More than just the same family…

Tags

, , , , ,

BIOLLANTE


Height:
85 Meters (278.9 Feet) (Rose) 120 Meters (393.7 Feet) (Final)
Mass:
100,000 Tons (Rose) 200,000 (Final)
Premiered in:
Godzilla vs Biollante (1989)

Easily one of the most distinctive monsters in the entirety of the franchise, Biollante is a particular favorite of mine from the series as a whole and is one of the shining examples of how great the Heisei series was in story and in special effects. Speaking in the film perspective for a moment, much like how Jet Jaguar was conceived by a child winning a contest with Toho, so too was the film Godzilla vs Biollante but by a far more unlikelier source; a dentist. For those who have seen Biollante’s final form, or those of you who have skipped down to the bottom of this entry, it’s not that far of a stretch in hindsight but no less surprising overall.

As to the actual Biollante suit, and yes there was a suit and not one ginormous puppet, there was a total of twenty people involved in utilizing the thirty-two piano wires used to control and move Biollante and her excess of vines, both plain and fang-bearing. I’m uncertain if that made Biollante the most complicated of kaiju to create and use, but I’m sure she places at the top with sheer number of wires. However, there’s far more to Biollante than what makes her a marvelous sight to behold on the silver screen.

There is a common misconception to Biollante that many are oft to forget or simply exclude. Biollante is NOT a hybrid but in fact a tribrid, a chimera composed of not two but three different species. A rose, Godzilla, and a human, the last element, donated by Erika Shiragami, was almost nonexistent but for one major detail. Somehow, inexplicably, the rosebush retained enough of Erika’s human DNA that her soul was retained within the plant and when her father added Godzilla’s DNA to the mix the end result was a fate far worse than death for the daughter whom he had hoped to save.

Doctor Shiragami gave his daughter life once more and took a step further by granting her the same near limitless regenerative qualities of Godzilla, making her all but immortal but forever damning her to exist as an unholy monstrosity of plant and animal, a literal abomination of science. For though there is no question that Erika’s soul resides within the heart of Biollante, it is debatable whether or not she possesses any manner of control over her monstrous form.

When Biollante first appears in her rose form, she appears as nothing more than a ginormous, if not slightly disturbing, plant. I say this for in this form and that of her final form there is a central organ of flesh and blood located at the breast of the beast. It has yet to be confirmed as to what the organ actually is but it is generally agreed amongst fans that it is either Biollante’s heart or her brain as in her rose form it took a more sac-like appearance whereas her final form it bore the same creases and lines of a human brain.

Though immobile in her rose form, Biollante has a versatile means of attack and defense in the form of vines. These appendages are not only sharp enough to pierce even Godzilla’s hide, but quite a few of them are topped with a pair of fanged jaws. However, in either form, Biollante is still succeptible to the most common weakness of plants: fire.

Particularly, the radioactive fire of Godzilla not strictly due to its flammable properties but rather the sheer amount of radiation found in it as it has an adverse effect in Biollante’s cell division. In other words, much like the atom bomb mutated an ordinary, if not extremely large, dinosaur into Godzilla, so too does the Monster King’s breath do the same to Biollante.

In her final form, Biollante possesses a crocodilian like head with a mouth filled to the absolute brim with ginormous teeth. Seriously, she has no tongue to speak of and both the upper and lower jaws are covered with fangs. Not that her mouth is the real dangerous aspect to Biollante’s final form.

What makes her particularly dangerous now versus her earlier rose form is the acidic sap that was previously sprayed only by her mouth-bearing vines can now be spewed in a great geyser of acidic radioactive sap. Though not strong enough to burn through Godzilla’s hide down to the bone, it was strong enough to temporarily deprive him of his eyesight before his regeneration kicked in.

Despite her incredible size, Biollante can move extremely fast both on the ground and, surprisingly, through the air as she possesses the ability to transform herself into a living cloud of pollen and fly wherever she wishes to go on Earth or even into the depths of space.

If such a monster as Biollante was ever to exist in our world… oh boy, we’d be so unbelievably screwed it’s not even funny. For though Biollante technically lost to Godzilla in their first encounter and only succeeded in beating him through him being infected by the ANEB, Biollante succeeded where most other kaiju have failed.

She survived facing Godzilla and could have easily killed him when he succumbed to the ANEB’s effects but whether by inherent instincts recognizing Godzilla as her “brother/father” or by the remnants of Erika’s humanity, Biollante stayed her vines and left the world behind.

True, Biollante is weak to fire but as Godzilla has proven multiple times before, the phrase “what does kill you only make you stronger” is all but the dictionary definition to Biollante herself. She survived a direct blast of Godzilla’s nuclear breath twice with the first all but turning her to ashes only to return bigger and stronger than before. The second? She had the back of her head blown open and it was regrown in the blink of an eye.

A creature both plant and animal whilst possessing some tiny aspect of humanity buried deep within its monstrous heart… I don’t know about you gentlemen and ladies, but such a creature, such a monstrosity of nature, is one that I hope to never see made real.

A new life form totally different to what God intended for Earth…

Tags

, , ,

GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE


Directed By:
Kazuki Ōmori
Story By: Shinichirō Kobayashi
American Distribution By: HBO Video (Cassette) Echo Bridge Entertainment (DVD)

This movie is, arguably, one of the first Godzilla films I had seen as a kid. I say arguably because in all honesty I can’t remember specifically which Godzilla movie I had seen first of my grandfather’s collection. Still, regardless of whether or not this film was first, Godzilla vs Biollante has a special place in my heart like the rest of my top five personal favorite Godzilla films. In point of fact, much like my favorite films, my top five were chosen in their order entirely by chance and all of them could easily place first at any given moment.

Godzilla vs Biollante is a unique film in the franchise. The second film to follow Godzilla 1985 (otherwise known as The Return of Godzilla) and is the premiere appearance of the popular Heisei Godzilla, both in his physical appearance that was used throughout the era and the series as a whole. It is also the film that had recently been voted as being the best Godzilla movie to date by Japanese fans and I can’t dispute this fact.

The special effects might be somewhat dated, but the story is one of the most original, and sensible, of the entire Godzilla series bar a select few. The film begins in the immediate aftermath of Godzilla’s last attack, and subsequent imprisonment in the heart of the volcanic Mt. Mihara.

Living samples of Godzilla, simply named as G-cells, are found and boy is the world all but declaring the start of World War III over them. The first samples of the G-Cells are first stolen by a group of American militants but are almost immediately stolen by a lone assassin codenamed SSS9 who kills them rather easily and takes the G-cells with him to the Republic of Saradia to deliver them to the Saradia Institute of Technology and Science.

There a father and daughter pair of scientists, Genshiro and Erika Shiragami are tasked by the president of the institute to merge the G-cells with plant life to try and transform Saradia’s deserts to a vast greenery, ending the nation’s dependence on oil wells for money. Unfortunately, terrorists strike at the institute, either against the country or against the use of G-cells, and Erika is killed.

