For those of you not caught up in the Kaiju (giant monster) Craze, here’s a primer just to get you ready for Pacific Rim. Just in case you carry only the bad lip synching and goofy suits, Godzilla films are from different genres. The first is horror, but over its span, there are sci fi films, comedy, Jet Jaguar is straight out of the shows like Ultra Man, and children films.
10 Mothra (1961) This is the only kaiju with a hit pop song. The Japanese singing duo, The Peanuts play fairies from Infant Island singing Mothra into battle. Mothra has always been friendly to people even leading to a trilogy of films in the late 90’s. All of the films including his battles with Godzilla have the same story. The fairies are captured or Mothra’s egg, eventually she comes flying in to drop some moth dust on either military or kaiju.
9 Son of Godzilla (1967) Minya (also spelt Minilla) is still a favorite kaiju. He is the squat son of Godzilla played by in the suit by an actor named Little Man Machan. The story is sci fi with scientists working on Solgell Island to perfect a device to control the weather. Giant mantis Kamacuras mutate and start to crack the egg containing Minya. Godzilla teaches his son how to breathe fire by stomping on his tail. It also throws in an island girl, Reiko, played by Beverly Maeda. This movie has it all.
8 Destroy All Monsters (1968) The all star battle ranks as a favorite for kaiju lovers. This was meant to wrap up Toho’s Godzilla films so they brought in all of them. The kaiju have all been captured and placed on Monster Island. The alien Kilaaks take control of them and the world’s cities get stomped. This gets Ghidorah into the brawl and he gets stomped by the kaiju team up. This is great stuff all around.
7 Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995) The Godzilla Millennium series comes to a close. Godzilla’s son, Junior, has grown up just in time since his father is going into meltdown. The Oxygen Destroyer, from the first Godzilla film, gives rise to the ultimate beastie, Destroyah! Godzilla goes critical, stomps Destroyah, and as Big G meltdown, his son is transformed… into Godzilla. It’s a bittersweet end and beginning.
6 Mighty Joe Young (1949) Willis O’Brien’s second gorilla kaiju is fun. Good in its own way is the 1998 update with Charlize Theron as Jill Young. Ray Harryhausen worked alongside Willis to create Joe, the only kaiju with a last name, again thrown into the civilized world and starts stomping. The original features Terry Moore who cameos in the new movie with Harryhausen.
So what kaiju films stomp the top of the list? We’ll get the masers ready. Ryokai!