Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

godzilla vs gigan poster 1972 movie ghidorah gojira
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Like Gigan's crazy design

Two sides of the story never really mesh well

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Godzilla vs. Gigan

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  March 12, 1972

MPAA Rating:  PG


Things are not looking good for Godzilla

Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa) is a designer called to work on a new amusement park called World Children’s Land with a giant monster theme and impressive Godzilla tower looming over the entire park.  When Gengo is contacted by Tomoko Tomoe (Yuriko Hishimi) and friends who claim her brother disappeared while working on the project, Gengo learns that the creators of World Children’s Land might be hiding something.  Godzilla and his ally Anguirus travel from Monster Island to investigate strange signals from World Children’s Land as the makers of World Children’s Land are reveal to be insect-like aliens from Space Hunter Nebula-M by signaling Gigan and King Ghidorah to help them rule the Earth.  Now, Godzilla and the humans must work together to stop the aliens and the threat of Gigan and King Ghidorah once and for all!


King Ghidorah…would you like a Tic Tac…or three?

Directed by Jun Fukuda, Godzilla vs. Gigan was released as Chikyū Kogeki Meirei: Godzilla tai Gigan in Japan or 地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン which translates as Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan.  The movie (like other Godzilla films) received a limited U.S. release in 1978 which was titled Godzilla on Monster Island and was called War of the Monsters in the United Kingdom.  The film is the twelfth film in the Godzilla series (called the Showa series at this point) and followed Godzilla vs. Hedorah in 1971.  The Criterion Collection released the film as part of the Godzilla:  The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 (Criterion #1000).

Godzilla vs. Gigan is one of the more memorable Godzilla films though it does fall into the typical Godzilla problems.  Initially, the movie was supposed to be a rematch with Hedorah, but Hedorah performed poorly.  This led makers to try to load the movie with monsters again (featuring the popular Ghidorah) and other monsters, but the monsters were trimmed down to just Ghidorah, Anguirus, and the new creature Gigan.


Lamest park…ever

It is amusing that the insect aliens bothered to build a theme park with a giant laser shooting Godzilla just to kill Godzilla especially when they could control monster and impersonate humans…it doesn’t add up, but it is a Godzilla movie so I don’t expect it to.  Unfortunately like most Godzilla movies, the movie is rather human heavy with this alien plot and that is boring at times.  Plus, the human storyline and the Godzilla/Aguirus storyline never really match up well, and it just feels like two different movies.

Godzilla movies were always on, but I remember this one in part to the lamest theme park in history…World Children’s Land and the cool design of Gigan who is one of Godzilla’s most popular kaiju monsters.  The guise of a theme park as a base of operations is sort of genius.  I say “sort of” because it opened the opportunity for a lot of cool sets etc. if they wanted to camp it up.  The movie instead just has the Godzilla tower and a pull out shot that shows a small, boring scale model of the park.


One of the best kaiju!

Gigan, on the other hand, is a cool and outrageous creature.  King Ghidorah seems to spend more time fighting Godzilla than Gigan, but Gigan actually draws the first blood in a Godzilla movie with his buzzsaw stomach (how does that even work?) and his big hook hands.  This movie is also notable in that it is the last time that Haruo Nakajima plays Godzilla after originating the role in the first Gojira in 1954.

Godzilla vs. Gigan is just another Godzilla film, but I always liked this one a little bit more.  It is goofy, boring at points, and not much of a plot, but as a kid, the monsters and the setting outweighed that.  I would love to see Gigan or King Ghidorah return in a new Godzilla film someday (Ghidorah at least frequently pop-up in films following this).  Godzilla vs. Gigan was followed by Godzilla vs. Megalon in 1973.

Preceded By:

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)

Followed By:

Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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