Invasion of Astro Monster : 4 of 5
With the first King Ghidorah movie fresh in mind, I couldn't wait to check out this next Godzilla masterpiece from 1965, better known in the US as Monster Zero. This is the first of many plots to involve aliens from space controlling the monsters, starting with the race of people from Planet X (actually a moon of Jupiter). It turns out Ghidorah is attacking their planet, so the X-ians ask to "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan to fight him off. Eventually this turns into a plan to take over the Earth, of course! There are some great flying saucer effects (with excellent tractor beam animation), and the three monster battle on Planet X is short but cool (even though it includes the first controversial Godzilla "victory dance"). Later when the monsters battle on Earth the excitement is even greater, although some of the footage is borrowed from previous Toho movies. This film features a mix of Japanese and American actors, who were filmed speaking in their native language (so the English lines are dubbed in the Japanese version and vice versa), which is pretty fascinating. The commentary track is much better than last time, since it actually comments on the movie, but it still gets a little bogged down in lengthy biographies of some of the actors, even ones with small roles. I really enjoyed Invasion of Astro Monster, and the time just flew by while watching it - I'm really looking forward to Classic Media's next DVD releases! I need more Godzilla!