4.0 out of 5 stars My pal Godzilla
You are probably not going to find a lot of fans who would choose “All Monsters Attack” as their favorite Godzilla flick. The complaints against it are many: Over-use of stock footage, a bizarre plotline involving Godzilla and the other monsters only existing in some sort of dream realm, an overly kid-friendly approach, problems of scale involving the humans and the monsters, etc.
And all of that is true. This isn’t your standard Godzilla. This is your “after school special” Godzilla, complete with a helpful message for the youth of Japan about how to stand up to bullies and a kid-sized Minira who can speak English and be your monster pal. Director Honda Ishiro, a name that should be familiar to any G-fan, was interested in using his creations for more than just entertainment, and wanted to help kids who were being bullied, a serious social problem that still affects Japan today. “All Monsters Attack” is a unique offering in the Godzilla series, and that alone makes it worth seeing. And yes, it is cheesy, but its still fun.
The story begins with Ichiro, a poor latchkey kid who suffers from bullying at school. His only escape is in his imagination, where he finds himself on Monster Island, bonding with Godzilla’s son Minira, who is being bullied by the monster Gabara. Minira tries to stand up to the bully, and helpful papa monster takes a tough love approach, refusing to step in and save the little guy but insisting that he stand up for himself. Ichiro learns that it is important to defend himself against bullies, so when he finds himself kidnapped by gangsters he has the confidence he needs to take action, then dish a little out to the kids that bully him as well.
Classic Media has put together a top-notch package for this underappreciated flick, with both the original Japanese version as well as the dubbed US release. Aside from the language, there isn’t much difference between the two versions so you can take your pick. Additional extras are a biography of creator and director Honda Ishiro, which is fascinating. I had no idea Honda was an Assistant Director on so many Kurosawa Akira flicks like Stray Dog and Kagemusha.
Anyone with little kids couldn’t go wrong with bringing home “All Monsters Attack”. It’s a great introduction to the Godzilla series and just might make some future G-fans. As for me, I guess I still have some kid inside, because watching this was just like a time warp back to Sunday mornings and Monster Theater. Good times indeed.