Also known as:Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaijū Sōkōgeki (original Japanese title), GMK (abbreviated title) Release Date: November 3rd, 2001 (Tokyo International Film Festival) Directed by: Shusuke Kaneko Written by: Keiichi Hasegawa, Masahiro Yokotani, Shusuke Kaneko Music by: Kow Otani Cast: Chiharu Niiyama, Ryudo Uzaki, Masahiro Kobayashi, Shiro Sano, Takashi Nishina, Kaho Minami, Shinya Owada, Kunio Murai, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Shingo Katsurayama, Takeo Nakahara, Toshikazu Fukawa, Hideyo Amamoto
Toho Co. Ltd., 105 Minutes, 89 Minutes (US TV version)
“[recalling his encounter as a child with Godzilla in 1954] The sky was blood red and filled with smoke. And through it a devil appeared, its face was twisted with rage and hatred. When it was over my parents were gone. I will never forget the wretched cries of the dead…” – Adm. Tachinaba
This is the one Godzilla film that many fans seem to love the most from the Millennium era. I disagree with that but it’s still okay and features some of the franchise’s most iconic monsters. Although, I don’t like how it sort of reinvents them.
Essentially, this is another reboot that ignores all of the films except for the 1954 original. It tried to introduce new concepts and play around with the mythos but it doesn’t work for me.
Honestly, my favorite thing about the picture is the inclusion of Baragon, a long-time favorite kaiju monster of mine but one that is rarely used and underappreciated.
Outside of the Baragon stuff, my brain starts to check out.
Sure, there’s kaiju action but this spends more time than necessary on human characters and new concepts than it does just trying to give us a massive kaiju battle royale. But I guess that’s why I like Final Wars so much, as it has the human element and story but it mainly features monsters fighting.
GMK is just boring to me, bogged down by too much fluff and experimentation. It loses sight of what a Godzilla movie should be and tries to take itself too seriously while also failing at that.
Maybe the more serious reinvention Shin Godzilla was so great because it was bare bones, simple and not overly complex.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: other Godzilla movies from the Millennium era.
Release Date: December 10th, 1994 (Japan) Directed by: Kensho Yamashita Written by: Hiroshi Kashiwabara Music by: Takayuki Hattori Cast: Megumi Odaka, Jun Hashizume, Zenkichi Yoneyama, Akira Emoto, Towako Yoshikawa, Kenji Sahara
Toho Co. Ltd., 108 Minutes
“Godzilla! I still have something to settle with you!” – Lt. Kiyoshi Sato
This was the second to last of the Heisei era Godzilla films and while they tried to up the ante and get really creative, it falls just short of the film before it: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
The story picks up the plot threads about Godzilla Junior and the psychic chick from the previous movie. However, it mainly focuses on the arrival of SpaceGodzilla, who basically looks like a larger Godzilla with giant crystals protruding from its body. The creature’s origin isn’t clear in the film but it’s been theorized that he was born from Godzilla’s cells that ended up in the cosmos by either Mothra or Biollante’s spores. It’s believed that the cells were mixed with black hole radiation.
Anyway, the film also features the return of Moguera to the big screen. While this giant robot was never used in a Godzilla film before, it first appeared in Toho’s 1957 film The Mysterians. Moguera had then been used in other Godzilla related media. In the US, the giant robot is probably most recognized as an early boss in the original Nintendo Godzilla game.
In this film, Moguera, now spelled M.O.G.U.E.R.A. is created from the left over tech and armor that was salvaged from Mechagodzilla after its defeat in the previous movie. Since Mechagodzilla was created from left over parts of Mecha-King Ghidorah, it ties all these films together. And frankly, I like that Toho was really trying to keep a tight continuity in this era unlike the Millennium era that followed a few years later.
