GODZILLA VS SPACEGODZILLA
Directed By: Kensho Yamashita Honda
Written By: Hiroshi Kashiwabara
American Distribution By: Columbia Tristar Home Video
Out of the Heisei era of Godzilla films, if not the entire series as a whole, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is one that has garnered the most mixed opinions. One of the reasons that I feel it receives this reaction is for the simple fact that this film, as a part of a series of films where the story of Godzilla keeps building and expanding, doesn’t appear to really add much to the mythos. It is… I suppose you could call it just another typical day for Godzilla but even then, that’s not entirely accurate. This is a film that well and truly shows off an aspect of Godzilla that, for the most part, had been generally ignored in more modern times.
How Godzilla acts as a father.
Following the events of the prior film that, in short, led to Godzilla finding and recovering a child of his species, the Big G took the child away to an island that has enough ambient radiation that Godzilla all but call it home for himself. Though he doesn’t opt to stay on the island himself, Godzilla’s adopted child, Little Godzilla as he’s called in this film though most fans refer to him as Junior, stays on the island enjoying a rather merry childhood for a mutant dinosaur.
Unfortunately, all is not well for the monster king as yet again the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center (UNGCC) has come up with two plans to stop, or at the least hinder, Godzilla. The first plan, dubbed Project M, involves the robot known as M.O.G.U.E.R.A., a machine built from the remains of their first war-machine against Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and… I’ll be honest, aside from its ability to split into two separate crafts, a jet and a tank, there isn’t much to M.O.G.U.E.R.A. as far as being a machine capable of putting Godzilla down for good.
For pity’s sake, its predecessor has special artificial diamond plated steel covering its body and it still went kaboom!
Surprisingly, the UNGCC appears to be of the same opinion as following in the failure of their military branch G-Force with Mechagodzilla and their plan to permanently paralyze Godzilla from the waist down, the UNGCC has opted for a more… controlled measure against him.
Oh yeah, they went there and gentleman and ladies, it is as silly as it sounds. The basics of the plan firstly involve the country’s most powerful and leading psychic, and a familiar face to all by this point, Miki Saegusa. Miki is probably the only sensible person in the entirety of the series but also one whom I could almost call the Japanese equivalent to Charlie Brown with how utterly wishy-washy she is. She is a firm advocator in leaving Godzilla alone and protests against any and all plans that would lead either to him being harmed or even killed.
Yet she not only helped in the afore-mentioned plan of paralyzing Godzilla but also fired the shot herself as her being psychic somehow enhanced the computer’s targeting system. If you feel this is scientifically questionable, you are thinking too much of the science and not the fiction that is the Godzilla canon.
As to Project T, oh man, where do I even start nitpicking the stupid in this? Well, to explain just what this plan is, it involves firing a specialized rocket via rocket launcher into a spot behind Godzilla’s behind and via some technical marvels, use Miki to control him. Needless to say, Miki manages all of getting Godzilla to move along the beach before his will overpowers her own and the three G-Force soldiers who are there alongside Miki and the two scientists, opt for their own plan to deal with Godzilla.
Shoot him until he dies.
I kid you not, two of the three soldiers opt to use their guns, regular guns, to shoot at Godzilla while the third one, who had been sent to scout the island ahead of them and has a chip on his shoulder against Godzilla for the death of his friend back in 1989, at least had the sense of having a specialized bullet. This bullet contained a blood coagulant that would, supposedly, kill Godzilla but unfortunately for the soldier, he’s a terrible shot and he misses Godzilla’s so-called weak spot and joins in the stupid by using a regular gun.
Stepping down from my soapbox on the lack of military intelligence in monster-sized situations, the real plot of the film finally arrives on the scene. Hailing from the far reaches of space, the aptly named SpaceGodzilla arrives on Birth Island fresh and completely uninjured from its severely one-sided fight against M.O.G.U.E.R.A. in the asteroid belt. Little Godzilla, recognizing that SpaceGodzilla is at least partially of his species and of the same blood as his adopted father, approaches the creature that goes onto the attack.
Godzilla, already ticked from the recent assault on his mind, is at a whole new level of anger as he arrives on the scene and starts attacking his nefarious alien clone whilst doing his best to defend his son. Here is where I want to pause a moment to make a point. In most circumstances, Godzilla is one to confront his opponents head-on, firm in the creed that a good offense is a whole lot more offense, but that’s not what he does in this fight. He constantly puts himself between SpaceGodzilla and his son, even so far as to cover Junior’s body with his own and taking several direct hits from his alien clone.
Having dealt with the original, SpaceGodzilla adds insult to injury by taking Junior and imprisoning him in crystal and departs to Japan proper, leaving Godzilla alive because… Well, look at most major villains in comics and other lore, how often do they leave their adversaries alive believing that their defeat is not only assured but so too is their demise should said hero try to face them a second time.
Arriving in Fukuoka, SpaceGodzilla takes control over the city’s massive tower and uses it as a power-enhancing conduit as it continues to develop and grow more energy crystals throughout the city, slowly but increasingly killing the life force of the planet as it does so. The UNGCC repurpose M.O.G.U.E.R.A. to combat Godzilla and for reasons that are never explained, chose the three stooges from Project T to pilot the thing, with Moe—
Ahem, that is Major Akira Yuki, the afore-mentioned guy with chip-on-his-shoulder, to be the lead pilot. Needless to say, precious time is wasted as Yuki ignores orders takes M.O.G.U.E.R.A. to fight Godzilla for all of five minutes before his fellow stooges attain the rare superpower of common sense and knock the idiot unconscious before taking M.O.G.U.E.R.A. out to face the real threat.
The fight between M.O.G.U.E.R.A., SpaceGodzilla, and Godzilla himself is one of the longest ones in the Heisei series and one that is unbelievably epic for a story wrought with silliness and convoluted science and storytelling. The whole scene reads like out straight out of a science fiction novel, ironic I know, but one set in the far reaches of space as SpaceGodzilla proves to well and truly be an alien threat that keeps pulling out new tricks and abilities at every turn.
The human side of this film is filled to the brim with silliness and a complexity that borders on the absurd to a point where I’ll gladly state here and now that the only parts worth watching is the scenes leading upon to SpaceGodzilla’s arrival on Earth. Aside from that, there’s… really not much else going for the human characters that are introduced to us in the film as, by this point in the series, the only repetitive character is Miki and she’s virtually the only one that grows and develops as a person in each and every film she’s in.
Overall this is a Godzilla movie that has two strong elements going for it. The paternal aspect in regards to Godzilla and his son Junior because even now, having seen the film more times than I care to count, I still… how do does the saying go? The feels of the scene where Godzilla defends his son really touch at your heart. The second element really plays more to the comic book nerd inside all of us. This film’s story is silly and all over the place with psychic powers, alien monsters, and even the freaking Yakuza, but it isn’t something that hasn’t been seen before.