Godzilla vs. Megalon

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Our old pal Godzilla took on the taste-free ‘70s in this seriously nutty installment of the beloved franchise, generally considered to be one of the weirdest, and perhaps worst, Godzilla flicks ever. Well, there’s no accounting for taste, as this eye-popping action flick, filled with goofy special effects and a bevy of ridiculous monsters, delivers the sweet Mondo goods with its tag-team battle of apocalyptic dimensions featuring Godzilla and shiny robot superhero Jet Jaguar fighting Megalon and Gigan in an all-out rubber suit rumble to determine Earth’s fate. The admittedly threadbare plot involves the advanced subterranean nation of Seatopia, whose leaders plan to take over the surface world with the aid of their monster Megalon, a springy cockroach-monster with a power drill mounted on his head. To this end, they steal the robot Jet Jaguar, an Ultraman look-alike invented by the amiable scientist Goro to help guide Megalon’s assault. Goro manages to regain control of the robot, who is capable of enlarging himself to Godzilla-like proportions, but remains ineffectual against the big bug, particularly after the Seatopians enlist the off-world aid of Gigan, the buzzsaw-sporting bird-beast. Goro sends Jet Jaguar to fetch Godzilla, who soon puts things right … more or less. Extremely goofy hijinks ensue, the highlight of which comes when the Big Green One executes a massive drop-kick on Megalon (an indelibly dumb image recycled for several seasons on MST3K). The film finally got its U.S. premiere in 1977 in a drastically-cut version on prime-time television, which included introductions featuring John Belushi in a Godzilla suit! (Dir. by Jun Fukuda, 1973, Japan, badly dubbed, 81 min., Rated G) Digital