Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Seventh film: Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto / Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) - Progressive adventure film - 8/10
With the seventh entry in the franchise, entitled Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, the Godzilla movie series definitely enters adventure film territory. The beloved lizard also moves away from being considered a dangerous antagonist and becomes an earthly protector and sympathetic anthropomorphized protagonist. These changes appeal to younger and wider audiences while adults and fans of old date might dislike those changes. One has to understand that those modifications managed to keep the series successful enough to keep it going until the mid-seventies. Director Fukuda Jun replaced veteran Honda Ishiro here and his movies are overall rather family-friendly. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is a first step into more light-hearted territories.
This particular movie succeeds because old and new elements are still quite balanced here. The titular gigantic lobster is an impressive monster that constantly wreaks havoc. The terrorist organization that kidnaps indigenous people for forced labour is also quite grizly. Godzilla annihilates a giant condor, destroys a squadron of fighter jets and fights Ebirah in violent fashion.
On the other side, Godzilla is awakened to help the human heroes and wreaks havoc among the terrorists. Gigantic moth Mothra comes to save indigenous people and is represented as a symbol of hope, love and even motherhood. The human heroes in this film are particularly sympathetic, creative and brave while strong and convincing antagonists are missing this time.
One of the movie's strengths is its location on an isolated island. The movie explores rocky mountains, hidden caves and stony beaches that contrast the modern facilities of the terrorists. This is certainly a contrast to previous movies that mostly took place in crowded cities or in space. If you ignore the monsters, this movie could have been an adventurous spy flick in the key of the James Bond franchise.
In the end, the seventh entry in the franchise introduces some fresh changes and is entertaining from start to finish. This movie might appeal to children and teenagers in particular. The film is however missing the philosophical, mysterious and dystopian undertone of its predecessors. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep foreshadows the changes the franchise would go through in the next decade.« The Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Sixth film: Kaijû daisensô / Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) - Journey on the waves of space and time - 9/10Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Eighth film: Kaijûtô no kessen: Gojira no musuko / Son of Godzilla (1967) - Children's birthday party - 7/10 »