In this week of Daikaiju Monster Madness we will talk about the millennial series which include Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: All Monsters Attack also known as it's fan name as GMK; Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla; Godzilla: Tokyo SOS; and Godzilla Final Wars.
It has been 50 years since Godzilla has attacked Japan and the country has thrived. Then out of nowhere reports of a Godzilla attack in the US emerges. This is a reference to Godzilla 1998 by Tri-star and I love the simple jab as they sort of say that it really wasn't Godzilla. Then an American submarine is attacked and the SDF go and see what the problem is and glimpse a fin that may or may not be Godzilla.
Meanwhile a film company is interested in making a series about ESP and the legends of Giant Monsters in a rural Japanese town. At first the village elder does not let them, but after being persuaded by an aspiring reporter named Yuri he allows it believing it will bring tourism to his tiny town.
Around the same time some hooligans on bikes attack and harass the local townspeople and knock over some shrines. They enter into a tunnel and it is collapsed by a monster. Soon after more young kids are killed by Mothra. The deaths of Japanese youth is quite important as it is a theme in this film that I will discuss later on.
Yuri is an interesting character in this film because she is the depiction of the modern woman in Japan, and she is also quite enjoyable as a character. One of the great female protagonists in a modern Japanese films. Yuri gets a book about the Guardian Monsters and links it to the recent disasters. So she returns to the rural town for more information.
An old and senile man is brought into the police chief for destroying a shrine. He tells Yuri that Godzilla is coming and that the Guardian Monsters are arriving to stop Godzilla and protect the homeland, but not necessarily the nation. When she tells her father who is a naval commander he does not believe her and ignores her pleas.
The old man scene when it is video taped reminds me of the beginning of Tri-Stars 1998 Godzilla film. It is also in this scene that a new ret-con to Godzilla's origin is established. Godzilla is fueled by nuclear energy and the hatred of all who were killed in the Pacific Conflict which is what the Japanese call World War II. This is also a theme that is addressed later.
Before the film reaches it's second act we have a salary man who was trying to commit suicide fall down a shaft and find King Ghidorah. That same man was seen in the police station, and it's interesting how they tie many of these characters together. The first act comes to a close when it is revealed that Yuri's dad was a kid when Godzilla attacked Tokyo for the first time.
The second act begins with Baragon appearing and attacking the town where the old man is kept. Baragon attacks a hot spring resort. After the attack Yuri's dad finally understands that what his daughter was saying was not mere superstition.
Baragon saves the old man so he can go awaken the final beast King Ghidorah. At the same time Godzilla appears off Shizouku in a scene that looks shockingly familiar with a scene from the Tri-Star Godzilla film. Godzilla actively kills people on his way to confront Baragon which shows a more darker nature of the monster. I really enjoy this darker tone as Godzilla just kills people out of spite, it helps the mood and tension that this Godzilla is the spirits of the dead.
Godzilla fights Baragon, and eventually kills him. Mothra's cocoon is seen on the lake hibernating. It is at this time that Yuri uses the Godzilla footage that night to show Japan about the Guardian Monsters. The military try their hardest to defeat Godzilla, but it is to no avail.
Mothra appears from it's cocoon and King Ghidorah wakes up. The Three monsters fight in Tokyo, but the two of them are defeated. Mothra sacrifices herself to no avail, because King Ghidorah also is defeated. While escaping the monster attacks Yuri drops a a stone that revives the monsters souls that go into Godzilla. It must be symbolic or something, because it really doesn't do anything.
Yuri's dad does a sneak attack and enter's Godzilla's mouth where he fires a missile. This allows him to leave Godzilla's body and just when Godzilla is going to kill Yuri and her friend, the missle causes Godzilla's signature move to tear Godzilla a part in the most brutal way possible.
In the end Godzilla's heart is seen still beating meaning that it isn't the last Godzilla film. There are themes of nature and reciprocity in this film however the main theme is that the ills of the youth will doom Japan. It is that the Japanese youth have forgotten the sacrifice of the old. At the same time the film hits on hard that Japan has to come to terms with it's war crimes in the Pacific Theater. It is a very complex theme that I think does get to be a bit too much preachy, but is executed in a great way. I love this film, and think it is one of the better films in the Millennial series.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
This film is simply a revenge film that has many plot points that drag on throughout the course of the movie. The main plot point is about revenge for Godzilla from this JSDF, and the other being the plot of the Meganula or giant dragonflies. Eventually these plot points merge into a coherent plot and the pay off takes a long time, but the film does redeem itself in the end.
