Godzilla Reviews: Godzilla vs Monster Zero

New columnist Lisa Hundley begins her reviews of the Godzilla series of films with Godzilla vs Monster Zero.
 Written by Lisa Hundley
Godzilla versus Monster Zero
Released in American theaters July 29th 1970, this was the sixth Godzilla feature film by Toho Studios. Directed by Ishiro Honda, with music by Akira Ifukube, this film is a direct follow-up to 1964's Ghidorah the Three-headed Monster. In Japan, the title of this movie is "Invasion of Astro Monster", and it stars Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji, American actor Nick Adams as Astronaut Glenn, and the beautiful Kumi Mizuno as Miss Namikawa. In our monster suits, we have a triple threat of awesomeness! Haruo Nakajima, reprising his role as Godzilla, Masaki Shinohara as Rodan, and Shoichi Hirose as the evil Monster Zero. 
In this movie, aliens from Planet X ask Earth if they can borrow Godzilla and Rodan. The aliens have been forced to live underground by "The Demon of their Galaxy", Monster Zero. Once Godzilla and Rodan drive the monster off, the astronauts return to Earth with what they think is the cure for all disease. However, the aliens have other ideas for the people of Earth!
The budget for this film was very small compared to other films in the series, only 132 million yen, ($1,201,200) and you can definitely tell! With such a small budget, effects director Eiji Tsuburaya had to recycle a lot of footage from previous films, such as Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah the Three-headed Monster. In several scenes, the strings holding the monsters and flying saucers are clearly seen! This is the last film to utilize the entire Toho visual-effects staff built up since Gojira in 1954. With contracts expiring, the team began to move on to other projects.
Akira Ifukube's score for this movie is fantastic! Beginning with Gojira, Ifukube always creates a score that is at once instantly recognizable, and 100% appropriate for what is playing out on screen. The actors and actresses are talented and engaging, bringing words on paper to life and keeping you interested throughout the movie. You may recognize actor Akira Takarada as the diver Ogata from the aforementioned Gojira. As an astronaut, friend, and brother in this movie, he brings his A-game to every scene. This time, Godzilla is not the fearsome destroyer, as he was in Gojira, even going so far as to perform a happy dance after he and Rodan chase off Monster Zero. But even though he's a little comical at first, he shows that he can still kick ass when the occasion calls for it!
I wouldn't say this is my favorite Godzilla movie, but it is definitely not the worst! I reserve that title for 1998's Godzilla, which we will talk about later. Of course, as a huge fan of Godzilla and the other Kaiju, I think all the movies are worth a watch! No matter how cheesy the effects are, or how god-awful the voice dubbing is, Godzilla movies are always entertaining for the whole family! I hope you enjoy this movie, and if you do, feel free to let me know. I'm always down for discussing our Lord and Savior, Godzilla!