In his grief, Genshiro returns to Japan and in the five years since his daughter’s death has managed to not only successfully merge her own cells with that of a rose plant but has somehow managed to ensnare her very soul to the plant. Of course, he does not know this, only hopes for it most fervently, even going so far as to get the aid of a young psychic-in-training Miki Saegusa who is trained/employed at an institution for similarly intuitive children.

Meanwhile, the JSDF are trying to use the G-cells they have to create a “Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria” in the hope of using it as a fatal weapon against Godzilla should he somehow manage to return. The additional benefit of the bacteria being able to, essentially, “eat” nuclear radiation also makes it a humongous boon for radioactive waste management as well. Unfortunately, the scientists have hit a bit of a snag and they try and enlist Doctor Shiragami to aid them but the man turns them away.

A freak explosion at Mt. Mihara quickly changes the man’s choice though as the result earthquake nearly kills the roses that house Erika’s soul. He agrees to help create the bacteria but only if he is given the G-cells for a week’s time in his own laboratory. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the heroes of our tale, the explosion was by no means an act of nature but a test by the American biological corporation of Bio-Major who want the G-cells, the bacteria in particular, for their own personal gain while the Saradia Institute of Technology and Science have sent SSS9.

The agents of Bio-Major and SSS9 break into Shiragami’s lab but only SSS9 makes off with the G-cells while one of the agents is slain by the result of the good doctor’s attempt at saving the plant he hopes houses his daughter’s soul.

By merging the G-cells with the roses, Doctor Shiragami unwittingly created a malformed clone of Godzilla, one whose mutation is in a constant state of flux as it first emerges in the nearby lake as a massive rose plant, silent and seemingly without Erika’s soul.

The remaining agent of Bio-Major issues an ultimatum to the government of Japan. They deliver him the G-cells and the ANEB or he blows the charges around Mt. Mihara, releasing Godzilla back into the world once more. Though the government goes through with the trade, SSS9 arrives and kills the Bio-Major agent, severely damaging the guy’s truck in the process, and he makes off with the G-cells whilst Godzilla breaks free of Mt. Mihara.

Back at the lake, Doctor Shiragami’s monster, Biollante, suddenly seems to come to life, crying out both physically and psychically to Godzilla. Though Godzilla doesn’t hear the calls at first, he eventually does and is turned away from a nuclear power plant to the lake that houses Biollante. Curious at the creature that is and is not of his own blood, Biollante immediately goes on the attack, but is quickly destroyed by Godzilla’s radioactive heat beam.

Eventually, the JSDF manage to infect Godzilla with the ANEB but soon realize that Godzilla’s body temperature is not high enough for the bacteria to effectively kill him before he grows immune to it. In an attempt to raise his body temperature, the military implement one of the most die-hard plans I’ve ever seen in a Godzilla film.

Using giant microwave emitting plates, the military use the plates alongside an artificially created lightning storm to try and raise Godzilla’s body temperature by way of, essentially, getting his body pumping for battle. Unfortunately, even the military’s best attempts do little to get the Big G’s body temperature up until the arrival of a newly mutated Biollante.

The monstrosity of science manages to not only hold her own against Godzilla but manages to actually defeat him even if that victory came with the aid of the anti-nuclear energy bacteria. As Godzilla lies dying at the lapping tides of the ocean, Biollante vanishes upwards into the sky, her body disintegrating into a massive cloud of pollen with one last message to the man who gave her life, both as Biollante and as Erika Shiragami…

“Thank you…”

Of course, as we all knew he would, Godzilla does not in fact die but emerges alive and well for though the bacteria had nearly drained him dry, his powerful regenerative cells —to be explained at a later date— were given enough time to make him become immune to the ANEB because of his little face-plant into the ocean lowering his body temperature back down, thus slowing the ANEB’s effects.

Though I only touched lightly upon it, this is one of the few Godzilla films that really invests into the human side of the story and it is further aided by the fact that not only do a majority of the actors and actresses look distinct from one another, but the voices that were chosen for the English dub are equally diverse. Honestly, this is one of the few Godzilla films where I can’t help but watch the human scenes and not skip straight to the good stuff.

As to the monster fights… I think I’ll save that for when I review Biollante in further detail but I will say that the effects and the fight itself are one of the most amazingly brutal one’s in the entire series.

Overall, this is a Godzilla film that has a true-blue story from beginning to end with enough action throughout that even the scenes without action are filled with tension and build-up. If you want a recommendation to one of the best Godzilla films, this one will always be amongst the top five of my list.

tumblr_mxq3p8Tyyw1rjdo7co2_1280

He may be frightening, but he’s cute…

Tags

, , , ,

BARAGON


Title:
Guardian of Earth
Height: 30 Meters (98.5 Feet)
Mass:
10,000 Tons
Premiered in: Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

Baragon is a creature unique unto himself in that he has no definitive origin as to what he actually is beyond a species of dinosaur that survived the extinction event by way of burrowing deep underground and going into a state of hibernation. At least, that’s the Showa version’s origin story as to the how’s and why’s of Baragon. Much like Gorosaurus, there’s something of a fan following for Baragon and I believe that most of it comes from the fact that there were a lot of times where Baragon was intended to appear in the Showa era of Godzilla films only to be replaced by another kaiju.

As I mentioned before in my Destroy All Monsters review, Baragon was intended to attack Paris by way of burrowing up from beneath the Arc de Triomphe but the suit had been used and badly damaged to a point where the best they could do with him was give an extremely small cameo at the film’s end. Baragon was also set to appear in the film Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla but had been replaced by Anguirus for unknown reasons.

It wasn’t until Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack came around that Baragon finally got his chance in the spotlight again. Yet misfortune would strike the earth monster once more as his role, while important to the overall plot, had been downsized to include the bigger kaiju stars of Mothra and King Ghidorah rather than his fellow pseudo-dinosaurs Anguirus and Varan.

Still, for what little a role he had overall, Baragon pretty much owned every scene he was in to such a degree that he ended up being included in the final two of the Pipeworks’ trilogy of Godzilla games in the early 2000’s.

Baragon’s powers and abilities differ slightly depending on which version you’re looking at but that difference is merely whether or not he has a breath weapon. In his premiere film, Baragon had the ability to breathe… not quite fire but not quite a heat ray but this ability was missing in GMK. Still, despite this Baragon held his own against the undead Godzilla surprisingly well with his other abilities, namely his burrowing and jumping skills.

Baragon can tunnel underground at surprisingly quick speeds and was able to not only dig a hole for the undead Godzilla to topple into but burrowed his way to the peak of a nearby mountain in mere minutes. As to his jumping skills, it is not an exaggeration when a I state that Baragon is quite easily the most acrobatic of land-based kaiju bar none. Not only is he able to leap across astonishingly large distances, he is able to move with a startling grace for a creature of his size.

As the Guardian Monster of the Earth, Baragon is one of the most tenacious and stubborn kaiju I’ve ever seen, refusing to back down or flee from the revived Godzilla no matter how much more powerful the living corpse was in comparison. True, Baragon was able to get a few good hits in but while Baragon is a Guardian he is still also a Monster. He could think and he could plan but not to the same degree as a human being and the undead Godzilla had thousands of human souls empowering him.

