Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster


“Our environment is doomed!”
This jaw-dropping, eco-conscious, brain-damaged ‘70s entry in the Godzilla series, often referred to as one of the strangest and/or worst of the decades-long franchise, pits the Big Green Guy against a living hunk of industrial garbage called “Hedora.” Capable of splitting into numerous baby-sized monsters and secreting stinky sulfuric acid that it uses to burn its victims, Hedora, aka “The Smog Monster” (the more obvious, and more hilarious, name used for American audiences) grows exponentially larger as it absorbs more pollution and merely divides again when Godzilla tries to attack it. After wiping out a Japanese disco with its toxic secretions (which emanate from the monster, not from the music), Hedora goes airborne and attacks Mount Fuji, where Godzilla must use all of the tricks in his arsenal (including the wondrous sight of Godzilla flying backwards through the air while squatting in a very awkward position and using his atomic breath to propel himself hither and yon. You didn’t know Godzilla could fly? Well, it’s just that kind of movie …) to send this giant pile of junk back to the trash bin where it belongs! Featuring some very misguided attempts at social relevance (including a catchy theme song called “Save the Earth”), a hippy rock band, go-go dancing teenagers, an annoying child who can’t stop screaming for “Godzilla!,” and a goofy plan to turn Godzilla into the Ralph Nader of giant radioactive reptiles, this is one flick that might make you re-think your love of recycling. (Dir. by Yoshimitsu Banno, 1971, Japan, badly dubbed, 87 mins., Rated PG) Digital