After a giant aquatic creature is caught off of the coast of Ireland and sold in to the circus in London, the lizard's larger, meaner mother shows up to destroy the city and reclaim her baby! Although GORGO is clearly a reaction to the popularity of KING KONG and GODZILLA, the film was actually conceived by director Eugene Lourie, who is best known for creating THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (which had originally influenced Ishiro Honda in Japan). GORGO comes across as anything but a cheap rip-off of the films preceding it. The forced perspective, split mattes, composites, and miniature work each contribute to an impressive overall effect that comes exceedingly close to the Japanese leaders out of Toho studios. If one aspect of the film detracts the most from its overall believability, it would have to be the costume of the creatures, themselves. While Gorgo (and mom) show improved designs over many of the Gamera villains from the same era, the awkwardly proportioned bodies and rigid body movements are constant reminders that the creatures are just men in big rubber suits. Like the original GODZILLA, GORGO is very mean-spirited, depicting the monsters killing hundreds of bystanders by trampling them and burying them beneath their destructive paths. The larger of the two monsters rips through the streets of London, while leveling the convincing scale models of Big Ben, Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, and other major attractions. The human elements are handled evenly with the giant monster rampage, lead competently by both Bill Travers and William Sylvester as the boat captains that work with the military to subdue the beasts. Every attempt has been made to recreate the success of both THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and GODZILLA, but while it proves to be a valid attempt, it still falls short of its predecessors and lacks the social and political significance that set GODZILLA apart in the giant monster cinema. GORGO is certainly worth checking out for any giant monster fans!
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