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The Godzilla Reviews - Page 5

Godzilla vs. Mothra

Year: 1992
Era: Heisei
a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mothra: Battle for Earth

THE JIST: In response to human attempts to control the climate, two ancient Earth guardians, Mothra and Battra, emerge to do battle over the fate of human civilization, with Godzilla trapped in the middle.

THE VERDICT: This is a weak reimagining of Mothra vs. Godzilla. It's part Indiana Jones ripoff and part preachy afterschool environmentalist movie, complete with whiny, one-dimensional characters and plot threads that seem to go nowhere. Battra is also kind of anti-climactic, overshadowed by the might of Godzilla and Mothra. Granted, the battle scenes are pretty good, but on the whole, this is only a slight improvement over Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.


Year: 1993
Era: Heisei
a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

THE JIST: The United Nations builds two giant weapons out of the remains of Mecha King Ghidorah, an airborne gunship called the Garuda, and Mechagodzilla. Meanwhile, Japanese researchers come across an egg that appears to belong to Rodan but which hatches to reveal a baby Godzilla. When Godzilla nearly destroys Kyoto to rescue his offspring, a plan is formulated to use the baby as bait so that the Garuda and Mechagodzilla can attack him. However, Rodan appears and steals the baby, leading to a three-way confrontation over the fate of the fledgling dinosaur.

THE VERDICT: While this is much better than the two previous Heisei films, it still gets mired in some nonsensical plot twists and stupid characters (and when I say stupid, I don't mean they're badly written; I mean that their actions can only be explained by way of significant brain damage). Having said that, I love the battle scenes and the reversal of Mechagodzilla being a human creation this time around. Fire Rodan is also noteworthy in his awesomeness. The only downside to the battles, though, is the annoying cockpit chatter and technobabble, which slows the action way down as two or three characters carefully announce which silly-sounding weapon they are about to deploy before each attack.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Year: 1994
Era: Heisei

THE JIST: With two plans in the works to neutralize Godzilla--Project "M," which uses a new mecha called Moguera to kill Godzilla, and Project "T," which uses telepathy to control the monster but which has secretly been hijacked by the Japanese mafia--Mothra sends a message to Earth that a new monster, built from space-borne Godzilla DNA that slipped into a black hole and combined with a hostile alien lifeform, is on its way to kill Godzilla and pave the way for an alien invasion.

THE VERDICT: Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is convoluted and ridiculous, even by Godzilla standards. The characters are only slightly more intelligent this time around--perhaps they could now be considered functionally retarded--but every time the psychic heroine Miki speaks about how Godzilla deserves respect for being a living being, I want somebody to grab her and say, "So do the hundreds of thousands of people Godzilla has killed already!" The music is also pretty asinine. The final battle between Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla, though, is one of the most epic and exciting giant monster battles in the canon, which makes this movie more than worth it.


Year: 1995
Era: Heisei
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

THE JIST: Godzilla, on the verge of a complete nuclear meltdown that will destroy the Earth, once again attacks Japan, and one possible way to kill him and save the world involves recreating the Oxygen Destroyer that defeated the original Godzilla. However, at the site of the original Godzilla's death, precambrian lifeforms awakened and mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer technology are already emerging as a new species of monster more deadly and destructive than Godzilla.

THE VERDICT: This was billed as the last Japanese Godzilla movie for at least a decade, but it could easily be the last Godzilla movie ever made. It is the truest sequel and successor to the original--thematically as well as narratively--and it puts a satisfying cap on the Godzilla legacy in which every one of Ishiro Honda's thematic and ethical problems are solved once and for all. More than that, it's also one of the most epic and exciting Godzilla movies, with insanely high stakes and eye-bleedingly intense battle sequences, and one of only a handful of Godzilla films that actually manages to be frightening. Everything about this one is excellent--the plot, the characters, the acting, the music, the effects--and I don't mind putting up with the worst the Heisei era has to offer since it all culminates here.

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-e. magill 4/22/2014


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