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Destroy All Monsters

For the 1970's anti-rock band see Destroy All Monsters (band).

Destroy All Monsters, released in Japan as , is a 1968 daikaiju eiga (Monster Movie). The ninth in Toho Studios' Godzilla series, it was directed by Ishiro Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and Sadamasa Arikawa. While the plot resembles that of Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), this entry is significant in that it showcases 11 daikaiju, a record for the Godzilla series until Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and the American animated Godzilla: The Series Monster Wars trilogy, which was a tribute to this film. Several of these (Gorosaurus, Baragon, Manda, Varan) had only appeared in their debut films at this point; others (Anguirus, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Minilla, Kumonga) returned from previous Godzilla films.

Synopsis

This film takes place at "The close of the 20th Century" (1999 in the subsequent English-dubbed versions, so it is considered the last movie of the Showa Series). "All of the Earth's monsters have been collected and confined in an area known as 'Monsterland'," by the United Nations Scientific Committee, in the Ogasawara island chain (not to be confused with Monster Island). A special control center is constructed underneath the island to ensure the monsters stay secure, and serve as a research facility to study the creatures, as well as carry out genetic breeding of new forms of marine life for world food supplies.

When communications with Monsterland are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals, Dr. Yoshida (Jun Tazaki) of the UNSC orders Captain Yamabe (Akira Kubo) and the crew of his spaceship, Moonlight SY-3, to investigate Ogasawara. There, they discover that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani (Yoshio Tsuchiya), 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 (Kyoko Ai) demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation.

Godzilla attacks New York City. Rodan invades Moscow. Mothra lays waste to Beijing, Baragon destroys Paris (but is actually Gorosaurus), and Manda attacks London, which is set in to motion to take attention away from Japan, so the aliens can establish an underground stronghold near Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Kilaaks then turn their next major attack on Tokyo, and without serious opposition, become arrogant in their aims, until the UNSC discover 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 destroy the Kilaak's lunar outpost and return 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, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon, and Varan. While seemingly invincible, King Ghidorah is eventually overpowered by the combined strength of the Earth monsters. 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. Captain Yamabe pursues this new threat in the SY-3, and narrowly achieves victory for the human race. Godzilla and the other monsters are eventually returned to Monsterland to live in peace.

United States version

American International Pictures released the film theatrically in North America in 1969. The Americanization was handled by Titan Productions (formerly Titra Studios). There were some minor alterations done to prepare the film for U.S. release:

  • Dialogue was dubbed to English (featuring the voices of actors such as Hal Linden.)
  • Deleted: The opening credits; these were moved to the end of the film with credits against a black background.
  • Deleted: a shot of Minilla covering his eyes while King Ghidorah drops Anguirus. This was restored in the ADV Films VHS and DVD release.

This version has been replaced on home video and television by Toho's "International Version." While uncut and widescreen (slightly cropped), it features an English dub track produced by William Ross' Tokyo-based Frontier Enterprises used to sell the film to overseas markets in 1968. Subsequently, American International Pictures found the dubbing to be substandard and handed the film over to Titan Productions in New York to record a new English dialogue track. Considered by fans and critics to be the preferred English-language dubbing, AIP's arguably superior version is unfortunately now considered "lost."

Critical Reception

The New York Times did not review the film on first 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, "...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."

Original Screenplay

There was an original script for the film was known as “All Monsters Attack Directive”, which would have many of the same elements, which would be used in the eventual film. However the difference was that the film would have ten monsters, instead of eleven. This first draft for the project included monsters that would appear in the final film, such as Godzilla, Mothra (Larva), King Ghidorah, Rodan, Baragon, Varan, Kumonga and Manda. The other two monsters were Ebirah from Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (1966) and the giant walrus Maguma from Gorath (1962), were also put into early script. The roles for the two monsters are unknown, except that 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. The film’s title was later changed to All-Out Charge of the Monsters, and Ebirah and Maguma were replaced with Anguirus, Minilla, and Gorosaurus.

Box Office

In Japan, the film sold approximately 2,580,000 tickets.

Alternate Titles

  • All Monsters Attack Directive (original screenplay title)
  • All-Out Charge of the Monsters (literal English translation)
  • Charge of the Monsters (English transliteration)
  • Attack of the Marching Monsters (variant)
  • Destroy All Monsters (Toho's International Sales Department title; used for release in U.S. and other territories)
  • Operation Monsterland (UK)
  • Gojira Dengeki Daisakusen ("Godzilla: Operation Blitzkrieg"; Japanese reissue title for "Toho Champion Festival")
  • Gli eredi di King Kong (lit. "The heirs of King Kong", Italian title)

In pop culture

The ending music for the film is used in a commercial for Powerthirst 2. The video game Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee is losely based on this movie.

Trivia

This film marked the second movie that Anguirus took part in since the 1955 film Godzilla Raids Again. But instead of fighting Godzilla, he is an ally.

DVD Releases

ADV Films

  • Released: February 22, 2000
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) letterboxed
  • Sound: English
  • All Regions
  • Note: Contains the Toho's 'International Version'; No interactive menu

ADV Films

  • Released: May 18, 2004
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) letterboxed
  • Supplements: CD soundtrack album
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains Toho's 'International Version'; No interactive menu; "50th Anniversary Edition"

External links

References

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

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