*. For people who care about these things, the Godzilla canon is often divided up into different periods. Things kicked off with the Showa Era, which ran from Gojira (1954) to The Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975). After this the franchise was mothballed for nearly a decade, being revived in the Heisei Era (1984 – 1995).
*. The Showa and Heisei Eras would be followed by the Shinsei (or Millennium) and Reiwa Eras in Japan, and the Legendary MonsterVerse franchise that kicked off with 2014’s Godzilla. The names are taken from Japanese emperors. I’ve posted notes on many of the Showa films but I won’t be talking as much about the Heisei Era. They are not as well liked by most people, myself included.
*. To give the Heisei films credit, the effects, as you would expect, are markedly better. These are better looking productions all around, and even the dubbing is superior. They also eschew a lot of the craziness and juvenility of the Showa productions. However, as summarized by William Tsutsui in his companion book Godzilla On My Mind, “despite all their bells and whistles, the Heisei films did lack that most important of elements, heart.”
*. Heart is a good word for what’s missing. In my initial notes I had scribbled that this movie was no fun, which comes to nearly the same thing.
*. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (which, despite the numbering, is not a sequel to any of the previous Mechagodzilla appearances) was originally intended to be the last Godzilla movie because Toho didn’t want to have to compete with the American Godzilla directed by Roland Emmerich that was coming down the pipe. As things turned out, they had nothing to fear. But that’s another story. So in fact the Heisei Era would continue on for a few more years.
*. We get off to a shaky start as the opening voiceover tells us that “The year is 1992 AD” Wow. That anno domini really helps clear things up. Then the English titles tell us that this is actually Godzilla® vs. Mechagodzilla® II. Two registered copyrights in one title! That wouldn’t be topped until 2001’s Godzilla®, Mothra® and King Ghidorah™: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
*. The rest of the movie feels like a recycling operation. Mechagodzilla is back, this time being operated by the military’s G-Force instead of aliens from the Third Planet of the Black Hole. Which made me wonder just how advanced those aliens were since this is a more powerful Mechagodzilla in pretty much every way. Rodan is back too, this time being pronounced (apparently correctly) Radon. And finally there is Baby Godzilla, who looks slightly better than Minilla from All Monsters Attack but that’s about the best I can say for him.
*. There are a number of pointless fights. It has been discovered that Godzilla actually has a second brain in his ass, so the “G-Crusher” strategy is developed to target this sensitive spot. This works well until it doesn’t. I’m not sure what the relation was between Godzilla, Rodan, and Baby Godzilla but they end up on the same side. Mechagodzilla bites the dust again, though Godzilla doesn’t tear his head off. So back to the old drawing board. They can always rebuild him.
*. There is one nice moment where the romantic leads take a short flight on an air scooter over Baby Godzilla’s pen. I thought that was the best part of the movie. The rest of it isn’t bad though. There are some good monster fights, if that’s what you came for, though these are less fanciful than the Showa entries and I just hate seeing a machine beating up on monsters. The whole thing seems to be missing something though, whether you want to call it heart or fun or whatever. It also feels caught between two worlds: the earlier campy suitmation and the CGI extravaganzas to come. It was 1992 AD.