By the time we reached the fifth movie in the life and times of the legendary city stomper, Gojira; Toho studios were in full swing. Coming a mere NINE MONTHS after the previous film, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster should have reeked of being a colossal rush job but returning director Ishiro Honda and his experienced crew instead turned out not only one of the best of the early movies, but introduced Godzilla’s most popular villain and finally turned it’s huge star from vicious atomic metaphor to googly-eyed earth protector.
In many ways G:TTHM crystallizes and solidifies many of the prime ‘Zilla tropes that would be readily employed over the next decade chiefly the use of Akira Ifukube’s many memorable monster themes finally in one place.
This is truly a monster mash on a scale unheard of at the time as not 2, not 3 but 4 massive kaiju battle for the fate of the planet. Godzilla is joined by giant cross-eyed pterodactyl Rodan and the poop shaped Mothra larvae to square up to the massive, golden hued, space dragon that emerges from an egg in order to raise property insurance in Tokyo through the fucking roof. It’s a magnificent sight as these rubbery legends clash, Ghidorah spastically spewing lighting all over the place while Mothra hops on Rodan’s back in order to get a better shot with his silken strands, it’s oddly impressive stuff and mirrors the cast of 2019’s Godzilla movie to tantalizing effect.
Even more impressive is that the human plot of this movie more than holds it own against the crunch and wallop of the monster stuff. A story of political intrigue and alien conspiracy theory sees the princess of a small nation plagued by civil war narrowly avoid an assassination attempt to show up later claiming to be an prophet of an alien race who tries to warn Japan that all the monsters are about to rise and wreak terrible havoc.
While her enemies close in, the bodyguard assigned to protect her attempts to desperately do just that as all of her proclamations come to pass.
Now, shifting a character who has spend nearly 10 years stamping Japan as flat as a parking lot from a ferocious villain to having the same view of kids as Barney The Dinosaur doesn’t happen without things getting a bit silly, the image of Mothra sitting Godzilla and Rodan down to get them to stop fighting the humans and each other via insectoid screeches like a Kaiju Jeremy Kyle is as ridiculous as it is endearing and essentially opened the doors for a lot more wackiness as time went on.
But this is, for now, a major plus point. Shifting allegiances to the side of the white hats worked for The Terminator and even Jason Statham in the Fast And Furious movies, why not Godzilla?
Epic, fun and one of the best of the original run of movies, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster proves to be all ‘Zilla, no filler.