Let's Talk: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)/Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1968)
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Whatever title you know this film as, it is the seventh installment in this incredible franchise and personally one of my favorites. I mean, you have a large freakin’ lobster as the villain, Mothra makes an appearance, and there’s no aliens in this film. What’s not to love about it?
This is also the first film since Mothra vs. Godzilla that we see Godzilla going against another monster on his own. In the last two films (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster) he’s had a tag team partner in Rodan (and Mothra in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster). It’s nice to see Godzilla kicking butt on his own again. He even takes out an entire squadron, which is probably my favorite scene in any Godzilla movie. I’ll get to that in a little bit. Also, according to The Official Godzilla Compendium, “This film, along with Son of Godzilla, represents a marked shift in the direction of the series.”
What’s that shift? Godzilla is no longer a destroyer, but a helper! He’s not a menace to society, but a hero!
What I Didn't Like About Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is one of my favorite Godzilla films. It’s not my absolute favorite, we still have a couple of films to go through before we get to that one (want to take a lucky guess which one it is?), but I do love this one for a plethora of reasons. However, let’s discuss some things I didn’t like about this movie first, which is only two; the change in stories between the Japanese version and the American version, and certain points in the plot not lining up or making sense.
Change in Stories/Different Interpretations
The change in stories is something that has bugged me since the very first Godzilla movie. Thankfully, by Mothra vs. Godzilla the story didn’t change as much, but still…I find it annoying. I did learn something interesting though as I’ve been watching: whether it’s my copies or what I find online, there are different interpretations of the Japanese version and the American version. I found at least two of each just for Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and each had different translations for the dialogue.
One Example - Different Interpretations
For example, after Yoshimura, Ryota, Nita, and Ichino climb up the mountain on the island, Ichino grabs ahold of a sword. In one American version that I’ve seen over and over again, he screams and says, “Savages.” However, in one Japanese version, he screams and says, “Someone’s here,” yet in another he says, “Cannibals.”
Another Example - Different Interpretations
Then for the longest time I never understood why when Yoshimura (played by Godzilla legend, Akira Takarada) yelled at Ryota to turn the yacht around and he refused and then Nita and Ichino said they’ll help that Yoshimura refused. It wasn’t until I watched one Japanese version that it finally hit me because the translation made sense; the only one who knew how to operate the boat was Ryota. Nita says, “Maybe we can do it” and when Ichino says to Yoshimura, “Just show us how,” his reaction makes perfect sense now. He reacts because he doesn’t know how to operate it either.
It truly is fascinating!
I really need to befriend someone who is of Japanese descent and who can speak Japanese. I would love to watch the Japanese versions with them and see if the translations are correct.
Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is Missing Somethings
Now, when it comes to certain plot points not lining up or certain things not adding up, there are several examples I can give:
1) Whenever Daiyo (played by Kumi Mizuno) prayed to Mothra, there was no sound in the Japanese version.
2) Where in the world did they find a fake bush on the island in order to enter the Red Bamboo campus undetected?
3) What the hell were the Red Bamboo shooting at when they were looking for Yoshimura, Nita, and Daiyo? Seriously!
4) In the Japanese version, when Ryota landed on Infant Island and found his brother – who was on that island for about two months before Ryota found him – he said, “I thought you were caught by the Red Bamboo.” Yata responded with, “The Red Bamboo? Who are they?” I’m sorry, but if you’ve been on that island for two months, then you should know who the Red Bamboo are, especially since they recently brought over people for labor.
What I Loved About Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
That’s really it when it comes to what I didn’t like about this movie. Otherwise, I love Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster! The music is fantastic, the special effects/cinematography is phenomenal, the story is believable, the monsters are awesome, and it’s hysterical. I mean some of the lines the actors said had me rolling. Like when Ichino said to Yoshimura, “You sound like a TV commercial.” Or when Ichino was shocked Yoshimura quickly unlocked the door to the Red Bamboo complex and Yoshimura said, “I’m a pro.” I mean there were a couple of times I was laughing way too hard at what was said.
Like I mentioned before, the story for Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is, to me, credible, but thanks to The Official Godzilla Compendium I learned an interesting tidbit. “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep was originally written to star King Kong, which explains several curious elements in the script. For example, Godzilla is discovered sleeping in a cave, which seems to have no opening through which he could have entered. He is revived by lightening, which is exactly how Kong was revived near the climax of King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Godzilla has an unlikely romantic interest in Kumi Mizuno (a beauty-and-the-beast situation more commonly associated with Kong).”
How intriguing is that?
Next, I want to discuss its special effects/cinematography because, to me, it was amazing. For example, when Ebirah’s giant claw first appears, it legitimately looks like a giant claw from a giant creature. When I was little, I was convinced there was a giant lobster out in the world because of that. Now that I’m older, I still get sucked in! And the work they did with the fairies was fantastic; especially when they’re on the shore seeing off Ryota and Yata. Yes, throughout Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster you can tell when they’re using miniatures, dolls and computer animation, but that doesn’t really deter you from enjoying the movie.
One Example - Special Effects/Cinematography
There are two scenes though that really stick out for me and that I really loved how they did it. One was when Godzilla wakes up and meets Ebirah. As he steps into the water, Ebirah splashes him, which I guess pisses him off because Godzilla attacks the giant lobster with his atomic breath. When he does, it’s like he’s aiming at the camera first before attacking Ebirah and I thought that was an awesome shot!
Another Example - Special Effects/Cinematography
Second was the jet fighter sequence, which I mentioned earlier as being my favorite in any Godzilla film. There’s one spot where the jet fighters are coming in, firing their missiles at Godzilla, and he’s just standing there. He’s roaring doing this like little dance, but the way and angle they filmed it was outstanding.
Godzilla is STILL a Juvenile!
Lastly, I need to talk about something I started discussing with Godzilla Raids Again; Godzilla being a juvenile. In Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, we still see that he’s not a full-grown adult quite yet, he’s still a “young adult”. The reason I think this is because of how he “plays” with Ebirah when he first meets the giant lobster. They start by throwing a rock back and forth at each other like it’s a baseball or volleyball, which, by the way, Godzilla initiates both times. Even Ebirah claps with its claws, showing it’s having fun!
What Do You Think?
Sorry, this is one movie I can go on talking about forever because it’s so good! But I will stop here and ask, what do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Is Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster one of your favorites as well, or do you despise it? Let’s talk!
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The photos featured in this post are my photos. The first is my VHS copy of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster with a statue I found at a flea market. The second is my “signature photo”, me with my copy of one of my favorite Godzilla films. Lastly, the third is a better picture of the statue, which is depicting a scene from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Can you guess which scene? Comment below or contact me. Let's see how good your Godzilla knowledge is!
**The post was originally published on September 18, 2020**