Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rodan (1956) is a science fiction movie made at Toho Studios in Japan, and was the studio's first color feature. It is one of a series of "giant monster" movies that found an audience outside of Japan (especially in America). The first "giant monster" movies of the 1950s, called kaiju, were filmed as serious horror and adventure stories, before the genre devolved to the level of "kiddie" entertainment in the 1960s and 1970s.
Rodan follows in the footsteps of other Japanese monster movies, such as Godzilla, which involve a giant monster being awoken from an ancient hibernation by human beings. In Rodan, miners digging far into the earth stumble across a clutch of giant caterpillar-like insects, which viciously attack several of the miners and prompt a government investigation into the matter. The giant bugs turn out to be little more than food for two gigantic flying beasts (similar to the pteranodon, except they are far bigger and far more powerful), who hatch from giant eggs and proceed to terrorize the entire world.
Rodan is notable for its action scenes, which are surprisingly well filmed and still excite audiences today. Unlike most of the Toho monster movies, which featured "action" scenes consisting of roaring monsters lumbering across the landscape at a stupefyingly slow pace, the battle scenes and monster rampage in Rodan are thrilling, exciting, and fast-paced; it is much easier for the audience to suspend disbelief and accept the low-tech special effects here. The emphasis on action, thrills, and willingness to scare the audience makes Rodan one of the superior films in the kaiju series.
The character Rodan has appeared in several Godzilla films including Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla: Final Wars.
Rodan the monster should not be confused with Rodin the artist.
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