Film (1967; vt The X from Outer Space). Shôchiku Eiga. Directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu. Written by Moriyoshi Ishida, Eibi Motomochi, Kazui Nihonmatsu. Starring Toshiya Wazaki, Peggy Neal, Keisuke Sonoi, Shinichi Yanagisawa, Mike Daneen. 89 minutes. Colour.
Four astronauts – Captain Sano (Wazaki), biologist Lisa (Neal), Dr Shioda (Sonoi), and communications officer Miyamoto (Yanagisawa) – are sent on a flight to Mars to investigate the failure of six previous missions. After encountering and eluding a UFO, they are ordered back to the Moon because Shioda is ill with "a form of space sickness", and he is replaced by a reluctant Dr Stein (Daneen). Back on course for Mars, they again encounter the UFO and discover a strange substance and small spores resembling transparent eggs clinging to their Spaceship's hull. After Lisa takes one spore and brings it back to Earth, it turns into an enormous reptilian Monster, named Guilala in the American version of the film, that begins ravaging the Japanese countryside. Going to the Moon to study the substance that surrounded the spores, Lisa discovers that it is an Element called Guilalanium, also found on the Moon, which has the power to keep the alien life form dormant. Though their return to Earth is disrupted by another appearance by the UFO, they succeed in bringing a supply of Guilalanium to Earth, and after aeroplanes coat the monster with the white substance, it shrinks down to its original egg-like form. Since it cannot be destroyed, the spore is sent in a spaceship on "an endless voyage . . . to circle the sun."
While it ultimately devolves into a rather standard Monster Movie, Uchūdaikaijū Girara devotes a surprising amount of time and attention to the Space Flight that brings the monster's egg back to Earth, with the implication that the unseen Aliens, already determined to keep humanity from reaching Mars, have contrived to bedevil them with an enormous Dinosaur as well. There are also some surprisingly realistic scenes showing life on the Moon before the film settles into the familiar pattern of a destructive monster's progress toward Tokyo. Over four decades after its original release, the film inspired a deliberately comical sequel, Girara no Gyakushū: Tōya-ko Samitto Kkikiippatsu (2008; vt The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G-8 Summit), wherein the monster returns via an unmanned Chinese spaceship to menace the Japanese summit of world leaders held in 2008. [GW]
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