torsdag 24 april 2014

50 years of Godzilla - Part 2. The Heisei years.

16. Gojira 84 aka Godzilla 85 (1984)

The rebirth of Godzilla in this direct sequel to the original is not entirely succesful, at least as far as actually being a sequel. It does not have the same darkness and the pathos for the creature sometimes borders on the ridiculous, a lot thanks to the bombastic score. It worked better when Godzilla was a metaphor for nuclear destruction, that point doesn't really come across here other than a slight nudge to the cold war and the fear of total nuclear war.

But still, it is one hell of a comeback after all the lame movies that fukuda directed when Godzilla was nothing more than Ultraman with a tail. There is plenty of mass destruction here and the special effects are excellent. It it quite refreshing to watch Godzilla cause massive mayhem, something we really havent seen since maybe Destroy all monsters.

Godzilla vs Biollante is quite an oddity. To call the plot outlandish is truly an understatement and certain parts of it are goofy beyond belief, the whole bit about the soul of a dead girl in a rose is just wow, what the hell were you thinking. It is also pretty damn slow to begin with and filled with typically awful nonjapanese actors that have worse understanding of the english language than most japanese. Then there is the score, taken straight out of a Steven Spielberg movie and totally unsuitable for this movie, apart from the damn ending with Biollantes final scenes for which it is perfect (not a particulary good thing).

But enough complaining now. Godzilla vs Biollante is much more than that. As soon as Godzilla enters the scene we get a fine piece of engaging Kaiju with a lot of excellent special effects and a short but sweet final showdown between the title beasties. Biollante might have an exceptionally silly backstory but as a creature she is awesome, a giant heap of teeth and tentacles that should have had more screentime than it got. Just get past the really dull first forty minutes and you are in for one fine treat.

Another solid entry in the Godzilla saga, this one has a pretty damn overcomplicated and still incredibly silly plot featuring timetravel and androids. But who cares really, Godzilla is in great shape trashing a lot of buildings and even better, we get King Ghidorah transformed into Mecha-King Ghidorah! YEAH, MECHA-KING GHIDORAH! Woohoo!!

19. Gojira tai Mosura aka Godzilla vs Mothra (1992)

Godzilla vs Mothra tries very hard with its ultracheesy plot about the earth fighting back against pollution with Mothra and Battra being opposite sides of it and Godzilla, uh, caught in the middle. It kinda works but you do vomit in your mouth a little when the leads little daughter gets involved and gets to cheer for Mothra. Still, far from the vile, sickening cuteness of Minya.

But, as it always is, everything comes down to the special effects and monsters and G vs M does contain a lot of Godzilla on building related violence. The final thirty minutes are pretty damn cool actually and though the movie is a bit too long it is a fun watch.

I'm not sure that introducing Baby Godzilla was such a good idea but it sure as hell isn't as hateworthy a character as Minya. Fortunately the movie that spawned it is an excellent one with some pretty damn sweet fights with lots of cool destruction. The new Mechagodzilla is fricking great and Akira Fukubes score is awesome, bringing back a lot of themes (and goosebumps) from the past.

And it's always nice to have Rodan back, at least for a while.

The story in this one is just as insane as Godzilla vs Biollante, with cells from Godzilla ending up in space and sucked into a black hole, thus creating Space Godzilla. Uh, sure. Ok. There is even more silliness involving Baby Godzilla and the first half is pretty dull with several characters whose motivations seems to have been forgotten in the editing room.

BUT, and this is a big one, the last half is basically a fifty minute long fight between Godzilla, Space Godzilla and new robot Moguera. And it's just plain awesome. Space Godzilla, however silly its origin story may be, is one hell of a creature and if you get past the first half you will be rewarded with plenty of rubbermonstergoodness.

The final movie of the Heisei series is one hell of a finale with one of the best plots of the series, with Godzillas heart (a nuclear reactor) going into meltdown while creatures spawned by new experiments on the Oxygen destroyer is wreaking havoc on Tokyo. The message might be a bit heavyhanded (lots of somber speeches on mans folly) and there is a little less giant monster action than in the previous movies but it's all forgiven when we come to the slam bang finale which features some of the best monster on monster action of the entire run but is also both sad and powerful.

The Heisei series is probably the most consistent of the three different series, all of the movies are more than decent kaiju although they do tend to be a bit too long.

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