Monster from a Prehistoric Planet

January 31, 2016 at 9:40 pm (3 Heads, Monster from a Prehistoric Planet) (, , )

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet – 1967 – Japan

Some scientists and reporters travel to an uncharted island in the South Pacific. Their mission is to capture rare animals to populate a tropical theme park. On the island, primitive natives warn the scientists about Gappa, a seemingly mythological reptile who lives in the island’s volcano. Against the natives’ wishes, the scientists capture a giant infant “bird-lizard” and take it to Tokyo. The baby’s parents awaken in a rage and follow. These titanic monsters resemble Godzilla, but with wings, beaks, and fins on their heads. They can walk, swim, fly, and breathe energy rays (hence the film’s alternate title Gappa: The Triphibian Monster). They stomp around Tokyo, wrecking everything until they are reunited with their baby. In the touching conclusion, the monstrous family hugs and flies into the sunset.

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet is a pretty uninspired kaiju film. Its premise recalls King Kong (1933) and Mothra (1961), which also feature fantastic creatures being captured and taken to civilization to be exploited. The idea of a kaiju family is interesting, but the concept was also used in Gorgo (1961), where a baby sea monster is captured and its mother goes on a rampage to rescue it.

Kaiju films are rarely original, but Monster from a Prehistoric Planet is also boring. The costumes, sets, and special effects are utilitarian. The movie is also too long for such a simple plot. Plus, the sexist dialogue is despicable. A female reporter is frightened and her male partner remarks, “Go back to Tokyo and learn to cook. Have babies. Marry some little office worker.” In the final scene, the same woman quits her job to “wash diapers” as a housewife.

Rating: 3/10 Shrunken Heads. On the tropical island, the scientists’ shirts are visibly soaked with armpit sweat. What a realistic touch!

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