Action, Fantasy, Monsters, Robots, Science Fiction

Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all Out Attack / Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2001 / 2002)

Comments Off on Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all Out Attack / Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2001 / 2002) 26 October 2014

godzilla double feature

Studio: Sony / Toho

Theatrical Release(s): December 15, 2001 / December 14, 2002 (Japan)

Blu Ray Release: September 9, 2014

Director(s): Shusuke Kaneko / Masaaki Tezuka

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

The next two films that followed Toho’s Godzilla 2000 are placed together on Toho’s most recent Godzilla double feature. Toho wasted no time in getting the next few entries released after the success of Godzilla 2000. But did the studio rush too fast in getting the next entries out?

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (the longest title of any Godzilla film) starts off as if none of the sequels had ever happened. While I am not a big fan of this idea during a movie series, by now the Godzilla series has changed so much over the years, I kind of forgive that. How else could Godzilla keep coming back time after time again?

The storyline for this entry was a bit hard to grasp. It wasn’t difficult to understand but it just seemed a little too outlandish. Godzilla has returned to life after his first attack of Tokyo 50 years ago and General Tachibana, whose parents died during the monsters rampage when he was a child, has been preparing for his return. Of course the Japanese government underestimate Godzilla’s power and balk at his return. Meanwhile, Tachibana’s daughter Yuri (why are the women in Godzilla films always named Yuri or Yuki?) works for the TV news program Digital Q, which investigates strange phenomena. Yuri and her team meet a mysterious old man named Isayama, who proclaims that Godzilla is an accumulation of vengeful souls abandoned to die in the Pacific War, and thus, mere weapons cannot kill him. Isayama awakens the Three Sacred Guardian Beasts of Yamato, which once protected Japan many years prior. The beasts are Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah (I guess the film makers thought the title was too long already so they took out poor Baragon’s name).

Once you get past the bizarre storyline, this entry in the Godzilla franchise is a much more serious film than past entries and quite violent. Godzilla first fight with Baragon is brutal. Godzilla beats the living hell out of him, stomping him in the face and ultimately blows him up with his heat ray. Then, in the films final battle, Godzilla goes up against both Mothra and Ghidorah who ultimately turns into King Ghidorah once Mothra’s molecules cover the creature, turning him gold with wings. Oh and I gotta say I loved the look of Godzilla in this one. His white eyes made him look like a zombie, making the King of Monsters look meaner than ever.

I hold this entry in the franchise as one of the best. It’s relentless action and darker tone (was this the first Godzilla film where someone says, “fuck”?) was a sheer joy to witness. And when the Godzilla theme beckoned out of my speakers…yeah the little kid in me couldn’t help but leap out of my seat, cheering.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

Why the sudden change in tone from the last film? Talk about jarring. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is more in tone with the lighter entries, including having a child protagonist and comic relief. Needless to say, I don’t like that kind of Godzilla film and just dumbs down the franchise.

The film opens up in a rather neat way as a typhoon hits Japan but awakens the big lizard who stomps his way to shore during the storm. Although the military drives the creature back into the ocean, they know he will return. The Ministry of Science designs Kiriyu, a enormous lizard-like robot constructed from the bones of the first Godzilla that attacked Tokyo almost fifty years earlier. This Mechagodzilla now has the power and strength to take on the King of Monsters in an action-packed showdown.

The problem I have is that the viewer has to waste his/her time to get to the action with a subplot about a female soldier with a dark past who meets the scientist who created Mechagodzilla along with his spunky, know it all pre-teen daughter. The silliness and lightheartedness pretty much ruins most of the film for me. Why did Toho not stick with the same tone as Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack?

Sony’s blu ray release looks and especially sounds pretty damn good. Both films look pretty clear and are presented in its 2:35:1 ratio. I thought the picture looked more sharp in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack but that may be because I’m partial to that film. The 5.1 surround for both movies are amazing, utilizing both left and right speakers as well as the rears. Hearing the base blast during Godzilla’s stomps are already worth getting this blu ray, despite the weak entry of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. Both films come with the trailer (although Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla‘s trailer is actually for the 1993 film Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla).

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Rating: ★★★★½

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

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