*. There are a pair of charming clichés that go along with the Godzilla movies. The first has to do with the authorities somehow losing Godzilla after every one of his rampages. You’d think they’d be able to track something that big, especially with all our surveillance satellites and other fancy toys, but in this movie again it becomes a plot point that has to be addressed by firing a homing device into Godzilla’s hide and sending drones after him.
*. The other cliché, which is just as much fun, has to do with the way the military duly keep driving out their tanks and rocket launchers, or scrambling jet planes and helicopters, to fire away at Godzilla despite the fact that they’ve been doing this for nearly fifty years and clearly it has no effect on him at all. When this really gets funny, however, is when a bunch of grunts left on the ground try to blast away with small-arms fire and shoulder-launched rockets before getting flattened. Keep trying, guys! One of these days you might even hurt him!
*. This is how Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (or Godzilla x Megaguirus, as the films of the Millennium phase were styled) starts out. After an introductory montage that establishes a break of continuity with any of the previous movies aside from Gojira (which, in turn, is nicely sampled), a team of about a dozen soldiers are exhorted by their leader to go into battle against Godzilla with bazookas. “Don’t forget,” he tells them, “it may be big but it’s still a lizard! Aim at its legs to bring it down!” Wow! Aim at Godzilla’s legs! Why had nobody ever thought of that before? Then imagine the team’s surprise as they fire their rockets at Godzilla’s feet and absolutely nothing happens! Consternation!
*. And these, I might add, aren’t just any soldiers. They’re members of an elite anti-Godzilla unit (or really entire government department) that has been studying how to best take down this giant bugbear for decades. And “aiming at its legs” is the best they’ve come up with!
*. The unit goes by the name of the G-Graspers. I thought something must have been lost in translation here, but it’s part of an English logo that is branded on all of their kit so somebody must have thought it sounded good. Luckily, after the failure of this rocket attack their scientists have come up with a plan to use “plasma-powered energy” (developed as an alternative energy source to keep nuclear out of Japan) to create a miniature black hole that can be fired from a cannon. Its code name is Dimension Tide. Which is at least a better name than the G-Graspers got stuck with.
*. Gozilla vs. Megaguirus isn’t rated very highly among Godzilla fans. At least I don’t see it often cracking the top-10 lists. But I like it. Despite the plot being the exact same formula as ever, at least in the “good Godzilla” movies. Japan wants to rid itself of its giant spirit lizard until something even worse comes along and they need his help; there’s a fight where Godzilla gets the crap kicked out of him, which just makes him angry, etc. I say despite this there’s something about how it plays out that I found enjoyable all the way through.
*. It’s easy enough to be critical. I don’t like the Millennium Godzilla’s appearance. He legs are so bloated they seem deformed (though he isn’t quite the tub of lard he’d turn into in the next movie) and his teeth splay weirdly out from his mouth. I’m also not a fan of Toho’s flying monsters, like Mothra, Rodan and this Megaguirus thing, which is a giant dragonfly. The flying monsters are never very convincing and Megaguirus is even worse than the others, simply hovering in the air without even flapping his wings. The fight scenes are poorly handled, with even a couple of the early Toho silly moments thrown in (like Godzilla doing a giant body splash). Throughout I thought the effects a noticeable step down from Godzilla 2000.
*. That said, I thought the human story was OK, with a couple of women who hold grudges against Godzilla leading the way. The flooding of Tokyo was neat. And the story, as I’ve said, moves along quite nicely. I didn’t care much for the ending, but at least it was quick. This isn’t the Godzilla I grew up with, but if I had I think I would have liked it just as much.