Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
— Japanese tagline
It went unobserved by the astronauts, but... The most gigantic monster explosion of the space age now being blasted into film
— International tagline
Godzilla and Rodan fight the monster from outer space to save the world!
— American tagline
Invasion of Astro-Monster (怪獣大戦争 is a Kaijū Daisensō, lit. Great Monster War)1965 tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Toho and UPA, and the sixth installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 19, 1965.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Staff
- 3 Cast
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Soundtrack
- 7 Alternate Titles
- 8 Theatrical Releases
- 9 U.S. Release
- 10 Box Office
- 11 Reception
- 12 Video Releases
- 13 Videos
- 14 Trivia
- 15 External Links
- 16 References
- 17 Comments
In the year 196X, astronauts Glenn and Fuji embark on a mission to Planet X, a world recently discovered behind Jupiter. There, they encounter an alien race called the Xiliens, who ask to borrow the two Earth monsters Godzilla and Rodan to combat their own terror, King Ghidorah, who they call Monster Zero. In return, they promise the men a "miracle drug" which can cure all illness. The nations of the world agree to the trade, seeing no downside to getting rid of the two monsters. Xilien saucers transport Godzilla and Rodan to Planet X, where they drive off Ghidorah after a brief battle. The tape supposed to contain the formula for the miracle drug, however, turns out to be a demand from the Xiliens to surrender Earth. Their magnetic wave technology had placed King Ghidorah under their control before Glenn and Fuji even arrived on Planet X, and now Godzilla and Rodan are theirs to command as well.
As the invasion begins, Miss Namikawa, an undercover Xilien agent who has fallen in love with Glenn, reveals to him that a specific frequency is capable of inflicting catastrophic damage to the aliens. After they kill her, the Xiliens throw Glenn into the same cell as the inventor Tetsuo Tori, who accidentally discovered that frequency while working on a novelty item he calls the Ladyguard Alarm. Using the Alarm, they escape from the base and bring the device to the JSDF. The three monsters' rampages are halted when vehicles called the A-Cycle Light Rays use enormous speakers and magnetic wave projectors to break the Xiliens' control over them. Driven to madness by the frequency, the Xilien invasion force self-destructs its own base and saucers. Godzilla and Rodan engage King Ghidorah again, and all three tumble into the ocean. Only the space monster emerges, but Tetsuo doubts that Godzilla and Rodan could have perished. To their dismay, Doctor Sakurai informs Glenn and Fuji that they will be Earth's first ambassadors to Planet X.
- Main article: Invasion of Astro-Monster/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Henry G. Saperstein, Reuben Bercovitch
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
- Edited by Ryohei Fujii
- Production Design by Takeo Kita, Akira Watanabe
- Assistant Directing by Koji Kajita
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
- Assistant Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
- Main article: Invasion of Astro-Monster/Credits.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Nick Adams as Astronaut Glenn (Japanese voice actor: Goro Naya)
- Akira Takarada as Astronaut Kazuo Fuji
- Kumi Mizuno as Miss Namikawa
- Jun Tazaki as Doctor Sakurai
- Akira Kubo as Inventor Tetsuo Tori
- Keiko Sawai as Haruno Fuji
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Controller of Planet X
- Takamaru Sasaki as Chairman of Earth Committee
- Gen Shimizu as Minister of Defense
- Yoshibumi Tajima as General
- Nadao Kirino as Military Aide
- Kenzo Tabu as Earth Unit Xilien Commander
- Koji Uno as Namikawa's Associate
- Somesho Matsumoto as Buddhist Priest
- Toru Ibuki as Earth Unit Xilien
- Kazuo Suzuki as Earth Unit Xilien
- Yoshizo Tatake as Xilien
- Mitzuo Tsuda as Xilien
- Takuzo Kumagaya as Xilien
- Masaaki Tachibana as Xilien
- Rioji Shimizu as Xilien
- Minoru Ito as Xilien
- Hideki Furukawa as Xilien
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Masaki Shinohara as Rodan
- Shoichi Hirose as King Ghidorah
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Main article: Invasion of Astro-Monster/Gallery.
- Main article: Invasion of Astro-Monster (Soundtrack).