If such a monster as Baragon were to appear… I think that much like Gorosaurus, it might be possible to capture and corral him if not outright kill him. Baragon, while tenacious, is still one of the weaker kaiju of the Godzilla canon and had been felled in Showa by having his neck broken and in the Millennium era by a direct blast of Godzilla’s nuclear breath. Still, if nothing else, he’d make for one awesome pet if he could be tamed…

The sky was blood red and filled with smoke…

Tags

, , , , ,

GMK: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK


Directed By:
Shusuke Kaneko
Written By: Keiichi Hasengawa, Masahiro Yokotani, Shusuke Kaneko
American Distribution By: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Out of the many, many Godzilla films to have come out over the years, this is one that to this day I still cannot comprehend a reason as to why it didn’t get a shorter name than Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Admittedly, I can’t think of a better name myself at the moment but the point remains that when a film’s name consists of nine words in total, it’s far too long for casual conversation.

Inconvenient naming aside, GMK is arguably the most distinctive of the Godzilla films as it is the only one to be categorized under the Fantasy genre of films, at least amongst fans. It is also the film that solidified the concept of division amongst the Millennium series films in that it, along with a few that followed and its precursor Godzilla: 2000, all are “sequels” to the first Godzilla movie. Not a bad idea in the long run as it does make sense to start fresh but it was rather frustrating to not have a continuation for some of the stories involved.

Still, on its own merit, GMK is truly one of the better “sequel” films to the original Godzilla if only on the idea of making Godzilla a truly villainous force rather than another victim of nuclear power. Though, in hindsight, one could say that Godzilla is even more of a victim in this film than ever before, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The human side of the film focuses heavily upon the father and daughter pair of Admiral Taizo Tachibana, commander of the Self Defense Force in Japan, and his daughter Yuri who is… something of a reporter.

I say something of as, initially, she is introduced to us by way of her filming a fictional documentary before she, inadvertently, becomes swept up with a prophecy told to her by a crazy old man who warns her not only of Godzilla’s return but of the force slowly arising to face the creature head on. For this time, mortal hands alone cannot defeat the monstrosity that once plagued Japan so long ago.

Do you remember my dear readers how I mentioned that this film’s Godzilla differentiates itself from its predecessors and successors? It does so with one key fact.

This Godzilla is a walking corpse.

No, you read correctly dear readers. Godzilla was indeed slain all those years ago by a specialized chemical reaction that none had been able to duplicate or uncover since. Though the body had slowly regenerated in the decades, the soul within it had moved on, leaving the living corpse open for something else to move in.

Specifically, the lost souls of World War II soldiers whom perished at sea and whose spirits were never put to rest and whose sacrifice and honor had become forgotten in this modern era. The cabal of souls entered the body of Godzilla and together made it walk the earth once more but whereas before, Godzilla attacked out of instincts, this was a rampage of true destruction and death.

In this film, Godzilla purposefully attacks and destroys everything and anyone in his path but if a few examples are necessary… There is a moment where Godzilla stomps past a hospital where we see a recovering young girl freak out at the creature’s approach and breathe a large sigh of relief as it apparently moves on only for the monster’s tail to come swinging in and destroying the hospital in a single blow.

A more telling moment though occurs a bit later when Godzilla actually stops and looks back down at a crowd of people that are, for once, fleeing in a direction that he’s not heading towards before obliterating them via a blast of his nuclear flame.

No incarnation of Godzilla has ever done such a thing before or since. Sure, he will doggedly pursue any and all attempts made at harming him but he does so because he feels that any such attack is an attack on his authority as King and will continue to advance until either the threat is vanquished or he gets what he has come for.

Of course, with Godzilla’s presence comes those who dare to stand against him, the very Guardian Monsters that the supposedly crazy old man told Yui of: Baragon of the Earth, Mothra of the Water, and Ghidorah of the Sky.

Now, here’s an interesting point I want to bring up. Originally, while Baragon was left unchanged, Mothra and Ghidorah replaced the original choice of Anguirus and Varan respectively for the beastly representative of the Water and the Sky. This was done against the director’s wishes because it was thought that with the marquee value to their names, the film would draw higher revenue. Frankly, it is both disappointing and silly because while Ghidorah is a clear choice for the sky, it makes no sense that Mothra, a BUTTERFLY, would represent water in any fashion.

Still, the fights between the Guardian Monsters and Godzilla are amazing to behold. This is one of the few, and I emphasize few, Godzilla films where the monsters, Godzilla and Baragon in particular, actually have something close to actual facial expressions. Godzilla in particularly reads as being quite human in its ferocity and its nonchalance towards the Guardian Monsters whom are all, and yes that’s including Ghidorah, smaller and weaker than it.

Even so, the Guardian Monsters proved to be Godzilla’s undoing even in their demise as they own souls entered Godzilla’s body to try and overcome those of the perished soldiers. For whatever reason, this caused Godzilla to lose buoyancy and start to sink before ultimately meeting its end by way of Admiral Tachibana by way of…

Actually… I think I’ll refrain from saying anything on that regard. Frankly, it was such a surprising twist of events that even now I can’t help but still be amazed that it actually worked!

The human side of the film is surprisingly strong, being a pivotal plot point throughout the entirety of the movie in far too many ways. In the general populace, we see an almost justified reason for Godzilla’s resurrection and assault. The people have not only forgotten of the soldiers’ sacrifice but most call Godzilla nothing more than a legend.

This might just be me but if there is documented evidence of a freaking radioactive monster laying waste to the heart of my country, I sure as heck wouldn’t brush it aside as an overinflated myth. Especially when that myth comes stomping into town with an unholy vengeance born from the thousands of lost souls of one of the greatest and most terrible wars this world has ever seen!

For pity’s sake, they actually think that Baragon is Godzilla at first! Baragon who is dog-sized compared to Godzilla never mind possessing none of his most famous traits or abilities! The worst part though, and I don’t say worst as in the scene itself being bad it was in actuality quite funny but made me want to smack some people upside the heads and I’m rambling—

The worst part that really paints the modern people in a really pathetic light is that some tourists who happen to spot Baragon heading their way as their tour a mountain trail, actually stop to try and take pictures of him and of themselves before evacuating. True, he’s a ways off but for crying out loud people! It’s not like the Earth Guardian was actually taking his sweet time!

Though I’ll give credit where credit is due. During a debriefing/lesson in the Self Defense Force, a couple of soldiers are heard muttering to each other about how there had been a reported incident in America of an attack by a large reptile that they claim was Godzilla. The retort is, and I quote, “that’s what the Americans say but not here in Japan.”

I laughed myself sick when I first heard that line.

As to the main characters of Admiral Tachibana and his daughter Yuri… in the case of the admiral, he is a man who understands the threat that Godzilla possesses because he has seen firsthand what the end result of the monster’s rampage leaves. It left him an orphan, without a home, and in some serious need of therapy I’m sure. As to his daughter Yuri, she’s a reporter but one that actually has the rare and elusive ability that most reporters seem to lack.

