Invasion of Astro-Monster
|Invasion of Astro-Monster|
|Directed by||Ishirō Honda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Written by||Shinichi Sekizawa|
|Music by||Akira Ifukube|
|Edited by||Ryohei Fujii|
|December 19, 1965
July 29, 1970
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 TohoScope 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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2015)|
In the 1960s, two astronauts, Fuji and Glenn, are sent to investigate the surface of the mysterious "Planet X". Upon landing, Fuji explores their surroundings while Glenn performs tests of the air and soil. Fuji sees footprints and hurries back to the landing site, but Glenn and their ship have disappeared. A glowing cylinder emerges from the ground and a voice, claiming to be the Controller of Planet X, orders him to enter. The cylinder takes him to an underground base where he is reunited with Glenn and meets the planet's cyborg inhabitants, the Xiliens. The Controller assures the astronauts of his good will toward them and claims that he brought them underground for their protection. Seconds later the surface is attacked by a creature the Xiliens call "Monster Zero", but which the astronauts recognize as King Ghidorah, a planet-devouring monster that that had attacked Earth once before. The monster eventually leaves, but the Controller states that Ghidorah has been attacking repeatedly, forcing them to live underground in constant fear. He requests to borrow Godzilla and Rodan, known to the Xiliens as Monster Zero-One and Monster Zero-Two, to act as sentries against Ghidorah's attacks. He tells them the monsters' locations and promises that in return, Planet X will give humanity the cure for cancer (the English dub says the formula can cure any disease). The astronauts return to Earth to deliver the proposal to Dr. Sakurai, the head of the space program, and the rest of the world. The people of Earth enthusiastically accept the offer.
Fuji's sister's boyfriend, Tetsuo, has invented a personal alarm that emits an ear-splitting electric siren. Miss Namikawa, a representative for an educational and toy-making company, makes an offer to buy the alarm, which Tetsuo accepts enthusiastically. He grows concerned when Namikawa leaves town before paying him. Later, Glenn, Fuji, his sister Haruno, and Tetsuo meet at a cafe. Fuji thinks that Tetsuo's invention is worthless and scolds him for accepting a bad deal. Glenn leaves with a woman in a car, whom Tetsuo recognizes as Namikawa. Furious at having been manipulated, he follows her. He tracks her to a house on an island, where he falls through a trapdoor into a prison cell guarded by Xiliens.
Glenn meets with Fuji again and claims that, while staying with Namikawa, he awoke during the night and saw Namikawa talking to the Controller. He is unsure if he dreamed it, but he is still concerned; he also recalls learning that the natural resources of Planet X, particularly water, are nearly depleted. His suspicions appear confirmed when three Xilien spacecraft appear in Japan. The Controller speaks with Sakurai and apologizes for coming to Earth without permission. The Xiliens locate Godzilla and Rodan, both sleeping, and use their technology to transport them to Planet X. They also bring Glenn, Fuji, and Sakurai with them. After a brief confrontation, the Earth monsters succeed in driving Ghidorah away. Glenn and Fuji sneak away during the battle and meet two Xilien women, both of whom look identical to Namikawa. Xilien guards confront the astronauts and bring them back to the Controller, who reprimands them for sneaking around. He denies that Planet X is running short of water. Glenn, Fuji, and Sakurai are given a tape containing instructions for the cure. They take it back to Earth, leaving Godzilla and Rodan behind. They play the tape for the world's leaders, but it is a recorded ultimatum demanding that they surrender Earth to the Xiliens or be conquered by force. The aliens were using their technology to control Ghidorah all along and are now doing the same with Godzilla and Rodan; with the combined might of the three monsters, they plan to wipe out Earth's defenses.
Riots occur; those willing to surrender to protect the peace clash with others who want to resist. Glenn storms into Namikawa's office where he finds her in Xilien garb. She admits that she is one of their spies, but she confesses that she has fallen in love with him. She begs him to join her rather than die fighting, but he angrily refuses. Namikawa's commander arrives to capture Glenn, but Namikawa clings to him, still proclaiming her love for him. The commander executes her on the spot for letting emotion cloud her judgment, but not before she slips a note into Glenn's pocket. Glenn is taken to the same cell as Tetsuo. They read Namikawa's note, which explains that Tetsuo's invention disrupts the Xiliens' electronics. Testsuo has a prototype with him. He activates it, causing the guards to lose control of themselves and bumble around helplessly, allowing the prisoners to escape.
Sakurai and Fuji learn that the Xiliens are controlling the monsters with magnetic waves, and they create a device to block the transmission. Glenn and Tetsuo arrive to share the Xilien's weakness. As the monsters attack, Sakurai's device is activated and the sound from Tetsuo's alarm is broadcast over the radio. The Xiliens lose control of the monsters and are stricken by mass panic as they begin to malfunction. The invasion force, unable to retreat and fearing what will happen if they are captured, destroy themselves en masse. The monsters awaken from their trance and a fight ensues. All three topple off a cliff; Ghidorah flies away, while those watching speculate that Godzilla and Rodan are probably still alive. Fuji acknowledges Tetsuo's important role in the victory and no longer thinks poorly of him. Sakurai states that he wants to send Glenn and Fuji back to Planet X to study the planet thoroughly (the English dub says they are to be ambassadors). The astronauts are reluctant, but accept the appointment, happy that the Earth is safe.
- Nick Adams as Astronaut Glenn
- Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji
- Kumi Mizuno as Namikawa
- Jun Tazaki as Dr. Sakurai
- Akira Kubo as Tetsuo Torii
- Keiko Sawai as Haruno Fuji
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Controller of Planet X
- Takamaru Sasaki as Chairman of Earth Committee
- Gen Shimizu as Minister of Defense
- Yoshifumi Tajima as General
- Nadao Kirino as Military Aide
- Kenzo Tabu as Commander from Planet X, Earth Unit
- Koji Uno as Namikawa's Associate
- Somesho Matsumoto as Buddhist Priest
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Masaki Shinohara as Rodan
- Shoichi Hirose as King Ghidorah
During Godzilla and Rodan's city rampage, footage from Rodan (1956) is used, specifically the scenes where Rodan blows over a train and a pair of soldiers with the hurricane-force winds generated by the monster's wings.
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 Xiliens 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 Xiliens 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. Marvin Miller provided the English voice for Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji, and Jack Grimes provided the voice of Akira Kubo as Tetsuo Tori. 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.
- The Great Monster War (translated from Japanese)
- Invasion of the Astro-Monsters (original English-language production title; released on UK Home Video)
- Invasion of the Astros (US Armed Forces theatrical circuit title, late 1960s)
- Monster Zero (US theatrical release title, 1970)
- The Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla (Japan, 1971 Toho Champion Festival reissue title)
- Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (US home video title, 1982)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (Toho's official English title and current US home video title)
In Japan, the film sold approximately 3,780,000 tickets.
- Release date: June 5, 2007
- Special features: Audio Commentary by Stuart Galbrath IV, Tomoyuki Tanaka biography, and 1971 reissue trailer.
- Note: Contains both original Japanese and English versions of the film.
- Note: Part of the Toho Collection
- Ragone, August (2007, 2014). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9
- Godzilla on the web (Japan)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster at the Internet Movie Database
- Invasion of Astro-Monster at AllMovie
- Invasion of Astro-Monster at the TCM Movie Database
- Monster Zero at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Invasion of Astro-Monster at Rotten Tomatoes
- "怪獣大戦争 (Kaijū Daisenso)" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-07-17.