The film sets itself first in Osaka where the JSDF attack Godzilla. In the attack the superior officer of Kiriko Tsujimori is killed. This makes her vow vengeance against Godzilla. She collects talented people for one purpose to kill Godzilla. Including our somewhat main protagonist a self-taught engineer. The plan is to develop a micro black whole to kill Godzilla.
It is during one of these tests that a dragonfly extinct species called Meganula is mutated and it lays eggs. A boy picks up the egg, but then discards it. Mutant Meganula break out and start to kill people and mutate further.
These dragonflies attack Godzilla on an island that the G-Graspers have planned to use their new weapon called Dimension tide which drains Godzilla. After this battle the Meganula return to their underwater nest to feed Godzilla's energy to the egg which hatches into Megaguirus. The giant dragonfly destroys Tokyo further and disables Dimension Tide.
Godzilla enters Tokyo, but the territorial dragonfly fights Godzilla. She absorbs Godzilla's energy and uses an attack similar to it's atomic breath. A funny incident includes Godzilla body slamming onto the of the dragonfly and eventually biting off it's arms. Godzilla eventually wins by grabbing her tail and blasting it with it's atomic blast a few times.
In the meantime Dimension Tide is brought back online. It is revealed around this time that Godzilla was drawn to plasma energy which was illegally kept in Tokyo, it was noted that this is what kept drawing Godzilla to Tokyo. Vengeful Kiriko pilots a ship called Gryphon and draws Godzilla to a spot so that Dimension Tide sends a black hole to engulf Godzilla. Everyone cheers, but the end of the show has Godzilla's iconic roar boasting claims that Godzilla is not done for yet.
Themes in this film include revenge which is the main theme in the film. The other being unexpected consequences for actions including revenge. But, mostly due with the fact that in trying to stop Godzilla the G-Graspers are responsible for Megaguirus. These two themes tie into the film to create an interesting sense of tension that does pay off in the end.
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla
Much like the previous film the theme of Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla is that of vengeance. This film also has a few other themes that run parallel with other films, and have it's own character focused story. We have a female lead in the form of Lt. Akane Yoshiro and her main motivation is that of vengeance.
This film also includes a reconnected version of MechaGodzilla called Kiryuu. This version of the monster uses the bones of the original 1954 Godzilla destroyed by Dr. Serizawa's experiments.
It starts off with Akane's backstory about an event featuring Godzilla and her as a maser operator. In the incident she panics and hits another car leading to their deaths. Years later she is given a nice non-stressful desk job. However, she wants to redeem herself and destroy Godzilla.
A doctor who works on bio-androids making half life and half mecha. Much like the previous Heisei MechaGodzilla film, this film is Life vs. Biolife. However in this film it is given a darker slant as MechaGodzilla is the uncontrollable side of nature because of Godzilla's bones are in it.
Akane trains, and is berated by many of her teamates, but she is chosen ultimately to pilot Kiryuu. Their first battle takes place between Godzilla and MechaGodzilla. Kiryu looks like it is winning, but when the bio computer acts up losing control Godzilla gets away.
They have to update the data and tests have to be made. It is during this down time that Akane befriends the Doctor's daughter and we see her trying to break out of her shell and not just live for vengence. This is important for her character development and it ties in later in the film.
The second fight lets Akane confront Godzilla a third time and the second time with Kiryu. Yet again the system fails as the bones don't want to kill Godzilla. However through sheer will she pilots Kiryu and in an explosive battle seemingly traps Godzilla in ice. However, Godzilla escapes and her fight will have to continue another day.
The themes of revenge is central here, and the fact she doesn't defeat Godzilla is important. It shows that she can't stop blaming herself and she has to move on. This film is a sort of redemption to her character arc, and it works. There is the messing with nature theme as well, but that will be concluded to an extent in the next film which is not as good in my opinion.
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
Godzilla Tokyo SOS takes place after the events of Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla and although they use characters and take place after, they are two different films. They take the revenge plot and take it out the window. Then they take that life vs. biolife and take it to 11 in terms of annoyance. There are themes of regret, love, tampering with nature, forcing of natures (mostly of Kiryuu to kill Godzilla), and the main theme of the film that is plastered into our heads 'Remember no human may touch the souls of the dead'. There is also a theme of correcting the deeds of the past. The film in short has not focus and does not do what it's predecessor did and thus is a weaker film.
