Terror Of Mechagodzilla (Japan 1975)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/21/20
Director: Ishiro Honda
Music: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Katsuhiko Sasaki, Tomoko Ai, Akihiko Hirata

"Even though you're a cyborg, I still love you."

Director Ishiro Honda came out of retirement to make this final Godzilla film in the Showa Era series. Following the events in "Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla" (1974), a group of scientists search for the wreckage of Mechagodzilla when their submarine is attacked and destroyed by a monster called Titanosaurus. The alien invaders from Black Hole Planet 3 have returned to reclaim their property, although this time they're not gorillas. They recruit a mad scientist (Akihiko Hirata) who holds a grudge against humanity to rebuild Mechagodzilla's command center, which they link to his cyborg daughter, Katsura (Tomoko Ai). While studying Titanosaurus, a marine biologist (Katsuhiko Sasaki) unwittingly falls in love with Katsura, and their doomed romance ultimately saves humankind.

The combination of Ishiro Honda and Akira Ifukube is a potent one, and the film has a nostalgic and mature tone. It also features some naked cyborg breasts, which is rather shocking for the series. Once again, Interpol is involved in investigating the space aliens and coordinating countermeasures against them. The monster action is fun and Mechagodzilla does a wonderful job of blowing up Tokyo. Godzilla really goes after Mechagodzilla this time, and shows a surprising amount of agility and aggression. Titanosaurus is a neat looking monster, although it doesn't do much and its elephant trumpeting quickly becomes obnoxious. However, it's a gentle creature by nature, and you end up feeling sorry for it being manipulated by the bad guys. Unfortunately, the visual effects aren't up to par, and the split-screen compositions look absolutely terrible. Projectiles look especially bad, and the film recycles military footage from previous entries. The final shot of Godzilla is also disconcerting, as it uses a blatantly different suit. Katsura's noble sacrifice saves the day, but also instills an uneasy feeling that women will always betray men, even if they're cyborgs. Still, it's a fun monster romp that is completely free of silliness and childish sensibilities.