Not common sense but honesty. She knows the risks she takes in trying to document the Guardian Monsters’ attempts at stopping Godzilla, going so far that it even attracts Godzilla’s attention and fury upon her in the film’s climax, but she does so anyway. That’s a dedication to the job, and the world, that I can appreciate.

Overall, I say give this film a watch. Even if you’re not a true-blue Godzilla fan, I think you’ll find some enjoyment in a film that tells the King of Monsters in a more fantastical light.

These wounds beneath the skin…

Tags

, , , , ,

MONSTER X


AKA:
Keizer Ghidorah
Height:
120 Meters (393.7 Feet) (X) 140 Meters (459 Feet) (KG)
Mass:
60,000 Tons (X) 100,000 (KG)
Premiered in:
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

To me, the creature known simply as Monster X is the closest thing that could ever come to being a truly frightening kaiju to see. True, there are some that are far more terrifying in power and ability but Monster X looks too much like an undead monstrosity to my liking. His origins, at this point in time, are all pure speculation on the part of Godzilla fans, as Monster X appears, quite literally, at the call of the Collector by way of an asteroid large enough to garner a full-out nuclear blast from Godzilla.

Going on appearance alone and the Xiliens’ own admittance to the creation, or alteration, of Earth’s kaiju, one can rightfully assume that Monster X is a creation unique to the Xiliens to a rather disturbing degree. Now, what this is purely my own thoughts and opinions speaking here but given the severe lack of intelligence and finesse presented by Gigan whence compared to the likes of Monster X…

I believe that much like the cyborg, Monster X was an entirely different being before the Xiliens got ahold of him. In point of fact, I dare to assume that Monster X may very well have been a sentient being, perhaps even a Xilien, at one point.

I say this because Monster X is by far the most humanistic kaiju I’ve ever seen in a film both in his combative abilities and his reactions to his opponents. Monster X legitimately fights in a style of combat that I could swear as being similar to martial arts and demonstrates this capability frequently in his fight with Godzilla.

Even without the aid of Gigan, what little of it there was to be found in the cyborg, Monster X all but dominated the fight against Godzilla. He was able to withstand direct blasts of Godzilla’s nuclear breath, an attack that had obliterated several other kaiju in a single hit, and with only one blast of his own gravity beams brought the King of Monsters down to his knees.

Of course, Monster X’s true power and potential lies in his ultimate form known officially as Monster X II but otherwise commonly known as Keizer Ghidorah. The transformation is nothing short of disturbing to watch and the end result is just as bad. There is a clear difference between the true terror of space King Ghidorah and this usurper that would call itself Emperor in the German language. Misspelled of course but my point still stands.

Keizer Ghidorah, much like its previous form of Monster X, resembles an undead incarnation of King Ghidorah but one that lacks the bipedal state of the Golden Monarch. Instead, this blackened gold abomination stands as a quadruped and though it does tower over Godzilla, there’s a distinctive lack of… presence to it. King Ghidorah is an alien dragon and one cannot help but make that distinction by seeing him but with Keizer Ghidorah, it just looks like three-headed corpse of an Apatosaurus with wings stitched to it for cosmetic purposes.

Keizer Ghidorah possesses the same abilities as King Ghidorah with its gravity beams but has the additional power of an energy-sucking bite to its jaws. Admittedly, this nearly put Godzilla down for good until the Gotengo II was able to revitalize Godzilla to such a degree that he possessed more energy than Keizer Ghidorah could devour and escaped from its hold via a nuclear pulse.

What followed as the same decidedly one-sided fight that most of Godzilla’s previous battles had been and while it was successfully impressive to see him toss something like Keizer Ghidorah into the air before blasting it into space via a Spiral Heat Ray… It was far too quickly done.

Whether in his terrifyingly distinctive form of Monster X or the blasé form of Keizer Ghidorah, if such a kaiju were ever to come to Earth, by our own methods or those of another, we as a species would be in serious trouble. For while Keizer Ghidorah did not demonstrate this to the same potential, there can be no argument that Monster X is highly intelligent creature and there is nothing worse in this world or any other than a monster that can not only plan but think as well.

This final mission will decide the fate of the human race. This is Operation…

Tags

, , , , ,

GODZILLA: FINAL WARS


Directed By:
Ryuhei Kitamura
Screenplay By: Isao Kiriyama & Wataru Mimura
American Distribution By: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Admittedly, I had spoken ill of this movie in my review for Destroy All Monsters but even so, my statement then still holds true to this one. This film is, for lack of a better comparison, is a strange fusion of Dragon Ball Z and The Matrix with the additional bonus of having giant monsters involved.

The film proper begins some decades ago where Godzilla is in a fierce battle with the Gotengo, a specialized anti-kaiju submarine/airship armed with a massive drill at its forefront, in the frozen heart of the South Pole. Though the Gotengo ends up being badly damaged in the fray, they manage to beat Godzilla by blowing up the ice beneath him and putting him into a state of suspended animation by burying him beneath a whole glacier’s worth of ice.

Following this, we get an interesting introductory segment that tells that following nuclear tests and mankind’s interference with nature, kaiju have started appearing and having merry havoc. What makes this segment particularly interesting is that the clips involved are those of several other kaiju films from Toho, films that steadily show the growing threat of the kaiju and mankind’s ingenuity, and luck, in dealing with them. Chief amongst said luck is the discovery of a specialized race of humans, aptly dubbed as mutants, who possess superhuman strength and extraordinary combat effectiveness.

Controlled by the Earth Defense Force, Organization-M is mostly where the human side of the film takes place but, in all honesty, I couldn’t really focus on the human elements all that much in this film because, as I said previously, this film is all kinds of over the top silliness, especially with the human side of things. When I made the comparison of The Matrix, I meant it strictly towards the kung-fu style fight scenes that occur in virtually every scene the humans are in, whether or not they’re fighting the Xiliens, other mutants, or even freaking kaiju.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do enjoy martial arts films, be they realistic or fantastical in their telling, but the sheer absurdity of this occurring in sync with how the kaiju themselves were fighting was more than a little off-putting.

Where was I with the story again…? Ah, yes, so anyway, rather inexplicably, kaiju have started appearing all across the world at the same time. King Caesar stomps through the sacred lands of Okinawa, Anguirus rolls his way through the streets of Shanghai, Zilla devours the pedestrians of Sydney while Rodan soars over the skyscrapers of New York, and Kamacuras makes a nuisance of itself in Paris while Kumonga shuffles along in the desert of Arizona.

I’d like to take a moment to also make one other aspect of this film clear. The English in this film, and yes there is actual English-speaking mostly from the main character of Captain Gordon of the Gotengo II, is really, really bad. Not grammatically but like SyFy Channel bad and the saddest thing is that I can’t tell if it was done intentionally or by accident. Really, it’s only because of the sheer amount of work and effort that went into the monsters, both in their appearance and their actual scenes, that earns this movie its place in my list.

