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Yosei Gorasu

Gorath

Japan 1962
produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka for Toho
directed by Ishiro Honda
starring Ryo Ikebe, Yumi Shirakawa, Akira Kubo, Takashi Shimura, Kumi Mizuno, Ken Uehara, Fumio Sakamoto, Ko Nishimura, Keiko Sata, Akihiko Hirata, Jun Tazaki, Nadao Kirino, Kenji Sahara, Masanari Nihei, Hiroshi Tachikawa, Takamaru Sasaki, Eitaro Ozawa, Akira Yamada
screenplay by Jojiro Okami, based on a story by Takeshi Kimura, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, Akira Watanabe, music by Kan Ishii

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Scientists discover that a star, Gorath, 6000 times the mass of earth, is approaching our solar system, & ultimately earth itself. So a rocket is sent up to explore this star, but Gorath's gravitational pull is too strong, causing the rocket to crash.

To avoid Gorath destroying earth, scientist Tazawa (Ryo Ikebe) suggests 2 strategies: First to send up another spaceship & try to blow up Gorath, & second to build a gigantic rocket drive on the South Pole 6 try to rocket the earth out of its set orbit & thereby evade Gorath.

The first strategy (blowing up Gorath) proves futile, the only effect is that astronaut Kanai (Akira Kubo) looks straight at (& into) the explosion, which causes his mind to snap & him to lose his memory. Even back on earth, when Takiko (Yumi Shirakawa), the woman he loves, takes care of him, that fails to trigger his memory.

Building a rocket drive for earth seems to be more successful, as soon the earth slightly alters its orbit ... bjut then a giant walrus that seems to have been frozen in the Antarctic ice but was thawed up by the heat of the rocket drive, wreaks ahvoc & ultimately has to be shot down by Tazawa & company.

As Gorath approaches earth, it simply sucks up the moon & causes massive tidal waves that desstroy Tokyo, but ultimately, the rocked drive proves strong enough to just evade Gorath ... 6 seeing Gorath pass by earth - instead of crashing into it - retriggers Kanai's memory at long last. Now all that's left to do is to steer the earth back into its normal orbit ...

 

Despite some nice elements - a star sucking up planets in its path, a rocket powere earth, & of course massive destruction thanks to special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya - this is one of Inoshiro Honda's least appealing efforts of the time: Too much time is spent on irrelevant human subplots - like Kanai's lovelife & his amnesia, & scientists just arguing -, while the main plot (the possible destruction of earth) takes back seat a tad too frequently to really entertain (& there is massive entertainment value in the destruction of earth).

By the way, the giant walrus was put into the film at the behjest of Tomoyuki Tanaka, Inoshiro Honda opposed the idea. In retrospect, Honda seems to have been right, since all the export prints miss the walrus-scenes. & to tell you the truth, the walrus scenes look quite crappy, too.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD