Invasion of Astro-Monster

Invasion of Astro-Monster
Invasion of Astro-Monster
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
Starring Akira Takarada
Nick Adams
Kumi Mizuno
Jun Tazaki
Akira Kubo
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
Music by Akira Ifukube
Cinematography Hajime Koizumi
Editing by Ryohei Fujii
Distributed by Toho (Japan)
UPA/Maron Films (U.S.)
Release date(s) Japan:
December 19, 1965 (1965-12-19)
United States:
April 6, 1970 (1970-04-06)
Running time 96 minutes
Country Japan USA
Language Japanese
English

Invasion of Astro-Monster (known in Japan as Great Monster War (怪獣大戦争 Kaijū Daisensō?); Monster Zero and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero in the United States; and Invasion of the Astro-Monsters in the United Kingdom) is a Science Fiction kaiju film released in 1965 as a direct sequel to Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. It is sixth in the Godzilla series, popular in the West for having the Japanese series' only Hollywood lead, Nick Adams. It is the second film to feature King Ghidorah and the third film to feature Rodan. It is the first Godzilla film to feature alien invaders and the last to feature the popular 1960s tokusatsu team of director Ishirō Honda, screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya; Sadamasa Arikawa took over as the effects director for the next three Godzilla films, with Tsuburaya only supervising his work.

Contents

Plot

In 196X, the two-man spacecraft, crewed by one Japanese and one American (Fuji and Glenn), is approaching Jupiter to visit the newly-discovered Planet X, which maintains a position directly behind Jupiter. The planet is rather dark, but still lit up enough to be visible and for it to be possible to navigate its surface. The spacecraft lands, and the astronauts disembark.

One astronaut vanishes, and the other wonders where he, and the spacecraft, have gone, and then a flat voice intones to him, instructing him where to go. The astronauts are led through subterranean corridors to the office of the Controller of Planet X.

The spacecraft is safe, he assures them, and indicates that they are about to be attacked. The astronauts recognize the attacking monster is King Ghidorah, the three-headed space dragon. After a brief black-out, when the astronauts are cut off from being able to see and hear the Controller, they are assured that Ghidorah, known to the Xians as Monster Zero, has left.

The Controller says that they want Earth's help: to be allowed to capture Godzilla and Rodan, known to the Xians as Monster Zero-One and Monster Zero-Two. In return, Planet X will gift humanity with a wonder drug that cures all diseases (in the original Japanese version, it is simply the cure for cancer). The astronauts agree to return to Earth with the proposal. As they lift off, they say on the radio to the Controller, "We're glad we found friends on Planet X."

Meanwhile, Fuji's sister's boyfriend, Tetsuo, has invented a personal alarm he thinks women could use to summon assistance if they're attacked. It creates a horrific loud noise that can be heard blocks away, and Tetsuo wonders why nobody's interested in buying it, but then a Miss Namikawa comes and makes an offer to buy it as an educational device, though she keeps putting Tetsuo off on completing the deal. In truth, her boss is intent on destroying the plans for the device.

Fuji and Glenn arrive home, and tell their superiors of the offer by Planet X. Scientists begin searching for Godzilla and Rodan. Then, the Controller of Planet X makes a mysterious appearance on Earth, and both Glenn - who is in a relationship with Namikawa - and Fuji become suspicious about Planet X. The Controller finally makes his appearance overt, "apologizes" for his unannounced presence, and offers to help locate the two monsters. Two Planet X spacecraft rapidly fly off and extract the two monsters.

Glenn, Fuji, and Dr. Sakurai are invited aboard a spacecraft to accompany the Controller back to Planet X, a trip that takes only a few hours; the Controller says that soon they'll be able to travel as fast as light. On reaching Planet X, there is almost immediately an attack by Ghidorah, and the two from Earth are released to battle it. Ghidorah is driven off, and the Controller exults. He presents a box that, he says, contains information about the miracle drug, and presents the three men with a faithful duplicate of their spaceship so they can fly home.

On arrival, the box is taken to a special international meeting and is opened to find a reel-to-reel tape. It is loaded onto a machine and set up to play. When the speakers remain silent for a long period, some wonder if the systems are compatible, but others say their system is exactly the same as ours. Finally, there is a beep, and the voice begins. "This is the Controller of Planet X. You will listen to my instructions..." It is an ultimatum to surrender to Planet X, or be destroyed at the hands of the monsters.