As to the monsters themselves, man where do I begin? A lot of work went into making them fit into this Millennium era but more detail was given to their actual species. Anguirus for example has gained the trait to roll himself up into a ball rather like an armadillo, a trait that was impossible to duplicate in the Showa era, and his tail is now topped with a spiked club like a true Ankylosaurus.

Rodan in the meanwhile is shown to actually land atop of buildings as he would, figuratively speaking, be light enough to stay atop them without them collapsing on him and his wings, much like Mothra’s own in similarly recent films, has a more flesh-like quality to them, actually moving and bending as he unfurls them.

Back to the story proper however, just as quickly as the monsters appear, they disappear thanks seemingly to the efforts of the Xiliens who have come to Earth to… y’know what, I’ll not beat around the bush with this one. It’s another “we come in peace but really, we’re not” ploy done a million and one times before in other films.

Though in the case of the Xiliens their ploy is ruined by the second-in-command to the “Controller” of the Xiliens, otherwise known as the leader, who is either a lunatic of Joker proportions or incredibly immature for his species. The Old Controller was content in a subtle and kind takeover of our world, wanting to minimize the damage and loss of life, but his replacement?

Oh he unleashes Hell on Earth with youthful abandon, not caring the slightest bit that he is, essentially, wiping out the one reason that his people have come to our world for in the first place. Humanity as a food source if you must know, which is not wholly unoriginal but does get perks in that the “food” in question is something very specific to our genetic make-up versus most other reasons.

The Controller, as he name/title implies controls not only all the kaiju on Earth but any and all creatures that possess the same mutagenic gene in their bodies, meaning that all of the mutants in Organization-M save for a select few come under his sway and it’s up to a small ragtag group of military mavericks to kick some monster tail the only conceivable way it can be done in a film such as this.

Go and get Godzilla to take care of it.

This in itself sounds like a bad idea but there are several reasons why it isn’t. Godzilla is one of the few “natural” kaiju of Earth, meaning that he has no M-base and thus cannot be controlled by the Xiliens. Secondly, Godzilla is King of the Monsters for a reason, especially in this film unlike any other that has come before it. Thirdly, Godzilla is unbelievably territorial and holds a grudge like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Shortly upon awakening and dealing a decidedly swift blow to Gigan via nuclear breath to the face and thus ridding the cyborg of his head, Godzilla sets his sight on the Gotengo II and mistaking it for the same ship that froze him in ice over forty years ago, begins to pursue it all over the world. I mean that quite literally too as the Gotengo II flies to each and every location where the controlled kaiju are with Godzilla not even a mile behind it.

First stop from Antarctica is Sydney where Godzilla and Zilla face off in a battle of the ages that takes all of fourteen seconds. No joke, it literally goes from the two meeting, the confrontational roar, to Zilla leaping at Godzilla only to be tail-swiped into the Opera House and being obliterated via nuclear breath.

Next we head off to New Guinea where Godzilla lays the smack down on Kumonga, the fight going from serious to comical as Kumonga tries to ensnare Godzilla in her web only to be grabbed by said webbing and flung off into the distance with an honest-to-Godzilla scream of terror.

From there we head to Manazuru in Japan where Godzilla’s pursuit of the Gotengo II is briefly interrupted by Kamacuras whom Godzilla carelessly tosses into a downed spire, puncturing the massive mantis dead. He doesn’t even wait to confirm the poor bug is dead, he just keeps marching on after the Gotengo II.

One of the best, and weirdest battles, occurs at the foot of Mount Fuji where Godzilla faces not one but three kaiju at once. The problem here though is that all three of them are his own friends and allies, Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar. The fight has a lot of good moments as it does silly with one such example of both being Godzilla tail-smacking a rolling Anguirus up into the soaring Rodan, knocking the pterosaur for a loop.

The Gotengo II finally manages to outpace Godzilla and heads for the Xilien mother ship floating over what remains of Tokyo. Following a scene that was ripped right out of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Godzilla appears on the scene after obliterating Ebirah and Hedorah. The Monster King is soon distracted though as he looks up into the sky and sees a small, glimmering light drawing closer and closer to his world. Planting himself firmly in the ground, Godzilla unleashes his nuclear breath upon the asteroid and seemingly destroys it.

Well, in a way, he did destroy the asteroid but not the creature dwelling within it…

The creature known simply as Monster X…

Overall, this movie is much like Godzilla vs. Megalon, a good collection of fight scenes done to obscenely over the top levels but with a story that is, at best, only reasonably sensible. Honestly, I’d watch this movie strictly for the monster fight scenes because they gave it there all and then some to give each and every kaiju their do even with Godzilla owning their collective behinds throughout most of the film. I only say most because, like most other Godzilla films, he’s not in it from beginning to end.

Beware the cyborg…

Tags

, , , ,

GIGAN (SHOWA)


Height:
65 Meters (213 Feet)
Mass:
25,000 Tons
Premiered in:
Godzilla vs. Gigan

Much like how King Ghidorah is considered Godzilla’s greatest and most terrible of adversaries, Gigan is considered to be the most violent and brutal of them. True, King Ghidorah is a planet-killer, a creature of genocide on a near galactic scale, but Gigan accomplished something in his premiere film that no one, not even King Ghidorah, had managed to do up until that point.

Gigan made Godzilla bleed.

Not a little paper-cut either but a full on 80’s style spray of red. To be fair though, Godzilla had never truly faced a creature specifically geared towards combat as Gigan has been. For though his appearance might say otherwise, especially in this incarnation of the Showa era, Gigan is not a creature of flesh and blood but is in actuality a cyborg. Though his natural appearance has never been officially shown in any media, popular speculation is that his limbs, torso, and head were all altered.

Going from the most obvious first, Gigan’s feet and hands were removed and replaced by “hammer claws,” blades of sharpened materials that could easily cut through Godzilla’s hide. Though I’m unsure as to why the limbs are called hammer claws as both the hands and feet resemble curved blades more than hammers… Though, admittedly, in the television series Zone Fighter, Gigan did receive a bit of an upgrade in that his hammer claws could cause explosions upon impact with the tips so there’s that…

As to Gigan’s torso, there’s a bit of strangeness to be found there. While it can be debated whether or not the golden scales are a natural design or one purposefully placed for protection, the chief alteration to be found on the cyborg’s torso is the long series of blades running from the collar of his neck down to his crotch. A series of blades that can be activated and turned into a freaking buzzsaw that, in this incarnation, makes no sense as Gigan possesses no means of grappling foes nor is he agile enough, on air or land, to surprise his foes with this ability.

Gigan’s wings, while natural, only allow him to fly at speeds of Mach 3 in our atmosphere but in the depths of space he can further increase his speed upwards of Mach 400. There’s also a strange bit of optical illusion that occurs in that it looks as though Gigan emerges from some form of crystalized gem prior to entering the atmosphere of a planet. This has led a lot of fans to speculate that Gigan possesses a similar form of space travel like SpaceGodzilla.

Of course, this isn’t the most common misconception of Gigan’s abilities in the Showa era. As I said previously, his head was also modified to possess a singular optical unit that allows him to see in various visual ranges. However, this optical unit, or the gem located upon his brow, has been commonly been thought to possess the ability to fire laser beams.

