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Godzilla's Revenge (1969)



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The premise for Godzilla's Revenge, as weird and atypical of the series as it is, isn't all that bad. Rather than the customary tale of monsters gone amuck in Tokyo, this is the story of a little kid who is picked on by bullies and, later, criminals. In his dreams (he seems to fall asleep every five minutes), he is transported to Monster Island, makes friends with Son of Godzilla, and observes Son of Godzilla being taught by his father how to fight other monsters. In real life, the kid applies what he's learned and achieves victory for himself.

Where it all goes wrong is in the execution, and boy does it go wrong. This is generally accepted as the worst film in the series, and that's saying something. The first mistake is the excessive use of stock footage from Godzilla Vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla. Just in case you forgot how the key monster battles from those flicks went, there's a replay of them here. All the new monster footage in Godzilla's Revenge is of a new monster Gabera, whose name is curiously reminiscent of Gamera, the star of his own monster series at a rival studio. Gabera looks sort of like Godzilla crossed with a bobcat, and he can shoot electricity through his hands.

The second, more grievous problem with the movie is that Son of Godzilla talks, saying things like, "Get him, Godzilla! He can't do that to you!" At least in the English-dubbed version, his voice sounds like a cross between Bullwinkle and Barney Rubble, which makes this either the series' most embarrassing moment or its funniest, depending on how you look at it.

But I guess the main problem is that the kid and his problem with bullies just aren't that interesting. Nobody ever cared about the human side of the plot in a Godzilla movie, but Godzilla's Revenge dotes so much on the human side of things that our utter lack of concern is more of a problem than usual. Plus, it's hard to cheer for a kid who has finally figured out how to stand up to his bullies when, just afterwards, we discover he's become a bit of a delinquent in the process.

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