February 28th, 2011: Rodan

Cast and Crew: Takeshi Kimura (Writer); Akira Ifukube (Score);

What It’s About: A series of baffling disappearances and murders in a coal mine in Kitamatsu, Japan, leaves the town on edge.  The murders are initially blamed on one of the miners who’s disappeared, Goro (Rinsaku Ogata), but soon a more horrifying explanation is found:  giant, prehistoric insects, freed from their subterranean tombs are killing and eating the miners.  Mining engineer Shigeru Kawamura (Kenji Sahara) leads the army and police into the mine to kill the creatures.  When the mine caves in, Shigeru is the sole survivor, suffering from amnesia.  Shigeru’s lost memories are the key to a further mystery, the sighting of unidentified flying objects flying at unheard of speeds.  Can the town (and the world at large) survive this new menace?

Why Watch It Today?:  Director Ishiro Honda, who directed all the first outings of the major Toho studios kaiju-Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra-died today in 1993.  Although Rodan lacks the atomic age subtext of the earlier Gojira, it is an excellent Kaiju film, effectively building mystery and menace not once, but twice, as well as successfully incorporating a romantic and small town suspicions subplot.  The effects, in beautiful full color, are some of Toho’s famed special effects supervisor Eji Tsuburaya best.  One of Toho’s last (and best) straight Kaiju movies before moving into increasingly campy and silly monster mash battle films, Rodan spawned no sequels, but the monster himself would go on to appear in Ghidra, The Three Headed Monster, Monster Zero,, Godzilla:  Final Wars, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II and Destroy All Monsters.

Where to Get It:  Watch it at iTunes, Netflix, or Watch it or buy it at Amazon

Trailer:

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