Ghidorah-the Three headed Monsters(released Dec/64)is the 5th in the Godzilla franchise and Sony Classic media releases again both the US and the longer original Japanese version.The Japanese version is always,I find at least,the much better of the two.
This story involves the anticipated arrival of a princess from a foreign country called Selgina.There is an unscrupulous bunch of characters who have planted a bomb aboard the princesses' plane.Just before it blow ups in mid air she is possessed by some spirit who urges her to jump out of the plane.Unbeknownst to the outside world,she is rescued by a fisherman and she later reappears amongst the populace as some kind of prophetess telling all that there is a great danger.At first her warnings are met with scoffing as what she says is given in very general terms.As time passes her predictions become more direct as the police try to protect her and the gang who thought they had destroyed the princess realize they must keep trying until the job is really done this time.
During this time Godzilla of course and his nemesis Rodan the flying lizard appear to do battle and wreak havoc amongst the countryside.During their shenanigans the possessed princess(of an ancient Venusian spirit we now know!)tells everyone the creature that destroyed Venus is coming;Ghidorah-the three headed monster.The two little Infant Island beauties are summoned for their assistance and they in turn enjoin the last remaining offspring of Mothra to come to Japan to ask for Godzilla and Rodans collective help against Ghidorah.Well negotiations between the caterpillar and Rodan and Godzilla don't go well at the start.In fact the caterpillar takes it upon himself to take the three headed monster on by himself with no help from either.When he gets his butt kicked Godzilla can't seem to abide this and he and Rodan finally relent and join in the battle.Between the three of them they indeed send Ghidorah running with his tail between his legs.The caterpillar and the ladies return to Infant Island,Godzilla and Rodan part company and the princess gets her memories back and returns to her native land.
As you can see the story is quite the complicated one and that is with leaving out much.What brings this film down(in rating)are the fight scenes which have many(too many)almost laugh out loud moments.For instance,Rodan will peck away at Godzilla until he reacts in disgust,then Godzilla will kick stones at Rodan until both end up throwing the same rock back and forth like a ping pong ball.And Ghidorah looks like Godzilla(tail and all)except he has three hydra-like heads instead of one big one.The story compels one to suspend disbelief quite successfully ,but the fight scenes tend,more often than not,to chip away at that foundation much more than it should,unfortunately.
Like Mothra VS Godzilla(the previous entry)this one is also in colour in its original w/s a/r.The transfer is wonderful and clear and crisp.Like all the entries there are film flaws,but they are extant in the masters used.Extras include:commentary,image gallery,slide show of posters and a featurette on special effects man Eiji Tsuburaya.
I would give the release itself a solid 4 1/2 stars just for what it brings to the table(both US and Japanese versions,the transfers,extras,etc)but for movie quality(plot,etc)it only comes in at a passable three stars.Unfortunately what was scarier in the early 60s,just does not(in this case)hold up as well today.A definite must have though for film buffs.