The origins of where this speculation came about has a surprisingly large number of possible sources ranging from the 1990’s where Trendmasters (an American toy company that made a toys for such franchises as Mars Attacks!, Extreme Ghostbusters, and the 1998 Godzilla film) made a Gigan figure for their Godzilla Wars line of toys, which I’ll say right here and now was beyond epic in art and story. Another possible source of the misconception could also be from an American children’s picture book called Godzilla vs Gigan & the Smog Monster wherein Gigan displayed the optical laser beam ability.

Another, and more common source of the misconception, is from the Pipeworks’ trilogy of Godzilla games in the early 2000’s wherein Gigan not only sported this ability but also, rather inexplicably, had the ability to teleport as well. Of course, Gigan was given this ability to possess a form of “breath weapon” like a few other monsters in the games but that’s neither here nor there. Gigan would officially receive the ability to fire laser beams via a shotgun like burst in the film Godzilla: Final Wars whilst also receiving an amazing redesign.

Character wise, Gigan is definitely possessing a form of personality akin to that of King Ghidorah. He’s a different degree of sadistic from the golden monarch though, proving himself to be more vindictive with his chosen prey. He is also something of a coward, willing and gladly leaving behind allies if he has sustained enough damage or harm though he remembers those that did such unto him and will fiercely attack them at the next battle.

In his original incarnation, Gigan is quite a sight to behold but is he one that we as a species could fail to overcome? Honestly, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, Gigan is a cyborg and if nothing else, human ingenuity has proven time and time again that it doesn’t take much to get past so-called advanced alien systems. We could likely reprogram Gigan to defend rather than attack or even initiate a self-destruct sequence hidden with his head.

That’s just for the Showa incarnation, but the “Final Wars” incarnation… the same does apply with the addition that we could likely trick Gigan into killing himself. That incarnation is, frankly, an idiot. The first time could be argued that he had no idea of Godzilla’s capabilities and thus did not know of the atomic breath until his head had already been blown off. The second time however, Gigan’s own freaking shuriken blades, which he only has in that incarnation, was the cause of his beheading all because he turned around to do a victory pose after he supposedly slain Mothra.

To this day, I’ve yet to see a more saddening sight than a kaiju killing itself via its own stupidity.

Still, props to rocking the Millennium look.

 

Jet Jaguar has come…!

Tags

, , , ,

GODZILLA VS MEGALON


Directed By:
Jun Fukuda
Written By: Takeshi Kimura, Shinichi Sekizawa, & Jun Fukuda
American Distribution By: Cinema Shares

This film is my personal favorite in the Showa era of Godzilla films strictly for the fact that this film is the first Godzilla film I had ever seen via my grandfather’s library of old movies he had holed up in his basement. Though it was not what got me hooked into Godzilla, it did solidify my love of the Big G and sparked a longstanding tradition in my family to forever mock the idiocy of the human race when it comes to giant monsters, particularly when it comes to fleeing from them.

Seriously, someone out there take a tally of how frequently people run from the giant monster by going in the same direction the monster is going. You’d be surprised I’m sure.

Anyway, this film itself is a bit odd to say the least both with its history and its plot. See, this movie was never intended to be a Godzilla film and was instead to host the robot Jet Jaguar. This was changed at the last minute because Toho didn’t think the movie would do well despite the propaganda involved in that Jet Jaguar was in fact the winning selection in a contest Toho had thrown for children to design their own monster hero.

As to the plot of the film itself, oh boy, where do I start? Well, I suppose the story itself begins in the long lost city beneath the waves Seatopia has had enough with the surface world and their nuclear testing that has harmed their undersea world and so set a plan in motion to unleash their “god” Megalon loose upon the world above.

Now I know what you’re all thinking. This is not altogether an original plot by any means but I think that we can all universally agree that however repetitive this plot may be, it at least gives the undersea civilization the stupidest name I’ve ever heard bar none. Seatopia? REALLY? From what little of the place we see, it sure as heck is not a utopia of any sort even with the so called “mess” that we surface dwellers are making of it.

Moving on to the plot, the Seatopians unfortunately cannot directly control Megalon and so accomplish this by way of kidnapping the inventor Goro Ibuki, his best buddy, and his nephew and seize control of the scientist’s robotic creation Jet Jaguar. They use Jet Jaguar to, I kid you not, guide Megalon through Japan on a path of terror and destruction.

Thankfully, Ibuki and company manage to not only escape from the Seatopian agents (think Men In Black if they had no funding whatsoever and the tactical prowess of easily startled seagulls) but they also manage to regain permanent control over Jet Jaguar through the secondary, voice activated control system. Ibuki commands Jet Jaguar to fly to Monster Island to try and bring Godzilla to Japan and have him face off against Megalon. Jet Jaguar promptly does so and we see the so-called god of Seatopia in his fully glory.

Throwing a seriously massive temper tantrum that only a true two-year old terror could outmatch. Seriously, the beetle-like kaiju has the biggest of fits and pretty much attacks everything and anything he sees, leaping about like a demented cricket on crack. Realizing their loss of control over Jet Jaguar, the Seatopians beg for assistance from their alien benefactors, the denizens of the Space Hunter Nebula M from the previous Godzilla film, Godzilla vs Gigan, who respond by sending their counterpart to Megalon, Gigan, to aid them in their conquest.

Now, before I go further in the plot, I need to make something clear here. The aliens of the Space Hunter M Nebula? They’re cockroaches. Giant, sentient cockcroaches that where the skin of dead humans to disguise themselves on Earth and oh jeez there’s another Men In Black reference! How did I never notice that?

… Where was I? Oh, yeah, so the Seatopians and the Cockroaches from Space are allies, which… yeah, makes no lick of sense. For one thing, the aliens are flipping cockroaches and likely would not care to aid anyone but themselves and another, how the heck did the Seatopians and them even meet let alone form some sort of agreement to use their respected monsters to destroy humanity?

Back to the plot though, Jet Jaguar arrives far ahead of Godzilla and though Megalon is elated to find his little buddy/guide returned to him (seriously he claps his drills together with glee) that elation turns to confusion and then fury as Jet Jaguar somehow reprograms himself to grow to Megalon’s scale and proceeds to kick his buggy butt. That is, until Gigan arrives and the two cyborg insects double-team the humanoid robot.

Godzilla eventually arrives and the resulting fight is easily one of the longest and most brutal of the Showa era as it literally last through the afternoon, into the night, and coming to an end the following morning. The weirdest thing though is the sense of camaraderie between the two pairs of monsters. Gigan and Megalon, a pair of monsters that, by all accounts, have never once met each other prior to this fight actually high-five each other. Er… high-weapon I suppose. As for Godzilla and Jet Jaguar, one of the more famous scenes in the movie is not only their handshake at the end of the battle but… well, a scene involving Megalon and truly gravity defying kick.

