“Godzilla says that I have to learn to fight my own battles.”
Well, good for you, Minilla, son of Godzilla. It’s good to see that Godzilla’s raising you well! But can your monster advice possibly contain any useful life lessons for the human world? Let’s watch 1969’s All Monsters Attack and find out!
You may have noticed that I’m specifically calling this a “Halloween review” as opposed to a “horror review.” That’s because it’s just not Halloween without a Godzilla movie or two but, at the same time, it would be really stretching things to describe any of the Godzilla films of the 60s and 70s as being horror films. Certainly, the original, black-and-white Gojira was a horror film, even if it no longer scares audiences. But, by the time the 60s rolled around, Godzilla had gone from being the living equivalent of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to becoming a cuddly friend of children everywhere.
All Monsters Attack, for example, is clearly a film made for children and stock footage aficionados. Ichiro (Tomonori Yazaki) is a little kid who has no friends but he does have an active imagination. Whenever he falls asleep, he goes to Monster Island where he watches as Godzilla beats up various monsters. Why exactly does Godzilla stay on Monster Island, I wonder. Like literally everyone else on the island seems to hate his guts and they’re constantly trying to kill him. If I was advising Godzilla, I’d suggest he move to another island.
Anyway, it turns out that Godzilla’s son, Minilla, is being bullied by a red-headed lizard named Gabara. Minilla is a monster who always seems to get a mixed reaction from Godzilla fans. When I first saw him, I was like, “AGCK! BURN IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!” But actually, Minilla is kind of cute and he does this adorable thing where he breathes radioactive smoke rings at his enemies. Godzilla could protect Minilla but instead, he tells Minilla that he has to fight his own battles.
OH MY GOD, JUST LIKE ICHIRO! Ichiro is so moved by Godzilla’s advice that he decides to stand up to the bullies. But first, he’s going to have to stand up to some bank robbers as well, The bank robbers take Ichiro hostage so he promptly takes a nap so he can hang out on Monster Island with Godzilla and Minilla. Good plan, kid!
Anyway, All Monsters Attack is considered by many to be the worst of the old Godzilla movies and, in many ways, it is. While all of the later Godzilla movies were aimed at kids, most of them at least had a decent fight or two. All Monsters Attack is basically just 69 minutes of the kid getting in trouble and then taking a nap. In fact, Godzilla’s barely in the movie at all. Minilla gets most of the monster screen time. That said, the film’s heart is in the right place and if it made any bullied children feel better then it did some good.
(Listen, I’m always going to give any movie starring Godzilla the benefit of the doubt, okay?)
That said, it does kind of seem like the ultimate message of the film’s final scenes is that the best way to deal with a bully is to pull a mean prank on someone else and then join the bully’s gang. So maybe All Monsters Attack! did more harm than good. I don’t know. As long as Godzilla’s okay, that’s all that really matters.