Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

*. A Godzilla movie that was generally well received but which I found disappointing.
*. It feels tired. This was, I believe, Mechagodzilla’s fourth outing (after Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II), though as per usual in the Millennium Godzilla movies it’s a standalone entry that doesn’t take into account any previous movies other than the original Gojira (way back in 1954). What this means is that this Mechagodzilla, named Kiryu, is something a bit different, being a “bio-robot” that is part machine and part clone made out of the bones of the original Godzilla that was killed at the end of Gojira.
*. That’s something sort of new, and the reveal of Godzilla’s bones is the movie’s one good moment. The rest is just all of the usual stuff. Crowds of people running through the streets as Godzilla looms up behind them. Jets and tanks firing rockets at Godzilla that do nothing at all. The jointure of the scientific and military establishments to come up with some way of defeating Godzilla. Hints at a love affair, but nothing more than hints. A cute kid. The long shots showing the monsters squaring off against each other. The giant tussle, with the protagonists slamming through office buildings.
*. Of course you can say that this was Toho’s twenty-sixth Godzilla movie so there wasn’t much chance they’d be doing anything new, even if originality was their aim (which I’m sure it wasn’t). Point taken. But even so, this isn’t even a very interesting Mechagodzilla movie. Once again he’s been kitted out with an array of weapons that are totally useless (rockets, “masers”, etc.). Except for the new Absolute-Zero Gun which fires out of his chest. This puts whatever it hits into a deep freeze that then causes it to shatter into atoms. At least that’s the idea. It works well on buildings. Does it work on Godzilla? Ha!
*. What’s especially awkward is the way Kiryu has to be operated by remote control from a squad of jets that hover just above it. Couldn’t they do this from their home base? That’s where everyone else is. I do like the JXSDF baseball caps though. Better than the G-Grabbers swag from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
*. It’s at least a change of tone from the previous movie, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. That film was more into the supernatural where this one at least throws some fancy scientific talk into the air (like Kyru’s “computer DNA”). Even the idea that Kyru’s racial memory can be triggered by hearing Godzilla’s roar is kind of plausible. I mean, for a Godzilla movie.
*. Godzilla himself (or itself) has slimmed down a bit, and has pupils in his eyes again, but for some reason seems far more static. There are a number of shots where he appears to be a model rather than a man in a suit. Especially when he just stands still, not even moving his arms, as rockets are fired at him. Maybe they did use a model in those scenes. I guess it would have been safer.
*. The ending didn’t make any sense to me, but basically they were setting things up for the next movie, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., which would be a direct sequel/rematch. Which I would have thought a bit redundant at this point, but I guess they needed the championship rounds to settle things.

2 thoughts on “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

  1. tensecondsfromnow

    I wonder if two-legged ties would be the way forward in presenting these contests, like European footabll matches. Or an actual tounament, with a group of death. The format seems to have gotten stale.

    Reply
  2. Alex Good Post author

    They got sort of like the Marvel superhero movies where the only change they could make is to add more villains, until you end up with something like Avengers: Endgame or All Monsters Attack which are more just battle royales.

    Reply

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