Horrors linger above in the sky, the unmapped star system beyond this planet strikes fear into those that believe there is something out there waiting to attack. Why we as a Populus are more concerned with what is above than what is below is a striking damnation of our inability to see where real danger lies. We must explore our own planet and the depths it holds before we jet off to the stars looking for trouble. Jun Fukuda considers this with Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Its title should give way to the obvious ruminations, the crab-like monsters that lurk deep on the ocean surface. What lies underwater is no match for the King of Kaiju, though, as expected, he tears through foes yet again in a competent rendition of monster madness.
With its usual shortcomings of bland and caricature-like human characters, it is a shame that, by this point, Fukuda is not attempting to utilise other means of successful storytelling. Few delve into a monster flick hoping for rich characters and a clear goal for their efforts. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is another example of cast members trying their all when the minimum amount of effort and screen time would be the ideal scenario. Sloppy scenarios that see dance classes and corny music played out to this budding group of potential heroes. It is truly impossible to tell this is meant to be a Godzilla film when most of the time is spent with these achingly dull individuals. Just because they are in the vicinity of villainy does not make them interesting.
More fools are trapped on an island, they find themselves encountering a monstrous being from a land long before their time, and soon Godzilla is called upon or shows up by happenstance and sorts this out for the dullard humans. By the time the creatures of the deep and atomic era are upon the screen, it is too late. The interest has dissipated and the twists of secret government plants are simply not enough when they are inhabited solely by uninteresting fools. Feeling more like a product of early James Bond films at times, the villainous generals who are spotted in and around the area reek of poorly-aged material and are ultimately futile in their intentions. Even the appearance of the titular monster and its impressive stature is introduced with deep guitar riffs not too dissimilar to the Monty Norman classic that has defined the Ian Fleming spy adaptations for decades.
None of it is worth suffering through for the rather hollow fight scenes that follow. Crustaceans clamouring for creativity are no friend of the Godzilla design, which here seems far worse and leans further into comedy than quality. An inevitable change, perhaps, but the sudden shift in tone and dive in quality go hand in hand, making this not only boring, but far removed from the moments that were making the rest of the series bearable. Godzilla is no longer a kaiju to be feared, he is a puppet. A cartoon piece of media that can be lambasted into any form of narrative. His fear factor has ebbed away, and the fear that this is the beginning of a slippery slope is present indeed.