The beginning of the film shows Mothra becoming an enemy of humanity. We then switch to Mr. Choji from Godzilla vs. Mothra who has the Mothra twins appear before him. They tell him that Godzilla's bones must be returned to the sea so that Mothra will not become their enemy.
Meanwhile after it's fight agianst Godzilla, Kiryu is under repairs. Chujo who was there with his uncle knows about the warning of the twins. He is attacked by a pilot who thinks Chujo is a coward and a disgrace to the organization. After the attack he is taken to a hearing by the pilot's father who doesn't want to lose his son in an attack against Godzilla and wants to see if Mothra is a viable alternative to Kiryu.
Godzilla attacks Japan, and in the chaos the government does not let Kiryu get launched partially because the repairs are not done. So Godzilla attacks Japan and Choji and his grandson are attacked by Godzilla, but summon Mothra to fight Godzilla.
Mothra arrives and attacks Godzilla, but is badly beaten. So Kiryu is sent out to help Mothra. Godzilla still defeats both of them, but Mothra's eggs hatch and not one, but twin Mothra larvae appear. The worms come to help Mothra, but get beaten up by Godzilla. Mothra sacrifices herself to protect her children. The engineer then goes and repairs Kiryu. He is however trapped in the mechanical monster when it faces Godzilla.
Godzilla's roar after being subdued by the Mothra twins, makes them unable to control him. Kiryu then takes Godzilla and takes him to the trench taking both of them to the sea. The engineer escapes thanks to the female and male pilots. Then the show ends with Godzilla seemingly defeated.
The film falls flat compared to it's predecessor. It also makes the end of the previous film have no real closure. Akane's revenge arc feels empty, and in return we get this chaotic mess of a film.
Godzilla Final Wars
We end the millennial films with the most over the top Godzilla film sense the Showa era. Godzilla Final Wars. This is a film that is so silly and outrageous that it could have only came from someone who loved the cheesiness of early Godzilla films. The plot is simple, the characters don't really have purpose except for the plot, but it is done in an entertaining way.
We start with Godzilla being led to the Antarctic where thanks to a mechanic machine called Gotengu falls into ice and remains frozen. In this time other monsters appear and Japan creates the Earth Defense Force made up of humans and mutants alike. Commander Gordon pilots the Gotengu and fights the dragon called Manda. However the ship is damaged and he is court marshaled.
In the meantime strange occurrences start occurring. They discover a creature called Gigan who is not of this earth. The creature has M-gene which is similar to that of mutants depicted by a female biologist. The biologist, a special mutant and the professor are all teleported to Infant Island by the twins where they discuss that Mothra defeated Gigan 10,000 years ago.
Giant Monsters then attack cities and the EDF has to stop these monsters. The monsters vanish and then aliens appear proposing the end of the UN and the start of a Galactic Nations. As the threat of a planet called Goranth will hit earth. Alien mania sweeps earth, but those who saw the vision of Mothra as well as a TV reporter don't buy it.
First they find out that Gorath is not real, and ambush other Xilian spies. They confront the UN member of Japan to reveal he is an alien and the Xilian ploy is revealed. The Xilian general kills the controller and declares war on humanity. He also controls the mutants to destroy the cattle.
They escape and get to the Gotengu and awaken Godzilla. The awakened monster follows Gotengu as it believes it's battle has not yet been done. It battles Zilla in Syndey, and one by one after that defeats all the monsters easily.
The Gotengu appears in Tokyo and one of the mutants sacrifices himself to let them into the alien spacecraft, but they are forced inside regardless by the Xilians. The Xilian controller unlocks the special mutant's powers and he betrays his friends until the biologist stabs him with an amulet the Mothra twins gave them. He returns to normal and now with his powers unlock defeat the Xilians.
Godzilla with help of Mothra defeat Mecha Gigan and Monster X. We find out that Monster X is really Kaiser Ghidorah, and Godzilla after given a power boost defeats the monster. He moves to destroy the Gotengu, but Manilla appears who was helped by a boy and a hunter earlier in the film stop Godzilla and the two of them return home while humanity can rebuild.
Personally I love that the film doesn't take itself serious. It isn't great writing, the characters are flat, but it is enjoyable. It is just science fantasty dressed up with monsters fighting one another. If you like classic Showa films, as well as just fun then this is something you would probably like.
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A.L. Hornbeck, historian, author, metalhead, and all around geek.