Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)
Following upon the critical success of 1993's Godzilla Vs. MechaGodzilla II, Toho Studios rushed to get the next installment in theatres as soon as possible. Working with a considerable budget and a wealth of special effects talent, Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla was ready for release in Japan in early December, 1994. It was a moderate commercial success and was rather well received by critics and the public as a whole. It never made it to American theatres and for many years was only available by mail order from overseas. In 2000, Tri-Star released a DVD double pack containing Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla and Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah with glorious digitally re-mastered quality. This is the version that I'll review here. Runtime is 108 minutes and the film is uncut and unedited, which is a welcome change from the Showa series, which were extensively hacked.
The film was directed by Kensho Yamashita, a newcomer to the franchise who had previously been known for directing "teen idol" movies. This background in love stories and emotional content is apparent in his working of Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla, which is chock full of doe-eyed women and handsome men pursuing the quarry of young love, as well as giant radioactive mutant lizards. Except for special effects supervisor Koichi Kawakita, all of Director Yamashita's production staff was new to the giant monster genre and the final cut of the movie clearly shows their inexperience.
A movie like this is not as easy to pick apart as a gem from the 1970s, but there is still ample fodder for my poison pen. It just goes to show you that millions of dollars and gigabytes of computer generated special effects can still produce a lame movie. Just watch Battlefield Earth if you don't believe me.
And now on to our show...
Our title sequence is a collage of images starting with a crystalline object spinning through space followed by a shot of it crashing into a tropical island (see below for an explanation). The title card is in Japanese, with English in brackets below, a quick sign that this movie was never released in America. The cast and crew credits are overlaid on a scene of a newly constructed robot being put through its paces in a huge factory.
The "Mecha" is a two-piece robot, a lower half like a big drilling tank, the upper half a flying battleship. The two halves combine to make a bipedal human-shaped robot with lots of rockets and lasers. This is cool for those people out there who are into the whole MechWarrior and anime thing that was sweeping the dorm rooms of computer nerds and back rooms of game shops everywhere in the 1990s. For those of us who are old enough, it just looks like a big Transformer, or Voltron.
Clearly, none of these are MOGERA.
Much of what follows is not actually in the movie, though it's common knowledge to all Godzilla fans. This robot will prove to MOGERA, which stands for "Mobile G-Force Expert Robot Aerial-type". It was constructed largely from the wreckage of MechaGodzilla and MechaGidorah, both of whom were destroyed in prior movies, and utilizes 23rd century knowledge and technology left behind from the Futurians in Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah. The above facts were never actually stated in the movie, and one has to go to the literature on the movie to learn it. I guess the producers felt that such knowledge was self-explanatory for "true fans" and felt no need to explain it to casual viewers. Astute fans will also recognize "Moguera" as the similar big robot from 1957's The Mysterians, which while not set in the Godzilla universe, was one of Toho's stronger commercial successes.
Ok, back to the film. We open now with what I assume to be the huge sprawling Tokyo HQ of the G-Force, the organization tasked with containing and studying Godzilla. There are two competing programs running concurrently here, one is by the military with MOGERA, the other with a bunch of psychics hoping to use telepathy to control Godzilla. We first meet three people involved in "Project T" (T for Telepathy), the Director and two Doctors.
Director and Chief Psychic Miki Saegusa (played by 23-year old Megumi Odaka) is familiar to fans as the same character appeared in the final six movies of the series. Miki is a tiny if mannish woman with large protruding ears and the single most horrible haircut since Satan brought the Billy Ray Cyrus Mullet to earth to destroy it with fire.
Biotechnologist Chinatsu Gondo is played by the lovely Towako Yoshikawa, appearing in her only Godzilla movie. Gondo is a tall woman in her thirties with long hair and a businesslike fashion sense. Every time I see her she reminds me of the American television actress Blair Brown, both in the face and the way she styles her hair, so I'll refer to her as "Blair Brown" for the rest of the review.
Evolution Biologist Susumu Okubo is played by Yosuke Saito, also in his only Godzilla movie, though he's known to Toho fans from 1989's sci-fi stinker Gunhed. He's a shifty sort of character, if initially charming, with an untrusting face and a penchant for mobster-cut suits. For no better reason that to keep all the Japanese names straight, I'll refer to him as "Doctor Creepy" for the rest of the review.
When the doctors come to see her, Miki is overseeing a group of young psychic children in a classroom, the children doing meditation and yoga in little pyramidal boxes. Miki is complaining that Project T is just never going to work, nothing can hope to control Godzilla. Blair Brown says that the military alternative, Project MOGERA, which aims to kill the monster, is not a viable solution either. Blair looks absolutely stunning in these scenes, tall and lithe with graceful facial features, wearing an Ally McBeal sort of business suit/miniskirt combo. She will definitely be the movie's babe.
Blair then outlines for us the audience just what Project T is all about. It involves placing a "telepathy amplifier" on Godzilla's head and using that to boost the mental powers of a human subject to the point where that person can hopefully take control of Godzilla's mind. Miki is still reluctant, but Blair and Doctor Creepy convince her to be the telepathy agent. Miki is wearing these tacky earrings which will prove to be indicators of her psychic connection to Mothra, as seen in Godzilla Vs. Mothra II, keep this in mind.
We now cut to an insert shot of Mothra flying through space. This is the Mothra from the 1992 movie, not the tacky one from the 1970s. We see her shed literally hundreds of "micro-Mothras" in her wake, like a B-29 kicking out tinfoil chaff.
Now we get to meet two of our male leads as we cut out to the Pacific Ocean to a cruise liner. The ship has "A Line" painted in English across her sides, so perhaps she operates to Hong Kong or Hawaii. Aboard are two officers of G-Force, Lieutenants Kiyo Sato and Koji Shinjo. In typical buddy cop show fashion, these two men are as different as night and day. One is a slacker free-spirit, the other an all-business professional.
The slacker, Lt. Sato, is played by Zenkichi Yoneyama, and this is the only movie listed for him in the IMDB, which is strange for such a young actor. Perhaps his role in this movie killed his career. He likes Hawaiian flower shirts and hip jive talking. To keep the names straight, I'll refer to him as "Slacker" for the rest of this review.
The professional, Lt. Shinjo, is played by Jun Hashizume, who is appearing in his only Godzilla movie as well as the last movie of his career. More proof that Godzilla movies are the kiss of death for acting careers. He is almost always in uniform and in control of his emotions. Because of his attitude and his future role in the rest of the movie, I'll refer to him as "Stud".
Ok, we now see them getting off the liner and into a Zodiac inflatable powerboat. They're headed to Birth Island on official business. Birth Island, of course, is where Godzilla and Little Godzilla reside, though we never hear the actual name of the island in this movie, we're just supposed to know it. Seeing as how they were sent by G-Force on this mission, we wonder why they took a commercial cruise liner and not a corporate helo, like we later see them leave the island in. We also wonder, since the range of a Zodiac is small, if the cruise liner's route really took them that close to an island chock full of monsters.
The two men land on the island, which is rocky, mountainous, forested and tropical. Dressed in G-Force tunics and carrying backpacks full of gear, they ascend a mountain to reach an open plain. It's noted here that these two Japanese men both have their names on their tunics in English, as well as wearing t-shirts and caps with English phrases on them. This strikes me as very odd in a Japanese release-only movie, though perhaps it's indicative of the multinational United Nations effort to contain Godzilla that oversees G-Force.
Once having crested the mountain, they're surprised to see in the plain three large crystalline structures, dug into the earth like punji sticks in a tiger trap. Remember the opening few seconds of the movie? These are what crashed to earth. Hey, didn't we see only one object crashing? Now there are three pits? They are smoking with dry ice fog and the "spikes" are undulating slowly.
The spikes on the island.
Suddenly, Slacker is jumped by a man with a knife who somehow managed to sneak up on them. We see the man twist his knife at Slacker's throat, and a trickle of blood runs down his neck. But we soon see that he was just stabbing a big poisonous tarantula that was on Slacker's shoulder. This spider blood will be the only bloodshed in this entire movie.
The man with the knife is also a G-Force officer, a grizzled veteran who, judging by his shaggy hair and grungy clothes, has apparently has been going solo on this island for quite some time. His name will be Major Akira Yuki, and he is played by Akira Emoto, who might have been a little old for an action hero (46-years old), but that never stopped Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery. His hair is graying a bit and his face is lined and tanned, but underneath the grime and bluster he is all John Wayne. For the purposes of this review, I'll refer to him as "Maverick". He is indeed the only other human on the island.
