STARRING: Michiko Yaegaki, Mari Atsumi, Toru Takatsuka, Peter Williams, Kojiro Hongo, Junko Yashiro, Carl Crane

1968, 75 Minutes, Directed by: Noriyaki Yuasa

About halfway through Destroy All Planets my wife came in from an evening out, and asked me what I was watching and what it was about.

So I told her: “You see, these aliens wearing little black berets like the ones you always see artists wear in Brandy advertisements set in Paris are invading the Earth. So I guess we're being invaded by an artist’s colony then,” I rubbed my chin. “Anyway, they fly around in this huge spaceship that looks like a baby’s rattle, replete with little neat black stripes. Luckily for Earth, we are being protected by a giant flying fire-breathing turtle named Gamera. Gamera flies by pulling his head and legs into his shell and then sorta spins around like a UFO with blue methane-like flames spewing from where his legs normally protrude. Poor thing, he must get quite dizzy from all that spinning around. Anyway, it doesn’t seem to affect him too badly, although I am kind of worried where exactly all that methane gas is coming from . . .”

“You’re making this up,” my wife smiled uncertainly.

“No, no,” I told her. “You’d think that giant monsters in movies like this would normally spend their time stomping Tokyo and fighting the Japanese army, but apparently they also spend a lot of time duking it out with other giant monsters and sometimes they even save the Earth from alien invaders! Anyway, so the aliens must defeat Gamera before they can conquer the Earth, so they figure out the big lug’s weakness: he likes little boys . . . a lot, which makes him a bit like Michael Jackson I suppose. So the aliens kidnap these two Japanese boy scouts and . . .”

"Gamera likes little boys . . . a lot, which makes him a bit like Michael Jackson."

“Now I know you’re making this up!” my wife interrupted me.

“Who could have thought it?” I shrugged. “But anyway, they kidnap the two kids and force Gamera into doing their bidding and, well, stomp Tokyo. Just to make sure the big lug goes through with this, they plant a mind-control device which looks like a hugely oversized hockey puck on the back of its neck. So now Gamera stomps Tokyo and the aliens tell the U.N. that Gamera will keep on stomping Tokyo and that the two kids will get it if Earth doesn’t surrender. And whadda know? The U.N. must like little boys too because they are unwilling to ‘sacrifice’ the two chubby tykes and prefer to give in to our new alien overlords. If only Saddam Hussein had known it was this easy, then . . .”

My wife stared disbelievingly at me, so I told her: “Listen, I can’t make this stuff up even if I tried, so come have a look.”

“Let me go see,” she said. And so I showed her. And there it all was: the handful of artist’s colony aliens intent on conquering the Earth, the spinning turtle, the Japanese boy scouts, you name it. So my wife took some headache pills and went to bed while I eagerly watched the movie further. Towards the end all the artist colony aliens morph into one giant alien squid monster and Gamera and the giant squid duke it out, destroying yet some more prime Tokyo real estate in the process.

Destroy All Planets not to be confused with the similarly titled Destroy All Monsters is typical Kaiju (Japanese stuntmen in a rubber suit stomping scale models of Tokyo) fare.

Yes, it is cheaply made with poor acting and terrible special effects. But it is such a goofball movie so obviously intended for small children who don’t know any better that it is very difficult to dislike. One is even almost willing to forgive the movie testing one’s patience with a long seemingly endless flashback sequence featuring fight scenes from previous Gamera flicks such as Gamera (1965) and Gamera vs. Gaos (1967). These scenes, which serve no purpose except to cut costs by using existing footage and padding the running time, almost drag the movie down under. Luckily we are soon back to the aliens who are invading the Earth because they need the nitrogen in our air (did I mention that? they better hurry on who knows how long it would last with all the methane gas Gamera is spewing into the atmosphere) and all kinds of other almost inspired lunacy.

Destroy All Planets will make you go “man! And I’m not even stoned!” which is always the hallmark of an enjoyable bad movie night . . . Besides any movie with the line “Gamera, destroy Tokyo!” can’t be all bad now, can it?


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