For the most part, the movie is engaging and enjoyable and it fits well within this series. My only real complaint about it is that the effects feel like they’re a step down from the previous few films. Maybe it’s due to the weird environment changes, like seeing the kaiju battle in a city populated with giant crystals and smoke, as opposed to detailed metropolitan miniatures but it does feel like SpaceGodzilla was created just to find a way to cut the budget in regards to effects.
Also, the Godzilla Junior suit is hokey as hell after it looked really good in the previous chapter.
In the end, though, I really like the baddie and seeing Moguera officially enter Godzilla cinematic canon was cool. But really, this is just more of the same when compared to the rest of the Heisei pictures.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: other Godzilla films from the Heisei era.
Also known as: Godzilla vs. Mothra (alternative title) Release Date: December 12th, 1992 (Japan) Directed by: Takao Okawara Written by: Kazuki Ōmori Music by: Akira Ifukube Cast: Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Megumi Odaka, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada
Toho Co. Ltd., 102 Minutes
“There isn’t a job that is too tough for me, except, the one time I was married to a real stubborn woman.” – Takuya Fujita
I kind of forgot how much I enjoy this entry into the Heisei era of Godzilla.
It’s a pretty solid picture, all around, minus some cheesiness. But that cheesiness is mostly from the human actors, as the kaiju interactions and battles are some top notch stuff.
Also, since I hadn’t seen this one in quite awhile, I forgot that it’s actually Godzilla versus both monsters in the end.
While this is the first time that Godzilla and Mothra meet in the Heisei era, it is the first time that Battra has ever appeared. For those who might not know, Battra is essentially the Yang to Mothra’s Yin. He’s a darker and, at face value, an evil looking version of Mothra. The two monsters do battle throughout the film but by the end, Battra and Mothra decide that it would be better to combine their efforts to fight Godzilla, who in this continuity, is still a real threat and not the friendly, kid loving monster he became later in the Shōwa era pictures.
The rubber suits and animatronics in this chapter are amazing. While I find the previous film, Godzilla vs. Biollante, to be more impressive overall, this looks like a pristine and well crafted production, top to bottom. It’s certainly one of the best kaiju films of its era from a technical standpoint.
This also has one of my favorite final battles because the location looks unique, the monsters look great and the action itself is well choreographed.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a giant, neon Ferris wheel dropped on Godzilla, than this is the movie for you.
Rating: 8.5/10 Pairs well with: the other Heisei era Godzilla films, as well as Mothra vs. Godzilla from 1964.
Also known as: Mosura tai Gojira (original Japanese title), Godzilla Against Mothra (Japanese English title), Panik in Tokyo (Germany), Godzilla Fights the Giant Moth (Worldwide English title) Release Date: April 29th, 1964 (Japan) Directed by: Ishirō Honda Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa Music by: Akira Ifukube Cast: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, The Peanuts, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yu Fujiki, Kenji Sahara, Jun Tazaki, Yoshifumi Tajima
Toho Co. Ltd., 89 Minutes
“I’m not as afraid of Godzilla as I am of the editor… he’s meaner.” – Reporter Jiro Nakamura
While not my favorite Godzilla movie of the Shōwa era, this one still holds a pretty special place in my heart, as it pits Godzilla against Mothra for the first time. Granted, they’d become solid allies after this movie, as Godzilla would evolve into a hero and Earth’s protector once King Ghidorah shows up in the picture following this one.
This is still a fun film that merges the two monsters into the same franchise, this being Godzilla’s fourth movie and Mothra’s second after 1961’s simply titled Mothra.
The story sees one of Mothra’s eggs get taken from Infant Island, the kaiju’s tropical Tiki-esque home, and put on display in Japan. Godzilla shows up, the egg hatches and we get some great kaiju action. In fact, the battles and the effects are some of my favorite in the series, so hats off, once again, to effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya.
And while I’m mentioning Tsuburaya, his miniatures in this are some of the best he’s done. The vehicles looked and performed superbly.
The film also stars some of Toho’s regular actors from the tokusatsu genre, which I always consider a good thing despite familiar faces appearing multiple times throughout the franchise as different characters. In this one, we get Kenji Sahara, who I always enjoy, and Hiroshi Koizumi.
Mothra vs. Godzilla has a simple story but it works. This is a kaiju movie from the best kaiju studio from the best era in the kaiju genre. It brings together two of the most popular characters in film history and it is pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be while slightly exceeding those expectations.
This doesn’t have much of anything wrong with it and its just enjoyable through and through: a true tokusatsu classic.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with: other Shōwa era Godzilla movies.
Also known as: Godzilla 2, Fathom (working titles) Release Date: May 29th, 2019 (Europe, South Korea, Indonesia) Directed by: Michael Dougherty Written by: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields, Max Borenstein Based on:Gojira, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Mothra and Rodan by Toho Co. Ltd. Music by: Bear McCreary Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathaim, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Joe Morton
Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Toho, 132 Minutes
“We opened Pandora’s box. And there’s no closing it now.” – Jonah Alan
*There be spoilers here! No, seriously, I spoil the shit out of stuff in this one.
It’s been five years since the last American Godzilla film and I hate waiting. Sure, we got Kong: Skull Island two years ago, which is a part of this series, but Godzilla is the true king of kaiju and his return has been long overdue. Plus, we were promised a movie featuring King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan, so five years was too damn long to wait.
Now I enjoyed the first movie, even if I had some issues with it but I discussed those in that film’s review. As far as this one goes, I still have some issues but overall, this is a superior chapter in the pretty good American Godzilla series.
The film was certainly well cast with its human being characters but that was a part of my problem with the movie. There was just so much broken family drama and bullshit that it dragged the film down. Sure, you need a human story to ground the picture and make it relatable but I want to see giant monsters punching the shit out of each other, as opposed to an episode of This Is Us.
As far as the monsters go, I was afraid that the movie would have monster overkill, as the trailer mentioned 17 “titans”, which is white people for “kaiju”. Luckily, the only ones we really see fight are the main four we were promised: Godzilla, Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan. There are several other monsters that appear, including a new M.U.T.O. and a creature similar to Kumonga, but we only really see glimpses of them and then one scene where they appear at the end, after the big action has already gone down. Kong and Skull Island are also mentioned but Kong does not appear, which does create a bit of a plot hole but whatever, everything has plot holes these days.
The origin of the monsters is different in this film too. Mothra is Chinese, Rodan is Mexican, Godzilla is from Atlantis and King Ghidorah is Antarcticese but is later discovered to be from space, so I guess his origin is the most accurate. Well, except for the fact that he has Wolverine healing powers and can grow back heads like a hydra.
Also, Rodan is a dick in this movie and he’s not an ally to Godzilla and Mothra, as he should be. He comes around in the end, after the final fight, but I wanted to see the classic match up of King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan in a 3-on-1 handicap match.
There’s one point in the film where a general says, “We’ve got a secret weapon…” And my mind immediately screamed, “MECHAGODZILLA!!!” But then the general continued with, “…an oxygen destroyer.” So that was a nice homage to the original Gojira and it was a tremendous use of CGI special effects to make it look much more powerful than the 1954 equivalent but the weapon was used so freely and carelessly that the film missed the whole moral debate over that powerful weapon. However, I guess that was sort of replaced by the humans arguing about this film’s other weapon/device/MacGuffin: the Orca.
But the big monster battles are the most important thing about any kaiju movie and this picture gives us pretty solid kaiju action. At least, it’s much better than the total lack of kaiju action we got with this film’s predecessor, the 2014 Godzilla.
New York Yankees fans will love the big final battle in this film as it takes place in Fenway Park. You see the iconic stadium and all of Boston get leveled. And I’m assuming the Red Sox allowed the film to shoot there, due to some of the specific shots that saw Millie Bobby Brown’s character arrive there for the climax. But I guess the famous saying should now read: “Boston Strong, Godzilla Stronger.”