I'll fill in some holes here for you. It seems that Slacker and Stud are the point men for the Project T effort, and were sent to this island to find Maverick, who could help them with their operation. Maverick, however, has his own plan in mind. Got it?
While they chat, from over the crest appears Little Godzilla. Little Godzilla has been completely remade from his last appearance in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II. In that movie he was more of a miniature Godzilla, in this one he is a Pokemon toy with big, googly eyes and made-for-merchandising plump little limbs. Yuk. His dimensions in this movie are 30 meters tall and 8,000 tons heavy. Because of the number of "Godzillas" in this review, I'll refer to Little Godzilla as "Minya", which he is closer in look to than anything else. The noise he makes can best be described as "trilling", very much like a baby cooing. This is so obviously pandering to the child audience and the toy manufacturers as to make anyone over the age of eight hurl. Minya here is completely non-threatening, and has even developed a fondness for Maverick.
Strangely, by their reactions we are led to believe that Slacker and Stud have never seen Minya before, and wouldn't even know its name unless Maverick told them. This seems odd that two officers in G-Force would be so ignorant of the monster fauna, especially since we saw Minya in the last movie.
We cut now back to Tokyo to a late night emergency meeting of the G-Force leadership, a conference table full of expensive suits and medal-festooned military uniforms. Doctor Creepy and Blair Brown are here also, Blair looking ravishing in a creme silk blouse with a string of pearls.
Joining the group this night are some representatives of NASA, who have some information to present. They have some footage taken from the "Interplanetary Research Vessel" that shows the inside of the space ship as the ship is hit and destroyed by a giant "crystal shard". The spaceship interiors are accomplished through the use of the most hideously bad bluescreen effect ever seen. We wonder too about this manned interplanetary vessel of NASA's. Since this movie takes place in a contemporary timeframe (1994), then NASA has been hiding something from us. Perhaps Marconi was right. Hey, maybe studying all the 23rd century technology left behind by the Futurians in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah allowed them to build this ship? The NASA rep admits that they have no answers, and can "only speculate that it was some sort of huge monster." This is a great line, evidence of the prevalence of monsters in the timeline that Toho has created here.
NASA vessel going boom.
Cut now outside, where jug-eared Miki is sitting alone on a bench. Her earrings begin to glow, signaling that a Mothra fairy is coming for a visit. With some nifty special effects, the fairy transforms into two twin girls, both about a foot tall, levitating in front of Miki. These messengers of Mothra are played by Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa, two young ladies who in real life form the pop music group "The Cosmos". These girls played the same fairy roles in both Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II and Godzilla vs. Mothra II. In keeping with the habit established in my review of Godzilla vs. Mothra I, I will call them "Mary Kate and Ashley" for the balance of this review.
The Olsen Twins.
Mary Kate and Ashley tell her that, "Your earth is facing a crisis. A terrible space monster is now approaching the earth." They add further that the monster is coming specifically to kill Godzilla so the earth can be conquered. This harkens back to the tired old storylines of the 1970s when in every movie some monster was coming to pave the way for invasion by eliminating Godzilla. Couldn't they have come up with something original. We never even learn who is coming to conquer us, and given that later we learn that the monster was created by "natural means" and not by some alien race, we wonder if Mary Kate and Ashley have their facts straight.
Back to Birth Island, where Maverick has enlisted the two junior officers in his own personal agenda to kill Godzilla. Several assumptions need to be made here. Maverick is here on his own, though is still in good standing with G-Force, so perhaps he is on leave. He also must have pulled rank on the two lieutenants, otherwise they wouldn't be helping him when they came here to do their own work. But then again, why did they specifically meet up with Maverick if they had such obviously different plans? Strange.
The men are down at the beach digging holes. It seems that Godzilla often comes ashore at this spot to visit Minya, and it is here that Maverick is setting up a trap. The holes are for a line of "tear gas mines" which will hopefully confuse Godzilla long enough for Maverick to get in close to shoot him in the heart with a special bullet.
The handmade bullet, called "The Yuki Special", contains a blood coagulant that Maverick hopes will kill him. Cool plan. Maverick, while talking about his bullet, says that Godzilla has a weak point in his armpit that "he can't protect". Really? For decades Godzilla has taken numerous hits to the torso and nothing has gotten through yet, why would this rifle bullet have more luck? We also have some questions about the armpit-to-heart penetration capabilities of this bullet. It seems to be a standard bullet, maybe 9mm, and we shall see is fired by a standard short-barreled machinepistol, so I don't think it would be able to develop enough muzzle velocity to penetrate Godzilla's hide and then travel all the way to his heart. Most, if not all, of the slug's penetrating energy would be expended by the thick skin, even if it is a "vulnerable area". The most damning evidence for how stupid his plan is the simple fact that a 60,000 ton animal must have literally tons of blood in his system, and there is no distortion of medical science possible that would allow any coagulant in some little bullets to affect that much blood to any degree. Just seems like Maverick is being really optimistic.
We see that the mines are marked "Mk-13A" in English, which leads us to think that perhaps Maverick bought them from the Americans. Perhaps his efforts here are not officially sanctioned by G-Force or the Japanese government, so Maverick has to use other methods to get the gear needed for his plan. One wonders if this is criminal behavior for an officer in the G-Force or not.
Maverick and his mines.
Now it's night and we are back in the camp where the men are preparing for bed. Argg!!!! Naked Japanese man-butt taking a shower!!!!! That was uncalled for! Maverick's naked butt is the only live porn I have ever seen in a Godzilla movie, truly a groundbreaking moment in the series history. I feel like I'm watching Dances With Wolves.
We thankfully leave this smut to go to G-Force HQ, to the Japanese version of NORAD, where space radars and a satellite space telescope have picked up an object approaching earth at a high rate of speed. The computer screen graphics here are outstanding, as good as anything in Star Trek. We see that "USAF" appears on the images from the satellite space telescope, so I guess that this is American property. However, the Japanese seem to be able to order it re-tasked to their objectives, so perhaps all such intelligence resources are pooled for the anti-monster effort. We see that the object is a crystalline structure of great size and mass. The computers we get all this on are all Apples, with oversized corporate logos always onscreen. We know who helped fund this movie.
A quick shot from space shows us the object is actually Space Godzilla, a mutated form of Godzilla with a giant crystal matrix on its back. More on this later when we get a better look at it.
Back now to G-Force HQ, where plans are being made to intercept the object with MOGERA. We get some lovely tracking shots of the robot being prepped in its hanger. We hear from a suit that the United Nations has requested that MOGERA go after the object, so we get some idea of the dynamic between the UN and G-Force. Obviously, the UN is not in total control of G-Force and its resources. Interesting. We also see that the head military general over the MOGERA project is upset that his robot is being sent off into space and not kept to counter Godzilla. Here we get another hint of the friction between the scientific community, who want to focus on the telepathy method, and the military, who want to destroy Godzilla with their robot.
The military chief is Commander Takaki Aso, the exact same character as was seen in 1993's Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II and 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah . In this role, he is a sort of arch-typical military man who won't trust anything but his guns.
We cut back to Birth Island, where the rest of Project T is on the way. We see that Miki, Blair Brown and Doctor Creepy are arriving in a helicopter (again we wonder why the two point men had to take a cruise liner). The chopper has G-Force logos on the sides, and I believe it is a version of the Bell Jet Ranger. I can't seem to figure out exactly what it is, so any help would be nice.
Doctor Creepy is decked out in full safari style and looks just like Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, complete with bush hat. Miki is wearing a bright orange jacket and matching pants that are hideous to look at. Blair is smoking in a tan bush jacket and tight white pants. They meet up with Slacker and Stud and go set up their base camp. Maverick watches the introductions from a distance, he's too cool for that. Stud tries to talk to Miki about Godzilla but she is cold and hostile to him, claiming that they wouldn't understand her because all they want to destroy him. Hey, Miki, these two guys are here to help you, remember?
Ok, I guess Miki is kinda cute, if annoying.
As with all these types of movies, it is clear that Miki and Stud will end up in love, sweet love. No one in movies falls in love without first bickering and sniping at each other for the first hour and then realizing that all that hostility was just a front to hide their true feelings of love. Opposites attract, eh?
Back now to MOGERA, which is now lifting off from the hanger. Inside the cockpit in the "head", we see the three crewmen. They are wearing green flightsuits and helmets with a big orange "M" on the front of them. Nice robot, I'm sure it made a great selling toy.
