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Episode guide: 213- Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster

Movie: (1966): Searching for his brother who was lost at sea, a guy and his pals wash up on an island, guarded by crab-shrimp monster Ebirah, where some sort of evil paramilitary group has built an installation, unaware that Godzilla is asleep in a cave nearby. The brother turns out to be on an island nearby worshiping Mothra. Got all that?

First shown: 2/2/91
Opening: Joel reads “The Velveteen Rabbit” and does all the voices
Invention exchange: Joel shows off his mind-controlled guitar, while the mads have doggie chew toy guitars.
Host segment 1: J&tB sing “The Godzilla Genealogy Bop”
Host segment 2: Joel succumbs to space madness and begins building very bad models
Host segment 3: Despite Joel’s warning, Crow and Tom spoof the Mothra twins, only to meet Mothra on the Hexfield!
End: J&tB discuss famous sayings actors didn’t actually say and look through some “Cool Thing contest ” entries; the Mads consider a corporate re-think
Stinger: Everyone bows down before Mothra
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (135 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)

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• There’s no avoiding comparing this week’s episode to last week’s, since they’re both Godzilla movies. This one isn’t quite the classic last week’s outing was, but it’s still lots of fun. The plot is a little more confusing, but I chalk that up to the editing by Film Ventures International. All the host segments are worth at least a few laughs, and the riffing is solid throughout.
• This episode is not yet commercially available (and seems unlikely to ever be).
• What’s the name if this movie? It was “Gojira — Ebira — Mosura: Nankai No Dai Ketto,” in the original Japanese (translation: “Godzilla — Ebirah — Mothra: The Great South Seas Duel”). But it had other names in various incarnations, including “Ebirah, Horror Of The Deep” (also “Ebirah, Terror Of The Deep” ) when it was released in England, “Big Duel In The North” (also “Big Duel In The North Sea”), “Ritorno Di Godzilla” (“The Return Of Godzilla”) when it was released in Italy and, for some reason, “Frankenstein Und Dis Ungehauer Aus Dem Meer” (“Frankenstein and the Monsters from the Sea”) when it was released in Germany. Frankenstein?
• For the first time since Joel admonished Crow a few episodes back, he again goes for the Lloyd Bridges “By this time my lungs were aching for air” riff.
• For some reason J&tB wait for the FVI credits to be over before entering the theater. Was this something contractual, I wonder?
• This is our first FVI title. For those who don’t know, Film Ventures International was a company that obtained the rights to films after the copyright expired, and then re-edited and re-marketed the film (sometimes under a different name, sometimes not). We’ll get more FVI titles next season. By the way, the clips used during the opening credits are from “Son of Godzilla.”
• Callbacks: “Rock climbing!” (Lost Continent) “You and your friends the only creeps in this joint.” (Wild Rebels) “Linda!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet?)
• Just for the record, what Joel is reading in the opening segment is nothing even remotely like the real “Velveteen Rabbit.”
• As the characters sneak into the installation, it’s another classic case of a bad guy’s building with hallways that have structures that stick out from the walls, making sneaking around easier. Only in the movies.
• Local reference: Somebody mentions Trip Shakespeare, a Minnesota-based band some BBI staffers knew.
• Joel actually sort of acts during segment two. Not that Joel isn’t performing all the time on the show, but let’s face it, Joel Robinson the character is not that far removed from Joel Hodgson the guy. But in this scene he has to actually act like he’s kind of crazy. He does a good job, I think!
• Then-current reference: Bhopal. Kind of a dark riff.
• I thought the “Karl Malden’s nose!” line of the “Godzilla Genealogy Bop” was just a non sequitur, but this time I noticed a little random throw-away riff where they observe that Godzilla has a nose a lot like Karl’s, which I guess is where that line came from.
• Incidentally, the “Godzilla Genealogy Bop” is one of those songs some fans forget, but it’s quite a lot of fun.
• That’s Mike as the voice of Mothra, of course, in segment 3.
• It seems like they wanted to have the Mothra prop blink, but couldn’t come up with a mechanism, so they sort of shaded the light that was shining on his eyes. Didn’t really work.
• Another then-current reference: “Cocooning,” was one of those short-lived buzzwords that arose when the 200-channel cable universe arrived and just about every movie you could think of was on VHS, so people supposedly stopped going out and just stayed home taking in entertainment in their “cocoon.” Wikipedia says it was coined by none other than Faith Popcorn, who was later parodied by the Brains.
• NOT-current reference, as Crow points out: “Thicke of the Night,” a talk show hosted by actor Alan Thicke (father of recent pop star Robin Thicke).
• Trivia: The script for this movie was actually written for King Kong, but Godzilla was substituted when rights to Kong weren’t available. What about Frankenstein?
• Cast and crew roundup: As noted in the previous episode, several of the cast of “Godzilla vs. Megalon” also worked on this. I won’t repeat all those. Special effects guys Eiji Tsuburaya and Teisho Arikawa also worked on “Mighty Jack.” Akira Watanabe worked on “The Green Slime.” The guy who wrote the score (clearly for the FVI version), Karl Michael Demer, also did the music for other FVI titles, including “Cave Dwellers,” “Pod People,” “Master Ninja I” and “Master Ninja II.” In front of the camera, Eisei Amamoto is also “Mighty Jack” and Wataru Omae was also in “Time of the Apes.”
• CreditsWatch: The whole “creative pit boss” thing is gone. “Villians” is still misspelled. Makeup lady Faye Burkholder must have tossed out some riffs that got used, because she was added to the list of writers for the first time since the KTMA era. Burkholder also gets a co-writing credit with Kevin on the “Geneaology Bop.” Mole person Sylvia was intern Robert Czech and mole person Jerry was intern Nathan Molstad. And the “Squeeky” Toy Orchestra (the people providing all the additional squeaky-toy noises during the Mads’ invention exchange) were Mike, Jef Maynard and Alex Carr.
• Favorite riff: “It’s the Mothra Graham Dance Troupe.” Honorable mention: “What a party! That last shot I saw crabs!”

