11.18.2009

The Mysterians : 3 of 5

It's time for another Toho science fiction gem, which came in the Toho Pack set that I bought when I decided I had to have Matango in my DVD collection. The Mysterians is much older than the other Toho films I've been watching lately, since it was made in 1957, not very long after the original Godzilla (in fact, it has practically the identical cast since the actors were all under contract, ready to go!). This is the first color Tohoscope (widescreen) film, and Tsuburaya takes every opportunity to show off his special effects skills in this new format. From convincing forest fire effects to devastating landslides, there are so many detailed miniatures to enjoy, although they certainly don't last long! All of these special effects leave little room for character development, but director Honda still manages to squeeze in his favorite theme of the world's nations joining together against a common foe. The plot involves aliens from the asteroids between Saturn and Jupiter, who build a huge domed base on Earth and make the simple demands of a little land and of course, women! In fact, one of the best scenes is when the Mysterians show the hero scientists a few snapshots of the girls they want! There are several other fun elements to the film, such as the robot kaiju called Mogera who breaks out of a mountain for the usual destruction, cool weapons and flying craft that take part in several lengthy battles against the dome (including awesome melting effects similar to the ones in Godzilla), and even a brief risque scene where Etsuko observes part of the battle from her window while taking a bath! Because of the global theme, there are several non-Japanese actors who alternate between bad-acting English and hilariously pronounced Japanese (with a British accent!). This DVD includes a nice commentary track (in Japanese, but subbed) with a couple older special effects gurus, and it's really cool listening to them reminisce and drool over the classic effects (often using technical terms that keep the moderator on his toes). The Mysterians wasn't as entertaining to me as later classics like Battle in Outer Space, but I enjoyed watching another iconic Toho film as usual!

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