Back again to the island, where Miki has a nice moment with Little Godzilla, who she seems to form an attachment for. Blair Brown has a chat with Maverick, who she knows from a shared past. A better view of her outfit shows us a disturbing example of female camel toe. She tries to dissuade him from shooting Godzilla, claiming that he will "not be disgraced" if he gives up now. Maverick says that the thought of killing the monster is all that drives him. He shows her the bullets, and she tells us that he ordered a bunch of medicines from her to make the coagulant. What? So, Maverick got the ingredients from her? I guess he has connections.
Camel toe alert.
Then we get a little moment where Blair softens towards him and we see that there is more to their relationship than we thought. As we shall soon see, there is a long-simmering love between these two, dating back for several years at least. So, that's why she gave him the medicines for the bullets. These two would also be examples of opposites attracting, he's a gritty manly man and she's a dainty scientist. Love is splendid, eh?
This interlude is interrupted by explosions as the tear gas mines start to go boom. Everyone runs down to the beach to see that it is Minya, haplessly stumbling along the sand, stepping on mines left and right. It is kinda amusing, and Minya looks oh so cute here. Minya then disappears for a while and we assume that he ran off. We also see that Stud and Slacker have a Yamaha dirt bike that they use to get around. The bike has "G-Force" in English painted on the side and strangely a license plate. Where did this come from? It wasn't in the Zodiac, it wasn't on the helicopter, so it must be Maverick's. But if so, then why do the two other men use it exclusively the entire movie?
Anyway, sensing that Godzilla is close, they start Project T. At the base camp tent, Miki is fitted with a funky head set that will serve to direct her psychic energy to the amplifier. Computers will monitor the results from the base tent. The two officers are in charge of getting the amplifier onto Godzilla when he shows up, and they will do this by using a modified 40mm grenade cartridges.
And now we get our daily fix of mutant green lizard! From out of the water Godzilla rises, wading ashore in glorious monster fashion. Akira Ifukube's classic Godzilla March thunders on the soundtrack and it is truly a stirring entrance. A wide shot of him in the surf from a aerial point of view is especially well-realized. A check of the counter on the DVD player shows we are just 23 minutes in, a pretty fast entrance for a Godzilla movie.
The Godzilla suit looks fabulous, sinister and menacing. His teeth are especially fearsome, as we see in numerous open-mouth roaring scenes. His stats here are the same as in the last three movies, 100 meters tall and 60,000 tons.
Wicked new G suit.
Everyone races into action. Stud and Slacker race back to base to get the amplifier. It will be fired from Type 89 assault rifle (basically an M-16 downsized for smaller stature Japanese soldiers) with a M203 40mm grenade launcher under the barrel, a standard over-under combination. Apparently they only have one amplifier, which seems pretty dumb, considering all that depends on it. The two of them race back to the beach to take up a position.
Maverick, meanwhile, has shifted into full Rambo mode. He has apparently mined the beach with more than tear gas as he hits a remote control switch and two explosive charges detonate at Godzilla's feet. He is trying to get Godzilla to lift his arms so he can hit his armpits, remember? They have little effect but to spoil Stud's aim. The men then shift position as Godzilla thunders onshore. In a neat moment, Maverick runs past Stud and Slacker as they head in the opposite direction, neither seems to notice the other as each is intent on getting their own shot in first.
Godzilla then steps on four of the tear gas mines, severely pissing him off. In the confusion, Stud gets his shot off. The amplifier cartridge strikes home in the back of his head, burrowing in a bit and then opening into a series of metal receiver plates. Stud needs to get a medal for that one, hitting a target at that distance dead on with an unguided 40mm grenade fired out of a two foot tube has got to be next to impossible.
The signal beacon.
Tired of this crap, Godzilla starts marching down the beach away from all the smoke. Maverick gets a glimpse of his armpit and fires two quick shots. One hit his chest, the other his left shoulder, but neither strikes the target area. Maverick curses his luck, and then takes off running after Godzilla to get another shot. He passes Stud and Slacker again, who just stare at him like he's a crazy nut.
Back at base, Miki uses her psychic energy to mentally tell Godzilla to walk (I thought he was already walking). A computer screen labeled "Psycotronic Generator" shows that the telepathy beam is up to power. It apparently works as the lizard seems to be obeying her commands. Boo!
We leave the island now to go into outer space for the battle between MOGERA and the object we will soon know as Space Godzilla. The set piece for this is just terrible. All the excellent computer special effects and suitmation in this film are flushed down the toilet by this sequence. The battle takes place in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which here is represented by a thick packing of mostly spherical asteroids stationary against a flat black, starless background. It's third grade art project quality work, inexcusable with a budget so large, especially considering the wonderful asteroid field effects in The Empire Strikes Back, which was done without the aid of computers. I swear that I'm watching an old 1940s Flash Gordon serial.
Ok, first we have a problem with the location of the battle. The speed of sound is roughly 700 miles per hour, right? And the technical specs on MOGERA say it can do the unlikely speed of Mach 44 in space, right? That comes out to about 30,800 mph. This sounds great, but the battle was in the asteroid belt, which is about 186 million miles from earth. So, at Mach 44 a one way journey to the asteroid belt would take about 252 days!!!! And that's just one way. Something is wrong here.
Now's a good time to describe Space Godzilla. He is basically a Godzilla look-alike with nasty teeth and sharper claws. He's a bit larger than Godzilla, with darker scales and more fangs and spikes and has these large spiky crystal protrusions all along his back. His main features are two huge crystals jutting up out of his shoulder blades. These will prove to be the source of his power. His stats are 394 feet tall and 88,000 tons heavy. He has the same basic powers as Godzilla, except his Plasma Breath is reddish orange instead of Godzilla's electric blue Atomic Fire Breath. He can also fly, obviously, and will be able to tractor beam and levitate objects with energy directed through his shoulder crystals.
To recap, MOGERA is a giant robot Transformer, who stands 394 feet tall and weights a whopping 176,000 tons! It is armed with rockets and energy beams and has a human crew of three.
MOGERA and Space G race towards each other. The monster apparently emits some sort of EMP effect because we see that some of MOGERA's computer systems have failed. The computer screen graphics are all in English, by the way, despite the fact that the crew speaks Japanese. I still can't understand why all the computers in this movie are in English. I know this movie was never intended for US release.
Anyway, MOGERA fires first, shooting off its twin "plasma laser cannons" mounted in its head. Two sustained bursts both strike home but seem to do no damage to Space G. As the two opponents pass each other at high speed, they graze. MOGERA takes the worst of it, suffering "fuselage damage".
The MOGERA's hapless pilot.
Looping around for another pass, MOGERA's pilot growls, "It's time for you to die!". Space G fires off his Plasma Breath as the robot gets off another salvo of plasma lasers. Space G's blast hit MOGERA on the left shoulder, disabling the plasma laser cannons. A quick shot of a status readout shows them to be at "Danger Level 7", and the phrase "No Can Not Use Plasma Maser Cannon" appears in the corner. "No Can Not Use..."? Is that proper English? Maybe whoever translated the original Japanese pictographs didn't know his English grammar very well. Also, that read "Maser", but the dialogue said "Laser", which is it?
No time for that, as Space G again rams into the robot, smacking solidly into its right side as it passes. Fighting the shake, they loop around again. They fire their "autolasers" which are mounted in the "hands" at the monster, scoring a direct hit on his back. Pissed, Space G emits an EMP pulse (I guess) that nearly cripples the MOGERA. Out of control, they are unable to avoid another flyby smack from the monster, which sends them spinning out into space, their left engine clearly burnt out. Space Godzilla continues towards earth.
Back now to the island, where the telepathy experiment is going swimmingly well. But then the system shorts out and nearly electrocutes Miki. They don't really tell us, but I assume that it's because Space Godzilla is almost upon them. Miki, somehow sensing just that, looks up into the sky and repeats what Mary Kate and Ashley told her about the space monster.
Watching Space Godzilla arrive on the island.
Back on the plains, the three crystal spike pits are now discharging some weird green electrical energy in preparation for Space Godzilla's landing. We will soon see that the monster draws energy from these crystals, which I assume came here first to set up sort of a gas station for Space Godzilla. This is never fully explained to anyone's satisfaction.
Stud and Slacker now get all Rambo themselves, claiming that since the telepathy link is broken, now is the time for them to kill Godzilla. Sounds great, but all we see them have here are a single Type 89 rifle firing standard 5.56mm NATO slugs, and one maybe two 9mm pistols. That's gonna do a lot of good. The M203 grenade launcher is still on the rifle, but clearly neither of the men have any rounds for it on them when they head off. The girls try and stop them, following them all the way back to the beach nagging them about what Neanderthals they are.
