Has there ever been a better movie than Destroy All Monsters? It is everything that is magical about film: giant monsters smashing cities and fighting one another while people run and scream in terror. It is cinematic junk food, a treat for the mind that returns me to watching Action Movie on Youngstown’s WKBN 27 as a little kid, jumping around the room in pure glee.
Every giant monster on Earth has been captured and sent to Monster Island, where they are kept secure and studied — until all communication is mysteriously cut off.
Turns out that the scientists on the island are being mind-controlled by the Kilaaks, who demand the human race surrender or face total destruction. They control the monsters to attack famous cities all over the world: Godzilla decimates New York City, Rodan smashes Moscow, Mothra takes out Beijing, Gorosaurus crushes Paris and Manda, a giant Japanese dragon, goes shithouse on London. All of these attacks are to keep the UNSC forces from finding out that Tokyo is the real target.
Luckily, the humans are able to take out the control signals and the good guy monsters take on King Ghidorah, who is overcome and killed (Minilla, Varan, Anguirus and Kumonga show up, too). The Kilaaks also have a Fire Dragon, a monster that starts setting cities on fire. Godzilla takes out their base and the forces of good triumph.
This was meant to be the final Godzilla film, as the popularity of the series was waning. However, the success of Destroy All Monsters led to even more Godzilla films.
When I was a kid, I was impatient for the human scenes to end and for the monsters to show up. I’ve never changed. All I want to do is watch giant monsters destroy cities and fight one another. This movie delivers all of that and more. It’s not high art, but does it have to be?