The Xians arrive, destroy the spacecraft, and threaten to release King Ghidorah, Godzilla, and Rodan, which are now all under Planet X's control. In a show of confidence, the Xians even betray the method of control: magnetic waves. The Earth scientists realize that they could exploit this information, and work rapidly to find a way to disrupt those magnetic waves, while in the meantime, Earth's armies fight nearly in futility with conventional weapons as the monsters wage most of their destruction against Japan.

Tetsuo, meanwhile, is dissatisfied with the lack of progress on his device, and his inability to get Miss Namikawa to tell him what's happening. He follows her and is imprisoned by the Planet X soldiers. In the course of pursuing his interest in Miss Namikawa, Glenn learns that she's from Planet X and all their women are virtually identical. Fearful of what he knows, the Xians arrest him and place into the same cell as Tetsuo. However, this proves to be their undoing as he and Tetsuo put their clues together. Before being disintegrated by a Planet X soldier, Namikawa gave Glenn a letter in which she told him the weakness of the people of Planet X: the sound made by Tetsuo's lady guard alarm. Tetsuo, still in possession of the prototype, takes it out and sets it off. It upsets and paralyzes the Planet X soldiers, enabling Glenn and Tetsuo to escape.

They reach the space center scientists and explain about the device. Arrangements are made to broadcast it on all radio and television stations, a tactic that will be employed when the magnetic disruption devices are deployed.

The three monsters are removed from Planet X control, as Planet X spacecraft explode and personnel escape the noise by blowing up ships. Planet X withdraws its attempts to conquer Earth. Meanwhile, Godzilla attacks Ghidorah with the aid of Rodan, forcing the three to fall into the sea. Ghidorah emerges from the water and flies away, but Godzilla and Rodan never resurface, leading the humans to believe that King Ghidorah defeated them.

Glenn and Fuji are to be sent to Planet X again as ambassadors to seek peaceful relations.

English version

Eiji Tsuburaya gives instructions to Shoichi Hirose (King Ghidorah) and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla) during their battle on the Planet X set.

The film was released in North America by UPA in 1970 under the title Monster Zero. It played on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.

There were several alterations made:

  • Dialog was dubbed to English.
  • The opening theme was changed, and some of Akira Ifukube's score was re-arranged. Several sound effects were also added.
  • Deleted: Several shots of Godzilla's foot stepping on houses and huts. Some short shots of flying saucers. Rodan blowing away tanks from the top of a hill. Several scenes with the Xians speaking in the language of Planet X.
  • Scene where Godzilla does his dance, that scene has stomping noises in the English version, while in the Japanese version there isn't.

The English version runs 93 minutes, three minutes shorter than the Japanese version. In his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: An Unauthorized History of 'The Big G', Steve Ryfle says "The Americanization...is respectful to the original Japanese version."

Also, in the original Japanese version of the film, the drug the Xians promised was a cure for all forms of cancer. However, in the English version of the film, the cure was for all forms of disease (perhaps due to a translation mistake interpreting the Japanese term for cancer as being equivalent to the English term for disease).

During production, Nick Adams spoke his lines in English, while the Japanese actors spoke their lines in Japanese, in order to retain his voice for the English-language version. For the Japanese-language release, Adams' was dubbed by the noted voice actor, Goro Naya. The English-language version was prepared by UPA at Glen Glenn Sound in Hollywood, and Marvin Miller provided the English voice for Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji. The remaining voice talent is unknown.

This dubbed dialogue was also used by Toho for its official international version, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters, which was released in the United Kingdom. Unlike later Toho international versions, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters is slightly edited from the Japanese version and the dubbing was not commissioned by Toho or produced in Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Titles

  • Great Monster War - Translated Japanese title.
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster - Toho's official English title and current home video title.
  • Invasion of the Astro-Monsters - Title on original international prints.
  • Monster Zero - Original U.S. title.
  • Invasion of the Astros - Armed forces circuit title.
  • Godzilla vs. Monster Zero - Previous home video and TV title.

Box office

In Japan, the film sold approximately 3,780,000 tickets.

DVD release

Classic Media

  • Release date: June 5, 2007
  • Special features: Audio Commentary by Stuart Galbrath IV, Tomoyuki Tanaka biography, and original trailer.
  • Note: Contains both original Japanese and English versions of the film.
  • Note: Part of the Toho Collection

External links


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