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Monday, February 5, 2018

The War Of The Gargantuas (1966)

Starring Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Nobuo Nakamura, Jun Tazaki
Directed by Ishiro Honda
(actor & director credits courtesy

When a giant monster from the sea emerges and attacks, it's thought to be the benevolent creature created by scientists from a young ape, but the ape monster returns to battle the new creature. 

As my friend Dan Day Jr. confirmed, this kaiju film from the Toho studio has somewhat of a tenuous connection with the prior feature Frankenstein Conquers The World for while the dubbed version of the film I watched referred to it as "Frankenstein," there's quite a few differences in the creature from that film and the ones we see here.  The two creatures on display in this outing are giant hairy apes, colored brown and green respectively, one of which can apparently breathe and survive underwater.  Once I got past that initial confusion, I found this to be an enjoyable monster romp, with the creature scenes well-staged so the monster-suited actors were believable as giants, augmented by giant hand props and good special effects.  Although there were a few sequences where I could tell model work was being used, the gargantuas' climactic battle in which they crush quite a few buildings looked as authentic as the time and budget would allow.  I've heard a number of people opine that American actor Russ Tamblyn was a disappointment and perhaps didn't take the role seriously as the film's central scientist.  I agree he was a bit stiff but didn't find that he detracted from my enjoyment of the film all that much.  I wouldn't place it among my favorite kaiju productions, as I thought the combat and destruction scenes overwhelmed the story at times, but Akira Ifukube's score was a plus, and Honda's sure-handed direction and the quality of the special effects were also of merit.

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