By David Bruce
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RODAN was Toho's second entry into the monster movie genre, following quickly on their success with Godzilla. It is one of the better monster movies and ranks as one of the top 5 monster films from Toho which include GODZILLA, GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1964), and MOTHRA.
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    This huge creature, flying at supersonic speed, generates typhoon force winds destroying the countryside and cities not just by trampling buildings but simply by flying over them. This is the Japanese version of the satanic chaos monster. During the World War the atom bombs were dropped from the air on Japan. Rodan is the personification of that horror. The plot and the issues are the same as Godzilla. It is a way of telling the rest of the world about the sheer horror they had to face and the dangers of continued atomic testing. 
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   The movie starts out showing H-bombs blowing up a Pacific island that has a mine on it. It caves in. In the mine, nature goes amuck. A mine worker is mysteriously killed by what turns out to be a giant insect loose in the mines. However, what else has been resurrected is far worse. A giant egg hatches, and the monster, a giant Pteranadon, emerges.

Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001

It should be emphasized that in the Japanese version of this film (called there RADON, MONSTER FROM THE SKY), the H-bomb footage does not appear, nor is the film narrated. Much of the music is different as well, although that which does remain of the score is dialed to a higher level than the unfortunately meager mix in the Japanese version.

The American version also mucks with some of the sequencing, showing TWO Rodans rising out of the canyon one after the other. In the Japanese version, the second Rodan appears during the last stages of the battle in Fukuoka (renamed Sasebo in the American version). I don't find either version of this unveiling particularly effective (in the Japanese cut, it just happens out of nowhere, and not at a critical moment in the story, while in the American print, it's so obviously the same footage reversed, it's depressing.)

Plotwise in the Japanese version, Rodan (Radon) is simply THERE, without a great deal of explanation. It's not a mutant like Godzilla, nor meant to evoke the same images. The picture isn't really about the threat of nuclear testing in the same way GODZILLA is.

What DOES interest me about the Japanese version is that it's so obviously about the bond of marriage. Look at the lead characters, Shigeru and Kiyo, who are weirdly mirrored in the image of the mated Rodans, and consider that the first human victims of the Rodans are a married couple on their honeymoon. Consider as well that one Rodan prefers to die rather than give up its mate. (This is more overt in the English version with the narration, but is equally clear in both.) As with the original GODZILLA, director Ishiro Honda was trying to portray farewells to the things that matter -- for instance, towards the very end, Kiyo is seen picking flowers in the field that's about to be swallowed by lava, to have SOMETHING to remember of the town the characters grew up in and where they likely figured they'd spend the rest of their lives. Even more than GODZILLA, RODAN is fundamentally a tragedy: the only reason the Rodans must die is because humanity wants to live. Honda signals this with the image of Kiyo in tears at the end: the beasts must die simply because of what they are, and that in itself makes it sad -- all the more so because we are shown that they can feel love and loyalty, at least for one another. "Monsters are born too tall, too strong, too heavy," Honda often said, adding "THAT is their tragedy." I believe he felt a real sympathy for the Rodans that he did not originally have for Godzilla, although in the last scenes of that film, Honda and his team extended a kind of sympathy to him as well: his agonized final war-cry from the depths of his ruined lungs -- as purely evil as Godzilla was for the whole rest of the picture, that scene's nonetheless a heartbreaker.

Mr. Honda once told me that he preferred RODAN even over the original GODZILLA; although I don't agree that RODAN is superior (it has some great stuff in it, but some terrible handicaps as well), I found that comment extremely revealing. Of all his monster films other than smidgens of FRANKENSTEIN VS. BARAGON, it's the closest to a real romance, and the weird thing about his career is, when he was starting out as an assistant director, coworkers assumed that female-oriented romances were going to be his specialty. He directed a fair number of those in the fifties, but even inside Japan mainly is remembered for his fantasy films. (Honda's only straightforward love story in the fantasy genre is the amazing THE HUMAN VAPOR [1960], although, again, the English version -- which does have its good points -- bears little resemblance to the Japanese cut.)

(P.S. as before, please kindly withhold my e-mail address)

Subject: Rodan
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: Petrie

I am wants to tell this to "Xan"!! Godzilla's ancestors is form TYRANNOSAURUS-REX!!! And I have a book of all of the Godzilla's monster movies. It's call THE OFFICIAL GODZILLA COMPENDIUM!! And it's publish by RANDON HOUSE!! It's have 143 pages long with words & lots of pitchers!! And I am a big Godzilla fan!! My childhood is the 1970's & on Saturday afternoon. I use to watch to on TV the Godziila's monster movies & other Japanese TV shows to. And the first thing that's comes in my mind about the nation of Japan is GODZILLA!!

In the book of the Godzilla on page 105 it's shows the skeleton of the new Godzilla to a the Tyrannosaurus-rex body. Godzilla is much much much bigger then the Tyrannosaurus-rex. By size Godzilla is the size of the Earth. And the Tyrannosaurus-rex is the size of the Earth's moon!! Godzilla is 40 times bigger the Tyrannosaurus-rex.

