Friday, May 16, 2014

MST3K vs. Godzilla vs. Megalon vs. The Sea Monster

As you know, Rifftrax's plans to riff on the 1998 version of Godzilla in August have paid off, after the gang was able to raise more than 100 thousand bucks in less than a day thanks to Kickstarter (it's up to 143 thousand as of noon, May 16th). Many fans wanted this version to get the treatment because the big guy's nemesis is Matthew Broderick, and there's a dash of Jurassic Park after it reproduces and creates mini-Godzillas in the subways.

Longtime fans, however, know that Mystery Science Theater 3000 took on Godzilla twice, with two movies from the big lizard's lesser period. They were shown towards the end of season two in early 1991.
In both cases, adding Godzilla was an afterthought. He's not even the star of these movies, but a "supporting role" for the real "star"

Take a look at Godzilla vs. Megalon (2.12), which used to be part of Volume ten of the DVD series until Toho disputed the rights. The plot, such as it is, is that people from Seatopia (a knock-off of Atlantis with dancing girls wearing see-through gowns and Klan hats) decide it's had enough of the nuclear bomb tests from the surface world. So, it unleashes Megalon, which looks like a cross between a motorcycle and a beetle with a hood ornament and two jackhammers for arms:

Godzilla is there in the beginning when Monster Island gets the brunt of one of those tests. After that, we see a couple of scientists who are working on a new robot called Jet Jaguar. Their lakeside holiday with a young nephew is interrupted when the lake suddenly dries up. This leads to a battle between the scientists and Seatopia agents (including one that looks like Oscar Wilde), and Megalon flattening a big part of Tokyo.
So, they call on Jet Jaguar, who has suddenly become self-aware and able to grow to Ultra-Man size, to get Godzilla to help.  The Seatopians even ask for help from other aliens to get Gigan, but that doesn't work.

This leads to a big battle that seems silly to anyone over the age of ten.This attempt at a drop kick at Megalon says it all:

And here's Jet Jaguar and Godzilla celebrating their victory:

The episode is best known for lots of riffs on Japanese movies, which will serve Joel, Tom Servo and Crow well when they get assaulted by Gamera movies in season three. There's also a classic host segment that shows what would happen if Eugene O'Neill wrote a commercial for Orville Redenbacher popcorn. Of course, there's also Mike Nelson's "translation" of the Jet Jaguar song.

The other movie was Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, which aired two weeks later. In this one, some guy steals a boat to look for his brother, who has been missing at sea. He finds his brother at an uncharted yet busy island. There's some natives trying to wake up Mothra with the help of twin priestesses.

An evil army has taken over the island, and a large lobster called Ebirah is threatening everyone.

Then, the heroes find a sleeping Godzilla, who is awakened by lightning. This, of course, leads to Godzilla battling the oversized lobster. When Mothra is finally awakened, it helps out, too. the brothers are reunited, and the natives are rescued. Godzilla also escapes before the island is destroyed.
This movie was supposed to "star" King Kong, but they used Godzilla instead. Too bad he acts like King Kong in this movie anyway.
The version that MST got was from Film Ventures International, which explains the sloppy editing and the opening credits that have scenes from Son of Godzilla. The host segments include the Godzilla Geneology Bop, and a cameo by Mothra (aka Mike).

You can get either of these episodes through CheesyFlix, but you can see shortened MST3K versions of Megalon and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster through YouTube.

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