Slacker and Stud, followed by the girls, catch up with Maverick, who has finally gotten into position. How did they catch him, when we just got several minutes of him running like a banshee ahead of Godzilla? Maybe the guys got on the motorcycle, but how did Blair and Miki get there so fast? Maverick, thinking that they are there to stop him, threatens to shoot them with his "Yuki Special" if they try. I hope he's kidding.
Maverick takes aim.
Before there can be any shooting, however, the sky grows dark as Space Godzilla flies overhead. The monster comes to rest in the plain by his crystal spike pits. He lands in a huge cloud of dirt and smoke and begins to roar. Very cool entrance.
Minya happens to be in the immediate area, and he waddles slowly up to Space Godzilla. It's unclear whether Minya is advancing to do battle, or maybe thinks that it's actually Godzilla, due to the vague physical similarity between the two. If he's spoiling for a fight, then he's gonna get served. If he thinks it's Godzilla, then he needs to get contacts or glasses, because Space G is clearly not normal looking.
Motivation matters not, as Space Godzilla "powers up" from the crystal pits, electrical current arcing from them to his shoulder crystals. He fires off his Plasma Breath at Minya, the bolts ripping into the ground around his feet, knocking him over. The bolts don't actually hit him, but I guess the energy released by them is enough to do damage. Punk, picking on a little kid. Why don't you pick on someone your own size?
Like Godzilla, who we now see is moving quickly through the jungle towards the fight. We get a wonderful shot of him walking through the palm trees from low angle with Jurassic Park-like quality. This is one of the best optical effects shots in the entire movie in my opinion, and surely one of the best in the whole series. Rewind and watch it again.
As Godzilla arrives, Space G is standing over Minya's wounded body. Not liking this one bit, Godzilla heats up his plates for a pair of Atomic Fire Breath blasts. The first one contacts Space G in the stomach, but the second is deflected by a transparent crystalline force shield. The effect is much like the Borg's adaptive shielding in Star Trek and is well-realized. Some of the energy of the blast is even redirected back at Godzilla.
Space Godzilla then warms up his own weapon and zaps Godzilla in the torso with a long blast of Plasma Breath. The hit tumbles Godzilla, but he manages to get off a quick Atomic Fire blast as he falls that nicks Space G's shoulder. Minya rolls along the ground to escape the bad monster as Godzilla regains his feet. Space Godzilla sees Minya up and running for the safety of Godzilla's legs and the punk fires two Plasma Blasts at the fleeing Minya, causing him to jump up in pain as the energy sparks around him.
Minya makes it to Godzilla and hides behind his thigh as Godzilla fires a quick Atomic Fire blast into Space G's stomach. Space G takes the damage and then suddenly lifts into the air in a crackle of crystal energy. He then makes a strafing run at our good monsters. He seems to be deliberately targeting Minya and strikes the smaller lizard with two Plasma Blasts, knocking him to the ground again. Damn it, stop shooting at children!
Godzilla expresses his displeasure.
In a truly outstanding special effects sequence, Space Godzilla makes another strafing pass. In a Medal of Honor move, Godzilla throws his body over Minya to protect him. This is a great character moment for Godzilla, helping to define his relationship with Minya and letting the audience sympathize with him as a parent protecting his offspring. Two lengthy Plasma Blasts stab into Godzilla's back, and he falls heavily to the ground. Minya rushes to him and urges him to get up.
From above Space Godzilla shoots out what can only be described as a green "tractor beam" that lifts Minya up and away as Godzilla helplessly reaches out for him. Minya is tractored directly into one of the crystal spike pits, whose sides close up around him like a Venus Flytrap, imprisoning him in crystal. Space Godzilla, his work here done, now flies off north for Japan. Why? Wasn't he here to kill Godzilla? He had the big guy down on the ground in a world of hurt, he could have finished him off right there. Why did he leave to go to Japan? As we shall see, he goes there to build a huge "crystal forest" so he can gain even more power, but it sure seemed like right then and there he had more than enough power to finish off Godzilla. It just seems strange.
Anyway, Godzilla gets up and walks off into the sea! I thought it shocking that he would just abandon Minya like that, but then I read that there was a scene originally in here where he tried to free Minya but was unable to. This scene was cut in editing because it was felt to be too painful and emotional to watch, but without it, we are left feeling like Godzilla is an uncaring parent. Bad editing. In a strange moment, Maverick quietly turns away and walks off from Godzilla, saying that he thinks it has "had enough of a bad day". This also helps the audience to see Godzilla as more of a "human" character than a dangerous killer monster. Ah, how have things changed since 1954.
Miki and Blair watch the monster action.
The G-Force team then closes up shop. Project T is declared a bust and they pack everything up. Maverick admits defeat as well and packs up to leave with them. Miki decides to stay behind on the island, as she is "worried about Godzilla". No one really tries to convince her not to stay alone on this island, which is strange. Perhaps they're all tired of her haircut like the rest of us and would rather she be stranded out here. But, love is in the air remember? As they load up into the helicopter, Stud tells Slacker to get out, they are staying here with Miki. Sniff, sniff, I'm gonna cry. Miki has thankfully changed her outfit, now in a nice pair of white pants and a white crochet tank-top. Hey, why did Doctor Creepy just give a worried look when the two men said they were staying? Is he up to something? Hmm...
We cut back now to G-Force HQ in Tokyo, where Blair Brown is giving a PowerPoint multimedia presentation to the assembled suits and uniforms. Apparently MOGERA has returned safely to earth, though we are never really told how, and has brought back some skin samples of Space Godzilla from its battle. They are a near perfect match to Godzilla's G-cells, leading her to name the monster "Space Godzilla". Catchy name.
One of the computer displays of this.
Blair goes on to describe the only two times that G-cells were sent into outer space, once a fragment of Biollante and the other some Godzilla flesh stuck to Mothra. We get some stock footage of these monsters from 1989's Godzilla Vs. Biollante and 1992's Godzilla Vs. Mothra II to jog our memory. She continues, saying that "one of these cells must have been swallowed by a black hole and pushed out from a white hole." What the hell is all that? Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking both just keeled over and died horrible retching deaths.
On a roll now, Blair continues, saying that "it grew in its own evolutionary system, much faster than expected. It assimilated crystal organisms and was exposed to tremendous energies from the explosions of stars." She then adds the caveat, "That's the theory." Ugg, where to begin? I would love to trash the whole idea, but she did say that it was all just a theory, right? Since we never get any competing or more logical theories, we have to assume that this is what they want us to believe, even if it defies all scientific logic. I should just let it go because Blair looks really hot in this scene.
The meeting adjourned, we follow Commander Aso (the military head of G-Force) outside where he meets Maverick, now cleaned up and in his G-Force class A uniform. These two men share a past, and they are now frosty to each other at best, though with a lot of grudging respect. Aso tells him and us that Project T is cancelled and Doctor Creepy has left G-Force. Keep that in mind. Aso is really here to ask Maverick to pilot MOGERA when it goes up against Space Godzilla again, as Maverick is "the only one who can do it". The scene ends without Maverick giving an answer. I assume this is a cinematic way of making Maverick the saving hero of earth, but it is a weird scene. Commander Aso, at least five ranks above Major Maverick, seems to be almost begging Maverick to help him. As Maverick is clearly still part of the G-Force, why doesn't Aso just order him to do it? I guess he could refuse, but then he would be punished.
The Commander and Maverick share a guy moment.
Anyway, we now go back to Birth Island, where Miki is watching the sunset on the beach. She must have brought a lot of clothes with her because now she is wearing a pretty little sleeveless sundress that fits her quite nicely. So far, all of the outfits that she brought to the island are trendy city fashions, not the kind of clothes that one normally wears when traipsing around a tropical island full of monsters. One of the small Mothra fairies now comes to visit her again. Basically it tells her to keep her chin up and everything will be alright.
And now we get some more sappy love, as Stud walks out to meet her. Stud tries to get a little info on her love life, scoping for any boyfriends and the like. Miki just isn't having anything to do with that. She jumps on her high horse again and rails against Stud for not understanding why she is so worried about Godzilla. "He has feelings the same as we do!" she says, attempting to get us to cry for poor Godzilla. We might be more sympathetic if in the next twenty minutes we didn't see him wade through several cities, killing untold thousands of helpless people in an orgy of senseless destruction. Yes, poor Godzilla indeed. Stud is looking a lot like Lou Diamond Phillips here, never noticed that before.
The guys try to emote.
