DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) Reviews and overview

 

Destroy All Monsters is a 1968 Japanese kaiju film about female aliens taking control of Earth’s monsters to obliterate the human race.

Directed by Ishirō Honda from a screenplay co-written by Takeshi Kimura [as Kaoru Mabuchi]. The Toho production stars Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi and Yoshio Tsuchiya, with special effects directed by Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya.

The film is the ninth film in the Godzilla franchise and features eleven monsters, including Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, and Minilla.

Plot:

1999: Humans have achieved world peace and the giant monsters are confined to an island known as Monsterland. Unfortunately, the monsters are freed from the area and are mind-controlled by aliens known as Kilaaks, who send them to attack major cities.

When the monsters are freed from the Kilaaks’ influence, the aliens send King Ghidorah to challenge the other monsters…

Reviews:

” …too slim in its storyline, too thin in its characterizations, to be considered a truly great film […] But for the ten-year-old living inside us all, it is entertainment of the most awesome sort.” Cinefantastique, 2009

“For the first half, if it wasn’t for the mass destruction you could be watching a Japanese James Bond movie, with the aliens playing the part of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. If you’re settling down for some non-stop, Godzilla-style Tokyo-stomping action, then you could be disappointed because the sensational title is misleading.” The Spinning Image

“The effects are weak (it’s hard to believe it’s from the same year as 2001), but Honda’s occasionally ambitious with the effects work. It doesn’t look real, but it’s neat. Unfortunately, those moments are far and few. The film only runs eighty-some minutes but it drags often.” The Stop Button

“The suspense is effective and the intrigue explores unfamiliar territories that are still cohesive with the previous mythology […] This sequel is high on action, is well shot, evenly paced and written with a child’s smirk. Aside from the occasional filler, here you get more than you’re used to.” Tales of Terror

“The first two-thirds of the film are largely a combination espionage story and space opera, which are wonderfully entertaining and oddly engrossing by themselves. The film is out of control every step of the way in the most glorious manner possible. The final epic brawl includes all of Toho’s monsters up the that point.” Teenage Frankenstein

“Sadly, we have to endure minutes and minutes of boring plot and sub-par acting. Our hero Katsuo is a nice guy, but lacking… something. The other humans are unintentionally funny […] Maybe it’s the dub’s fault, but one day you might just faint from hearing the word “right” so often.” Toho Kingdom

” …at its best, this is one of the better Godzilla entries, with higher production values than its immediate predecessors. Most of the series’ original creative team returned, including director Ishiro Honda and composer Akira Ifukube, who contributes a rousing score. On the negative side are the usual atrocious dubbing and lapses in logic…” TV Guide

Contemporary reviews:

” …the model work is poor, and as usual the script is junior comic-strip […] almost worth sitting through the banalities for the final confrontation on Mount Fuji” BFI Monthly Film Bulletin, 1969

” …plot is on comic strip level, special effects depend on obvious miniatures and acting (human) is from school of Flash GordonVariety, May 23rd 1969

Original title:

怪獣総進撃 aka Kaijū Sōshingek “Monster All-Out Attack”

Theatrical release:

Destroy All Monsters was released theatrically in Japan on August 1st 1968. The film was released by American International Pictures with an English-language dub in the United States on May 23rd 1969.

Trailer:

YouTube reviews: