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Invasion of the Astro-Monster
434px-Invasion of Astro-Monster poster
Date of Release: December 19, 1965 (Japan)
April 6, 1970 (U.S.)
Boogeymen: Godzilla
King Ghidorah
Rodan
Preceded by: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
Followed by: Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster

Invasion of Astro-Monster (also titled "The Great Monster War", "Monster Zero", or "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero"); is a Japanese/American Science Fiction kaiju film released in 1965. The film was co-produced between the Japanese company Toho, and Henry G. Saperstein's American company UPA, marking the only time a Godzilla film was co-produced with an American studio. Directed by Ishirō Honda, and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, the film starred Hollywood actor Nick Adams, alongside Japanese actors Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno and Akira Kubo. The 6th film in the Godzilla series, this was also the first film to feature alien invaders, combining the series with outer space themes, such as civilizations on other planets and interplanetary space travel.

Plot

In the late 1960s, a two-man spacecraft, crewed by a Japanese and American (Fuji and Glenn), approaches Jupiter's orbit to explore the newly discovered Planet X. The planet maintains a position directly behind Jupiter, leaving its surface in twilight, with just enough light to make it possible to navigate its surface.

After landing and disembarking, one of the astronauts and the ship vanishes, leaving the other to wonder where they have gone. Suddenly, a flat voice comes over the communications link and instructs the lone astronaut down into subterranean corridors to the office of the Controller of Planet X, where he finds his shipmate.

The spacecraft is safe, the controller assures them and indicates that their location is about to be attacked. The astronauts recognize the attacking monster is King Ghidorah, the three-headed space dragon. The astronauts lose contact with the Controller, but afterwards they are assured that Ghidorah, known to the Xians as Monster Zero, is gone.

The Controller asks for Earth's help: they want to capture Godzilla and Rodan, known to the Xians as Monster Zero-One and Monster Zero-Two. In return, Planet X will gift humanity with a wonder drug that can cure all diseases. The astronauts agree to return home with the proposal. As they lift off, they say on the radio to the Controller, "We're glad we found friends on Planet X."

Meanwhile, Fuji's sister's boyfriend, Tetsuo, has invented a personal alarm he thinks women could use if they're attacked. It creates an extremely loud noise that can be heard for a long distance. Tetsuo wonders, though, why no one is interested in buying it. Eventually, a Miss Namikawa makes an offer to buy the alarm as an educational device, though she keeps putting Tetsuo off on completing the deal. In truth, her boss wants the device and the plans destroyed.

Fuji and Glenn tell their superiors about the offer from Planet X. Scientists begin searching for Godzilla and Rodan. The Controller of Planet X suddenly makes an appearance on Earth, and both Glenn, who is dating Miss Namikawa and Fuji both become suspicious of Planet X. The Controller apologizes for his unannounced presence and offers to help locate the two monsters. Two Planet X spacecraft rapidly deploy to capture the two monsters.

Glenn, Fuji and Dr. Sakurai are invited to accompany the Controller back to Planet X, a trip that takes only a few hours; the Controller says that soon they'll be able to travel at the speed of light. When they reach Planet X, there is an immediate attack by Ghidorah, and the two monsters from Earth are released to battle him. Ghidorah is driven off and the Controller is extremely happy. He presents the astronauts with a box he says contains the formula for the miracle drug. He also gives the three men duplicate of their spaceship so they can fly home.

Back home the box is taken to a special meeting and in it is found a reel-to-reel tape. It is loaded to play, but when the speakers remain silent for a long period, some wonder if the systems are compatible. Finally, after a beep a voice states, "I am the controller of Planet X. To the people of the Earth. I command that you obey the following orders..." It is an ultimatum to surrender to Planet X or be destroyed by all three monsters.

The Xians soon arrive and destroy the gift spacecraft. They also threaten to release King Ghidorah, Godzilla and Rodan. Overly confident, the Xians show the world how they control the monsters through magnetic waves. The Earth scientists know they can exploit this information and work rapidly to find a way to disrupt the waves. Meanwhile, Earth's armies fight the three monsters with conventional weapons as they destroy much of Japan.

Tetsuo, is unhappy his device is not being used, and he is unable to get Miss Namikawa to tell him what's happening. He decides to follow her, but is captured by Planet X soldiers. Glenn eventually discovers Miss Namikawa is from Planet X and all their women are virtually identical. Fearing what he knows, the Xians arrest him and put in the same cell as Tetsuo. However, this proves to be their undoing as he and Tetsuo begin to cooperate. Before she is disintegrated by a soldier, Namikawa gives Glenn a letter in which she told him the weakness of the people of Planet X: the sound from Tetsuo's alarm. Tetsuo, who still has the prototype, sets it off. It paralyzes the Planet X soldiers, enabling Glenn and Tetsuo to escape.

They reach the space center scientists and explain about the alarm. Arrangements are made to broadcast it on all radio and television stations, but only when the magnetic disruption devices are deployed.

The three monsters are no longer under Planet X control, as their spacecraft explode as their crews try to escape the debilitating alarm noise. The invaders withdraw from the Earth. Meanwhile, Godzilla and Rodan attacks Ghidorah, forcing all three to fall into the sea. Ghidorah emerges and retreats to outer space, but Godzilla and Rodan never resurface, leading the humans to wonder whether King Ghidorah defeated them.

Glenn and Fuji are to be sent to Planet X again as ambassadors to seek peaceful relations.

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