In limited re-release this month at the historical Egyptian Theater in Hollywood is "Rodan" (1956). Rodan was director Ishiro Honda's followup to his smash hit, Godzilla. Although Godzilla has become more famous over the years, Rodan was actually a bigger box office hit at the time. It also has the singular distinction of being the first Japanese monster movie filmed in color. (If you can't make it to the Egyptian to see this monster classic on the big screen you can always console yourself with the DVD, in stores now.)
Unlike most creature features of the time, Rodan doesn't make you wait a very long time for the creepy-crawlies to show up. The Meganurons (giant prehistoric dragonfly larva, for those not in the know) make their appearance pretty early in the film -- they'll soon serve as food for the big cheese, Rodan himself. When our title character is awakened from his long slumber of millions of years, he's a bit cranky. He tries to destroy Tokyo, much to the shock and terror of its inhabitants. There are some great scenes of Rodan flying around, taking out military planes and causing ear-shattering sonic booms. Then, as if the Japanese city weren't having a bad enough day already, a second Rodan (the mate of the first) flies into the picture! The winged dinosaur monsters then double-team all the cars, buildings and people who dare to get in their way. The primitive special effects are a hoot to watch, and it's fun to hear some of the famous voices doing the dubbing for the American version (among the people doing the voiceover work for Rodan are Paul Frees, Keye Luke, and George Takei of Star Trek fame).
Rodan is only playing at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. In the month of August, The Egyptian will present their annual science fiction, fantasy and horror film festival. From August 5 till August 29, 2004 there will be a plethora of bloody old favorites and shocking new debuts (most notably, the premiere of Tobe Hooper's "The Toolbox Murders").
(by Staci Layne Wilson)