An expedition in the South Pacific lands on a tropical island where the natives worship the mysterious deity Gappa. An earthquake opens up an underground cavern and a baby reptile is ...
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When an ancient statue is moved for display in Expo '70, a giant, vaguely Triceratops-like monster is released. The monster goes to Japan in pursuit of the statue and ends up battling Gamera, the giant flying turtle.
An expedition in the South Pacific lands on a tropical island where the natives worship the mysterious deity Gappa. An earthquake opens up an underground cavern and a baby reptile is discovered inside. The natives warn the foreigners to leave the hatching alone, but they don't listen and take it back to a zoo in Japan. Soon after, moma and papa Gappa start smashing Tokyo looking for their kidnapped child. Written by
Jeremy Lunt <email@example.com>
There was an urban legend that Nikkatsu's international English prints originally had a racist line, "The monsters are attacking Tokyo. Fortunately they are attacking the Negro section of town" (and that the line was changed). This was untrue. See more »
("Great Giant Beast Gappa")
Opening & Ending Theme (Japanese Version only)
Music by Masao Yoneyama
Arrangement by Iwao Shigematsu
Lyrics by Hikari Ichijô
Performed by Katsuhiko Miki See more »
Move over Dr Strangelove; "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" is the new satire in town. Okay, maybe my sarcasm is unjustified, Japanese satire is either too high brow for me or gets completely lost in translation. And its perfectly easy to loose anything in the atrocious dubbing kaiju films get plastered with.
If I'm kind I have to call it a parody of King Kong; as the film deals with an expedition force, who are trying to find exotic animals for a new theme park, stumbling across a mysterious island where the indigenous tribe (who look strangely similar to Japanese with coal on their faces) worship a god called Gappa. The expedition take a baby Gappa back to Japan, with the parents in hot pursuit. Cue the miniatures.
With the hideously handled love side story and the hilariously sentimental finale, I can only assume that this film was intended as tongue in cheek fare, and the satire label certainly confirms this. This aside however, the film is terrific by the standards of the time, with incredible amounts of destruction and very little time to breathe in between. Whether I'm missing the supposed hard-hitting social satire I don't really care; "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" is a wonderfully extravagant example of monster films done properly, with a plot that doesn't dither amount and action that moves back to Japan pretty swiftly and doesn't let up from then on. The clichés are all over the place but this is hardly an issue, intentional or otherwise. Certainly, a kaiju film trying its hand at satire would be expected to be about as subtle as a ton of bricks, and with this in mind the film could have turned out a hell of a lot worse.
(To the elite, "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" has a special appeal. The Gappas are the very same monsters that menaced Kryten and Rimmer on wax world in series 4 of Red Dwarf; and as Kryten observed, you've probably seen more convincing dinosaurs in a packet of "wheatie flakes")
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