Anyway, I was mostly happy with the film. The human drama bullshit was grating and Vera Farmiga’s character is an evil, selfish psychopath, no matter how hard this film wants to justify her apocalyptic actions. They kind of try to redeem her in the end with her final act but that bitch wanted to die a hero because of her own ego not because she’s got a heart or anything. Thirty minutes earlier she was releasing giant monsters despite millions of people needing to evacuate from giant monsters. She was an insufferable shithead and her husband, Kyle Chandler a.k.a. Mr. Friday Night Lights was pretty terrible too. But maybe I’m just pissed that he never got killed or arrested on Bloodline.
My favorite moment in the movie was when the deaf chick from that Oscar winning fish fuck movie got eaten by King Ghidorah like a piece of popcorn chicken. I bet she lost a shoe this time too.
This review is probably all over the place but I got shit hammered at the theater, hit the bar pretty hard after and am currently too wired to sleep, so I wrote this now, as it’s approaching 3 in the f’n morning. Thank fuck for spell and grammar check.
But hey, this was a step up from the last one. It had better kaiju action, a better than decent story and good acting apart from the two leads that should have been merked much earlier than Bryan Cranston was in the first flick. Hell, Kyle Chandler survives again and he’s still getting away with killing his own brother and sending his other one to Cuba with his dumb wife that forgot to ditch her phone.
And I’ve also got to ask, what’s with all this need for a plot and shit? Monsters smash monsters, the end! It’s not rocket science! We don’t need story getting in the way of a kaiju Royal Rumble. Other than the original, original Godzilla picture, these don’t need to be thinking movies. When “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was giving Stunners to the Undertaker, we didn’t need him to stop before the attack and recite Shakespeare, we just wanted to see him drop the Deadman with a kick to the gut and a yank of the head.
The moral of the story review is:
Monsters punching monsters: Good!
Human family drama and storytelling: Bad!
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: the American Godzilla film before this, as well as the original Japanese films Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla: Final Wars.
Also known as:Chikyû saidai no kessen, lit. Three Giant Monsters: The Greatest Battle on Earth (Japan), Monster of Monsters: Ghidorah (Worldwide English title), Godzilla vs. Ghidorah (Finland), Frankensteins Monster im Kampf gegen Ghidorah (Germany) Release Date: December 20th, 1964 (Japan) Directed by: Ishirō Honda Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa Music by: Akira Ifukube Cast: Yosuke Natsuki, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yuriko Hoshi, Akiko Wakabayashi, The Peanuts, Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Kenji Sahara, Susumu Kurobe, Haruo Nakajima, Shoichi Hirose
Toho Co. Ltd., 92 Minutes
“Yes, it is possible for someone to be saved from an exploding aircraft. If we understand the curvature of space, we know that the continuum surrounding any spherical body such as our world is composed of different dimensions. The force of the explosion created a gap between these dimensions, and fortunately for her, she fell into it.” – Alien Expert
I’ve put off reviewing this film in the Godzilla franchise for awhile. The main reason, is that I wanted to save it for the week that the new American Godzilla movie was coming out, as that one features the same four monsters featured in this film. So if the new American film is remaking anything, it is closest to remaking this film.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster isn’t just one of my favorite Godzilla movies, it is one of my favorite monster movies… ever.
King Ghidorah is, hands down, one of the coolest and most iconic monsters ever created. While he might not be as popular as Godzilla or Mothra, he is most definitely the best villain in Godzilla lore and the true king of Toho’s baddies. He’s also much better than any of the evil kaiju creatures from any other Japanese series whether it be Gamera, Ultraman or anything else. Personally, Gigan is my favorite but I can’t deny the greatness and dominance of Ghidorah.