Overall, this film is… eye candy I suppose you could call it. The human side of things, while somewhat important as without it there’d be no Jet Jaguar to guide Megalon around nor to call upon Godzilla and further aid him in the conflict, they’re just so… Meh. I really couldn’t invest myself in any one of them and honestly the dub is terrible when it comes to the boy. Most English dubs were though back in the day. Like it was some unwritten rule that a child character could not be voiced by anyone that even remotely sounds like a kid in any way, shape, or form.

The Seatopians are just… stupid. In the literal sense of their plan because really Megalon is not that terrifying a creature to behold or combat. True, he can tunnel just about anywhere and literally upchuck balls of napalm and shoot out bolts of lightning from his horn but… Well, he’s not all that bright a monster and combined with his many insect traits and qualities, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find him easily corralled to Monster Island or electrocuted via giant bug zapper.

There’s also how the Seatopians would be so daring as to attack the entirety of the world without thought of what the world would do in turn. I mean, their entire nation is more underground than underwater and it’s already been proven that nuclear tests are causing them harm so what’s to stop anyone from upgrading those tests to full assaults?

Onto the kaiju side, man it’s freaking great. It’s campy yes, silly at times definitely, but an absolute blast to watch. If there is a single film that showcases all of what the Showa era of Godzilla films is about it’s this one. Honestly, if nothing else, I recommend this movie for the sheer hilarity that is the most amazingly stupid fight sequences I’ve ever seen in a giant monster movie bar none.

It’s a dinosaur…!

Tags

, , , , , ,

GOROSAURUS


Height: 35 Meters (114 Feet)
Mass:
8,000 Tons
Premiered in:
King Kong Escapes (1967)

Admittedly, Gorosaurus did not premiere in the film Destroy All Monsters but of those present in it, he is one of the “youngest” monsters to appear on the silver screen, and one of the decidedly odder choices for many reasons. The first and foremost reason of them all though is that, much like the kaiju Anguirus prior to his update in Godzilla Final Wars, Gorosaurus is, relatively speaking, a normal if incredibly oversized dinosaur. He possesses no powers or abilities that make him distinct from any other dinosaurian save for a distinctive attack unique either to himself as an individual or as a species.

This attack being of course the infamous “kangaroo kick,” which is exactly as it sounds. Gorosaurus falls back onto his tail and slams both feet forward in a devastating kick to his opponent, which in the case of King Ghidorah, sent the three-headed monster flat onto all of his faces. Of course, against his sworn enemy King Kong, it made the ape more angry than injured and resulted in Gorosaurus having his jaw broken as a result of earning the Eighth Wonder’s ire.

Of course, back at the time, both Gorosaurus and King Kong were of a much smaller stature than what they eventually grew into when they encountered the King of Monsters. In point of fact, given the slight variation in Gorosaurus’ vocalization between his premiere film and Destroy All Monsters, it is quite likely that he and Kong both were mere adolescents at the time and that his full stature of 35 meters is his maximum height.

Also, to put an end to a surprisingly popular misconception, Gorosaurus cannot burrow underground. The scene that depicts him doing as such in Paris was an unintentional scene as, originally, Baragon was intended to be the one attack the Arc de Triumph but the film crew realized too late that the original suit was too badly damaged to be used and still depict the character properly. As such, Gorosaurus was stuck in and the “flubbed” line of Baragon was utilized in the dub version to further insist the fact that not one but two kaiju were attacking France.

Moving on towards the origins of Gorosaurus let me first speak of his name and the reasoning behind it. To put it simply, there is none, at least not on any official record. Debate amongst the fans differ but the most common idea is that Gorosaurus was derived from the Japanese word gorogoro which translates to “thunder” thus making his name, in essence, “Thunder Lizard.”

The other is that it is an intentional misspelling of the name Gorgosaurus, a species of dinosaur that likely helped originate the concept of Gorosaurus as early skeletal renditions were of the atypical, and incredibly incorrect, upright posture that many theropods dinosaurs were known for back in the day.

As to the actual origin behind Gorosaurus in the films, not much is said of it beyond the idea that Gorosaurus, much like Anguirus, is likely a species of evolved dinosaur that managed to survive the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period. Like Anguirus is similar to species of ankylosaur, Gorosaurus bears a strong resemblance to the allosaurid family and may even be a direct descendent of the Allosaurus species.

Character wise, there’s not much to say of Gorosaurus. He is a predator, of that there can be no doubt or question, and has shown a penchant for preferring weaker prey via his attempt at eating humans prior to Kong’s intervention. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Gorosaurus is a coward or a weakling by any means.

He has gone toe to claw with the likes of King freaking Kong, arguably the first true kaiju that the world has ever seen, and had even combatted, and won, against the likes of King Ghidorah. Sure, he had help from a lot of other monsters, mostly Godzilla and Anguirus, but he actually managed to knock King Ghidorah off his feet, a feat no other kaiju had succeeded in with the same ease as Gorosaurus did.

Of course, rather than facing King Ghidorah directly as Anguirus and Godzilla did, Gorosaurus opted to biting down upon one of King Ghidorah’s two tails but still, to his credit, a pain in the tail seems to be an inherent weakness in all kaiju as Godzilla himself has demonstrated more than once in several incarnations.

If such a creature as Gorosaurus were to appear in our world, I have little to no doubt that he would easily be killed, if not hopefully corralled. He is an animal but one that, for reasons that I really can’t explain, I like amongst the many “lesser known” kaiju of the Showa era of Godzilla films.

Maybe it’s his distinctive design that tickles at my childhood memory of dinosaurs, wrong posture and all. Perhaps it’s just how he has been portrayed more recently in the brilliant works of Matt Frank and IDW’s Godzilla: Rulers of Earth comic series. Either way, I can’t help but like the big lug and I hope, sincerely and truly, that there is a chance of further inclusion with him in any future Godzilla media.

The monsters from Earth cannot win…

Tags

, , , , , , ,

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS


Japanese Title: Attack of the Marching Monsters
Directed By:
Ishirō Honda
Written By: Ishirō Honda & Takeshi Kimura
American Distribution By: American International Pictures

In the Godzilla film series, I doubt that there is one that does not stick out as clearly in the minds and hearts of the fans as Destroy All Monsters does. It is a film that had never been attempted before and though another had been made in the form of Godzilla: Final War, that film was lacking the heart of its predecessor. That and in all honesty, I thought Final War as being a wee bit over-the-top in Godzilla’s prowess and coming from me, who proudly proclaims him the prime predator of preposterously proportioned pests, that’s saying something.

Of the Showa era of Godzilla films, Destroy All Monsters had the largest budget and it would need it too what with it containing a whopping total of eleven monsters in all. In truth, Destroy All Monsters was intended to be the last Godzilla film of the era, if not entirely, but thankfully it became quite the sensation and Godzilla came back to the silver screen for six more films before “retirement.”

The film itself is, technically speaking, the “last” of the Showa era of films as it takes place, chronologically speaking, in the “distant future” of 1999 where all of Earth’s surviving kaiju have been corralled onto the small island chain of Ogasawara Island, which has since been renamed by the populace as “Monster Island” or “Monsterland.”