That night, four camouflaged men sneak into the camp. They beat up Stud and Slacker and kidnap Miki. The next morning, the G-Force extracts them. The helicopter comes back for them, strangely carrying Blair Brown as well. Why this biotechnologist is along for this pick-up is beyond me, but it does give us a chance for some exposition. Oh, and she looks great here, with this orangish khaki see-through crocheted shirt over a black tank-top. She is, however, wearing a G-Force ball cap, which looks silly on her small head. She tells the men that she has an idea who kidnapped Miki (???) and then gives us some background on Maverick. If you saw 1989's Godzilla Vs. Biollante then you know that six years ago, Blair's brother, who was also Maverick's best friend, was killed by Godzilla. Revenge has been his lifeblood since that day.
So now we cut to our stupid gangster subplot. Since it's so lame, I'll just go ahead and lay it out for you now. It seems that Doctor Creepy is now working for the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and it was under his orders that Miki was nabbed. Whether he was working for them all along or just since Project T was cancelled, we don't know, but probably the former. Doctor Creepy has his own plans to use Miki's telepathic link with Godzilla for nefarious gain. He has set up a lab of sorts in a warehouse in the Yamagata area (north of Tokyo) where he has Miki tied to a bed and hooked up. I guess he's looking to hold the world hostage by gaining control of the lizard. This idea will only work if Miki willingly goes along, as she has to literally "think" Godzilla into action. If she decides not to, there is really nothing that Doctor Creepy can do. Sure he can threaten to kill her if she doesn't help, but would Miki really let Godzilla loose on the world just to save her own life? Considering that she is nearly in love with Godzilla, I don't see her allowing him to be used that way. Ok, Doctor Creepy starts sending signals to Godzilla, who starts moving towards Japan in response. Bad news for us, eh?
Anyway, somehow G-Force knows where the warehouse is. Seeing as how her capture is potentially dangerous to the survival of the nation, getting her back is a prime concern. So to retrieve her they send in a battalion of soldiers, backed up by tanks and attack helicopters. This force swoops in a...wait. No they don't, they just send Stud, Slacker and Maverick. What the hell??????? Now these guys are commandoes? Maverick has the look of a killer about him, yes, but the other two just don't seem like the best choices for a rescue mission. It's almost as if this operation is outside the bounds of G-Force, which doesn't make any sense at all.
Ok, Stud and Slacker, still wearing their G-Force uniforms, and Maverick sneak into the warehouse at night. They go past the security using the sewer and then penetrate the building through a hole in the roof. Inside the building are perhaps half a dozen Yakuza. Our heroes are woefully under-armed, with the three of them only carrying their service pistols. We see amongst the gangsters at least two Uzi submachine guns and a pistol.
We see that Godzilla has somehow broken the telepathic link on his own now, as the computers start to spark and smoke. Doctor Creepy is shocked and at a loss to explain it. Before he can figure it out, our heroes burst into the room and a gun battle ensues.
Strange pink gunblast caught in this cap.
In one of the goofiest moments ever filmed, a gangster flips the bed Miki is tied to up to use it as a human shield while he exchanges shots with Stud. Stud is afraid to shoot for fear of hitting his love, but Miki levitates (!!!!) the bed using her newfound (!!!!) telekinesis powers (!!!), allowing Stud to shoot the bad guy in the feet. In this sequence also, Stud hides behind a leather couch as the gangster puts about twenty rounds into it, though none penetrate like they obviously should easily do.
In the confused action that follows, Maverick fires two rounds and Stud fires seven rounds. The bad guys fire their Uzis non-stop, using the A-Team rule of bottomless magazines. The only hits we see are Stud shooting one of the guys in the foot. All the bad guys, even that one, manage to escape. This is PG-13, after all.
While all this silly gangster stuff is going on, Space Godzilla is flying over Japan. We see him make a series of low passes over a number of cities, his EMP effects causing widespread electrical power loss in the areas he flies over. His route we can chart by the order of the cities which we see him pass. First up is Sapporo, which is in Honshu, then Yamagata, which is in Honshu, then over Kobe, further south, and finally over the southern island of Kyushu. This means that he is flying north-to-south, which is strange because when last we saw him he was in the South Pacific at Birth Island. Perhaps he went to Alaska for a few days to see the glaciers and get some of those great King Crabs they have there. We also see that when he is in Sapporo, a clock tower reads 6:58pm and it's pitch black, but in the next few scenes it's broad daylight as he passes over other cities in Japan. So I assume that once he passed Sapporo, he decided to pull over and sleep for the night before continuing on in the morning. Probably a DoubleTree Inn.
Space Godzilla arrives over Yamagata just as the gangster gunfight is ending. Sensing his approach, Miki leads the men to safety. Doctor Creepy, now in full-bore mental breakdown mode over the foiling of his plans, is tinkering madly with his machines as Space Godzilla flies over. The EMP blows up the computers and presumably kills him, though we can't really tell for sure.
SpaceGodzilla's energy zaps the dish.
That silliness over, we cut now back to G-Force HQ in Tokyo, where MOGERA is being prepped to battle Space Godzilla as he nears Tokyo. Much to do is made about no one being able to find Maverick, so someone else will have to pilot MOGERA. So, the whole rescue operation was unsanctioned after all, which continues to make no sense. Why did Blair not let anyone in command know what was going on, wouldn't they help recover Miki? It's just stupid and wrong.
Alright, this is confusing. Apparently Space Godzilla bypassed Tokyo altogether, despite everyone freaking out at G-Force. We next see the monster approaching Fukuoka on the northwestern coast of Kyushu. Why Fukuoka? Well, we shall see that he's all excited about using Fukuoka Tower as a big conductor for his crystal energy. Fukuoka Tower is this huge, 234 meter high television antenna tower (the largest coastal tower in Japan) built for 60 million dollars. It's an impressive structure, though seemingly built just so the city can thumb its nose at other cities and brag about the size of its tower.
Back at G-Force HQ, we see that our heroes are just now arriving in Blair's Isuzu Bighorn. A number of notes here. As noted in other reviews, the name plate for the Bighorn is in English, which strikes me funny. Could someone in Japan tell me if most cars have name plates in a foreign language there? Also, Blair is wearing the exact same outfit, down to the hat, that she had on when she flew with the helicopter to pick up the men from Monster Island. That had to have been at least one day ago, probably more considering the distance from the island to Japan. Either she's smelling pretty funky or they filmed a bunch of her scenes in one day with no wardrobe changes and inserted the footage in later.
Our heroes walk in on a briefing held by Commander Aso for the three-man crew that's preparing to fly MOGERA against Space Godzilla. Aso is ticked at Maverick for being late, but grateful he is here. He takes the flight helmet from the lead pilot and gives it to Maverick. Ok, that's cool, Maverick is now going to command the flight with the other two pilots. Wait...what the hell!!!???! Commander Aso just took the helmets from the other two pilots and gave them to Stud and Slacker!!! What the hell??? Are these guys MOGERA pilots also??? Up to this very second we had no idea that they were trained or even capable of operating the robot, and now, having just come from being sent to Monster Island to play nursemaid for Project T, they are given control of MOGERA???? Does every officer in G-Force know how to operate MOGERA? When the robot went to space to fight the monster the first time, no one bothered to go and get them from the island, right? It was also stated in dialogue that after being ass-kicked by Space Godzilla the first time, the scientists made some "modifications" to MOGERA, but Stud and Slacker have been out in the field until just this second, so how would they know how to use the new modifications????? It just blows my mind.
Our new pilots...
I got to move on. As they leave for the robot, Blair stops Maverick and basically tells him that she loves him...sniff, sniff. Maverick just gives her a Clint Eastwood-type shrug and tells her to refill his lighter!!! What an ass!!!! Why are women attracted to that type of man? Miki and Stud also exchange meaningful glances, filled with love and worry. Come on, am I watching a Godzilla movie or a Jane Austen chick flick? Anyway, the robot takes off and flies for Kyushu. The music here, by the way, is strongly similar to Harrison Ford's theme in the Indiana Jones movies.
Ok, now this is weird. We see Fukuoka now, and what we assume is some crystal structure flying in like a meteor and impacting in the downtown area with a thunderous explosion. From out of the ground shoot these massive crystal spikes, much like the ones that were on Monster Island, surrounding Fukuoka Tower. These spikes are about as tall as the Tower itself, and there are dozens of them. Since the spike pits on the island predated Space Godzilla's actual arrival on earth, we have to assume that whatever just hit Fukuoka is of a similar nature. It's never explained at all to us what these "crystal meteors" are that seem to presage an appearance by the monster. Are they somehow emitted from Space Godzilla himself? How do they manage to create these huge spikes seemingly from out of thin air? We know that they are used by him for transmitting and collecting energy to make him stronger, but the entire way in which they are constructed and utilized is a mystery. I am beginning to hate this movie. Space Godzilla is now amongst the crystal spikes, roaring and trashing stuff. Electrical energy begins swirling and crackling around the crystals and the Tower, which is serving as a collection point of sorts for the energy.
