BluRay/DVD Reviews

INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTERS

By • Mar 26th, 2012 •

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Years ago, American kids always looked forward to those weird and wild Godzilla movies from across the globe. It was a mini-event when a movie like GODZILLA, THE MYSTERIANS, or this film, INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTERS would pop up on TV. With punk rock looking aliens from the uber-cool Planet X., scary, energetic giant monsters like Godzilla, Rodan and Ghidorah, and non-stop crazy movie logic (invading aliens being taken down by an amazingly useless Earth toy!), INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTESR is fun for all!

Produced in 1965 by the team who gave us the Godzilla monster films at Tokyo’s Toho studios, ASTRO MONSTERS begins with an American Astronaut, Glenn (Nick Adams) and a Japanese Astronaut, Fuji, (Akira Takarada) encountering the citizens of Planet X. The X-ians ask to borrow earth bound monsters Godzilla and Rodan to battle their main menace and threat to their planet, Ghidrah, the Three Headed Dragon-Monster. This “monster loan” turns out to be a very elaborate dupe. The aliens use the three monsters to attack Earth! Oops!

It would take five years for the fun-filled ASTRO MONSTERS to be theatrically released in America under the title MONSTER ZERO.

Aside from Godzilla, who gets to perform a rousing little victory dance after duking it out with Ghidrah. ASTRO MONSTER sports a decent cast. Its human star is Nick Adams, a once promising young hopeful in the James Dean mold (after Dean’s death, director George Stevens used Adams to dub some of Dean’s dialog during the post production of GIANT). Critics sneer at Adams’ monster movie appearances as a career nadir, but Nick gives it his all in films like ASTRO MONSTERS. His co-stars are members of the Godzilla movie stock company. Handsome and tall Akira Takarada (the romantic star of the original GODZILLA, who once played Rhett Butler in a Tokyo stage production of GONE WITH THE WIND) is Astronaut Fuji. Yoshio Tsuchiya steals the film as the constantly sneering, wildly eccentric Ruler of Planet X. Director Honda lets Tsuchiya loose with weird bug-like hand gestures, and a creepy space alien laugh. (Tsuchiya, a Honda and Akra Kurosawa regular, loved playing space aliens the most)

Along with some of the better visual effects by Toho FX master Eiji Tsuburaya, and a rousing, space-eerie music score by Akira Ifukube, Sony has put quite a nice package together here.

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