And on page 103 this show the skulls of Godzilla & Tyrannosaurus-rex looking the just the same!! Is show the size of the skull of Godzilla & Tyrannosaurus-rex at the same size by is not a the sames SCALE!!! But it's look the same. Godzilla's skull is round & short. And Tyrannosaurus-rex's skull is long & flat!! And if I do have a scanner? I will scanne page 105 of the book of the Godzilla & Tyrannosaurus-rex. To show "Xan" the ancestor of Godzilla is Tyrannosaurus-rex!!!

Sincerely By. Jeffery H. Marzi.
P.S. I wood like to have Xan's e.mailing address??
And I wood like to write to Xan DIRECTLY!!!!!!

Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000
From: Xan

CYBORG+DINOSAURS for one thing Godzilla isn't a Tyrannosaurus he is a made up Dinosaur called Godzillasaurus. And your ideas about cyborg Dinosaurs that help humans on a park is stupid and how a human is inside a Tyrannosaurus your other story about a Pterodactyloid is stupid too. It's a bunch of bull that is worthless. Try yourself with writing stories about killer monsters and Dinosaurs that aren't stupid cyborgs. Xan

Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000
From: Jeffery Marzi

I wants to tell you this? DINOSAURS our HOT now of days & kids love dinosaurs allots!! And the most popleter dinosaur that's kids like the best. Is the TYRANNOSAURUS-REX!!! Then all other specie of dinosaurs. My favorite dinosaur is the Pterodactyloids the flying dinosaur & I wrote two science fiction stores about dinosaurs. My first story is Prehistoric park. And my second story is Pterodactyloid man's flight to Paris....... I want to tell you this? I am a big Godzilla fan 100%!! Godzilla is a Tyrannosaurus-rex!! But Radon is a Pterodactyloid!! And the name of the Pterodactyloid man in my second story is RADON!! I was thinking naming the Pterodactyloid man RODAN? But I do not want to get in TROUBLE with TOHO!! Toho is the Producer of RODAN!! So I want to safe then sorry & I do not want Toho to sue me!! So The name of the Pterodactyloid in my second story is RADON not RODAN!! Both of my stores publish by Pablo Lennis magazine. But Pablo Lennis is a small one man run publication & John Thiel of Pablo Lennis magazine. Only publish your stores ONES & it's non profits to? But it's bether then NOTHING!!!!!!!!! And I want to tell you this so you will not miss under stands me?? I wrote & copyrighted the sequel of Jurassic park. Before Michael Crichton wrote his sequel call the lost world. At first my first story of Prehistoric park WAS the sequel of Jurassic park FIRST!! Now my first story of Prehistoric park is a SPIN-OFF SEQUEL of Jurassic park. Becuase of Michael Crichton's LUST FOR MONEY!!! But thanks you JESUS I got my first story of Prehistoric park COPYRIGHTED FIRST!!!!!!!! My sequel is ten years in the future. And Crihton's sequel is 8 years in the future & that's my ADVANTAGE!! Becuase the dinosaur park haves bin ABANDON!! a second time & it's theirs for the taking!!!!! In my first story of Prehistoric park. The party of human our in a sailboat race & we sail pass the west side of the island & sail back in to international waters. Then out in international waters? Our sailboats crash together & sinks!! Then in our lifeboats? We see the island & to be glad to be on dry land!! Then the party of humans just found out that's we our in the dinosaur park & can not get off the island!! But the party of humans our working together & we make CYBORGS out of all of the savage dinosaurs!! We SIMULATED all of the VELOCIRAPTORS & DILOPHSAURUS!! And this new dinosaur park is a safe & peice park. Run by CYBORG VELOCIRAPTORS & DILOPHSAURUS!! Cyborg Velociraptors our not PROGRAM to attack & kill humans. And cyborg Dilophsaurus our not PROGRAM to spits & attack & kill humans. Alln cyborg Velociraptors & Dilophsaurus our PROGRAM to serve humans & runs this new dinosaurs dinosaur park!! It's a robot's brain in a dinosaur's body!! And all cyborg dinosaurs do haves a satellite dish on top of theirs heads!! But that's not the best part of my first story of Prehistoric park.......... The best part of my first story is. Thirs a man inside the skull of the TYRANNOSAURUS-REX!! And the man's human body becomes a organ of the Tyrannosaurus-rex's body!! And the man inside the brain cavity of the Tyrannosaurus-rex's skull is a preacher or partor!! And I haves a warp drive engines back pack. And the man inside the Tyrannosaurus-rex. Is wearing the warp drive engines back pack of the Tyrannosaurus-rex's back!! And Ihaves the man inside the Tyrannosaurus-rex. Is riding on the back of a Brachiosaurus!!! Plus much much much much much more!!!!!!!!!! Not I want to tell you about my second story Pterodactyloid man's flight to Paris. Radon the Pterodactyloid man. Wants to be the first living thing with wings on it's body. To fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!! But Radon needs to be SIMULATED as a CYBORG PTERODACTYLOID MAN!!!!!!!!!!! My second story to a point? Is like FRANKENSTEIN!!!! But I get my body parts form a giant anaconda snake!! First