A direct sequel to Godzilla’s previous bout to knock the other Kaiju out, Terror Of Mechagodzilla was the last of Toho’s “Showa” series of Godzilla movies. With the franchise struggling to make an impact at the box office and budget cuts necessary to keep The King Of The Monsters profitable, TOM sadly wasn’t enough to keep the series from going into hibernation for the best part of 10 years but thankfully this classic chunk of the franchise does make sure the classic run goes out on a high.
A professor, disgraced because of his wild claims that he’s discovered a new kind of dinosaur (bit harsh considering Kaiju’s actually exist), teams up with the race of apes from space (try saying THAT 10 times fast) last seen in Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla in order to get revenge. Planning to team up “Titanosaurus” with the rebuilt Mechagodzilla in order conquer the earth but standing in their way, as always, is Godzilla. But with the odds stacked against him, can the King Of The Monsters possibly hope to prevail in the rematch against one of his toughest adversaries?
The return of director Ishiro Honda and composer Akira Ifukube cement that for Godzilla’s temporary, decade long hiatus is tonally superior to any ‘Zilla movie released for the entirety of the 70’s, keeping any “wackyness” to a sensible level and the human plot, no matter how bizarre, ticking along nicely. In fact the subplot of the professor’s daughter being near fatally wounded during one of his experiments and being rebuilt as a cyborg to control Mechagodzilla is, despite it’s hokiness, actually quite touching and lends a fittingly somber ending to the end of this particular era of the King Of The Monsters.
Also the re-deploying of one of the most formidable adversaries the series has to offer lends a whole WWE-style rematch feel to proceedings with even the opening credits playing footage of the last tussle and acting like some sort of pre-match promo video, whereas the fights themselves between Godzilla, his mecha-twin and the bright orange, Elizibeth Debicki-necked, wailing Titanosaurus, are faster paced and nicely stylish.
As the film ends and Godzilla swims of into the sunset he turns slightly, as if to say goodbye to an era of movies that were fun, if more than a little silly. His next resurgence in the 80’s and the 90’s were much more serious, if action packed, affairs with nary a victory dance, a sidewalk suffle or a wire-fu dropkick in sight. In fact Godzilla wouldn’t be portrayed as an out and out hero again for nearly 15 years and it’s genuinely affecting to a long time Kaiju fan like me to see that last, rubber suited, googly eyed farewell.
Mechagodzilla’s terror = end of an era.