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What were they smoking?
on 13 December 2006
Godzilla vs Hedorah is insane even by later Showa era Godzilla standards, a surreal mix of monster mash, message movie, kiddie flick, 1960s educational shorts, groovy protest songs, go-go dancers wearing fish masks, terrible special effects and basic Sesame Street style animated inserts as Friend of the Earth Godzilla takes on a giant toxic flying tadpole that craps acid on him, drowns mah-jong players in excrement and farts deadly toxic fumes over the population of Japan. Avante garde doesn't cover it: this is Godzilla on acid and it's a real happening, baby. The big feller even gets to fly in one scene.
Despite getting a great entrance in front of a rising sun while introduced with a slide trombone theme straight out of a Laurel and Hardy get drunk comedy, Godzilla has never looked camper (well, at least until Godzilla vs. Megalon), mincing his way through his underpowered punchups with the allegorical scheissencritter - Hedorah is basically just a vertical turd with a tail and glowing red eyes. It's tempting to believe from the number of times Mr G wipes his nose that this was during the big feller's cocaine period, but he seems all too aware of the humiliation: at one point he even turns to the camera and shakes his head to the audience in disbelief.
Co-writer-director Yoshimitsu Banno had been an assistant director on Kurosawa films before being hired to revitalize the Godzilla series while its producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was in hospital only to be suspended from the studio after they looked on with horror what he had wrought, but is currently writing next year's IMAX Godzilla 3D. The mind boggles...
For those who want to watch the film dubbed, the English soundtrack is one prepared by Toho rather than the one used for AIP's re-edited US version of the film, Godzilla Vs The Smog Monster. However, it's worth seeking out the Region 4 PAL Australian DVD, which also includes the original Japanese trailer and keeps the original Japanese credits.