Radon haves all of his skin remove & replace form the giant anaconda snake. So Radon haves bigger & stroger wings!! Then Radon aves all of his muscles remove & replace form the giant anaconda snake. So Radon haves bigger & stroger breast arms & legs muscles!! Then Radon do haves the anaconda snake's heart to. So with a bigger & stroger heart & with bigger & stroger breast arms & legs muscles. Radon can flaps his bigger & stroger wings!! So Radon can fly across the north Atlantic ocean!!!! As a cyborg Pterodactyloid man? Radon do haves allots of artifical implants to. And this is Radon's bear body is. Before options equipment is needed. First Radon haves a stainless steel shell that's coves his torso & legs of stainless steel & the stainless steel shell is on the Pterodactyloid man's body for good!! And theirs 8 I.Vs on the stainless steel shell to. But the best artifical implant that's Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man like the best is his BLOOD HEATER!!! Radon the Pterodactyloid is reptillian?? But Radon wants to be warm as a mammal? So Radon haves a blood heater implanted inside his body!! But to implant his blood heater inside his body? First Radon haves to haves all of his sex organs remove to implants his blood heater inside his body. Radon wants to be warm as a mammal then haves sex!! Radon needs warmth not sex!! And this is Radon's bear body......... Now this is all of the options equipment is needed. So Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Can fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!! First Radon haves a big back pack on the Pterodactyloid man's back. The front part of the back pack is. Radon's navigatinal computer. To help Radon navigate over the north Atlantic ocean & other needs to. And the rest of the back pack is. The 6 1/4 size beer kegs to carry. All of the liquids as food or fuel nutriment to power a cyborg Pterodactyloid msn. Radon haves I.Vs pumps two pumps is pumping the I.Vs solution in Radon's breast arms & legs muscles. That's keeping Radon's breast arms & legs muscles flapping his wings!! And with all of the I.Vs solution is being pup in Radon's body. The Pterodactyloid man will urinating allots. So Radon haves a body waste discharge shutter port. It's shapes like a cone & the shutter is like the shutter of a camera. Then Radon haves a lap top computr color monitor. Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Can see all of his maps & charts & airplane instrument gauges & other needs to. And the monitor is clamped on his crest & just comes down just over his beask. Then Radon haves a two small key boards strapped on the palms of his palms of his hands. So Radon can controls all of his equipment as Radon is flapping his wings!! Radon do haves two 1/4 inch reed in force tubing on his body. So the I.V.s solution is carry to the 8 I.Vs on his body. So that's keeping Radon's wings flapping all the time!! So Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Will be the first living thing with wings on it's body. To fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!!! Plus much much much much much more!!!!!!!!! An like I say before? DINOSAURS our hot now of days & kids love diosaurs allots!! Jurassic park & the lost world is not for kids?? But allots of kids did watch both movies?? Becuase theirs DINOSAURS!!!!! I am looking fo a regular movie producer or a cartoon movie producer? To produce both of my stores in the movies or cartoon movies!! And I do needs your help?? To makes movies or cartoons out of both of my stores. If you can makes regular movies out of both of my stores? Then both of my stores will needs allots of SPECIAL EFFECTS!! And movies with SPECIAL EFFECTS our block bster movies & makes tons & tons & tons of money!! But both of my stores can be cartoons movies as well. What's will you can be it's & wants will comes first? And both of my stores will TAKE-OFF in the movies & in the box office!!! And I can not makes movies out of both of my stores? You can help find me & regular or a cartoon movie producer as well.. I do haves WEBTV & Webtv do haves it's limits?? And I wood like to send both of my stores to you!! But Webtv do not havs any scanner options of any kinds? So I do needs your regular mailing address? So please E-MAIL your regular mailing address to me?? And YES I will mail both of my stores to you!!! And YES I will mail both of my stores to you by PRIORITY MAIL!!! And YES that's will be my TOP PRIORITY!!!!!!!!!!!
Sincerely By. Jeffery H. Marzi.
P.S. I do haves drawing of both of my stores. I haves 13 drawing of my first story of Prehistoric park. And I haves 25 drawing of my second story of Pterodactyloid man's flight to Paris.............

I saw the original in a theatre in Chicago in 1957 or so. I'd love to get a VHS copy. So VERY COOL!!!

March 29, 1999. RODAN was an outstandingly entertaining film. Very COOL!

June 12, 1999. Hey, way cool dude! I liked the movie a lot. Especialy the part where he has the girl friend. –Elizabeth.

Film clips are images © Toho. All rights reserved.