Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (Japan 1965)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Ghidrah, The Three Headed Monster
Review Date: 7/7/02
Director: Ishiro Honda
Music: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Yosuke Natsuki, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura

As the people of Earth desperately try to make contact with aliens from other worlds, an unusual meteor crashes in the mountains. At the same time, the Princess of Sergina (Akiko Wakabayashi) leaps out of an airplane just before it's blown up by assassins. She miraculously survives the fall, and starts claiming that she's a prophet from Venus (or Mars in the original American version). As she predicts doom for the planet, the mighty King Ghidorah hatches from the crashed meteor, while Rodan and Godzilla beat each other up for no apparent reason. Recognizing the terrible threat that Ghidorah presents, Mothra shows up and tries to convince Godzilla and Rodan to team up against him for the sake of the planet. They laugh at her and refuse to cooperate, until she starts getting picked on by the powerful Ghidorah. That's when they all join forces to send the three-headed monster back into space.

This film represents a turning point for Godzilla, as he finally becomes recognized as a "good" monster. It's also the first film in the series that doesn't include any military intervention, which is disappointing because those miniature models are always so fun to watch. Instead, we're treated to the series' biggest monster brawl to date, which is a total treat. The explosive destruction caused by Ghidorah is very impressive, and would unfortunately get recycled in nearly every film that followed. It's also interesting to note that this is first time the monsters are given personalities, which gives them a more kid-friendly appeal. Godzilla and Rodan humorously taunt each other and even laugh at each other when Mothra covers them in silk. Hiroshi Koizumi returns as Professor Miura from "Mothra Vs. Godzilla" (1964), while cute and perky Yuriko Hoshi returns as... someone else. This time she plays a news reporter named Naoko who is trying to track down the Venusian prophet for a spot on her TV show. Akihiko Hirata and Takashi Shimura from the original "Godzilla" (1954) round out the cast of familiar faces in supporting roles.