Let's Talk: Invasion of Astro-Monster/Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965 & 1970)
Invasion of Astro-Monster. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. Whatever title you know this film under, it is the sixth installment in this amazing franchise and one of my favorites for one reason…the Godzilla dance! If you have no clue what I’m talking about, read on. This is the second time we see Godzilla and Rodan tag up against the brute, King Ghidorah; however, it is the first time we have aliens attacking Earth. According to The Official Godzilla Compendium, “Beginning with Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Monster Zero), alien invasion would become the most frequently recurring theme in the Godzilla series.”
Even though the next two Godzilla films – Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla – have nothing to do with aliens coming to take over Earth, it does become a prevalent theme in later Godzilla films. I will discuss those soon.
What I Didn't Like About Invasion of Astro-Monster
The Alien's Outfits
I think with this film I’m going to work backwards because I want to save the best for last. I want to discuss the main reason why I love this movie later, so let’s start with what I didn’t like about Invasion of Astro-Monster. Honestly, it’s a short, short list. Shocked? I know, me too! One of the main things I didn’t like about this movie were the outfits the aliens wore. I mean come on! Those outfits left little to the imagination. I mean they did match the period (1960’s) pretty well, but still…they didn’t need to make them that tight!
Also, the plot was a little “out there” (literally and figuratively) for me. I’m not a big fan of alien storylines. I just don’t believe beings from another world coming to Earth to destroy it or take it over. Out of all the storylines I know – whether Godzilla, other movies or TV shows, or books – the ones involving aliens are my least favorite. Of course, Toho had to make that one of the underlying themes for Godzilla, but by involving the monsters and having pretty awesome fight scenes, it makes it more enjoyable for me.
This storyline involves two astronauts – one Japanese and one American – going out into space to find Planet X; a planet scientists were able to find thanks to radio waves. First it was brainwaves in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and now it’s radio waves. I’m seeing another pattern here! When the astronauts land on Planet X, they find out people live there, but underneath all of the rocks. Why? Because of “Monster Zero” as they call him. “It’s a horrible space monster. Because of him, we can’t live on the surface, and must hide underground like this.”
It turns out “Monster Zero” is King Ghidorah. The aliens ask for help from Earth. They want to “borrow” Godzilla and Rodan because “we know Godzilla and Rodan fought together to defeat King Ghidorah from destroying the Earth.” In exchange, they’ll give Earth the cure for cancer (or for all diseases, depending on which version you’re watching).
Us Earthlings agree to help and the aliens ship Godzilla and Rodan up to Planet X. They defeat King Ghidorah and all seems well. The keyword in that sentence is seems. After returning home with “the cure”, everyone finds out it’s actually a death threat. Pretty much “We’re coming to take over the world. If you don’t surrender to us by this time/date, then we will destroy you.”
They’re using Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah to destroy everything with…nope not brainwaves! Not radio waves! Electromagnetic waves! And I’m done! Just give me some monsters fighting and destroying things and I’ll be happy! When I was little, I didn’t pay attention to the storylines at all. What mattered to me were the monsters. That, technically, still applies now, but for the sake of my blog I’ve been paying attention more to the plot.
Okay, I’m sorry, the rant is over! Moving on to what I loved about this film.
What I Liked About Invasion of Astro-Monster
Honestly – other than the plot and the outfits – what is not to love about Invasion of Astro-Monster. You have several actors starring in it who become extremely well-known in the Godzilla universe, including Akira Takarada and Akira Kubo. You also have an American, Nick Adams, starring in it who is dubbed in the Japanese version. It’s fantastic and hysterical! But according to The Official Godzilla Compendium, “Casting Adams was Toho’s nod to the appeal their films garnered in the overseas market.” Thank you, Toho, that was very kind of you!
The sets they created in the 1960s were incredible, in my opinion. For example, when they did the scenes on the surface of Planet X, you could tell that the actors were on a set; however, the crew did such an amazing job of creating the landscape that for a minute you do forget and think they’re actually on a different planet. Even when the big military vehicles carrying the weapon that’ll help destroy the ships from Planet X and save the world come strolling into frame, there’s a moment where you can tell they’re fake, but then – as they get closer to the camera – you start to wonder, “Wait…are these real?”
Even the ships from Planet X look real. I mean I’ve never seen a “spaceship” before, but I could believe that the ship from Planet X was a legit “spaceship”.
The Minor Changes Between the Two Versions
What I also loved about Invasion of Astro-Monster were the minor inconsistencies of the story between the American version and the Japanese version. If we go back to movies like the
original Godzilla or Godzilla Raids Again, the stories are night and day. They are so different from each other and it really bothered me. However, by Mothra vs. Godzilla, they started to be the same or close to it. With this film, thankfully the American version was close enough. Again, minor changes here and there.
When Astronaut Fuji (Akira Takarada), Astronaut Glenn (Nick Adams), and Dr. Sakurai (Jun Tazaki, another big name in the Godzilla universe) were leaving Planet X with “the cure”, they were leaving Godzilla and Rodan on Planet X. They look out to see the two monsters staring at them. Kind of like two puppies looking at their owners saying, “Please, don’t leave us here.” To me, it was actually a little heartbreaking. But in the Japanese version, Astronaut Glenn says, “They cause troubles sometimes, but I can’t help feeling sorry for them.” However, in the American version he says, “Hey, those two have caused enough trouble already. Don’t worry, they’ll find their own ways.”
The music in Invasion of the Astro-Monster was really good too. In the Japanese version, the opening credits are brought in with one of my favorite scores from Godzilla. I believe it’s called “March of the Monsters”, but it’s one that’s even heard in the original Godzilla film. From here, to me, the scores get better and better.
My Favorite...The Godzilla Dance!
Now, onto my favorite part of the movie…the Godzilla dance! When I first saw this movie many years ago and saw this particular scene, I died. I thought it was the greatest scene ever in any Godzilla movie. It gives Godzilla life, meaning you don’t see him as this horrible monster who wants to destroy whole cities, but a loveable creature who can be happy and have fun too. It also shows that he’s still a juvenile in this film, something I started discussing in Godzilla Raids Again and continued in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
What Do You Think?
I think that’s about it for Invasion of Astro-Monster, so what do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Is it one of your favorites as well or is it one of your least favorites? Let’s talk!
Policies & Disclosure
Please remember I am not getting paid to talk about this amazing franchise or promote any movies or books. I am just a fanatic, like yourself, wanting to start a conversation about Godzilla and other monster movies. Please check out my Policy page to learn more. I would also love to hear from you, my fellow Godzilla fanatics. You can either comment below (please read my “Comments Policy” on the Policy page before doing so) or contact me.
The photos and video featured in this post are my photos and video. The first is my copy of Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero). The second is my “signature photo”, me with my copy of this awesome movie. Lastly, the video is of my favorite scene in this film. I recorded it on my phone for everyone to enjoy!
**This post was originally published on May 8, 2020**