Monsters, Science Fiction

Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

0 Comments 26 December 2012

aka Gojira vs. Biorante

Godzilla vs Biolante coverStudio: Echo Bridge

Theatrical Release: December 16th, 1989

Blu-Ray Release: December 4th, 2012

Rating: PG

Directed by Kazuki Ohmori

Review by Craig Sorensen

Well, I never thought I’d see the day where Godzilla vs Biollante was released on DVD let alone Blu-Ray, yet here we are.  And it includes the original Japanese audio and is in it’s original aspect ratio to boot.  I can finally retire my beat up old VHS tape.  Thankfully Echo Bridge finally seems to be getting access to the vast genre reserves being hoarded by the Wienstiens.  And I want to formally apologize for all the nasty things I said in my Spymate review.

Godzilla vs Biollante picks up right where Godzilla 1984 (still M.I.A. on disc) left off, with Godzilla falling into a live volcano and apparently perishing.  The cleanup crews take over almost immediately.  Government scientists collect dark, slimy chunks of ‘Godzilla cells’, which are promptly stolen by vaguely American looking soldiers, which again are stollen by a vaguely Middle Eastern looking assassin.  A Japanese scientist named Shiragami (Koji Takahashi of Samurai Spy) is working with these Middle Easterners (from the made up country of Sardania) to use the cells to help grow plant life in the desert somehow.  After corporate terrorists blow up his lab and kill his daughter, Shiragami vows to never work with Godzilla cells again.

Of course, while this is all happening, there are some strange rumblings coming from that volcano.  The kids at the psychic research facility are all dreaming about Godzilla so that can’t be a good sign.  The government decides to go ahead with a plan to use Godzilla cells to create a special nuclear waste eating bacteria to stop the monster for good.  In order to create this new bacteria the enlist the reluctant help of Dr. Shiragami.  While he has access to the cells he decides that it would be a good idea to take them and splice them with rose and human DNA.  The results are Biollante, whom the doctor believes contains the spirit of his deceased daughter.  Will this new creature be enough to stand in the way of Godzilla?

While it does take the film a while to get going, once Godzilla shows up the film picks up speed and can be a lot of fun.  The filmmakers do go a ways to pay tribute to the older films in the series (Maser cannon tanks return!) while trying to update the effects.  It also helps that you get a completely new monster for Godzilla to fight rather than the same old rogues gallery that Toho would recycle to death later in the series.  Of course, a lot of running time is taken up with a not terribly interesting subplot about corporate espionage.  This would be completely uninteresting if it weren’t for the hilariously bad acting from the Western actors in those roles.  Still, even with those problems, the film is fun and a nice return to form after the series was rebooted in the 80’s.

While it’s not perfect, Echo Bridge’s new Blu-Ray is more than I could hope for for this title.  The film is presented in it’s original 1.78:1 aspect ratio which should seem like a given at this point but you can’t really take simple things like this for granted when it comes to Godzilla on video.  The print seems like it’s in pretty good shape.  The image is soft and grainy throughout but that seems to have more to do with 80’s film stocks than the transfer.  There are a few compression issues here and there and those could have probably been cleared up if the film had a higher bit rate.  But that’s a minor quibble I suppose.  The film still looks pretty damn good considering.  You also get three audio choices, a Japanese DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, Japanese 2.0 Stereo mix and an English dub in mono.  The 5.1 mix seems to be the way to go.  Akira Ifukube’s score sounds better than ever.  And dialog and sound effects don’t get lost in the mix.  Also included is a pretty lengthy making of doc containing lots of vintage footage along with interviews with the production staff and deleted scenes.  The only other extra is a short video made up of shots of production design statues of Biollante and the Super X-2.

Rating: ★★★★☆

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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