SpaceGodzilla and his crystals.
Fukuoka is a big city with about 1.3 million inhabitants (about the size of Milwaukee or San Antonio) and since this attack happened essentially without warning, the loss of life must be horrendous. Usually in Godzilla movies, they try and give us the impression that the area of a city that a monster fight is about to happen in has been evacuated. Here in Fukuoka, we have to believe that no such evacuation was initiated and many tens of thousands are about to die.
Ok, we can't have a Godzilla movie without Godzilla, right? Our green guy is now sighted in Kagoshima Bay, which is at the southern end of Kyushu, about 140 miles south of Fukuoka. Dialogue in the G-Force HQ leads us to believe that they didn't know about Godzilla's whereabouts until he literally surfaced in Kagoshima Bay. Doesn't Japan have any sort of sonar network to protect itself? Any submarines? Doesn't the US Navy have some pretty sophisticated underwater detection equipment all over area to watch the Chinese and the Russians? Why is Godzilla consistently able to sneak up on Japanese cities in every movie?
Anyway, the Japanese Self-Defense Force quickly cracks into action to counter Godzilla. I must say that the effort expended by the JSDF here is pathetic, as we shall see. They just toss some token firepower at Godzilla and then virtually disappear for the rest of the movie. The taxpayers of Japan should really be up in arms over this one. We have an air attack followed by a naval attack.
Ok, the air attack come from a total of three Huey AH-1S Cobra gunships, armed with unguided Zuni rocket pods. These choppers are oddly marked "G-FORCE", leading us to believe that that organization has aviation assets at strategic points throughout the country. These choppers make a number of attack runs at Godzilla as he wades through the bay, firing a bunch of these little rockets at him.
The naval attack is just as ineffective. The attack is conducted by a small flotilla of six Imperial Japanese Navy vessels, who apparently all charge at the swimming Godzilla to engage him at close range instead of more wisely standing back at a longer range and pounding him with missiles. The ships are all plastic models, though extremely good ones. The main charge is led by two destroyers.
One of the destroyers is a Hatsuyuki class, which fires ten ASROC rocket-propelled anti-submarine torpedoes at the monster from about three hundred yards away.
Hatsuyuki class destroyer firing.
The other destroyer is a larger Haruna class. We see it fire seven rounds from the ship's forward ASROC mount. Strangely, a slow-mo view shows that several of the shots are not aimed anywhere near Godzilla.
Haruna class destroyer on the right engaging Godzilla.
In the background of a wide shot, we can see three other surface ships, too far away for identification, though the closest might be another Hatsuyuki. We can also see a surfaced submarine in the middle background. Identification of the sub is problematic due to the distance and the visual conditions. It has the square conning tower of the Uzushio/Yuushio/Harushio class, but the flat afterhull and pronounced tail fin of the newer Oyashio class. The Oyashio class-ship was not completed until 1996, however, so I suspect that it's one of the former classes. Why do I obsess about these things?
The editing is cut quick, and the helicopters are attacking at the same time as the ships, but we can see that Godzilla takes at least five solid hits from some form of weaponry during the battle, which blossom flame from his torso nicely. The optical effects of the attack are quite good, nearly top shelf, especially the Copter-Vision scenes. It should be noted that much of the footage of the destroyers is lifted from 1989's Godzilla Vs. Biollante, but we have treated it as original material for this review.
Cobra on the attack.
Godzilla is pissed at all this annoying shooting and stuff and shows it. He toasts off a nasty Atomic Fire Blast, which impacts on the Haruna's superstructure. We see the resulting explosion literally tearing the destroyer apart at the waterline in a colossal burst of flame and debris.
And at that, the battle is over! In the next cut we see Godzilla wading ashore, the Japanese military now gone, never to return for the rest of this movie. The entire battle sequence lasted exactly 29 seconds of screen time. Truly a pathetic showing for the military.
Ok, now, everyone, you, I, and Monkey Boy Bill, knows that Godzilla is headed for Fukuoka to get a rematch with Space Godzilla. It's what this movie is all about, there is no place else he could be going. That said, Godzilla seems to be deliberately taking the long, scenic route to the battle. As we shall see, he wanders around Kyushu seemingly taking his time. Wouldn't it have been easier for him to just come ashore at Fukuoka? In every other movie he comes on land as close as he can to where he wants to stomp. I'll detail the route later, but first we must ask why the long way?
Perhaps he's scared of fighting Space Godzilla and needs some time to build up his courage. Perhaps he's lost. Perhaps he had to run some errands before the battle. Perhaps the producers wanted to get as many shots of him stomping through various cities as possible to appeal to a wider audience. One Japanese city looks like another to me, but the residents of a certain city sitting in a theatre could point at the screen and say, "Damn! Godzilla's thrashing my town! Look, that noodle bar he just stepped on, I just ate there yesterday!". I'm betting that it's the last reason.
So, we get a series of cool visuals of Godzilla stomping through cities, plus some handy G-Force computer maps to chart his progress. We see that he starts at Kagoshima, on the shores of Kagoshima Bay where he came ashore. He then continues on north up the coast road to Kumamoto. Now, from Kumamoto it's a straight shot to Fukuoka, just 60 miles to the north. The route is flat and wide, following the coastal highway right into Fukuoka. Godzilla, however, makes a right turn and heads to Beppu on the northeast coast. To get to Beppu, which is 50 miles away, he has to cross over a mountain range studded with 5,000 meter peaks. Not an easy walk, even for Godzilla. Other than to give the movie goers in Beppu something to yell at the screen about, I see no reason for this detour. Maybe he had some dry cleaning to pick up there.
By the way, I love watching the "frightened crowds running in terror" insert scenes that go with every Godzilla rampage. With the slow-mo on DVD, you can see some really cool things. Traffic rarely plays along with gag, as can be seen by the drivers patiently waiting on red lights and busses still pulling up to stops despite the monster looming in the background. You can also see a few hot women in the crowd. But the best part is looking for the ones who are laughing and smiling as they run from the mutant lizard. I'm guessing that the film crew basically just gives a 20-yen note to anyone willing to run down the street in a mob while they film them, and not everyone is "in character".
Godzilla stomping through a southern city.
Meanwhile, MOGERA is flying from Tokyo towards Fukuoka to tangle with Space Godzilla. We first pick up MOGERA when they get the report that Godzilla is into the city of Kagoshima. We next see on a great computer map that MOGERA is roughly over Yamaguchi while Godzilla is now at Kumamoto. This means that Godzilla covered the 85 miles between his landing at Kagoshima and Kumamoto, on foot, in a shorter time than MOGERA, flying under jet power, took to fly the 450 miles between Tokyo and Yamaguchi. This means that either Godzilla is flat out running like Carl Lewis or that MOGERA is just poking along in first gear. The latter has got to be a criminal offense when Space Godzilla is currently massacring thousands in Fukuoka.
Ok, Godzilla being back in Japan is clearly eating away at Maverick as he flies towards the space monster. His feelings of rage and revenge get the better of him and he diverts from the flight plan and turns towards Godzilla. Back at HQ, this move puts everyone in an uproar. We hear an announcer say, "All units change course. Rescue division, head back to base." What? "all units"? Does this mean that other units, possibly conventional assets, were headed for Fukuoka as well to act in conjunction with MOGERA? "Rescue division"? What's that? Perhaps a divisional unit was on the way to "rescue" the citizens of Fukuoka when MOGERA changed the plan? If this is true, then Maverick has just thrown a serious monkey wrench into a carefully organized plan that depended entirely on MOGERA arriving in Fukuoka at a pre-designated time. One can only wonder at the resulting casualties due to this decision. This man should be court-martialed, at least, but instead he is lauded as a hero at the end of the movie.
We see in the next scene, both from footage of his romping through the city and from another nifty computer map, that Godzilla is now in Beppu and MOGERA is still over the Suo Sea, about 30 miles north of Beppu. This means that Godzilla, again on foot and over the 5,000 meter mountain range, covered the 50 miles from Kumamoto to Beppu in the same amount of time that MOGERA, again flying by jet power, took to fly the roughly 40 miles from over Yamaguchi to where we now see it over the Suo Sea. This robot is the slowest thing ever invented by man. All the fansites list MOGERA's speed on earth as being Mach 1, but it's clearly not flying at anywhere near that speed in this movie. Why is that? We never know.