What’s also really interesting about this film is that it is where Godzilla really becomes a good guy and a protector of Japan and Earth from worse monsters. He teams up with Mothra, after the two of them fought in Godzilla Vs. The Thing and he also encounters Rodan for the first time, which starts off as a big fight but eventually ends with the two of them becoming strong allies.
Ghidorah has three heads, so I guess it makes sense needing three good monsters to fight him. Also, it sort of helps to build up the mystique of the new villain. For the first time ever, Godzilla alone can’t take on another monster. Granted, Godzilla, over time, would evolve to be far more powerful than the standard Ghidorah.
The story of this one is also interesting in that it introduces a monster threat from outer space, as well as bringing in alien races and a new sort of dynamic to the Godzilla franchise, which changes all the movies going forward.
Additionally, this movie was helmed by the A-team of Toho tokusatsu: director Ishirō Honda, writer Shinichi Sekizawa, special effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya and composer Akira Ifukube. It also features the top Toho actors, the real core of the studio’s talent at the time: Hiroshi Koizumi, Kenji Sahara, Takashi Shimura, Akiko Wakabayashi and Akihiko Hirata.
While I like the original Godzilla and King Kong Vs. Godzilla more than this, this chapter in the franchise is almost a perfect storm where everything just sort of went right. It ups the ante in new ways, is a hell of a lot of fun and it’s the one film that really sells you on how menacing and dangerous King Ghidorah is.
Rating: 8.5/10 Pairs well with: other Shōwa era Godzilla movies.
Release Date: March, 2017 (Glasgow Short Film Festival) Directed by: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer Written by: Lucas Leyva
Borscht, 13 Minutes
A short film made in America about two cool things from Japanese culture coming together? Count me in!
This short was a great homage to the art of bunraku, which are Japanese puppets usually used on the stage to act out historical dramas. It’s also a good homage to old school kaiju films, especially those put out by Toho, as this actually features Mothra and includes the sound effects of Godzilla’s iconic roar.
The story is about a husband and wife in the era of feudal Japan. They are trying to reach shelter, as a kaiju attack is happening near their village. The big finale sees the husband come face to face with the larva form of Mothra.
There’s not much else to say about it, as it is really short. I almost would have liked to have seen this concept in a broader sense but it was probably a difficult endeavor in trying to create the 13 minutes that we got here.
I did enjoy it nonetheless. The puppetry was well done, the puppets, especially the Mothra one, were beautiful and the story was interesting.
All in all, this was a great concept but this film feels more like an experiment and a light exploration of that experiment. I’d like to see the filmmakers do something bigger with the idea because I think it deserves further exploration.
But if you like kaiju, bunraku or just Japanese culture in general, this is a cool way to spend 13 minutes.
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: the kaiju film that inspired it, 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla, as well as the short films of Niki Lindroth von Bahr.
I’m a massive kaiju fan, tokusatsu fan and Godzilla fan. I know it may sound silly to some but this game is the one that made me finally break down and buy a PlayStation 4. I also got it for Uncharted 4 but it’s this game that really made up my mind for me just because I wanted a great Godzilla fighting game with great graphics and mass environmental destruction.
Sadly, this doesn’t live up to the expectations I had for it but I did enjoy the hell out of this game, regardless. It has several flaws but even those didn’t distract me from the monster on monster combat for the first few weeks that I played this. But eventually, those flaws caught up to me and I wanted much more from this game.
If you are also a fan of the classic Godzilla universe, this will probably make you happy, for the most part. Luckily, this game is cheap as balls now because I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for this thing, as it runs its course pretty quickly.
You don’t start out with all the monsters being playable. You have to play the story mode multiple times to unlock every character and then you also have to play more to unlock points that can be used to enhance the abilities and stats of your monsters. This is fun for a little while but I doubt anyone will ever want to finish this arduous task because the game suffers heavily from repetitiveness.
It’s fun to play through this a few times but it is just the same thing over and over again.