The kaiju of Earth live in relative peace on the island and are kept there in a variety of methods depending on the kaiju in question. Some, like the enormous spider Kumonga, are incapable of swimming or flight and thus are permanently trapped on the island. Others like Rodan or Varan are capable of flight but are repelled by extremely powerful force field projectors limiting their mobility in the air to a tight bubble around the island.

Those capable of swimming (like Godzilla and Mothra in her larval form) are repelled by a series of specialized gas canisters that… honestly, I don’t know precisely what they contain. For Mothra, it look like some form of pesticide or anti-insect repellant whereas Godzilla’s seemed to contain something that either A) neutralizes radiation or, more likely, B) gases capable of drastically lowering his body temperature.

Just an interesting FYI, that’s actually how they managed to bring Godzilla and his adopted offspring Minilla to the island in the first place.

Unfortunately, an apocalypse of epic proportions begins in the form of an attack on the island that knocks out all of the scientists in their hidden laboratory beneath the ocean and the monsters as well. When communications are at last re-established at the island, the UNSC discovers that the island has been nearly destroyed and the monsters are now on the attack across the world in a level of unprecedented coordination.

Rodan soars over Moscow, obliterating everything in his path as he traverses the skies at Mach speed. Baragon and Gorosaurus team up to destroy Paris with the burrower destroying the catacombs beneath the city while the last of the dinosaurs emerges from under the Arc de Triumph. Mothra makes a nuiscane of herself in the streets of Beijing while Godzilla appears at the shores of New York City and sets the skyscrapers of the Big Apple ablaze in nuclear fire.

Captain Yamabe and his crew of the specialized spaceship Moonlight SY-3 are ordered to return to Earth and investigate the base on Monster Island in hopes of finding the cause of the worldwide monster attack. There they discover the scientists, including the dear captain’s significant other, not only alive and well but under the complete control of the Kiilakians, a race of aliens hailing from the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.

The team manage to escape by the skin of their teeth and manage to successfully capture the lead scientist of the island as well. Unfortunately, the man commits suicide but in death, he proved to have overcome the alien’s control for in the ensuing autopsy, the UNSC discovered the means by which the Kiilakians control humans and kaiju alike. Using the miniature device to their advantage, the UNSC manages to locate and destroy the miniaturized projectors hidden and scattered across the globe. These projectors are quite small, no bigger than a coconut, and are found in all manner of places and objects. One was actually in fact found in a coconut. Their range though is nothing short of astounding, being able to project the mind control signal in a 2,000 km radius.

Unfortunately, the Kiilakians press their advantage while they still have it, unleashing not one but four monsters to attack Tokyo. Rodan descends from the skies while Manda encircles the city in her massive coils. Mothra appears from the subways and Godzilla is the mere icing on the cake and Tokyo is all but destroyed completely by the four kaiju who are eventually repelled.

Captain Yamabe’s girlfriend shows up at the UNSC base to deliver the ultimatum by the Kiilakians, that we as a species must submit to their control and the monsters will be returned to Monster Island and corralled there. She tells them of the Kiilakians having a base at Inzu before her lover tackles her and manages to free her from the mind control as she was given a pair of earrings for receivers rather than a direct implant in her head like her fellow scientist.

Eventually, and boy do I mean eventually, Earth manages to locate the source of the control waves and the Kiilaks’ base on the moon is destroyed and with its destruction, the monsters come under Earth’s control. Together, the monsters are made to attack the Kiilakian base on Earth, located in the heart of Mount Fuji but are interrupted by the one monster that the Kiilakian’s still have under their control.

King Ghidorah.

Though all ten of Earth’s monsters are present at the scene, only a small handful of them take the fight to King Ghidorah. Godzilla of course leads the fray with his spiked buddy Anguirus following close behind with a surprising aid found in the form of Gorosaurus. Rodan offers support with his expansive wings, knocking King Ghidorah off balance while Kumonga and Mothra both try to ensnare the three-headed dragon with their webbing.

This fight is as long as it is brutal with King Ghidorah coming out the worst for it throughout the fight. Eventually, the King of Terror is slain one head at a time. The first head to fall, the right, has its throat torn apart by the fangs of Anguirus while its opposite head has its neck crushed beneath Godzilla’s feet. The last central head is unable to take the horrific feedback of its fellow heads’ being slain and is felled by Godzilla’s son Minilla via a smoke ring.

… Wow. Just… wow. The tales they’ll tell of the King of Terror’s penultimate demise at the hands of a hatchling kaiju breathing a cloud of smoke…

To wrap up this long summary, the aliens are wiped out, the monsters willingly return back to Monster Island and life, as usual, goes on. Overall, this movie is certainly not the worst of the Godzilla films but… really, aside from the awesomeness of seeing multiple kaiju in a single scene, particularly that climatic battle at the end, there’s really not much for it.

The aliens invading earth via controlling monsters was done previously, and personally much better, in the film Invasion of the Astro-Monster. There, the aliens at least had something of a reason for attacking Earth and were even believable as a cold and deadly threat. The Kiilakians though… they just don’t carry that kind of terror with them and even when their inherent weakness and true forms are revealed, it makes them even more pathetic. Kiilakians are, apparently, a race of heat-sensitive metallic-skinned worms that can only assume, and maintain, a female humanoid form with extreme temperatures but once that temperature drops to a certain degree, they revert back to their base form.

The human side of the story, while quite prevalent to the kaiju side of things, is frankly speaking rather boring for the most part. Honestly, save for the first time that I watched the film I can’t help but skip ahead to the more important parts of the film, those being of course the monster scenes.

That is really sad for a Godzilla movie to have the human element be so lackluster but then again, it could be more because there just wasn’t anything to emotionally invest in them. Most of the human characters in these types of films, you can’t help but feel something for, be it a scientist trying to understand the incomprehensible or a soldier trying to topple the unstoppable, there always someone with heart behind them.

The kaiju side however delivers itself in spades though I do admit the number of kaiju present in the film is somewhat questionable. In the case of some monsters like Varan or Baragon, the original costumes had either been destroyed or were badly damaged to a point that they couldn’t be shown completely on screen and so were reduced to a mere cameo appearance.

The idea of monsters being corralled into a single place before being set loose upon the world, intentionally or accidentally, is not altogether a wholly unique idea to the Godzilla franchise or films as a whole. In point of fact, there are quite a lot of films that follow a similar premise to this one though the scale of the monsters involved and the purpose behind their containment varies.

In the case of Destroy All Monsters however, the idea of us, as a species, managing to corral all of these monsters is, at this time, incredibly unbelievable. It might be something that can be accomplished with “normal” kaiju like Gorosaurus or Manda who have no special powers aside from their massive size, but for the likes of a creature like Godzilla, a living, breathing natural disaster?

Not a chance.

As I said previously, the largest number of kaiju on screen occurs during the climatic battle with King Ghidorah and I can honestly go whole pages about how amazing a fight that was but I won’t. Honestly, I can’t put to words what is best seen on an actual screen so, if you can find it, go forth and watch Destroy All Monsters. The human element may be lackluster but the kaiju side lives up to the name!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers