Our review of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (Blu-ray), published June 2nd, 2014, is also available.
"We're going to make Godzilla disappear up his own butthole."—Kujo
Japanese Bystander 1: "So, there I am standing in the living room, in front of my in-laws, missing my pants and trying to pry a gopher off of…"
Japanese Bystander 2: "Hey, what is that coming out of the water?!"
Japanese Bystander 1: "What? Where?"
Japanese Bystander 2: "Do you see it, that gigantic green thing with the spikes?!"
Japanese Bystander 1: "Aw, $%*&, it's Godzilla again."
Japanese Bystander 2: "I knew I should have gone for the 'Godzilla option' on my homeowner's insurance. Well, I guess it's time to run away wildly, screaming and pointing up."
Japanese Bystander 1: "Okay, let's go."
Japanese Bystander 1 and Japanese Bystander 2: AAAIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!
Facts of the Case
It's 1996. Long thought deceased, Godzilla has resurfaced. The agitated nuclear lizard once again has tendered an assault on Tokyo, wading through building after building and unleashing his atomic halitosis. Skyscrapers crumble, cars are mashed, and insurance costs skyrocket. A crack team of RPG-wielding Japanese military—the Anti-Godzilla Command Unit (yes, that's for real)—descend upon the city to repel the lumbering, reptilian savant.
Why they think some puny shoulder-launched missile will slow down Godzilla is beyond me, but try they do and, unsurprisingly, get wasted one by one. Of course Godzilla does none of this killing directly—he's a stuffed-animal in some kids' bedrooms for crying out loud. No, Godzilla's brand of dispatching human foes is through collateral damage.
And that's what happens to Tsujimori's partner; he gets pasted by falling debris. Tsujimori (Misato Tonaka), cradles her dying friend and gazes menacingly on Godzilla, vengeance exploding in her eyes.
Fast forward to present day, where we find Tsujimori, this time dressed in bright blue pleated slacks and wearing a goofy hat. She's now the leader of the Command Unit, and she's got a plan to rid the world (well, not really the world so much as certain parts of coastal Japan; hey, and for that matter, where is the UN during all this Godzilla mayhem?) of her prehistoric tormentor.
Okay, you want to hear the plan? Really? You ready for this? Here it is: Scientists have developed a weapon that fires a miniature black hole, and the Anti-Godzilla Command Unit wants to use it on Godzilla.
Taking note of the following presuppositions that a) I am not an astrophysicist, not by a long shot, and b) any movie that stars a giant fire-breathing lizard is not after realism, but…
A friggin' black hole gun??!!!
I can't imagine that's good for the environment.
The final cog in this masterful strategy is Kudo (Shosake Tanihara), a brilliant, but reclusive young scientist that Tsujimori recruits to help with the project. With him on board, the team starts to bring the zaniness together. Just in time, too, as Godzilla has started to make waves again.
However, the big G-man is the least of their problems. Some wacky prehistoric dragonflies have begun to sprout up, causing general distress among passersby. They are the harbinger of a much bigger baddie, named Megaguirus, a giant, energy-sucking bug that has Godzilla in his sights.
The two behemoths will collide—of course—while the humans scramble to vacuum-suck the winner into oblivion, whoever that may be.
When I was younger, TBS used to run this Saturday morning program, hosted by Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster) that played Toho movies. Man, I ate those up! Rodan, Godzilla's Revenge all those favorites. To a Cinnamon Toast Crunch-hopped-up kid, there wasn't anything sweeter than watching a weekly throw-down between some crazy Japanese guys in monster suits.
But, no, they weren't guys in monster suits! No, it was Godzilla, facing off with the Smog Monster or Mothra or whatever else drug-induced monstrosity these filmmakers created.
What I'm trying to say is this: I had a much larger threshold for crappy special effects when I was pre-pubescent than I do now.
It's been almost half a century since the original Godzilla beat the crap out of Tokyo, and not much headway has been made in the visual effects department. The strings holding Megaguirus aloft are plainly visible, Godzilla is still expressionless, his spikes as malleable as ever, the buildings and vehicle models look like just that, models, and the pyrotechnics ain't much better than Fourth of July in my backyard.
But I won't complain. That's what makes Godzilla, Godzilla.
You know what else makes Godzilla, Godzilla? The big-ass monster fights. Usually in these movies, the audience suffers through about 50 minutes of exposition or contrived human subplots before Godzilla lays down the punishment. This one's a little different, in that the actors don't really busy themselves with numbing personal narratives, and much of the beginning has to do with shooting test black holes, which, again, is crazy.
Godzilla and Megaguirus don't face off with each other until past the one-hour mark. From then on it's the usual give and take barnburner, until Godzilla discovers he has searing, radioactive breath and opts to use it.
For a kids flick, which, essentially this is, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus isn't the worst thing you can expose the little ones to. There's no swearing, and violence is limited to flaming prehistoric insects. There are a couple of weird little scenes where some pedestrians take a face-full of dragonfly spooge, but it's nothing worse than what is on network television.
Everything about the presentation is bare bones, though it does come in a widescreen format, with a nifty 5.1 mix (English dubbed or original Japanese).
Grab the kids, pull out some Yoo-Hoo and sit back for another blast of insane Toho-riffic Godzilla tomfoolery. (Just remember to keep your dry, sarcastic remarks to yourself, mister.)
Go, Toho, and spread joy to millions of children with your grotesquely mutated fire-breathing dinosaur with huge spikes on his back. Court adjourned.
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