla - Japanese 1971 Champion Festival reissue title.
  • Invasion of the Astro Monsters - UK home video title.
  • Godzilla vs. Monster Zero - Previous home video and TV title.

Box office[edit]

In Japan, the film sold approximately 3,780,000 tickets.[citation needed]

DVD release[edit]

Classic Media

  • Release date: June 5, 2007
  • Special features: Audio Commentary by Stuart Galbrath IV, Tomoyuki Tanaka biography, and original trailer.
  • Note: Contains both original Japanese and English versions of the film.
  • Note: Part of the Toho Collection

References[edit]

External links[edit]