Gorgo

Gorgo. King Brothers Productions 1961.

Before watching the movie:

I’m sure nobody wanted audiences to think this was Godzilla with a bit of a King Kong plot. It’s a giant monster movie, but this time in London because it’s a UK production. That’s about all that one can expect, I guess. Specifically, the monster is taken back to London from the place it was found to be shown off, but its mother comes and stomps everything.

Western kaiju movie. I don’t know what more to say. Some of the names are slightly familiar but I couldn’t place them to anything specific.

After watching the movie:

Captain Joe Ryan and his first officer Sam Slade find their salvage ship damaged in a volcanic eruption and put into Nara Island off the coast of Ireland for repairs. The harbour master, McCartin, tells them that the archaeological salvage in this port has meant that the government forbids uncleared vessels to stay at Nara for more than 24 hours, which Ryan and Slade find suspicious. That night, a 65-foot tall dinosaur-like monster attacks the island, but the locals drive it back to the sea. Ryan’s crew captures the monster and brings it back to London, where they’ve been given a great deal by the owner of a circus exhibiting at Battersea even though the government of Ireland is suing for the beast’s return. While the world is gripped with fascination at the marvel on display under the name “Gorgo”, scientists studying a sample from it have determined that it is an infant. The parent would be over 200 feet tall. Soon, a beast that size appears at Nara to carve a path of destruction toward her baby.

This might be the dullest giant monster movie I’ve ever seen. A lot of elements get introduced in the beginning without much apparent payoff, and the only thing anybody does that matters is capture Gorgo and take it to London. Everything else is just Irish and English people not trusting each other and nature not caring.

It seemed like it might be setting up a theme about leaving Ireland alone, but that ended up not being all that relevant. The only reason the main action takes place in London is because the producers decided Australia doesn’t have recognizable landmarks to destroy. The most coherent theme is that the salvagers shouldn’t have exploited nature for their own gain.

During the big destruction sequence, there’s a reporter on the scene narrating everything into a microphone, and it’s a little absurd. At one point I thought he might have been added for the American audience so they could understand that London Bridge is very old and strong and it means a lot that the monster can walk through it like it’s not there. His presence was a little amusing to me, which is not at all the tone they were going for.

This is a very short movie, but it still felt like a glacially-paced waste of time. There’s a reason this isn’t considered a classic of kaiju disaster movies. I can’t recommend anyone bother.

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