The Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Sixth film: Kaijû daisensô / Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) - Journey on the waves of space and time - 9/10
Invasion of Astro-Monster is the most creative, diversified and entertaining entry in the franchise in the sixties along with cult movie Mothra vs. Godzilla. The story revolves around a Japanese and an American astronaut who encounter extraterrestrials on a mysterious planet. They are terrorized by space monster King Ghidorah and ask mankind to borrow Rodan and Godzilla to protect them. In return, they want to give a miracle cure for cancer and offer the possibility to share their advanced scientific skills with mankind. However, the extraterrestrials aren't as diplomatic as they pretend to be and plan on using the three monsters to conquer the Earth. With the help of an extraterrestrial spy who falls in love with the American protagonist, the two astronauts try to find a scientific way to beat the clever aliens.
This sixth movie in the franchise is the first one with dominant science-fiction elements. The epic journey through space is fascinating to watch, the alien laboratories look truly creative and even the visual special effects of alien technology are rather ambitious for their era.
The two protagonists have great chemistry. The intelligent and careful Japanese astronaut and the more emotional and frank American astronaut complement each other perfectly. The alien spy who falls in love with the American astronaut after initially tricking him is an idea that goes back to the origins of Greek dramas and tragedies.
The story comes around with many ideas, turns and twists that make for a truly entertaining plot. It keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Some story elements might be predictable here and there but they are executed with so much energy, passion and wit that it barely matters.
There aren't too many lengthy fight sequences between the three legendary monsters as the movie rather focuses on science-fiction stylistics, creative plot twists and intriguing characters. The few confrontations between the three monsters are however executed with much action, drama and special effects. This is a science-fiction movie in first place and only a monster movie in second position.
In the end, Invasion of Astro-Monster is a highly entertaining science-fiction roller coaster ride that can compete with Hollywood cinema of the same era. The creative special effects, quirky plot and sympathetic characters have stood the test of time. This is also one of the few entries in the franchise when the two protagonists come from two completely different countries and cultures. Nick Adams is perfectly integrated into the cast and delivers one of the strongest acting performances in any Showa Era Godzilla movie. His untimely death was a huge loss but his legacy will forever shine in this masterpiece.« Nothing new in Neverland - A review of Mono Inc.'s The Book of FireShowa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Seventh film: Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto / Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) - Progressive adventure film - 8/10 »