110 Replies to “Episode guide: 213- Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster”

  1. ahaerhar says:

    @96
    nope
    In Germany when you want to indicate “there’s monsters in this” you throw the name Frankenstein in somewhere.

    @100
    Yamatos gonna damashii.

       1 likes

  2. schippers says:

    “To me, Godzilla 1954, 1985, Godzilla 2014 = Bob Kane original story and concept/Frank Miller/Christopher Noth/Dark Knight Batman.”

    I’d take G2014 out of that lineup. G2014 tries to have its cake and stomp on it too by having a “dark and dangerous” tone whilst establishing G as a hero (of the planet, if not also mankind by extension). It’s a weird trick they pulled.

    Somewhat on topic, I was just thinking the other day about what one would do as a follow-up to G2014. Third choice: bring world-conquering aliens in. Second choice: Mechagodzilla. First choice: Mechagodzilla controlled by world-conquering aliens.

       0 likes

  3. ahaerhar says:

    @102
    at the end of First-est of all choices Godzilla is approached by Stacker Pentecost about the Destroy All Monsters initiative.

       1 likes

  4. Cornjob says:

    Lot’s of great posts here. I especially appreciate the Mothra timeline Bruce Boxliker provided in post #87. Thanks.

       1 likes

  5. Bruce Boxliker says:

    @100 – I always felt bad for Baragon (note- not BarUgon, from Gamera) in GMK. In the movie, he’s one of the 3 great Guardian Monsters, but not only does he not make it into the title, he gets utterly & almost instantly DESTROYED by Godzilla.

    @104 – No problem. I was watching through the movies in order, and noticed the continuity issue with Mothra, so tried to figure it out.

       0 likes

  6. Captain Cab says:

    @105

    Yep, that’s the perfect example of how he was overpowered in the movie, the fights were pointless. Poor Baragon shows up and just kind of doddles like a fat, confused baby by a cliff as G mercilessly pummles and fries him. Also having Ghidorah be a hero and the whole guardian monster storyline felt corny, overly mythological and dumb. It’s a shame because it looked like GMK was going to be a sweet, modern tribute to the Showa “team-up” movies like Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster and Monster Zero but it just failed on every level with awkward and bizarre decisions by Kaneko and the screenwriter.