- Great Monster War (literal Japanese title)
- Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla (怪獣大戦争 キングギドラ対ゴジラ Kaijū Daisensō Kingu Gidora tai Gojira, Japanese re-release title)
- Godzilla Goes to Space! (ゴジラ宇宙へ行く！ Gojira Uchū e Iku!, Japanese 8mm title)
- Monster Zero (United States)
- Invasion of the Astros (United States military bases title)
- Invasion of the Astro-Monsters (aborted United States release title; United Kingdom)
- Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (initial United States home video title)
- Godzilla vs. the Three-Headed Dragon (Thailand)
- Invasion Planet "X" (Invasion Planete 'X'; France; French Belgium; Invasie Planeet X; Dutch Belgium)
- The Monsters Invade the Earth (Los monstruos invaden la tierra; Spain)
- Monsters of the Galaxies (Monstruos de las galaxias; Mexico)
- Command from the Dark (Befehl aus dem Dunkel; Germany)
- Gidorra: Command from the Darkness (Gidorra: Befehl aus dem Dunkeln; alterante German title)
- The Invasion of the Astro Monsters (La invasion de los Astro-Monstruos; Mexico; L'invasione degli Astro Mostri; Italy)
- Year 2000: The Invasion of the Astro Monsters (Anno 2000: L'invasione degli Astro Mostri; Italy)
- The Space Monsters Are Attacking (Avaruushirviöt hyökkäävät; Finland)
- Monster Invasion (Inwazja potworow; Poland)
- Monsters Coming from Space (Uzaydan canavar geliyor; Turkey)
- Attack from the Unknown (Utok z neznama; Czechoslovakia)
- Invasion from Space (Invazija iz svemira; Yugoslavia)
- War of the Monsters (A Guerra dos Monstros; Brazil)
- The Invasion of Astro-Monsters (A Invasão dos Astro-Monstros; alternative Brazilian title)
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - December 19, 1965 [view poster]; March 17, 1971 (Re-Release) [view poster]
- United States - 1970 [view poster]
- Spain - 1965
- Italy - 1965 [view poster]
- France - 1967 [view poster]
- Germany - 1967 [view poster]
- Poland - 1970 [view poster]
- Finland - 1973
- Belgium [view poster]
- Turkey [view poster]
- Colombia [view poster]
- Mexico [view poster]
- Brazil [view poster]
- Thailand [view poster]
- Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) [view poster]
- Yugoslavia [view poster]
Invasion of Astro-Monster was licensed to UPA Productions of America, who co-produced the film with Toho, for release in North America. English dubbing was recorded at Glen Glenn Sound in Hollywood by June of 1966. Ironically, since Nick Adams delivered his lines in English on the set, Glenn was the only character whose voice was not dubbed over, although Adams seems to have been involved in at least some ADR that location shooting and other production factors would have necessitated. There were several alterations made:
- Dialogue was dubbed to English, with several changes made to the script. No date is given in the opening expository text, whereas the Japanese version states the film is set in the fictional year 196X, or 197X in the Champion Festival release. Tetsuo Tori was renamed "Tetsui Teri," and Haruno Fuji was renamed "Haruni" Fuji. The Xiliens' fabricated "cure for cancer" ploy was changed to a "miracle drug" capable of curing all diseases.
- Altered: Some of Akira Ifukube's score was re-arranged. The opening title music was changed to a cue from later in the film, "The Electromagnetic Capsule." Music during the film's climax was heavily edited, with some sections of the original, jettisoned opening title piece re-integrated.
- Deleted: All instances of Xiliens speaking in the language of Planet X were deleted or removed from the soundtrack.
- Deleted: Instances of Japanese expository text, including newspaper headlines for the P-1's return to Earth and the discovery of Godzilla in Lake Myojin, a placard inside the World Education Corporation building, and Dr. Sakurai handling the plans for the A-Cycle Light Ray Gun.
- Altered: The location supers for Lake Myojin and Washigasawa were rendered in English accordingly.
- Deleted: Fuji gesturing in anger and uttering "Damn it!" when the concealed Xilien UFOs in Lake Myojin surface.
- Deleted: The JSDF commander played by Nadao Kirino ordering his personnel to retreat from Rodan's location as an Xilien UFO approaches.
- Deleted: Long-distance shot of Godzilla and Rodan's capsules being lifted into the upper atmosphere, followed by a shot of the Earth receding.
- Altered: Part of a shot following the above deletions is moved before a long shot of Godzilla and Rodan's capsules.
- Deleted: Part of a short scene aboard the Controller of Planet X's flagship. Fuji tells Glenn to "be on [his] guard," to which Glenn responds "Tell me about it, pal." This exchange is restored (with Fuji's line in Japanese) in Toho's uncut Invasion of the Astro-Monsters version of the film used in the UK and on The Criterion Collection and Janus Films' Criterion Channel streaming platform.
- Added: Footfall sound effects were added to Godzilla's victory jumps on Planet X.
- Deleted: Xilien guards conversing (not in their native language) after Fuji and Glenn evade them in an elevator.
- Altered: The superimposed headlines during the global civil unrest montage were rendered in English accordingly.
- Deleted: Fuji cursing as the Xiliens unveil their control over the monsters.
- Altered: Namikawa's letter to Glenn is replaced with an English insert. Part of a medium shot of Tetsuo and Glenn reading the letter is repeated, making the scene run slightly longer than its Japanese equivalent.