Also, there really isn’t a good versus mode in this and the other modes kind of suck. The story mode is where it’s at but this is sadly, a one trick Minya.
There are some key monsters also missing from this game. I had hoped that there would be some DLCs that would add more monsters to the game but this was a commercial failure and nothing extra was developed.
Another negative, is that the environments are fun to destroy but you are confined to an area and can’t really roam too freely. Every stage has a border around it. It’d be much cooler if there was a massive map of Tokyo and you could actually walk from one side of the massive city to the other, confronting other kaiju along the way.
The game does do a good job of replicating the Shōwa era by using all the familiar music and giving you many levels that look like sets from those films. You can even knock down the Tokyo Tower on one stage. However, that nostalgia wears off the more you play the game.
It also doesn’t help that the monsters have a very limited move set and clunky controls that seem to work against you.
If you don’t give a shit about Godzilla, you should steer clear of this. If you do like the franchise, this is worth a buy if you can get it for like $10-$15.
Rating: 6.75/10 Pairs well with: Sadly, there aren’t a lot of kaiju games, at least in the US. But I bet this pairs well with the Japanese Ultraman games. If you have the ability to play imports, I’d suggest those.
Also known as: Kaijū Sōshingeki (Japan), All Monsters Attack (alternate), Monster Attack March (alternate), Operation Monsterland (UK alternate) Release Date: August 1st, 1968 (Japan) Directed by: Ishirō Honda Written by: Takeshi Kimura, Ishirō Honda Music by: Akira Ifukube Cast: Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Kenji Sahara
Toho, 88 Minutes
This was the Shōwa era Godzilla film that literally had it all. It was jam packed full of kaiju, had aliens and a ton of kaiju action and really good action sequences that didn’t even involve monsters. It isn’t the best Godzilla film of its era but it is probably the film that is the most fun. And when I am introducing friends to the Shōwa era and old school kaiju pictures, this is usually the one I pop on just for the non-stop action and overabundance of giant monsters.
Usually these sort of films get convoluted by trying to wedge in too much. Look at the modern Avengers movies versus the solo Marvel films. Destroy All Monsters throws a dozen kaiju at you but they all mostly get to shine without stepping on anyone’s toes or complicating the plot. Granted, a few were used minimally but that was due to their rubber suits being in bad condition due to age and the effects of previous films.
While the story here is decent for a kaiju picture, it really doesn’t matter. This is the Royal Rumble of Godzilla movies and all these fantastic creatures come together. Initially, they are controlled by evil aliens and attack different parts of the world. Godzilla even takes out the United Nations building in New York City. Eventually, the monsters are free from alien control, which brings in King Ghidorah because every sinister alien group seems to have a Batphone to King Ghidorah’s study in his stately manor.
The highlight of the film is when all the good monsters gang up on Ghidorah and just kick the living shit out of him. I love Ghidorah but the mud hole stomping finale is friggin’ glorious! Then the film is capped off by our Earth heroes in a cool ship fighting a phoenix. I mean, really? How cool is this movie?
Eiji Tsuburaya handled the special effects, Ishirō Honda returned as director and Akira Ifukube returned to score the film. Honda and Ifukube took a hiatus from the series, after being instrumental in giving it life and longevity. The reason for their return, is that this was initially planned to be the final picture for Godzilla. However, Toho didn’t even make it a year before they were working on All Monsters Attack a.k.a. Godzilla’s Revenge, a universally panned sequel but probably gets a worse rap than it deserves.
This film is set in the future, at least at the time of its release, so the chronology is a bit confusing after this movie but I’ve always seen this as the real final chapter and the Shōwa films that came out after this one as events that happened before this picture. So when King Ghidorah dies here, he really dies and his return later in the series in Godzilla vs. Gigan was set before Destroy All Monsters.
I love Destroy All Monsters. It is not my favorite Godzilla picture but it is exciting for old school kaiju fans.