Thursday, September 13, 2007

SPACE AMOEBA

A mutated single-cell life form causes havoc in Inshiro Honda’s (GOJIRA) kaiju spoof, SPACE AMOEBA (GEZORA, GANIME, KAMEBA: KESSEN! NANKAI NO DAIKAIJ├Ť, 1970), the last non-Godzilla kaiju film from the man who pretty much defined the genre.

An alien organism catches a ride on a space probe returning to Earth, which crashes into the Pacific near a small, tropical island inhabited only by a few native fisherman and a group of entrepreneurs planning a tourist resort. Unfortunately for them, the organism soon causes three local sea creatures – a cuttlefish, a turtle and a shrimp – to mutate into giant monsters… and they’re hungry.

The film is a colorful, fast-paced kaiju fantasy that is, in many ways, an affectionate satire of the studio’s successful and popular GODZILLA series and Toho’s other kaiju klassics. In fact, while SPACE AMOEBA eschews the usual model city smashing and mass armies of model tanks, it offers the viewer an enjoyable tropical romp with some truly inspired monster designs, marvelous vintage effects, plenty of action, and lots of intentional humor.

The recent DVD from Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock presents the film (originally released to America as YOG, MONSTER FROM SPACE) in a beautiful, almost flawless 2.35 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The movie’s been given a new 5.1 Surround mix, and includes both English and Japanese dialogue tracks. There’s a commentary by producer Fumio Tanaka, a documentary on the three real-world sea animals that Toho reimagined as giant monsters for the film, and two original Japanese theatrical trailers.

For fans of Japanese giant monster films looking for something a bit different, SPACE AMOEBA is highly recommended.

BUY: Space Amoeba