The American version runs 93 minutes, a minute and 20 seconds shorter than the Japanese version. In his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: An Unauthorized History of 'The Big G', Steve Ryfle comments "The Americanization...is respectful to the original Japanese version."
Although UPA's English version was finished in 1966, the film didn't see wide release in the United States until the summer of 1970. Distributed by Maron Films, the film was titled Monster Zero and frequently played as a supporting feature to UPA's Americanization of The War of the Gargantuas. Prior to this, the film had entered limited distribution as Invasion of the Astros in March 1970, exclusively screened at military bases in the continental U.S. The film later entered 16mm rental distribution under this title through the 1980's.
In 1980, UPA rechristened the film Godzilla vs. Monster Zero for television and home video. The film was released under this title on home video in the U.S. over the ensuing two decades, including in a 1998 DVD release by Simitar. Classic Media released both the original Japanese version of the film and a reconstruction of the initial theatrical American version (Monster Zero) on DVD in the U.S. in 2007, as Invasion of Astro-Monster. Janus Films provided an uncut English-dubbed version of the film previously distributed on video in the United Kingdom titled Invasion of the Astro-Monsters to streaming platforms once it acquired the rights to the film in 2017.
When Invasion of Astro-Monster was first released on December 19, 1965, it received an attendance of 3,780,000. On its March 17, 1971 re-issue during the Toho Champion Festival, it sold 1,350,000 tickets, adding up to a rough total of 5,130,000 attendees.
Invasion of Astro-Monster is very popular among fans, often dubbed a classic due to its extraordinary sci-fi story, special effects, plot, and cast.
Simitar DVD (1998)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono and 5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: None
- Special Features: Optional 1.33:1 presentation (cropped), Simitar-produced trailers for the company's kaiju releases, art gallery, trivia game
- Notes: Out of print.
Toho DVD (2003)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 and 5.1)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special Features: Audio commentary by Yoshio Tsuchiya, theatrical trailer, interactive storybook, 8mm version of the film (5 minutes)
Madman DVD (2005)
- Region: 4
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono and 5.1)
- Subtitles: English
- Special Features: Poster gallery, Japanese trailer, Madman-made trailers
Classic Media DVD (2007)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special Features: Audio commentary for Monster Zero by Stuart Galbraith IV, Tomoyuki Tanaka featurette (8 minutes), poster slideshow
- Notes: Read the details of the U.S. version's reconstruction here. Reissued in 2012, both releases are out of print.
- Region: A/1 or B/2
- Discs: 8
- Audio: Japanese, English
- Subtitles: English
- Special Features: All bonus features on Criterion's Godzilla Blu-ray, 1990 Ishiro Honda interview by Yoshimitsu Banno, interview with director Alex Cox, interviews with actors Bin Furuya and Tsugutoshi Komada, 2011 interview with critic Tadao Sato, unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters, trailers, illustrated hardcover book with an essay by Steve Ryfle and liner notes on each film by Ed Godziszewski
- Notes: Uses a new English subtitle translation. To be released on October 29, 2019. Sony will distribute the Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom on November 25.
- This film marks the very first appearance of an alien race in a Godzilla film, a trope that would persist in subsequent films. The alien race introduced in this film, the Xiliens, would become popular recurring villains in the franchise, appearing in video games such as Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! and the television series Godzilla Island, and even reappearing in the film Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004. The Exif aliens featured in the GODZILLA anime trilogy are also inspired by the Xiliens.
- Invasion of Astro-Monster is the first Godzilla film to use extensive stock footage during action scenes, recycling shots from Rodan, The Mysterians, and Mothra during the Xilien-directed rampages of Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah.
- An updated version of the "Frigate March" from the soundtrack for the original Godzilla film, which would become known as the "Monster Zero March," is heard multiple times in this film, including during the opening credits and the scene where the Xiliens' mind control is broken.
- Godzilla's victory dance from this film appears as an unlockable attack in the PlayStation 4 version of Natsume Atari and Bandai Namco's Godzilla video game that can be used by Godzilla, Godzilla 1964, and Burning Godzilla.
- The kiss between Miss Namikawa and Glenn in this film was the first and only onscreen kiss in a Toho Godzilla film until GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle in 2018.
- Invasion of Astro-Monster was the first Godzilla film Toho co-produced with an American studio, being co-produced with Henry G. Saperstein's United Productions of America (UPA). It was the second collaboration between Toho and UPA, the first being Frankenstein vs. Baragon, which was released earlier that same year.
- Two props from previous Toho tokusatsu films appear in the film: Tetsuo Tori has the JX-2 rocketship from Gorath in his apartment, and the Atomic Heat Ray Gun from Mothra is the device the Xiliens use to revive Godzilla and Rodan on Planet X.
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