Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) – Ishiro Honda

Godzilla is back! But he almost takes a backseat to the rest of the story, which sees an expansion of the Godzilla universe by bringing in aliens, flying saucers, and seeing the return of Rodan and King Ghidorah.

When a new planet, Planet X, is discovered in orbit around Jupiter, a joint Japanese/American mission is sent to investigate and explore it, as there seems to be indications of intelligent life there. Astronauts Fuji (Akira Takarada) and Glenn (Nick Adams) land to discover a race of humanoids, known as the Xiliens who claim they are being plagued by a creature they call Monster Zero – Ghidorah!!

In a gesture of peace and friendship, they offer the cure for cancer, if Earth will lend them Godzilla and Rodan to stop Ghidorah for them. So… Godzilla… in… space!

Meanwhile, on Earth, Fuji’s sister, Haruno (Keiko Sawai) and her boyfriend, Tetsuo (Akira Kubo) find themselves mired in trouble of their own when a strange company snaps up the patent on one of his inventions, called a Ladyguard, it emits a loud, annoying sound as a form of protection, and then refuses to release it.

As the plot twists we learn that the Xiliens only wanted to remove the threat of Godzilla and Rodan before they assumed control of the planet, and can use the kaiju to enforce their rule!

The key to stopping them, high-pitched noises, like those emitted by ladyguard! And if the Earth can find a way to interrupt the electro-magnetic waves that are controlling the kaiju, they can stop the invasion!

It’s a fun romp, the aliens are great, throwing in odd gestures to make them seem other-worldly. The model work is a joy to behold, and the special effects are all imbued with a sense of play. In fact, this one is all around a lot of fun, though none of the kaiju get a real chance to shine, though they do get to kick some butt in the last few minutes of the film.

In fact, most of the story involves the machinations of the Xiliens, and the character moments for all the characters, as they work to science the problem. Because, science, no matter how badly its portrayed in these films, is going to win the day!

I’m still not a fan of Rodan, the creature just doesn’t have it, especially when compared to Godzilla (who pulls off some great poses, and dance moves, throughout the film), and Ghidorah is just so cool to watch, a combination of man in suit and puppet, and it just looks great on film!

Next time, Godzilla comes up against Ebirah, Horror of the Deep!!

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