       0 likes

  7. Captain Cab says:

    “I’d take G2014 out of that lineup. G2014 tries to have its cake and stomp on it too by having a “dark and dangerous” tone whilst establishing G as a hero (of the planet, if not also mankind by extension). It’s a weird trick they pulled.”

    I disagre, of course it still belongs in that line up. He killed a ton of people in the movie and was only trying to preserve his species. There was only more of an emphasis on a super foreboding tone before we knew about the MUTO but even then we knew all along he would be fighting other kaiju. In summer 2013 before the teaser had even leaked, Gareth Edwards was asked if Godzilla was good or evil and he specifically said “Neither, he’s an antihero.”

    Gareth also said in one interview at least a month or two before the movie’s release that “He’s like the last samurai. He’s very old, very lonely and would be perfectly happy to be left alone but thanks to the things we do (starting up the nuclear tech age which awakens both he and eventually the MUTO), he’s forced to return and ‘save the village’ but it comes at a great cost.” And there were great costs and “punishment” in the movie, he killed countless, probably hundreds of people in Hawaii when he created the tsunami on his way to the airport not to mention people who probably died who were still hiding in some of the buildings in San Francisco that got slammed repeatedly during the final fight. When asked about Godzilla’s thematic role vs the MUTO months before release, he replied ‘Godzilla is a representation of the wrath of nature, anything else you see in the movie (conflict wise) is a representation of man’s abuse of nature (the MUTO’s parasitic, destructive behavior).” Goji may not have been as outright scary as the teaser trailer, but he was still definitely an antihero in the movie.

    The crowd in the stadium may be cheering at the end (and many in real life WOULD have since the quick imperfect reaction would be “Thank goodness the MUTO were killed, they’re way worse,” although of course a lot would also have been scared out of their wits) but that’s exactly the kind of audience trope that Gareth seems to like to manipulate, so I personally suspect that the “Godzilla as hero” perception may be turned on its ear a bit with the sequel.

    Another way you can look at the cheering scene in the stadium is this. Let’s say Goji is a grizzly bear and the MUTO are mountain lions. Obviously Grizzly bears are scary but unless provoked, they tend to keep to themselves. Mountain lions are far more aggressive and often directly confrontational, even to the point where they will stalk humans like deer. Let’s say you were hiking through an open clearing and all of a sudden, a mountain lion deliberately tried to attack you. Just as the mountain lion is about to pounce and tear you apart, out of the bush come a huge grizzly bear that attacks and kills the mountain lion because the mountain lion just happened to be next to the bear’s cubs which were also hiding in the brush. Your first reaction in your head would probably be to think “Thank goodness! Yeah! Go bear!” for “saving” you, but not long after it would become readily apparent that the bear is not your friend either and you need to get out of there fast and stay out of the bear’s way from now on. :p

    Was it Godzilla 1954? No, but like I said, it definitely respected the sensibilities of the first movie. I like to think of Godzilla 2014 as a very dark toned Showa movie so it still belongs in that lineup.

       2 likes

  8. Captain Cab says:

    Also, Godzilla has always been by default either a defender or acting as a punisher on behalf of the planet.

       0 likes

  9. Captain Cab says:

    Anyways, wow, this has got to be the most I have discussed Godzilla here. I’ll now sing to myself “It’s just a kaiju, I should really just relax!” :-P

       0 likes

  10. mnenoch says:

    Not as a good as Godzilla vs Megalon episode but this is still a great episode. Being a huge fan of Godzilla growing up I loved getting my hands on both Godzilla episodes. It’s really too bad they didn’t get the rights to more Godzilla movies as several more of them would have been perfect for MST3K.

    The Godzilla song is one of my earliest memories of MST3K. Not that I started watching it so early as I didn’t get MST3K until they started on Scifi but it was one of the earliest waves I found on the Internet. I thought at the time that maybe they were just singing a tribute I didn’t know they watched any Godzilla movies.

    My favorite moments of the episode:

    The Godzilla Genealogy song

    Crow constantly doing the “A planet where apes evolved from men?!?”

    The mads rethink the corporate strategy at the end.

       0 likes

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