An exploding submarine awakens a giant female monster. The military deal with her but she leaves behind a monster baby. Six years later, he’s being looked after by the government on an island but taxpayers object to paying for it. Then extraterrestrial bad guy Goliath falls to earth…
Tsuburaya Productions were a Japanese SFX house founded in 1963 by Eiji Tsuburaya, co-creator of ‘Godzilla.’ Initially, they worked almost exclusively on Toho Production’s iconic ‘Kaiju’ monster movies, before branching out with the immensely popular ‘Ultraman’ TV show. Relations between the 2 companies became increasingly difficult until Tsuburaya’s death in 1970. His heirs wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio’s creation by making their own movie. Initially, this was going to be a ‘Godzilla’ picture, with Toho Studios giving their permission and even agreeing the loan of a monster suit, but, somewhere along the line, the project transformed into the story of ‘Daigoro’, a much cuddlier and kiddie-friendly proposition than the Big G.
The story begins with a live TV broadcast and a wacky brainiac trying to win a cash prize with his flying motorbike. He’s spurred on by a group of local kids who want the prize money so they can send extra food to Daigoro. Public opinion has turned against the cute little critter and no wonder! He doesn’t have a job, lounges around all day and has got decidedly overweight on all that free nosh. He even has own purpose-built outside toilet! Yes, my friends, he’s nothing but a welfare scrounger, or dole scum as we would say in the U.K. We should probably have him stoned in the street for daring to be poor and unemployed. It’s useful to have people like that to demonise, though, so we don’t have to bother dealing with mega-rich corporations and individuals practising massive tax avoidance.
Anyway, deep political thinking aside, this is squarely aimed at the pre-teen market with lashings of infantile comedy courtesy of an oafish carpenter and his sidekick, as well as the hopeless inventor. We also get several musical numbers from offscreen children where the lyrics appear on the screen so we can singalong. Subtitles are good here as our musical moppets urge Daigoro to “Don’t give it up and keeping smashing your way forever” but, considering this is a kids film, it’s surprising how many times the word ‘Bastard’ appears in the words flashing across the bottom of the screen!
The film also has a strong eco-message (delivered in one subtle 10 minute lump in the middle of proceedings, accompanied by sunsets and bees pollinating flowers, etc). Nasty old Goliath has fallen to earth because we’ve been ‘using up all the air which keeps the planet safe from collisional objects’. Considering SFX were supposed to be this company’s business, neither monster is very impressive and there isn’t a lot of miniature work, although the fat little dole scrounger waddling around like a pregnant duck is different I suppose.
But what sucks the life from this one is the tiresome comedy, which is all of the ‘It’s behind you!’ variety. This probably hit the target with the intended audience, but hasn’t stood the test of time. This was almost the last knockings of the original ‘Kaiju’ cycle of films and, boy, it really shows!