According to an Okinawa legend, when a black mountain appears in the skies above the clouds, a monster will arrive and attempt to destroy the world. However, if this divination comes true, a red moon will set, two suns will arise (one being an optical illusion rising from the west), and two monsters will fight off evil to rescue the world. In a cave near the city, an engineer and an archaeologist uncover a statue of a strange lion-god creature, known as King Caesar. He is believed to be one of the monsters to fight for humankind in the prophecy. Later, a black mountain does appear in the sky. Godzilla then rises from a dormant volcano and starts on a rampage. Many people, however, do not believe Godzilla will be the monster to destroy Earth. That reflection is reinforced when Godzilla attacks Anguirus and nearly kills him. In a surprising turn of events, another Godzilla sets forth, only to discover that the rampant Godzilla is an impostor. Later revealed as MechaGodzilla, a robot of titanic proportions that was designed and created by ape-like aliens to destroy the original Godzilla. After Godzilla is beaten green and blue, he retreats to Monster Island, where he is hit by lightning over and over again. Meanwhile in Okinawa, King Caesar is successfully summoned, and prepares to fight MechaGodzilla. The two duke it out, and although King Caesar at first has the upper hand, he is thrown around until Godzilla returns, now super-charged with electricity. Eventually, the rampant mech is destroyed by Godzilla and Caesar. Caesar returns to his cave to rest, and Godzilla returns to the sea.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
In 1977, Cinema Shares purchased the rights to Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and released the movie through Downtown Distribution under the title Godzilla vs. Bionic Monster. As they had done with Godzilla vs. Megalon the previous year, Cinema Shares simply utilized the Toho-produced English dub. In July 1977, Universal Studios filed a lawsuit threat against Cinema Shares, claiming that the title was too similar to their TV productions, The Six Million Dollar Man and its spin-off The Bionic Woman. Cinema Shares then retitled the film Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster.
As with most of the other 1970's Godzilla films, the Japanese version of Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla featured several scenes with violent content and strong language. Cinema Shares retained the violent monster action, including a shot of Godzilla spraying blood. The edits include:
A new title card. In the Japanese and international versions, Godzilla's name flashes several times while a mountain explodes in the background. As Masaru Sato's music plays, the full title is revealed. In the Cosmic Monster version, the screen turns bright red (covering up the original title) and the film title and copyright information appear.
The opening credits were deleted.
Also deleted is a scene in which Nanbara, the INTERPOL agent, strangles one of the aliens. The final shoot-out between Nanbara and three of the simian invaders is similarly edited.
At the end of the Japanese version, King Caesar returns to his resting place and Godzilla to the sea. In a short epilogue, the Azumi princess runs through her homeland celebrating with many of the characters. One of the King Caesar statues appear as the Japanese symbol for "end" appears. Cinema Shares cut this short epilogue, with the exception of the final shot of the statue. A red bar appears on the right side of the screen, with "THE END" overlaid on it.
In 1988, New World Video released the film along with Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla vs. Gigan. This print was Toho's original, uncut international version, which restored all the cuts made by Cinema Shares. The film was shown on The Sci-Fi Channel throughout the 1990's under the title Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster, although this version was in fact Toho's international version but with a new title card.
In 2004, TriStar released the international version on DVD. The original Japanese audio was included as an extra audio track.
The film sold approximately 1,330,000 tickets in Japan, 350,000 more than the previous Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Megalon.
The movie has become popular among fans in recent years for its campy music, colorful special effects and entertaining monster fights. The film's robust themes and fairly complex plot stand out against a time when the Godzilla franchise was being fueled by increasingly lower production values. It is considered the best-classic film of the 1970's Godzilla films, and is one of the most popular Godzilla films.
Outside of the circle, however, public reception is mixed at best.
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla is the first Godzilla film to feature a beam lock. It does not last long, but it happens when Godzilla breathes atomic breath and MechaGodzilla shoots his eye beam. They lock for a few seconds before the combined rays explode sending Godzilla into the bay in pain and MechaGodzilla short-circuiting.
Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano adopted MechaGodzilla's walk from the formal movements of Kabuki.
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla was the 20th Anniversary Godzilla film.
In the scene where the disguised MechaGodzilla fights the real Godzilla, the suit used to portray the disguised MechaGodzilla would be reused at the end of Terror of MechaGodzilla to show Godzilla swimming away.
Strangely, when the Azumi princess has her vision at the beginning of the film foretelling of a monster coming to destroy mankind, it is portrayed through film stills from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster with flames overlaid on them. King Ghidorah can clearly be seen in the shots, and his roar is used as background sound. However, King Ghidorah does not appear again at any point in the remainder of the film.
This film is one of, if not the bloodiest Godzilla films. With the death of Eiji Tsuburaya in 1970, the series began to become more graphic in order to compete with rival monster films, like the Gamera series. Such scenes of gore includes the fight between MechaGodzilla (as Fake Godzilla) and Anguirus where MechaGodzilla breaks Anguirus' jaw in a brutal display: In the first fight between MechaGodzilla and Godzilla, when Godzilla falls into the water and blood rises to the surface, and when MechaGodzilla repeatedly fires his laser beam at Godzilla's neck, prompting blood to spray out of the wounds.
This film marks the second time Godzilla draws strength from lightning; the first was in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, and the third and final time was in the lightning induced by the atmospheric nuclear explosion from The Return of Godzilla.
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla is the last Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda.
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