3 October 2004 | ravenus
Awesome Giant Monster Goodness!
GODZILLA, MOTHRA AND KING GHIDORAH - GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
Granted I haven't seen many of them but I should think this 2001 feature is the best Godzilla movie I've seen.
50 years after the last Godzilla attack, Japan's coast again begins to feel the tremors of its favorite monster. There have been rumors of Godzilla sightings in other countries (a clever reference to the '98 Hollywood version when two naval cadets whisper to each other, "The New York attack was Godzilla?" "The Americans say so but our experts have their doubts"), but now it appears old Gojira, after a health-giving dose of radiation from a nuclear sub, is heading back to the Sushi bars.
The early parts are somewhat slow, time spent in introducing us to the various characters, with Godzilla sightings mostly restricted to brief glimpses amidst shaky cameras and falling debris. But soon our rubber-suited gargoyle, who is no more the lovable muppet monster of previous entries in the series, decides its time to come out of the closet for some major ass-kicking.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of the Guardian Monsters who are fated to protect Japan from Godzilla - Baragon, Mothra and Ghidora. Godzilla v/s Baragon is okay but not very good...there are no real special moves depicted and the rubber suits look too goofy in the day. But considering that Baragon's name doesn't even come up in the title, even the makers obviously considered him only a warm-up before the big battle.
And when the big battle starts...man!!! I wish I had been watching it in IMAX format with really loud surround sound, because this is one awesome battle. Sure, the rubber suits never get believable but I was having too much fun to worry about that. There's a good combination of scale models and CGI to depict the battle of the monsters and the wholesale destruction of Tokyo City. Caught in the crossfire are Japanese civilians and the Army, which is making its own (pathetic) maneuvers to combat Godzilla.
The acting of the human characters in this movie is corny but never annoying. The actor playing the military commander who is also the father of the reporter heroine is quite good in his role. The special FX may lack the polish of Hollywood extravaganzas but work perfectly well in the accepted formula. And unlike most Hollywood disaster movies, this is not one that leaves all the people except the evil lawyer miraculously unscathed. People here die. The brave soldiers die, the bumbling TV cameramen die, the schoolchildren die...even the cripple dies. That's what genuine monster movies are about. This film is a welcome return to the bad old days for Godzilla.