Alright, the next scene is the attack on Godzilla. He's now clearly in a mountainous region, with no man-made structures visible, meaning that he was able to leave the environs of Beppu entirely before MOGERA intersects him. Maverick zips in and pulls the trigger, four Plasma Laser cannon bursts impact on Godzilla, staggering him and even tearing off chucks of his flesh. Wow, they all hit. That's got to be the best shooting display of any Godzilla opponent ever. Most of the time whatever is fired at him just hits the ground around him.
Despite this, Godzilla is not destined to fall here. In what can only be described as an act of pure mutiny, Stud jumps up and punches Maverick unconscious!!!! I'm sure his motives were honorable, and he is one of the film's heroes, but for a junior officer to strike a superior officer while in battle and take command of the ship is the most serious form of mutiny that can be had. And yet, this incident is never mentioned again, and indeed, we are made to feel that Stud is in the right. Stud attempts to explain his actions to us with the line "Couldn't have done a good job, not with him around."
That over, we now get MOGERA's first, albeit belated, attack on Space Godzilla, who is still standing in the middle of his crystal forest of spikes in the smoking ruins of downtown Fukuoka. Roaring in at low altitude for a couple of passes, MOGERA fires five or six continuous bursts from its plasma laser cannons. Several hits are made on Space Godzilla, producing flames and showers of sparks, but otherwise causing no effects. Space Godzilla then switches to full ADA mode and fires three Plasma Breath blasts at MOGERA, scoring one solid hit on the flying robot. Inside, the men are tossed around in true Star Trek fashion as sparks cascade about them.
The view through the cockpit windows.
Having, I guess, decided that the air attack just wasn't going to sell tickets, Stud now lands MOGERA and switches to Mecha mode, to the delight of MechWarrior anime fans everywhere. Standing there facing Space Godzilla, MOGERA looks rather goofy, especially in the "face", which seems to be wearing horn-rimmed glasses. I think that MechaGodzilla from 20 years ago had a better screen presence. They tried to make MOGERA way too spacey-looking at the expense of being realistic for the level of technology available.
Anyway, MOGERA's hands are armed with "spiral grenade launchers", which seem like ordinary, if powerful, missiles. Two of these are fired, and hit Space Godzilla in the chest with spectacular results. Stud high-fives Slacker and says, "We did it!". He has spoken too soon. Stud then orders the "plasma laser cannon" readied. Despite the same name used, this is not the beams that we have seen before, but a dish-like emitter that slides out of the robot's chest. MOGERA starts rolling towards the monster as the emitter fires four bursts into his chest. This weapon is an order of magnitude stronger than the other plasma lasers and Space Godzilla is hurting, the skin on his chest burning and smoking from the hits.
You'd think that Stud would now recognize that his ranged weapons are working wonderfully and avoid the kind of close-quarter engagement that has spelled the demise of many monster-fighting machines since the 1950s. But we would be wrong. Stud orders "drill attack!" and MOGERA's nose (!!!!) starts spinning like a drill bit. Now the nose drill is maybe 20 feet long at most, meaning that MOGERA has to drop his arms to his sides to even use the drill. This just seems really stupid, though the drill does indeed bite deep into Space Godzilla's right shoulder, drawing a gout of bright red blood. However, as expected, the monster is able to Plasma Breath blast MOGERA away.
MOGERA begins to wisely roll away from the monster, firing four powerful chest cannon bursts as it does. The effects of this weapon are again truly impressive, causing enough damage to Space Godzilla to make us positive that Stud is an idiot for not relying on it more. However, the monster is also well-armed and two direct hits from Plasma Breath bursts cripple MOGERA. In a shower of sparks and smoke, the big robot topples over onto the ground. In a wonderful matte shot, Space Godzilla now advances slowly on the prone robot, sparking and burning at the joints.
MOGERA is down!
Space Godzilla starts blasting the toppled robot, causing more serious damage but also reviving the knocked-unconscious crew. The weapons systems are down and escape is the only recourse now. Maverick, now back in command (!!!???) orders Slacker to "Climb up and fix it!" and Slacker unbuckles and gets up just as Stud fires up the afterburners and the robot flies off, skidding along the ground before taking to the air. Certainly Slacker would have been tossed around the control room, most likely killed, but he seems to keep his feet.
What, ho!? Godzilla is now in the fray, wading into the crystal spike forest with a mighty roar. Yes! His entrance here is chilling and spectacular, backlit by burning buildings and his back spines glowing with anger and revenge. Space Godzilla is now drawing energy from the crystals and Fukuoka Tower, the electrical currents arcing into his shoulder crystals, giving him more power. He fires off four quick Plasma Breaths at Godzilla, all four striking him squarely. These blasts seem to be more powerful than Godzilla's own Atomic Fire Breaths and he is staggered.
But Godzilla is tough and he closes in to grapple with the space monster. This is potentially the same mistake that MOGERA just made and Godzilla also pays a similar price, with a point-blank range Plasma Breath knocking him off his feet. That's gotta hurt. Ok, remember when Space Godzilla earlier used his "tractor beam" to lift up Minya? Well, now he lifts up Godzilla from the ground, causing him to fly through the air and crash head-first into a large apartment block. That's really gotta hurt. Hmmm...as Godzilla seemed helpless to do anything while being "tractored", you'd think that Space Godzilla would employ it more. Maybe it sucks too much power for continuous use?
Godzilla being tractored.
But Godzilla is up again, proving that no tractor beam is going to keep him down! Space Godzilla now takes to the air, undoubtedly remembering that strafing runs were extremely effective against Godzilla when they first fought on Birth Island. Seven solid Plasma Breath blasts smack into Godzilla during this attack, causing him much pain but not enough to knock him off his feet.
Godzilla fires back, but we see again how Space Godzilla can project an adaptive crystalline force field to deflect the blast. This is also used very rarely and we wonder why the space monster doesn't protect himself with it more. Perhaps it also uses too much energy?
Godzilla now makes an impressive intuitive leap. He realizes that Space Godzilla is absorbing his energy through the crystal spikes, routing it through Fukuoka Tower. He fires off three quick Atomic Fire Breaths at the spikes, blasting many of them into fragments in an attempt to reduce the monster's sources of power. Smart move.
Space Godzilla counters by using his Spooky Mind Powers (I guess) to cause some of the spikes to levitate and fly towards Godzilla like sparking Roman candles/throwing knives. At least two dozen of them zip at Godzilla, who disintegrates a number of them in midair with two Atomic Fire Blasts, but at least seven hit him solidly. Even this is not enough to knock down our favorite mutant lizard. In a really neat effect, the screen actually shakes when the hits are delivered.
The spikes flying at Godzilla.
Not distracted from his plan, Godzilla shakes off the spikes and then twice Atomic Fire Blasts the Fukuoka Tower directly. The tower sparks and smokes but does not explode!!?? It's somehow protected by a form of Space Godzilla's force field, perhaps the massive amount of crystal energy flowing around it is deflecting Godzilla's attacks. The Tower even re-directs some of the energy from the blasts back at Godzilla!!
Meanwhile, MOGERA is back to 100%, having fixed all that ailed it. Aboard, they are watching and learning and agree that the main problem is the Tower, it has to fall. Maverick decides that now is the time to separate the robot into its two component parts, and he will command the flying part, which is known as "Star Falcon". In a pure rip-off of Transformers, MOGERA separates, flipping out arms and legs and popping out wings and rolling tracks. Lame. This takes exactly 60 seconds, as a read-out tells us. The two parts race for the Tower, "Land MOGERA" sporting tank-like threads and an oversized drill for burrowing underground.
Display of the separation.
Alright, now we can't have a love story without bringing our leading men and our lovely ladies back together to gaze at each other and sigh. We see that Blair Brown and Miki have flown to Fukuoka in a G-Force Jet Ranger helicopter. They are here unescorted and apparently on their own initiative, which seems odd considering what's going on in Japan right now. You'd think that someone higher up would have to approve the use of the chopper, and "To go see our boyfriends" just doesn't seem like a good reason. They have changed clothes, thankfully, and are now wearing heavy jackets and pants.
They land north of the city and get out to look out across Hakata Bay at the chaos going on downtown. Fighting through the crowd of onlookers and police they make it to the harbor. There they run directly onto a cabin cruiser, that's at a pier. A man is even standing there holding the rope as they run aboard. What the hell? Did they somehow charter this boat to wait for them here? Why would anyone let their boat anywhere near that monster fight? And why didn't they just land the chopper closer to the city so they didn't have to take a boat? Maybe the boat belongs to someone who was sleeping with the director and this was payback? And what's this? Now we see that Blair Brown is actually driving the boat!!!!! Oh, and she just glanced over to Miki and gave her a downright sultry look!!!!
