The sequel to 1964's success, "Invasion of Astro-Monster" is the sixth film in the first series. This is the first ever Godzilla movie to involve aliens in the plot, something that would soon become common later on around the late 60s. With the same four fathers behind it, this film is one to remember. Akira Ifukbe delivers the Rodan and Godzilla themes with a fresh, eerie, twist that sounded great while Tsubaraya took the SFX to new heights. The Planet X set looked great and realistic on screen, as well as the Xian saucers and their teleportation beams. Shinchi Sekizawa provided a very good screen play, full of romance, clever ideas and originality but a few faults. The human characters are likable and in their own way add to records to the G-saga. First off, Nick Adams is the first ever American actor to star in a G-flick, with a major role (although a few Americans are in a deleted scene in "Mothra vs. Godzilla" The scene is still in the American cut). Also, this is the ONLY Godzilla movie in history to have on screen kissing, although it only last 1.45 seconds ( Adams and Kumi Mizuno). I for one find this quite odd because several future G-films would have love stories to a degree, but never do they share a kiss. Just wanted to point that out...anyways, many Toho stars make appearances, including Akira Takarada, Akira Kubo and Jun Tazaki. Yoshio Tsuchiya plays the 'Controller of Planet X'. I love how he does those gestures with his hands every time he says something and it looks extraterrestrial. Kumi Mizuno also makes her G-film debut, who looked surprisingly cute in those ridiculous Xian tights.
King Ghidorah looks great as he did in the last film, and Rodan also returned, looking okay. However, this time a new Godzilla suit appeared. This suit doesn't look too bad and actually looks pretty cool. And believe it or not, the campiness is actually toned down from the last film ("Ghidrah: The Three Headed Monster"). Still, there's the odd Godzilla-shai and Godzilla thinking his Muhammad Ali. Despite this, the monster action is superbly great, especially on Planet X. Out of all the Showa films, this one has some of the best fights. Now where as you do have to wait a while, it's worth it in the end. The Planet X battle is defiantly top notch. The main reason I love the fights in this film is because their so energetic and full of personality. For one example, after the saucers have been destroyed, Godzilla recovers first and attacks Ghidrah while he's still down. I think it was a great character moment that showed how the two have become archenemies of sorts. Plus I like how Godzilla leaped at Ghidorah, actually tackling him down. Very cool. Rodan, however, has kind of Godzilla do most of the actual combat, but he still gets his moments.
Along with all the cool fights, all the monsters get some nicely done city-smashing scenes. It's been nearly ten years since we've seen Rodan destroy and it feels good to see, in the words of G-expert Stuart Gulbraith IV on the commentary "that menace of old". Some of the destruction is "Rodan" stock-footage but it doesn't really bother me because not a whole lot is used. UNLIKE the messes created in 1972 and 1973. Godzilla and Ghidorah both do some delightful damage as well and there are some great shots. Oh yeah, Godzilla's heat ray looks great, if, though, a little too thin. But much better than his 'steam' breath in the last film.
It's U.S. cut is respectful to the original, although Tetsuo (Akira Kubo) sounds too nerdy at times. Aso, some of the dubbing's lines are a bit cheesy. For example, Takarada's character: "The licking our first trucks have taken is something terrible. it isn't looking too hot." Terrible, I know, but overall it's better than how others were dubbed. Some have pointed out a weakness in the plot, specifically why did the Xians need to lie and trick the human characters into 'giving' them the monsters when they're already on Earth and could already control the monsters? To me, it's something you have to think about. Maybe, just maybe, the aliens were afraid if they just launched an all-out attack that Tetsuo would use his alarm system on them and wanted a more subtle approach. This is hinted at when they burn the plans for the device and when they imprisoned Tetsuo. Sekizawa should've explained it a little more. I just wanted to say that in the film's defense because other than this, and the Xian's weird shoes, the film was great. One thing there's no real way to defend is how in his monologue, the Controller 'confessed' to using magnetic waves to control the monsters. And thanks to this our heroes thought up the idea to use the A-Cycle Light Ray.
He obviously didn't think Earth was smart enough to find a loop hole in his dastardly plans. But as the climax shoes, guess not. Still, all in all, "Invasion of Astro-Monster" is a very well done installment to the series.