When a narcotics deal goes sour and a suspect disappears, leaving only his clothes, Tokyo police question his wife and stake out the nightclub where she works. His disappearance stumps the ... See full summary »
During WWII, a human heart taken from a certain lab in Europe (Dr. Frankenstein's) is kept in a Japanese lab, when it gets exposed to the radiation of the bombing of Hiroshima. The heart ... See full summary »
A space probe is infiltrated by alien beings and then crashes on a remote Pacific atoll. A group planning to build a resort hotel land on the island and discover it to be inhabited by giant... See full summary »
A journalist is saved by a giant submarine captained by a 200 year old man who takes him to an underwater paradise city where no one ages. That's when monsters and mutants sent by the captain's rival, a 200 year old scientist, attack.
An experimental lab animal called a gargantua escapes from his captors and is suspected to be the creature that is killing people all over the countryside. But when the gargantua from the ... See full summary »
King Kong is brought in by an evil ruler to dig for precious gems in a mine when the robot MechaKong is unable to do the task. This leads to the machine and the real Kong engaging in a tremendous battle that threatens to level Japan.
When a rare species of butterfly is found in a mysterious valley in Japan, a pair of entomologists go to investigate and find more. However, when they get there they find an uncharted lake ... See full summary »
Munchkin-like aliens invade Earth full force with their flying saucers and laser weapons, rendering cities helpless. All eyes turn to the most powerful nations on Earth as they unite to concoct a plan to vanquish the aliens and return Earth to the hands of humans, thus, resulting in the most fierce and ultimate battle royale in outer space the galaxy as ever seen.Written by
For a number of years the U.S. distributor, Columbia Pictures, had been unable to furnish 35mm release prints for theatrical showings. This was apparently due to all of the Eastman Color release prints fading to red. This film was not released on home video in the United States until 2009. See more »
The funniest bits are the gravity antics. When the first scout ship turns off the thrusters and the crew all unfastens their safety belts, one of them flies up to the ceiling. He is so surprised, clearly no-one told this astronaut that there was no gravity in the spacecraft. They help him down and the chief tells him that there is no gravity in the ship. Then they all begin walking around completely normally. See more »
The final 16mm prints struck for U.S. television distribution had the final third of the film letterboxed for the widescreen Tohoscope format. See more »
Pint-size aliens from the planet Natal are bent on conquering the Earth in this colorful space opera from the heyday of Toho Studios. Second in a trilogy of space-themed movies directed by the inimitable Ishiro Honda (the other two being "The Mysterians" and "Gorath") this is pure mindless fun.
The special effects may seem dated now, but for the time they were first-rate, much better than your average sci-fi and far superior to any of the monster films Toho cranked out from the mid-60s onward. This was definitely not done on the cheap: The sets are well thought-out, the astronomical backgrounds detailed and quite convincing.
Eiji Tsuburaya's intricate miniature work is amazing as always. The voyage to the Moon, the fight on the lunar surface, and the final showdown (with souped-up X-15s squaring off against alien saucers and a huge mother ship) are elaborately staged and exciting.
Which is why it's easy to forgive the occasional cheesy bits. For instance, when the beautiful SPIP rockets are taking off for the Moon, Honda illustrates the effects of high-G by having one of the crewmen put his hands on either side of his face and *pull* the flesh back. I also suspect they were running out of funds (the film's only 74 minutes long) when it came time to shoot the scene where the alien mother ship tears up downtown Tokyo with a gravity-reversing ray. Although it's a clever effect, apparently achieved by building the models on top of compressed air jets, the sequence feels too short. Plus the miniatures just don't look quite as detailed or realistic, when compared to other Toho films of the era.
My biggest complaint: In the one scene where you actually meet the aliens in the flesh (sort of) they're in spacesuits which make them look like midget Michelin Men and they sound like a bunch of squeaky dog toys. When a crowd of them "menaces" the heroine, there's not a ray gun in the bunch; all they can can do is shuffle, wave their arms and squeak. Not very intimidating, to say the least. (If anything, they're hilariously reminiscent of that roomful of sex-crazed Cub Scouts in Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex".)
But the good far outweighs the not-so-good in this romp. In a theater, in its original Tohoscope (Toho Studios' equivalent of Cinemascope), it must have been something to see.
(Update: In 2007, an outfit called Monsters in Motion released "Uchu Daisenso" on DVD -- in letterbox, in the original Japanese with English subtitles -- as part of their "Toho Masters" series. With its companion piece "Gorath" available from MiM, and Tokyo Shock's gorgeous edition of "The Mysterians", Honda's entire space trilogy is now obtainable in the original, unedited widescreen versions.)
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