Ok, back to the monsters. Land MOGERA, intent on destroying the Tower, activates that huge drill on its nose. It then dives down into the earth and burrows in at a high rate of speed. No, no, no! Land MOGERA's body is wider than the drill bit, but nothing is torn off the sides as it dives underground. How it that possible. Veggie Tails did this effect a thousand times better in Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed, just check. Anyway, their computers locate the "weak point" in the Tower's support structure and they head for it.
Meanwhile, Maverick in Star Falcon begins strafing Space Godzilla. Not Godzilla, mind you, not his mental devil, but Space Godzilla. This change of heart on Maverick's part is never really explained to our satisfaction. They exchange weapon hits, with the Falcon taking several blasts. Amongst the warning lights and sparks, Maverick swears, "Damn reptile!". That might very well be the best line in the entire movie.
Back underground, Land MOGERA fires twin Auto Laser bursts at the Tower's base. As the Tower begins to spark and creak, Godzilla jumps at the Tower and begins to try and pull it over with brute strength. Space Godzilla, fearful of losing his power source, knocks Godzilla away from the Tower with two well-placed Plasma Breaths.
Godzilla takes hits from Space Godzilla.
Maverick, screaming "Asshole!" in a very-un-Godzilla-movie-like manner, swoops in to take the heat off Godzilla, lancing the space monster with plasma laser cannon bursts. The effort is successful as Space Godzilla turns from Godzilla.
With Space Godzilla again distracted, Godzilla leaps at the tower and pushes and pulls on it. This time he knocks it over and it crashes to the ground in a massive cloud of debris and smoke. Yes!!! Godzilla roars in victory.
Land MOGERA now pops up out of the ground near Space Godzilla and starts blasting the reeling space monster. As the Star Falcon comes in for another strafing pass, Maverick now decides that, although the separate attack is working quite well, the audience wants to see MOGERA in one piece in true Mecha style. He orders the two pieces back together. This is accomplished not by Land MOGERA stopping and Falcon landing on top, as would be expected, but by Land MOGERA leaping into the air to connect with Falcon in midair like an Apollo-Soyuz link-up. This just looks dumb and dangerous.
Ok, let's reset the scene here. The girls are now ashore and running towards the monster fight for some reason. Godzilla is still pumped up about knocking down the tower. Space Godzilla, while deprived of his power source, is still steaming mad and ready to rumble. MOGERA is back on the ground and preparing to unload everything on Space Godzilla. Fukuoka is still burning brightly.
MOGERA opens up on Space Godzilla, causing much pain, while Godzilla smacks him with an Atomic Fire blast at the same time. Uh oh, Space Godzilla is in trouble now. Not having learned his lesson, Godzilla then again charges in to do some hand-to-hand with the monster. This time however, Godzilla gets the advantage, delivering two punches and two bites to the neck. Space Godzilla is on the ropes.
MOGERA keeps up the pressure, launching two of those nifty spiral grenade missiles which actually blast off the huge crystal on his left shoulder!!!! The concussion knocks Godzilla away from the fight and into a building. Space Godzilla, really hurting now, turns and stabs MOGERA with a Plasma Breath, which is a lucky hit, blasting off the robot's left arm!!!
MOGERA then fires off the remaining spiral grenade, scoring a direct hit that shatters the crystal on Space Godzilla's right shoulder this time. Pissed, the monster whips his long spiked tail around and drives it into the laser dish in the robot's chest, blasting it to pieces. These last two scenes expose a seemingly critical weakness of the MOGERA design. When the chest maser emitter is deployed and the spiral grenade launchers are unmasked, they are both outside of the armored body of the robot, and as we just saw, are highly susceptible to damage. This is a bad design, akin to having a tank's main gun mounted in a cardboard turret. With these systems destroyed, MOGERA is reduced to few effective weapons.
Tossed to the ground, MOGERA is now out of business--power and weapons are offline again and flames are everywhere. Inside, Maverick orders Stud and Slacker to abandon ship. The two men run to the elevator and then stumble to an escape pod. Hmmm...having the crew's escape pod located some distance from the control room seems like a very bad design flaw. What if there wasn't time (hull breach in space, for example) for the crew to travel through the robot's body to the pod, they'd all be dead. Maverick, being quite a maverick, stays behind.
Maverick says to himself, "You're the reason I'm alive. I'm going to send you back to hell where you belong!". It's not at all clear which monster he is referring to here, though I assume it's Godzilla. Maverick grabs a small rocket launcher, possibly a LAW or an Armburst, and opens up an outer hatch. How he thinks that this tiny rocket is going to have any better effect than all those massive energy weapons is beyond me, but you got to respect his balls.
Maverick and his LAW.
Ok, Space Godzilla is advancing on the smashed-up MOGERA. Godzilla, now revived from his fall, is up on his feet and closing on the space monster from behind. Godzilla blasts him in the back with an Atomic Fire Breath, which both gets Space Godzilla's full attention and makes Maverick lose his aim and crawl back inside the robot. Space Godzilla has apparently found his second wind, as he now rages on Godzilla, staggering our lizard backwards with repeated hits.
While all this monster stuff is going on, the escape pod has landed. It has apparently landed in the flaming ruins, as it looks like Beirut when they open the door. Stud and Slacker dash out to discover...Miki and Blair Brown mere steps away!!!! What the hell!!!???!!! What a horribly cheap plot contrivance! Miki and Stud gaze lovingly and breathe heavily. Ick.
Back in MOGERA's control room, Maverick starts tinkering with the controls. Apparently, MOGERA isn't totally dead yet as he gets the motors firing and the robot takes off. Seemingly out of control, the burning, smoking robot slams into Space Godzilla like a Kamikaze Zero, knocking him over in a heap. As we clearly saw that Maverick was not buckled in when the robot took off, there is no freakin' way that he could have lived through that crash. But, alas, he is a hero and therefore unkillable.
Godzilla moves in for the kill, firing two long Atomic Fire blasts into the monster, blowing chucks of flesh off. Space Godzilla fights back gamely, but it's now clear that the monster is dying. He's emitting energy and buzzing and crackling in overload--it's just a matter of minutes before he explodes from the inside.
Meanwhile, a distraught Stud runs for the wreckage of MOGERA to save Maverick. He finds him somehow still alive (!!!!) but hanging upside down by his foot from a hatch (!!!!). Stud is about to shoot Maverick's foot off (!!!!!!) to get him loose, when Miki uses her psychic powers to free his foot (!!!!). Oh, please.
Maverick hanging around.
Ok, now this next part is kinda confusing and I literally had to go to several fansites to figure out what happened. It seems, though not explicitly explained in the actual movie, that Godzilla now absorbs the huge amount of residual crystal energy released by the destruction of Fukuoka Tower and transforms into his "Super Godzilla" incarnation. This ultra-powerful Godzilla now has "Uranium Power Breath", a fiery red weapon that he blasts Space Godzilla with four times. Space Godzilla explodes in a monstrous wall of flame. Yes!!!!!! Godzilla roars in ultimate victory!!!! Man, the set must have been hot during this shoot, I hope the Godzilla suit had air conditioning.
Back to our humans. Maverick and Stud have survived, of course, and somehow meet up with Slacker, Miki and Blair in the ruins. They watch as Godzilla stomps off into the ocean. Blair gives Maverick his lighter back (remember?), and he hands her something shiny, I think it's a flask!!! Miki uses her mind powers to detach the telepathic amplifier from Godzilla's neck (remember?). The Mothra fairies are now back, and tell Miki that she's the bomb. Miki asks Maverick, "Do you still consider Godzilla as your enemy?", to which Maverick replies, "Well, he is a great creature, after all." I guess that pretty much sums up the whole movie.
Godzilla heads off to sea.
Right at the very end, we get a throwaway shot of Minya, presumably free now from the crystal prison, walking about Birth Island. He "burps" up some puffs of radioactive smoke, just like the original Minya from Son of Godzilla. This is a dumb way to end this movie, though it does give us the hint that Minya is ok, which is alright.
That was the movie, I hoped you enjoyed it. Bye.
[Editor Pam: This movie has far more impressive special effects than the old Godzilla movies did, but underneath that, it has the same old unlikely plot and impossible science. In addition, the voice actors doing the dubbing aren't great. They're not as bad as in some dubbed movies, but they don't sound natural, either, which is sometimes distracting. Watch this movie for its looks, not its content.]
Written in July 2004 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda and Darci Sharver.
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that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...